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How to Install Windows XP Pro without a CDROM (install files are on harddrive).

Posted on 2006-11-07
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Last Modified: 2012-06-21
I have a Dell laptop which needs to have Windows reinstalled due to a bad virus.  This laptop is so small and it did not come with a CDROM, however, I found the I386 Folder on the C: Drive.  Can I use this too reinstall Windows XP?  Will I still be able to format the drive and install Windows XP when the files reside on the harddrive?

Thanks in advance.

T.J.
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Question by:buckstaff
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by:SheharyaarSaahil
ID: 17890261
Dell laptops comes with a seperate partition having all the installation data which can restore the factory settings
can you tell us the make and model of this laptop?
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Author Comment

by:buckstaff
ID: 17890272
its the Latitude X200

Thanks
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Author Comment

by:buckstaff
ID: 17890276
by the way.  There is so much spyware and viruses on this thing.  This is the reason I wanted to format and reinstall windows.  Thanks.
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Expert Comment

by:David-Howard
ID: 17890316
You'll need to boot so that you can access the I386 directory.
(Win98 boot disk or similar)
Once you have booted with a boot floppy you should be at the A prompt.
A:\>
Type CD c:\
C:\>
Type CD i386
C:\>i386
From this point I believe that you need to type in WINNT.EXE and then select Enter.
Hope this helps!
:-)
David
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Author Comment

by:buckstaff
ID: 17890399
ok one more problem.  this stupid laptop doesn't have nor come with a floppy drive.  I do have a USB flash drive, I'm not sure if I can boot off of that however.
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by:SheharyaarSaahil
ID: 17890486
nothing on Dell website, they hae written everywhere about using the Restore Disks which you can't as there is no cd drive
where is the documentation of this machine, check out if they have anything on Recovery options?
did you get Recovery Disks btw with this machine?
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Author Comment

by:buckstaff
ID: 17890504
i hate Dell.  This is a laptop that we use at work.  I'm the IT admin, and I was stumped on how to reinstall Windows.  

Can I run setup in the I386 folder while windows is running?
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Accepted Solution

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SheharyaarSaahil earned 168 total points
ID: 17890568
you cant do much here
if you dont have recovery disks and no cd drive, then the best option is to get an external cd drive and install a fresh copy of xp after formatting the hard drive.
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by:David-Howard
ID: 17890573
I don't think that is possible. If you were performing an upgrade, yes.
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Author Comment

by:buckstaff
ID: 17891213
ok i found a PCMCIA cd-rom.  Do PCMCIA cd-roms boot from CD?
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by:davidis99
ID: 17891641
"Do PCMCIA cd-roms boot from CD?" - They can, if the laptop allows you to load the PCMCIA drivers, or recognizes the drive during the initial startup prior to booting from the hard drive.
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Author Comment

by:buckstaff
ID: 17891969
Ok its not booting from the CDROM.  Since this this doesn't have a floppy drive either, am I screwed?
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Expert Comment

by:simpswr
ID: 17892166
This is a great guide for reinstalling on a Dell:  http://www.djdenham.com/Install%20Procedures.htm . . it may give you some pointers
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Expert Comment

by:simpswr
ID: 17892181
That model came with a "Media Base" which has the cd-rom amoung other devices . . any idea where that would be?
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Assisted Solution

by:johnb6767
johnb6767 earned 166 total points
ID: 17892509
You can pull out the HDD and slave it into a desktop, and format FAT32, and copy the i386 to the C Drive. Might even be able to copy the files from the Win98 Floppy to the HDD, and let it find the AutoExec and get a prompt from there. I havent tried that though.....Used to be able to "sys d:"  to transfer system files to another HDD so it would boot.

Keep in mind, loading XP without Smartdrive though, would be ridiculously slow.

The restore partition isnt there? Cant access it via a hotkey at boot? Should be F12 for a Boot prompt...
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Expert Comment

by:Ryan_R
ID: 17895966
You can boot from USB drives (but you'd have to format the usb) - do a google search on "Boot from USB drive" to get started.
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Expert Comment

by:johnb6767
ID: 18045513
Hey Buckstaff, do you still need help with this? Havent heard from you in a while....
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Assisted Solution

by:Ryan_R
Ryan_R earned 166 total points
ID: 18048959
Well there are some good suggestions here. In the correct order you'd have to

a) set up your USB as bootable device (or use a usb cd-rom or usb-floppy drive to boot with)

b) navigate to the i386 folder and launch WINNT32.exe as mentioned above

c) hope for the best that all the needed files are in there


if you can fulfill all of the above - then you should be right. Otherwise - get yourself a cheap USB CD-ROM (aka external CD ROM drive) and then put in a XP CD and install from that.
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