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2012-01-14

A+: Using Boot Disks (XP/2000 only)

If you need to install Windows XP to a system that cannot be booted from the CD or DVD drive, you can download a file that can be used to make boot disks. Use these disks to start the installation process. The system will prompt you for each floppy disk, one by one, and after you have inserted the last one it should then be able to read off of the CD-ROM to complete the installation. Note that there are different sets of floppy disks for Windows XP Home, and XP Professional, and for the specific service pack that is packaged as part of the CD. Make sure to download the correct version. These disks are available from Microsoft at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/310994.
After downloading the appropriate file, you must provide six blank (or overwritable) floppy disks that will be used for the boot disk maker program. Start the program and provide each disk when prompted, followed by the Windows XP CD-ROM. At the end of the process, you will have six disks that are used to start the system.

To use the boot disks to start the install process:
Step 1. Make sure the floppy drive is configured as the first boot device in the system BIOS.
Step 2. Insert the Windows XP CD into the system’s CD or DVD drive.
Step 3. Insert the first boot disk into the floppy drive.
Step 4. Restart the system.
Step 5. Insert each additional boot disk as prompted.
Remove the last boot disk and Windows XP CD when finished.


Windows 2000 Professional comes with a CD and four boot disks in the case that the computer’s CD-ROM is not bootable. These disks can also be created by accessing the CD and going to the folder called bootdisk. From here, simply double-click makeboot.exe and the program will guide you through the process of making the disks. To create disks from the CD on an older version of Windows, use makebt32.exe.

If you can’t find the boot disks that you need, you could search for them on the Internet. For example, www.bootdisk.com has an image file for just about every boot disk you can imagine!

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