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Question

Installing Windows XP without using CD Drive or USB Drive

by PaulBlay / June 28, 2011 12:23 AM PDT

Long story short, I've got an old Notebook (Vaio PCG-955C) which currently has Windows Me installed on it. The CD drive doesn't work and although it does (just) have USB support it can't boot up from USB drives.

I've got a 2.5" IDE drive enclosure and a spare 2.5" IDE drive.

I think in theory I should be able to divide one of those drives into two partitions, the first of which should include the Windows XP setup files and the second of which Windows XP can be installed onto.

I haven't got very far, though (I thought I had the right files on the right format partition, but it wasn't bootable). Any hints / suggestions / useful links?

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All Answers

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Answer
Here, We Replace The CD Drive, If It's Worth It To You
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / June 28, 2011 12:33 AM PDT

Unfortunately, old computers don't have the ability to correctly boot from anything other than a floppy drive or a CD/DVD drive. If the computer is actually going to be "used", then a CD drive is going to be wanted anyway. The USB enclosure probably won't work because the computer won't boot from USB. XP must recognize the hardware on the computer and it must do so during the install so it can activate correctly. As such, we replace the CD drive.. Even borrowing someone's CD drive might get the job done.

Hope this helps.

Grif

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Three ways to boot.
by PaulBlay / June 28, 2011 4:07 AM PDT

Floppy drive, CD/DVD drive or internal hard disk.

It's the last one I was trying to use, by preparing the spare HDD while it's in the USB enclosure then refitting it inside the laptop.

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You're Installing, Not Booting
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / June 28, 2011 4:16 AM PDT
In reply to: Three ways to boot.

Sure, you can boot from an internal hard drive but I've never found a way to install from hard drive to hard drive on the same computer. The destination drive for the operating system must be the primary drive on the computer for the reasons mentioned before..

That is unless you have the ability to copy a mirror image from a previously install HDD from the destination machine to another HDD. That doesn't seem to be what you're trying to do here since you don't already have a working hard drive from the computer with XP installed on it..

Hope this helps.

Grif

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I would be installing and booting.
by PaulBlay / June 28, 2011 6:18 AM PDT

I don't see why it should be impossible to make a 'bootable-installation-partition' on a hard disk.

In fact don't many computers have small (often hidden) partitions which you can use to re-install a clean version of Windows? (Including any extra drivers needed). It's the same principle, only I'd have to do it myself instead of having it done for me already.

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The Difference Is...
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / June 28, 2011 8:44 AM PDT

The bootable installation partition(Recovery partition on many brand name computers) is basically a mirror image that's already been created with the correct drivers, program file installations, plus everything else needed to run the computer, and most importantly, it's already pre-activated for use with the SPECIFIC computer hardware it's designed for. That's not your situation. And because the recovery partition is proprietary for the specific computer model it exists on, you can't use that same recovery partition on a different computer model.

Hope this helps.

Grif

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Such things
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 28, 2011 9:11 AM PDT

Are crafted by some programmer or those that often have a long history of tweaking with dos. For example you might read about how to create a partition with dos and do the old dos xp install but the UGLY TRUTH is that I find it too tedious and prone to errors. Besides we can't repair the installed OS with a boot of the XP CD and that's just the beginning of problems to come.

It's why folk fix the hardware and then install it proper.
Bob

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Answer
So much for theory.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 28, 2011 3:38 AM PDT

After watching folk try that theory I've learned to fix the PC first before installing XP. CDROM are cheap here to free. You can find many in cast off PCs.
Bob

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Compatibility of CD-Drives?
by PaulBlay / June 28, 2011 4:11 AM PDT
In reply to: So much for theory.

I have the impression that internal notebook/laptop CD Drives (particularly old ones?) are quite specific to the product line they're used in.

If that's not the case I can try stuffing the CD Drive from my dead IBM ThinkPad in my not-quite-dead Vaio PCG-955C.

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Oops.
by PaulBlay / June 28, 2011 4:16 AM PDT

I've just realised that my dead ThinkPad doesn't have a CD Drive.

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If it's dead then how to install XP?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 28, 2011 5:57 AM PDT
In reply to: Oops.

And there are USB DVDRW drives that I find extremely useful when we have a dead drive but a working machine.

Let's ask this. Is this machine worth saving?
Bob

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The price is right
by PaulBlay / June 28, 2011 6:09 AM PDT

I got it for free, and it (if I can get XP on it) will do the job it needs to.

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Just An Example...
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / June 28, 2011 4:35 AM PDT
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I took my chance on a drive
by PaulBlay / June 28, 2011 6:11 AM PDT
In reply to: Just An Example...

I splashed out 10 pounds on a Sony Laptop CD drive from a somewhat different (but same era) Vaio model. I don't really want to spend any more than that so I'll just keep my fingers crossed.

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