I have borked my computer. Help me save my nerd cred!
April 13, 2009 3:47 PM   Subscribe

Help me install Windows XP with a (non-bootable) installation CD!

I decided yesterday that my computer needed a good old reformat. I dutifully backed up my data and then proceeded to wipe and repartition the drive. The problem? My XP pro install CD (which is legitimate) isn't bootable.

All I really want is a plain old DOS prompt so that I can run the stupid installer from the XP Pro CD (which is just a burned copy of the installation files). I have tried all kinds of boot CDs claiming to do this to no avail. The nearest I have come is using FreeDOS to give me a DOS prompt...sans CD-ROM support.

I have tried using the recovery console on a separate (and bootable) XP home CD. But once I get into the console it won't let me eject the CD and swap them out.

What is the best and easiest way to do this? Thank you in advance!
posted by sah to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
You can create or order boot floppies from this page (Microsoft Support).
posted by wongcorgi at 3:57 PM on April 13, 2009

Response by poster: Sorry...that was a detail I forgot to add. The computer doesn't have a floppy drive.
posted by sah at 3:59 PM on April 13, 2009

You could make an ISO of the XP home disc and overwrite the data with the contents of your non-bootable XP Pro disc. Also, I believe some ISO tools will let you make an ISO bootable, so you could try that on your XP Pro disc.
posted by wongcorgi at 4:12 PM on April 13, 2009

What about borrowing/downloading another version of the CD? As long as you use your Product Key, you should be fine. Just make sure you use exactly the same OS and Service Pack number.
posted by JuiceBoxHero at 4:56 PM on April 13, 2009

Since you're posting here, I'm assuming you have another computer that hopefully has a CD burner?

If so, you can create a bootable WinXP cd using nLite. Basically creates a "custom" WinXP cd using the install files from your legitimate xp pro disk.

Otherwise, you can dig around on Bart's site, he has some utilities that might help ya out.
posted by Nerro at 5:22 PM on April 13, 2009

After poking around a bit I found an article that shows FreeDOS with some sort of CD-ROM support.

Also, this may be silly, but have you made sure that your CD-ROM is your first boot device in your BIOS?
posted by booticon at 6:36 PM on April 13, 2009

If you have another computer & a 1 gig flash drive, copy the cd files to the flash drive. Make a (Linux?) live cd & copy the Windows cd files to the hard drive.
posted by Pronoiac at 6:49 PM on April 14, 2009

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