How to Install Windows XP From an SD Driver

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CD-ROM drives are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Many modern laptops--including most netbooks---do not include them. This might seem like it makes installing Windows XP (or any CD-based operating system) impossible. Happily there is a solution: it's increasingly common for a computer to include an SD card drive. This includes most netbooks. So installing Windows on a computer without a CD drive means installing from an SD drive, something that is simple to do with the proper free tools.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 gigabyte SD card
  • Computer already running Windows with an SD reader and a CD drive
  • Windows XP installation CD
  • Legal XP License
  • Download WinToFlash (this is a free download; see the Resources section), a program capable of taking the data from your Windows installation CD and transferring it to your SD drive, making a bootable SD card.

  • Insert your Windows XP installation CD into the CD-ROM drive, and plug your SD card into this same computer.

  • Open the WinToFlash program, then inform the program where you installation CD is (typically "D:/", but it can vary depending on your configuration) and where your SD card is (again, this will vary depending on your configuration.)

  • Click "Run" to begin the process of making your SD drive into a bootable Windows installation disk. When the process is complete, remove the SD drive from this computer.

  • Insert your SD card into your netbook (or whatever computer it is you have without a CD-ROM drive) and start it up, being sure to enter the boot menu.

    If you're not sure how to enter the boot menu, it's as simple as following the on-screen instruction immediately after powering-on the computer. Typically this means pressing "F12", but it will vary from computer to computer. If no on-screen instructions are given consult your computer's documentation.

  • Install Windows XP the way you normally would, following the on-screen prompts. You'll notice the installation is actually a bit faster from SD than it is from CD.

Tips & Warnings

  • Installing Windows XP to your drive will remove all data on it; backup all necessary data before following these steps.

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