I've found a number of tools for writing a Windows XP install to a bootable USB drive, but they all remove the customization from nLite. The target computer lacks a CD drive (it's technically an IO Server, that can run typical OS's). Thus far any attempt to install my custom version has failed, from using an IDE-based CD drive with an IDE to USB cable to the assortment of Bootable USB creators. I've been working on this for 12 hours, with no luck.

Is there any solution to this? I've thought about removing the Hard Drive, but getting the thing open is in and of itself a task, and once inside I have no idea what kind of drive it has or how to get it out.

1 Answer 1


First, make sure your computer is set to boot from a USB.

Format the USB drive as NTFS. Then make sure it is marked as active. Next, you'll need three specific files.

  1. NTLDR

They are usually in the BOOT folder. If not, just grab them from an XP installaion.

Then robocopy all the files from the ISO to the USB drive. Or just drag and drop, making sure you have view OS files on.

Then boot that bad boy up.

  • Wow, it's that easy? I'll give it a go.
    – skeggse
    Aug 5, 2011 at 15:23
  • Yup. The key is you are formatting the USB drive using NTFS. In general, your computer BIOS will recognize you USB drive as either A) a floppy drive or B) a harddrive. In this case, you are formatting it exactly like a harddrive.
    – surfasb
    Aug 5, 2011 at 15:39
  • I just got: A disk read error occurred\nPress Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart
    – skeggse
    Aug 5, 2011 at 16:05
  • When did it occur?
    – surfasb
    Aug 5, 2011 at 16:52
  • Just after Verifying DMI Pool Data during the BIOS sequence. I just got a new Flash Drive, so I can be sure it wasn't a problem with that one. Edit: I just tried the new one, and I get the error Error loading operating system at the same time as the disk read error.
    – skeggse
    Aug 5, 2011 at 20:15

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