Installing XP-PRO on USB SATA HD

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Old 02-20-21, 11:18 AM
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Installing XP-PRO on USB SATA HD

I have an external SATA HD which I access thru a USB adapter and normally I keep there small backup files. When I use the Windows 8.1 disk management utility the info for this disk is: Disk2 Healthy Primary Partition 232GB, 100MB Healthy EFI System Partition, 900MB Healthy Recovery Partition.

I want to install XP-PRO on this disk from an original MS DVD I have. I also made an ISO file from this disk in case its better to use it for install purposes.

I will use an ASUS laptop with Window 8.1 to access the external USB SATA hard disk. The laptop has a 150GB SSD as the boot disk C:\ plus it has another 500GB SATA HD D:\

I have no problem installing the XP-PRO but my only concern is when the time comes for the XP-PRO to format the disk for the installation would I have a chance to select the external USB SATA disk or it may format my Windows 8.1 C:\ ?

In any case I do have an image of my C:\ which I can restore if needed but I try to avoid this extra step.
 
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Old 02-21-21, 12:13 PM
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kolias –

I never tried installing Windows on an external drive. I assume you want to boot and run from that external drive at some point in time. The things I’ve read in the past say Windows doesn’t really want to be installed on an external drive and prevents (or tries to prevent) that from being done. I don’t know how true that is, I never tried. Apparently there are some 3rd party tools to help install W10 on an external drive (but I know you are talking about XP).

I set up dual boot OS’s from the same disk long ago, and I know you can do that (at least you could way back in the Vista days). But I guess that’s not what you want.

Anyway, if you look at step 5 in this link, it is what you would expect: the installation process just doesn’t run off and delete or reformat or install anything. It gives you a list of partitions that it sees and asks you to make choices. So I think you could run the process and when you get to that step see what happens and go from there. You can see what partitions the installer lists and at least get a starting point.

https://www.instructables.com/How-To...-Professional/
 
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Old 02-21-21, 01:29 PM
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Thank you zoesdad for your time

The link is very interesting and I know about the process it describes which I have done in the past a few times. There are many links on how to install XP on external hard disks but the main obstacle is first I have to make my USB hard disk bootable and that is kind of difficult so far for me. In trying to do so I made my disk not visible lol. I guess I erased by mistake the boot sector but I know there are ways to fix that. So its an ongoing process, just it takes time....
 
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Old 02-22-21, 11:37 AM
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kolias-

I think the OS install process should make the disk bootable. If your laptop doesn’t recognize the hard drive in “Disk Management” then I think there is something else wrong. I think the disk should show up in “Disk Management” whether it is formatted or bootable or whatever. It may not show up in Windows Explorer but I think it should show up in “Disk Management”.

Once it’s recognized in “Disk Management” you should be able to format, partition, and install the OS.
 
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Old 02-22-21, 11:53 AM
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I gave up installing XP-PRO because during my search I see that XP does not support booting from a USB attached disk.
 
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Old 02-22-21, 12:06 PM
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I can believe that. Probably back then Windows XP would take an extreme performance hit on the USB of the day. I found this article that says you can do it – but it looks pretty messy to me.

https://itstillworks.com/how-to-inst...ive-10036.html
 
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Old 02-22-21, 04:53 PM
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Thanks zoesdad for the link. I have seen that and didnt try because of the amount of editing .INI files. You can spend days to do that/correcting your mistakes.
 
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Old 02-28-21, 03:04 PM
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kolias, this might come across as disjointed so please bear with me.

I've been poking at this for several days but I still don't know to a certainty whether it can be done or not. I didn't answer straight away because I wanted to wait until I had a hunch as to whether it could be done, but I still don't know. I have found a way to run a 'limited' XP LiveCD from USB but it lacks certain important components, like networking (either wired or wireless). This might be fixable but I'm going back to the original question, which was how to run a full XP from a USB drive.

The technical problem stems from the fact that XP doesn't want to communicate with the hardware via USB. What has complicated the matter of finding a solution (or determining whether there is one) is that XP now only has limited niche use and information about these sorts of 'hacks' is widely scattered and not easily found.

What I have been able to do is load XP on a thumb drive and get it to try to boot. It won't even try that much on its own but it can be forced with a 3rd-party bootloader, such as BartPE.

You know that program that runs when you install a Windows operating system? It's more than just a program, it's an operating system of a sort, called Windows Pre-Installation Environment (WinPE). It's actually an OS with limited functionality but it also has some 'magic' capabilities that the full-blown Windows operating system lacks. Most relevant to this discussion, it will boot and run from a USB drive. So if you could recreate that 'magic,' you should be able to get XP to run from USB.

WinPE was only ever of limited use to "hobbyists" because, like most of M$'s code, it is closed source and proprietary. But some time back a hobbyist (whose Christian name is 'Bart') reverse-engineered WinPE and created something called Bart's Preinstalled Environment (BartPE), which does a credible job of emulating most of the functions of WinPE. And some people have been able to get XP to run from a USB drive using BartPE (in the past anyway).

BartPE is no longer maintained by its creator but I was able to find a copy maintained elsewhere in the Internet and try it. It tried to boot an XP SP3 .iso image, and it looked like it was going to work, but it blue screened just when it should have been loading the desktop (always with a Stop 07B error message), which I gather was the result of the OS being unable to communicate (administratively) with the PC over USB.

Digging round some more I found that there has been a driver created to correct this error, but if you remember from WinNT days (an artifact carried over into XP), you can interrupt the boot process (by pressing <F6> ) to add drivers. HOWEVER, the only place where the boot process will look for a driver ... is on a floppy drive. If you don't have the driver on a floppy, along with a floppy reader to plug it into, you can't load those drivers.

I do happen to have a 3-1/2" USB floppy disk drive that came with an old Toshiba (XP) laptop, which I stashed away for posterity, along with a box of 3.5 floppies. However, I didn't bother to try them out because my guess is you probably won't have the same equipment and couldn't use that fix anyway.

But I'm still not satisfied it can't be done. Now that I've found a few of these old (mostly unmaintained) sites that still have information on XP, I've got the knack of finding them. So I might eventually get this worked out.

But before I get into that, I thought I should ask, are you in need of a full-blown XP install, or is it just the shell and a few functions/tools you're looking for? Because if it's the latter, I think I already have the big pieces needed for that.
 
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Old 02-28-21, 05:52 PM
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Fred, you did a nice and lengthy job here and I’m not disappointed. Please let me explain.

A month or so ago I was looking for a new project to keep me busy and I thought lets decide what to do with my desktop PC which I hardly use. I built that PC myself as a hobby about 12 years ago with top quality parts and it has been an excellent PC however its a 32 bit machine and not so good in todays environment. When I built it it was running XP Home then I installed Vista Home and after that XP PRO. So I thought if I scrap the PC I will lose the XP PRO and I want to have access to that OS for future unknown needs + tinkering with that OS

Then I advertised to sell the PC for parts excluding the 4 hard disks (1 120GB SSD, 1 250GB SATA hard disk and 2 IDE hard disks 80 & 40GB. The idea was, after searching the web, to use the disks thru my laptops USB ports to install the XP PRO. But then I discover, and your current work proves it, that you can’t install XP with a USB access because XP could not handle USB’s. Even if it was possible to do so after a lot of tinkering my idea was to have a full functional XP.

Thinking again I said why sell the desktop and don’t use it to install Linux and learn about that OS. So that’s what I did and I’m happy about it. BTW I do have XP PRO installed on my Windows 8.1 laptop thru Vmware and works fine but I would have preferred to have XP on its own portable HD.

And I do now about BartPE. I used it often in the past and saved me when my Vista & XP crashed on different occasions, an excellent tool to have and above all free!

Nicolas
 
 

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