I want to install Windows XP on my desktop computer (only XP), but my CD drive is not working.

I've only found installation tutorials on how to install it on the pen drive rather than from the pen drive.

How can I install Windows XP from a USB flash drive?


5 Answers 5


The easiest way:

WinToFlash starts a wizard that will help pull over the contents of a Windows installation CD or DVD and prepare the USB drive to become a bootable replacement for the optical drive.

Alt text

WinToFlash is freeware and portable.

  • it's just such a handy tool, i wish it had been available 2 yrs ago when the first eee pc hit the market ... all the time wasted with writing neat tutorials :)
    – Molly7244
    Nov 1, 2009 at 18:08
  • i've used NLite to slipstream service packs and drivers into my WinXP install media and this to write that ISO onto flash drive. very handy. Jun 12, 2010 at 12:49
  • 3
    May be it wasn't but as of February 2013 this thing is an adware. It tries to trick you into installing browser bars, change home page, may be something else. After I carefully deselected all checkboxes it complained that it won't proceed further without me installing something. Couldn't even close it, only kill through process explorer. Feb 28, 2013 at 8:08
  • @ArtShayderov I don't recall if unetbootin can put cd to usb including windows one. but may be worth a try
    – barlop
    Apr 6, 2014 at 6:41
  • @ArtShayderov also maybe it'd run ok in a sandbox e.g. sandboxie
    – barlop
    Apr 6, 2014 at 22:38

It is very easy also using YUMI which, although is intended for Linux, also works for other OSes including Windows XP:

If you want to keep the data on the USB pen drive don't check the Format E:\Drive (Erase Content) checkbox.

Enter image description here

If you happen to not have the ISO image of the CD you can create one if you don't know how you can create it using CDBurnerXP.

And this is how you do that Copy Data Disc:

How to create ISO discs


Rufus is also an excellent tool:

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It can be especially useful for cases where: you need to create USB

  • installation media from bootable ISOs (Windows, Linux, UEFI, etc.) you
  • need to work on a system that doesn't have an OS installed you need to
  • flash a BIOS or other firmware from DOS you want to run a low-level utility

We actually did just this recently for an Acer nettop. I found Win2Flash and other USB booting to be extremely slow, unreliable, and ran into numerous problems. As soon as we ordered a $30 external USB DVD drive, it was installed in seconds.

It's entirely possible to do this via USB, but if time / future instances are a concern, the drive is a worthy investment.


Use YUMI – Multiboot USB Creator to make your pen drive bootable.

After making the pen drive bootable, restart your system and boot your pen drive. After that, the steps are easy to follow.

  • 1
    Thanks for the addition, but can you expand your answer a bit? Just pointing to a product doesn't really explain how to accomplish the solution, and it's often viewed as spam. It's better to include some instructions on how to use the product to solve the problem, or at least describe what makes the product a good solution. Good guidance on recommending software here: meta.superuser.com/questions/5329/….
    – fixer1234
    Sep 21, 2015 at 18:19

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