I am trying to format a laptop but the DVD Drive is not Working. I tried booting from a USB but even though I have it on the top of list it skips it. I tried disabling all other boot devices and leaving only the Removable Device but still nothing. In case it matters the Laptop is a Fujitsu Siemens Amilo 1667G

***EDIT The USB flash drive I am using is USB 2.0. Also I tried pressing f12 and selecting removable drive manually from the boot menu. Removable Drive did not appear

Question: Is it possible to mount the iso and install windows from within windows, or is there another option?

  • What are you using in the USB Drive? – Doktoro Reichard Sep 4 '13 at 19:32
  • Are you using a USB 2 or did you accidentally try to boot from an USB 3 port. Depending on your model the latter might not work. – Hennes Sep 4 '13 at 19:42
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    On some BIOSes, a bootable USB flash drive is not listed as a Removable Device, but is listed under Hard Drives – sawdust Sep 4 '13 at 19:58
  • @Hennes it usb 2.0 (completely sure, just checked) – John Demetriou Sep 4 '13 at 20:45
  • @sawdust in BIOS setup removable disk is there, in boot menu (when I press f12) it is not there – John Demetriou Sep 4 '13 at 20:47

As i understand it, booting from DVD-Drive is not working and booting from USB is problematic. Then (without stripping the laptop apart for the harddrive) you're left with 2 options:

Option 1: You can (re)install Windows XP from within Windows XP. Provided XP does boot correctly. You don't have the option to format the drive but Windows, Program Files and Documents and Settings will be moved to a WINDOWS.OLD and you'll get a clean install.

You don't need to mount an ISO to install Windows from Windows. All you need is the I386-directory from CD (You can copy it over a network-share or if the USB is working for files via USB.) copy it to C:\I386 and run C:\I386\winnt32.exe. Downside is your harddrive needs to be big enough to hold the new installation and the old WINDOWS.OLD. Also you need to do some cleaning afterwards to see what you can delete from that WINDOWS.OLD. And it is probably best to run a defragmenter afterwards.

Windows XP does not create an old WINDOWS.OLD like i expected.
With the New Installation (Advanced) Windows will install over the current installation. It will ask to delete the current C:\WINDOWS but it will leave Program Files and Documents and Settings intact. (not exactly a clean install)

Option 2: This one is a bit more difficult. Booting from the network.

How it works:

When you boot from your network-adapter it checks for a DHCP-server. The DHCP-server gives an IP and should tell the client where to get the bootloader (not all DHCP-server can do this). That bootloader is then fetched using TFTP. After that the bootloader should load the OS. This OS should be "network-aware". Linux is "network-aware" out of the box but for Windows you'll need to use the right files. (You can't just plop an .iso in there)

What you'll need:

  • A (small) DHCP-server capable of giving the bootloader loacation.
  • A (small) FTPD-server capable of serving the bootloader itself.
  • The bootloader
  • The rest of the OS files ("network-aware")

For the DHCP-server and FTPD-server you could try TFTPD32 which has both in one. I also found some info on this page for setting this up.

You could also try Ultimate Deployment Appliance which has a complete "virtual machine"-image for this setup.

Some reading material:


Neat. I just tried it, simple, with a 622C.IMG (bootable MS-DOS 6.22 floppy image).

Install (or extract) TFTPD32 to c:\tftpd32 (I just took the .zip, no need for install, just extract to c:\tftpd). Download syslinux-4.04.tar.gz from kernel.org. Extract memdisk and pxelinux.0 (search for them) from this archive and put them in c:\tftpd32\root. Download 622c.zip from bootdisk.com and put 622C.IMG in c:\tftpd32\root. Make a c:\tftpd32\root\pxelinux.cfg directory. Put a textfile named default with the following content in there:

default boot
prompt 0
say booting...
label boot
  kernel memdisk bigraw
  append initrd=622C.IMG

Now start tftpd32.exe or tftpd64.exe.

In "Settings" put C:\tftpd32\root in the TFTP-tab and check the boxes: TFTP-tab

Fill in the DHCP-tab and check the settings: (Boot file = pxelinux.0). DHCP-tab

Restart TFTPD.

Now start your laptop and choose network. If all is well your laptop should boot right to the DOS-prompt. You can now format your harddrive ;-) This was just a little exercise but this can also be done with BartPE and other Windows environments.

If your laptop does not start from the network it could be that you have to disable your current DHCP-server. (This was not necessary here, both my router and desktop acted as DHCP-server and my laptop took the right IP from the DHCP from my desktop)

Edit 2: These steps use pxelinux.0 to boot the laptop over the network. These pages show you how to use grub4dos and tftpd32 to boot IMG and ISO files.

  • I have the CD Drive Image, If I mount it, will it work the same as your first Option? I am trying to get it as simple as possible as I will explain through the phone the procedure to a friend who is abroad – John Demetriou Sep 24 '13 at 14:19
  • With the grub4dos method, if the CD Drive Image is small enough to fit into memory it should work. I'm getting MEMORY OVERFLOW here if i try a big ISO image. How large is the image? I'll try a small ISO image with pxelinux.0. – Rik Sep 24 '13 at 14:42
  • Replacing the .img with a .iso does not work with pxelinux.0. With grub4dos it will. (But the iso should be small) – Rik Sep 24 '13 at 14:46
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    You'll need about 1,2Gb space. 600Mb for the I386 and another 600Mb for the fact Windows will be copying them again. But i just tried it with an old laptop and Windows XP SP3 does not create a WINDOWS.OLD like i expected. It will ask you to delete the WINDOWS directory, which is not a problem, but it will leave "Program Files" and "Documents and Settings" intact which if far from a clean installation. I'm now checking why this is. – Rik Sep 24 '13 at 16:24
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    Nope, upgrade leaves everything in place. (not recommended) I will try a quick install from a small second partition. – Rik Sep 24 '13 at 16:59

Here is a procedure for installing Windows XP on a computer with no CD (let's call it "the laptop").

You will need :

  • A second computer running Windows XP that has a CD drive (let's call it "the desktop" )
  • A Genuine copy of the Windows XP installation CD and a valid serial number

You will need to extract the hard disk from the laptop and install it on the desktop, either as a second hard disk, or by using an enclosure to convert it to an external USB drive. Let's assume that this disk is called E:. It's probably best to format this disk before you do anything, so save first any data that you want to recover. It shouldn't matter which file system you use: FAT32 or NTFS· Do not use the fast-format method, since slow format can fix bad sectors on the disk, even if it is, well, slow.

Insert the XP installation CD and close any pop-up window. Let's assume that the CD is called D:.

In the command prompt on the desktop (maybe run as administrator) enter this command :

D:\I386\winnt32.exe /syspart:E: /tempdrive:E: /makelocalsource /noreboot

This will start the XP installer from the CD drive. The /syspart:E: switch tells it to make the E: drive into a system drive; /tempdrive:E: directs the temporary files to that drive; /makelocalsource tells XP to copy all the source files to the drive so you won't need the CD any more; /noreboot is to not reboot after the files were copied.

After the setup completes on the desktop, eject E: and put it back in the laptop, then boot as normal. When you boot, Windows XP should begin installing automatically.

  • +1 coz I have to install third party live usb creator just to make it bootable and this made it manually. – BlackHatShadow Sep 24 '13 at 9:13
  • I forgot to upvote your answer before so I did now – John Demetriou Nov 6 '14 at 8:57

I actually tried a few solutions and its kind of strange, and might take a lot of coffee time. I'd note i've had a few failed attempts, and have warned where things get dangerous. Read through the whole answer before you tried it. This particular process is safe, as long as you keep in mind why things are being done.

I basically created a second partition, installed windows there from the original partition, and used that to bootstrap the windows install back to the original partition. I've cheated a bit, and cleaned out, but not formatted the old windows partition, since its safer first, though I've posted an answer where I reformatted the drive as well.

You'll need a windows iso, 7zip and some software for resizing drives (I used minitools free from inside windows). You'll also be using things in system properties a lot - you access this by right clicking and my computer - so get familiar with this.

enter image description here

First extract the contents of the windows iso using 7zip into a folder (if you have it installed - rightclick on the iso, and select "extract to" copy this into your tumbdrive. You'll need to use this more than once so keep it handy. You'll also want to keep the minitools installer here.

Install minitools on the current, working system and use that to create a new partition with free space after the current install. You want this to be at least 2.5 gb, and file system dosen't matter all that much since you will be installing a temporary copy of windows XP inside this (in theory, you could make a big partition, install windows XP here, and just work off that. We're assuming though, you want a single, large, functioning windows XP partitions, with a single pc, no external boot devices, and a windows iso. This will make you reboot once, and go back to your current install of windows.

You can now bootstrap the windows installer from windows itself - go to the folder you extracted the windows iso from, and run setup - be sure to select "new installation" rather than update.

enter image description here.

This will do some stuff, reboot, and get you into the text mode setup. In text mode setup, once again, select new installation rather than repair.

Install xp into the new partition - this gives us somewhere to work on the old partition from. Unfortunately, since the old c: contains the bootloader and the windows installer files, getting rid of it is going to be slightly tricky.

Boot into the new install of windows, and we can start trying to work on clearing out the old install. Since this is a disposable install of xp we won't be using for long, don't bother with particularly correct settings or activation.

We need to do a few small changes to the second install - its still using the pagefile from our old drive so we need to get rid of that, go to system properties, set no pagefile on c: and automatic pagefile on enter image description here

This is where things get dangerous. If you mess up, you can be left with an unbootable system. We're in the working install right now - and the bootloader is in the other install. The first is a safer option, and should give you a fresh install of windows without too much risk. I'm currently trying to work out how to safely format a system disk, since if you're reformatting cause you have a virus, a simple clear out of the system may not be enough.

If you want a fresh install, rather than a real reformat, things are reasonably simple - delete the old files, other than reformatting, and run setup again from our working install. From the new install (on mine this is set as f: even on the new system), delete all the visible folders on the old system (Documents and settings, windows and program files are what I see on a fresh install. These need to go) . If you can see ntldr and boot.ini , leave them alone. You do not want to taunt the bootloader. Its the one thing we can't fix easily.

When you get into the text mode installer, select c: as your install location (no reformatting), and install it there, going through the install process and the settings again. We're almost done things the 'safe' way, and are in your new, fresh copy of windows. Now, we just need to get rid of our working copy of windows - we can simply remove it from boot.ini(startup and recovery from system properties), set the pagefile back to c: and delete and merge the partition with minitools.

I'll update the answer, when I actually manage to format c:, rather than getting a fresh copy up.

  • I forgot to upvote your answer before so I did now – John Demetriou Nov 6 '14 at 8:57

You should use the System Boot Menu to select your USB device manually.

According to the manual for your laptop model (found here), you should press the F12 key during boot to access the boot menu.

Once in that menu, use the arrow keys to select your USB device and press ENTER.

If your device is not listed, you may need to double check that the USB device is bootable (like a linux rescue disk, or Windows PE).

It is also possible that the BIOS (accessed by pressing F2 during boot) contains settings pertaining to USB boot (such as 'USB emulation' settings). Unfortunately, the manual did not contain detailed information about specific BIOS settings, and merely said to press F1 for help while in the BIOS.

  • forgot to mention that it does not appear when I press f12 aswell, sorry for the missing information, I created the USB using ISO to USB – John Demetriou Sep 4 '13 at 20:49
  • I would try using an article similar to this one: maximumpc.com/article/howtos/… to create a USB to install Windows from (assuming that you are intending to install Windows) – Jaawn Sep 5 '13 at 4:22
  • I did follow many articles in creating the USB. None of the resulting USB flash drive's were shown in the boot menu – John Demetriou Sep 18 '13 at 12:33

The method is very simple and you can use without any hassles. Needless to say that your motherboard should support USB Boot feature to make use of the bootable USB drive.

1- *USB Flash Drive (Minimum 4GB)
*Windows 7 or Vista installation files. Follow the below steps to create bootable Windows 7/Vista USB drive using which you can install Windows 7/Vista easily.

  1. Plug-in your USB flash drive to USB port and move all the contents from USB drive to a safe location on your system.
  2. Open Command Prompt with admin rights. Use any of the below methods to open Command Prompt with admin rights.
    *Type cmd in Start menu search box and hit Ctrl+ Shift+ Enter. Or *Go to Start menu > All programs > Accessories, right click on Command Prompt and select Run as administrator.
  3. You need to know about the USB drive a little bit. Type in the following commands in the command prompt:
    First type DISKPART and hit enter to see the below message.
    Next type LIST DISK command and note down the Disk number (ex: Disk 1) of your USB flash drive. In the below screenshot my Flash Drive Disk no is Disk 1.
    So below are the commands you need to type and execute one by one:
    (Format process may take few seconds)
    Don’t close the command prompt as we need to execute one more command at the next step. Just minimize it.

Now Copy windows files from another computer in your USB
Plug in USB in your laptop and boot it.


  • Did you read the question? Seriously. Have you read the fact that I already tried to boot from USB? Have you? I am looking for a solution for installing without the use of USB flash drive or DVD ROM. Both are not working. Your answer is quite informative but irrelevant – John Demetriou Sep 21 '13 at 11:44

On my phone so poorly formatted and reviewed, just wanted to add my experience to hopefully help out john

In response to can you install windows from within windows.

I have installed windows 7 from a mounted drive within xp successfully.

Would I advise it No if something goes wrong and you have no contingency plan you have an expensive brick.

The way it worked was I went through the pre-install process in xp then rebooted at the prompt and I was going straight into the install wizard I created a separate partition to my xp drive and installed their (was scared of deleting install files) then after install booted into windows 7 partition deleted the xp partition and was fine from their.

Footnotes: this was done with the dev pre-release of windows 7, this is risky and your results might differ

  • I am planning to install Windows XP from within XP. Is there another solution for this problem where DVD drive does not work and it does not recognize USB from the boot menu? – John Demetriou Sep 18 '13 at 12:29
  • Is it feasible to remove the hdd and create a clone of it on a desktop? – 50-3 Sep 18 '13 at 12:35
  • Also the flash drive it's in a fat format not ntfs correct? – 50-3 Sep 18 '13 at 12:50
  • It's NTFS, I am not sure I understand what your other comment is saying – John Demetriou Sep 18 '13 at 15:46
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    The BIOS neither needs to support FAT32 nor NTFS to boot from it. It should just recognise a valid MBR with an active partition and load the boat loader. No file system (recognised or not) is needed for that. As to solving it:50-3's way might be the easiest. Remove drive. PLug in in another computer (or in an external eSATA enclosure). Install, sysprep. Return to the original computer. Boot. – Hennes Sep 24 '13 at 13:22

if you just copied the OS installation files, then that's the wrong procedure. you need to use a third party tool to do so. Universal USB Creator has pretty extensive list of OS.

  • I created the USB properly..... – John Demetriou Sep 18 '13 at 15:45
  • I would not make a whole question because I simply copied the files to the USB. How dumb do you think I am? Your lucky I can't downvote you because I've given my rep as bounty – John Demetriou Sep 20 '13 at 8:53

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