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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