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Laptop Windows Xp Installation Problem

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#1 bonton


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Posted 22 April 2008 - 12:02 PM

I have an old Toshiba laptop Iím trying to put a larger hard drive in to. The laptop has no floppy drive and only a USB CD drive. I canít install Windows XP on the new hard drive using the USB CD drive as the laptop doesnít recognise the USB CD drive early enough. The same applies to USB memory sticks. I have tried installing Windows XP on the drive in a later model Toshiba laptop and then transferring the hard drive to the old laptop but without success. I thought that even if it ran imperfectly it might give me access to the USB CD drive and I could have managed to get the Windows XP installation to run from that for a fresh install. It doesnít run at all. Iíve searched eBay to find a floppy drive I could use but with no luck. I bought a Toshiba universal floppy drive caddy there but it has the wrong plug. Iíve now run out of options.

So, to the question. Is there anyway I can copy the Windows XP installation CD to the new hard drive and get it to run, ie to install Windows XP on the same drive. I can partition the new drive using the later model Toshiba.

Iíve a feeling itís not possible but Iíd love to be proved wrong.

Thanks in advance


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#2 hamluis



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Posted 22 April 2008 - 12:37 PM

What model laptop?

You might check and see if your BIOS has an option to boot from USB, IAW http://www.hddsaver.com/content/18/:

"The next step is to make sure that the motherboard which you are working with supports USB booting. To do this simply enter the BIOS (this can usually be done by press the Delete key while the computer is posting) and go into the menu selection titled something like, "Advanced Features". This process is a bit different for every BIOS so you may have to search a bit. Once here look for the boot devices, which will be placed in order: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and so on. Normally the computer will attempt to boot from the CD-ROM or a specific hard drive first, but you want to change this to the USB drive. The proper selection to do this varies depending on your BIOS version but it be USB RMD-FDD, USB ZIP, USD HDD, USB CD-ROM, or something close to these. Once these is chosen as the 1st boot device you can move your hard drive and/or optical drive down the line (so they will be used if a USB device is not present) or remove everything (so that the computer will only boot from USB). A little trial and error may be needed here to make sure you have chosen the right boot device."

This adjustment should allow your USB CD drive to become bootable, IMO...and install should proceed.


Edited to add: I guess I don't know of anything that would prevent installing XP on the new hard drive from the old XP install, using a USB enclosure to make the secondary install on a primary partition. When moved, the new drive might require modification of the boot.ini file...but it seems that could probably be handled.

Edited by hamluis, 22 April 2008 - 01:42 PM.

#3 Andrew


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Posted 22 April 2008 - 12:50 PM

Hi bonton, welcome to BC! :thumbsup:

That sure is a noodle-scratcher. I've got an idea, but I've never tried it (or ever read about it being tried) and it isn't quite fleshed out yet, so bear with me as I can't give specific instructions yet, just a concept which we will work with. Anyone who's heard of this being done before, speak up and let us know.

For this, I'm assuming that you've been able to attach the new hard drive to another computer and can access it that way, am I right?

So, we have what seems to be a paradox: in order to boot from the CD, you need an environment which is capable of doing so; but such an environment must be created using a boot CD...

What we, therefore, need to do is somehow create the barest minimum of a system on the drive while it is connected to another computer. This environment must be able to boot all by itself from the drive, even if it's location and hardware have changed.

Such an environment, I believe can be found with GNU GRUB (GRUB = GRand Unified Bootloader) which is used by many versions of Linux and other operating systems as well. GRUB is much more powerful than most other bootloaders, and is much more robust and resilient to change.

So, we need to find of way to install GRUB on the MBR of the new drive. This, I believe can be done under just about any Linux OS, and probably under most *nix OS's.

Thus, we need to attach the new drive to another computer which is capable of boot from a CD or floppy. Then, using a (to be determined) version of Linux, install GRUB on the MBR of the drive. Then, reattach the drive to the laptop and boot into GRUB. From there, we should be able to issue some command(s) which will locate the USB CD-ROM drive and use it as the boot device.

Does that make any sense to you? Like I said, this is merely a rough concept which, to my knowledge, has never been done (though, if it is possible, it would seem likely to have been done before.) Let me go out onto the intertubes and do a little research on this.

#4 bonton

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 02:00 PM

Thanks very much for the astoundingly quick replies, guys.

hamluis: The laptop in question is an old Toshiba Portege 3440CT, specification here: 3440CT. There isnít any option in the BIOS to boot from a USB device. If only there was. I need to boot the Windows installation from somewhere on the hard drive.

Amazing Andrew: That is the sort of thing Iím looking for. I need to be able to boot from the new hard drive in the same way as from the Windows XP start-up floppy set. I have access to a more recent Toshiba laptop running Windows XP. I can remove the drive from the recent laptop and replace it with the new hard drive intended to upgrade the Portege 3440CT. I would then have to install Linux on the drive, is that right? No problem. Then use GRUB to insert what I need in to the MBR? That does sound tricky but it also sounds promising. Please let me know if you can suss it out.

Once again, thanks very much, guys.

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