12 May 2010

How to create a bootable Windows install cd from an i386 folder

So you have bought a HP computer? Or some other brand that does not supply you with the proper Windows installation discs? If you are lucky you can find a "i386" folder on one of your hard drive. This folder can be used to create a bootable cd. I'm going to describe the Windows XP Home edition version on how to do this.
  1. Create a new folder on your computer (for example c:\XPHOME_SETUP\).
  2. Copy the i386 folder into the folder created above so you have  c:\XPHOME_SETUP\i386\
  3. Create a file in c:\XPHOME_SETUP\ called "WIN51IC". The contents of the file should be "Windows " and a line break (note the blank space after the "s"). Other versions of Windows XP require some other files (see http://www.howtohaven.com/system/createwindowssetupdisk.shtml)
  4. Install nLite (it is an amazing freeware tool that easily can create custom Windows bootable CDs). For Vista there is vLite.
  5. In nLite point out the c:\XPHOME_SETUP\ folder and follow the programs rather simple GUI to create an ISO.
  6. Optional: download a service pack from Microsoft website and integrate ("slipsteam") it into the installation with nLite.
  7. Burn the ISO (I used CDBurnerXP)
  8. Boot!

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