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Installing WinXP onto a USB flash drive

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by Soupninja, Dec 6, 2011.

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  1. Soupninja

    Soupninja Thread Starter

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    So I have a few dead computers laying around and I was kinda hoping I could make use of one of the XP licenses I have. I was wondering if I would be able to install a copy onto a flash drive, and if so, how?

    Part of why I wanna do this is to have a sort of recovery OS, where if a computer is not bootable, I can boot to this, recover files, ,run anti-virus, etc. (I've tried things like BartPE but it doesn't offer the flexibility I would get out of a fully functional operating system)

    And on that note; if one OS (OS1) is having difficulties booting or is in a locked down state (due to virus or otherwise), how would I be able to boot to a seperate OS (OS2) and edit the startup programs on OS1?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated! :cool:
     
  2. SUEOHIO

    SUEOHIO

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    Ive never installed xp onto a computer using a flash drive just a cd drive.Are you asking can you use the licenses on the COA stickers from the dead computers?If so if im not mistaken no you cant. Once the license has been used its tied to that computer forever whether it works or not dead or not.Using a flash drive to install xp im sure someone will be by who has done that and can give you more help.
     
  3. Soupninja

    Soupninja Thread Starter

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    Actually, I'm asking if there's a way to install the OS onto the flash drive itself. So in the event of disaster, I can plug the USB flash drive into said broken computer and boot to that instead of booting to the hard drive. I know it's possible with linux, but I'm not very linux-savvy and I'd rather be able to work with an OS I'm familiar with.

    And as far as using the keys from the other computers, that I know is possible. There's no way for them to tie the key to a specific computer.
     
  4. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    Have you looked at UBCD4Win? That can be put on a flash with PE2USB, a readily available program, or Flashboot, or BootIce.

    No Windows OS can be installed to a USB in any normal way. It wouldn't make any sense. The flash drive would only run on the machine it was installed to, anyway, and no other, because it would only be activated and have drivers for the original computer, so installing to removable drives is not an option.

    For fixing boot files, restoring registries, recovering partitions, recovering files, editing boot files and so on, there are already plenty of tools for that, like:

    *******************************************
    Parted Magic disk partitoning tool (Bootable CD image)
    If you prefer a bootable USB key, download and run Linux Live USB Creator. Choose the Parted Magic distro, and it will download it and automatically create a bootable USB key.

    This CD (or key) contains many useful tools. You can partition, recover files, recover lost partitions, make disk images (by several different methods), transfer files between media, scan for viruses (It can serve as an Alternative Trusted Platform for search and elimination of rootkits and bootkits), examine and benchmark hardware, access the internet, and much more.
    *******************************************
     
  5. Soupninja

    Soupninja Thread Starter

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    That explains my frustrations then. I had found a utility that allows me to install multiple recovery utilities (including UBCD4Win) onto a flash drive, but I was hoping I could use XP in that mix aswell.

    So then one more question I have is, is there something out there that allows me to edit the startup items on a windows system without booting into said OS?

    I work at the Geek Squad and we have a Preinstallation Environment that can bind to the computer's OS and allows us to change startup programs as well as a number of other things. I'm looking for something that does that so if a computer is locked down by a virus and wont allow you to open anything, I'd be able to boot to something outside of windows, open up said utility and remove the virus from the startup programs.
     
  6. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    UBCD4Win has a registry editing program that you could use to access the User and Machine Run keys. Normally, when you run regedit, it loads the registry for the OS that is running. If you use regedit in UBCD4Win, it will do the same thing. But once you have regedit running, you can use the RegeditPE program, or just the Import function of regedit itself, to access the other machine's registry and edit the startup entries. Then you export it, and all is done.

    One of the good things about UBCD4Win, is that you are not limited to the programs on the CD. You can also run programs that are portable from another CD, a USB flash drive, or even just an added folder on the UBCD itself where you put your own standalone programs. I run Spybot and some other programs from a USB stick because it can be easily updated without creating a new CD or USB stick every time.

    Take a look at Winbuilder, too. I've graduated to a bootable Win7 CD from the XP one since it is far more flexible. And many plugins are available for adding your own registered programs to the CD, too, like partitioning tools, Acronis True Image, and many others.

    If you have a GRUB or other based loader for iso's, you might consider the MSDaRT Tools, too. They have just about everything you need to fix a PC. You can manage services, disable drivers (often used by malware), edit the registry, scan for malware, and fix boot problems and problems with the MBR, it has an explorer, and more. It is part of the MS Desktop Optimization Pack and there is a separate one for each OS. I have XP, Vista, and 7 iso's all on the same DVD. It may not look like much, but in practice you would rarely need anything else.

    [​IMG]

    Many standalone tools kept elsewhere can be run in that environment, too (and even in the normal recovery environment of Vista or 7 by starting the programs by command line or explorer-like tool). I even sometimes run programs from the hard drive I am working on.

    It seems no matter what you get together, the next call needs something you didn't bring. But if you can get most of your tools on a few CD's or USB sticks, you're at least that far ahead of the game.:D
     
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