Install Windows XP from USB Hard Drive

I want to be able to install windows XP SP3 from an external USB Hard Drive. I have many sources online for how but none of them have worked yet. The things I need it to be able to do are:

Be Bootable - I've done this using PE2USB, but if you know a better way, I  am all ears.
Install Windows XP with about 2GB of drivers integrated.
Post install script to install about... 20 or so applications. - I have a script and can call it from the WINNT.SIF, again, if you know a better way, I am all ears.

Thanks in advance for your help.
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nstd-stsAsked:
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grayeCommented:
I would consider performing an "image" deployment...   Where you'd configure one PC as the "master".   On that PC, you'd install the OS, Service Packs, Updates, all of your apps, configure things the way you like them, etc.   After configuration, you'd make a "image" using Acronis, Ghost, etc that you'd deploy to the other PCs.
We have an external disk that contains several "image" files... one for each general hardware configuration, and sever variations depending on what software is required for that PC.   To image a new PC, we just boot with Acronis CDROM, and point it to one of the image files on the external "brick".   It takes about 10-15 minutes to image a PC, and just a minute or two to change the PC name and join it to the domain
 
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jcimarronCommented:
nstd-sts--Did you try this online source for a download to the hard drive.
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=5B33B5A8-5E76-401F-BE08-1E1555D4F3D4&displaylang=en
If you use the flash drive, it is up to the settings of your BIOS of your PC whether the flash drive will be bootable.  It will not be if the PC is older than about four years, and even some newer ones will not.  You culd burn the download to a CD/DVD and create an .iso disk which should be bootable.
I presume you already have SP1 or SP2 on the PC.  If so, you will not have to install drivers.  And your applications should not be affected.  (If you do not have WinXP on the PC, the installation of SP3 will not work.
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jcimarronCommented:
nstd-sts--I meant to add this reference  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/322389
Note that you must already have WinXP SP1a or SP2 on the PC.
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nstd-stsAuthor Commented:
Grave,

I need this baseline to work on multiple hardware configuration (approx 20) and really don't want a ghost for all of them. Also, our baseline is very fluid. Things are being added and removed on a monthly basis.



jcimarron,

I have SP3 already slip streamed into the installation CD. I am looking on how to install the Operating System from a bootable USB external hard drive.

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grayeCommented:
Acronis with the "Universal Restore" option is still a viable solution....    just my 2 cents
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jcimarronCommented:
nstd-sts--Here are two detailed sets of instructions on how to do what you want concerning installing SP3 from a USB flash drive
http://www.pctipsbox.com/installing-windows-xp-using-a-usb-flash-drive/
http://www.ezbsystems.com/cgi-bin/ikonboard.cgi?act=ST;f=2;t=2440
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