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I have a laptop whose Optical drive is not working and i need to format that system and reinstall windows. Is it possible to install windows without using optical drive.

I can connet that laptop on network with my other two systems.

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How about copying Windows installation media to a flash drive and connect the flash drive to the laptop? You'd need a fairly big flash drive to do so, but they're going up to 64 gigs or so now, which should be way more than enough. Note, your laptop must be able to boot from the USB drive.

Here's a link that may be helpful: http://www.pctipsbox.com/installing-windows-xp-using-a-usb-flash-drive/

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  • i m not sure whether my laptop can be booted up by a flash drive or not.
    – Shantanu Gupta
    Commented Dec 10, 2009 at 15:44
  • You don't need a big flash drive, XP fits on a single CD remember, 1GB should be more than enough. You can get that for like $10. Also, most computers should be able to boot from USB drives.
    – davr
    Commented Dec 10, 2009 at 17:06
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If you can't boot from a USB flash drive, you might be able to boot from a USB optical drive.

Another option would be installing the OS from a network boot if your laptop's NIC supports it. It's a lot more work to setup, but it would only require one other working machine on the same LAN. You could setup a trial version of a Windows Server OS that supports Windows Deployment Services in a virtual machine. Then use something like Microsoft Deployment Toolkit to build a simple OS image.

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