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Installing Win XP SP2 from external CD drive

I have a laptop with a broken CD drive. I want to reinstall Windows XP Professional (finally SP3) on this machine although the CD I have is for SP2. I have bought a new DVD drive and set the BIOS to boot from it. It reads from the installation CD for about a minute going through the usual initial setup for Windows install. However, at a certain point it comes up with an error message regarding the PCI.SYS and stops.

I'm presuming the CD device driver on the installation CD is to old to recognize the new DVD drive (but this is only a guess).

Are there any suggestions how I might proceed with this?

Many thanks
Avatar of johnb6767
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Is this a backup copy of the disc, or an original? See if you can boot another machine to the setup "Welcome" screen, to make sure it is not the disc...... Dont actually complete the setup, just power it down once confirmed......


You can use the above to slipstream SP3 into it, although I dont think it will help.....
And are you sure that there are no hardware problems with the laptop , like RAM/HDD?
Avatar of ChrisJonesLycos


OK, yes I've put the CD in another machine and it gets to the welcome screen.

I'm not aware of any hardware problems. It's currently running WinXP Pro SP3 without any problems. It's just like all machines that have been running any Win OS for a while - very slow.
... and sorry, yes it's the original WInXP install CD that came with the laptop.
If Windows is already installed (and presumably bootable?), try booting into the OS and see if you can access the contents of the CD/DVD drive.  
Yes, contents of the CD are all visible.
See if you can copy out the contents to a folder on the C Drive, without error... Probbaly so, just trying to eliminate the possibilities....
Yep, it all copies fine.
Are there any cards plugged in the PCMCIA or CardBus Slot? What is the model of you laptop?
No, there's nothing plugged in any of the slots. It's an Acer Extensa 5510.
Am I right in saying that the install CD has to provide a driver for the DVD drive itself? Could this be a problem if the install is 4 or 5 years older than the DVD drive?
If you can read from the drive, while booted into Windows, then the issue isn't the drive itself or drivers.  (Most likely, at least).  

You are trying to boot from an external USB CD/DVD drive.  You mentioned that you changed a BIOS setting to boot from this device.  What did you select?  Did it specifically reference USB device?

Finally, what is the BIOS version of this machine?  Many older BIOS versions do not support booting from USB.
BIOS version: Intel V1377

It does boot fine. It just comes up with the PCI.SYS error after a minute.

The exact selection in the BIOS that I chose was: USB CDROM

The other options were: USB FDD, USB KEY and USB HDD.

Regarding whether it can boot from the currently installed OS or the CD, surely the CD only has the drivers available to SP2 whereas the machine is now running SP3.
I dont think thats a problem, as you could probably even boot to a Windows 98 CD and load CD Support for the drive.....

Do you have another machine handy?

If so, you could pop this drive into that machine (unplug the other one), and start Windows Setup. Let it get to the point where it reboots, before GUI mode setup, and turn it off. Pull the drive out, put back in this PC, and allow GUI mode setup to continue......

Course  you would need a 2.5" IDE adapter, unless it is SATA, which a Desktop SATA would see it fine.....
The problem is with support for the drive.  Just as the install starts it needs to load drivers to support the USB connection in Windows (up to that point it's using legacy DOS support) and by doing that it actually disconnects the drive and so kills it's own installation.

Effectively this means some USB CD Drives which are (unintentionally) supported by XP's native support will work but many (mainly combo DVD/CD drives) will not.

You either need to find a supported drive or use the technique I've outlined in this question to install.
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