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Install XP FROM USB Flash TO USB Flash Dell Inspiron 910 Mini


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Install XP FROM USB Flash TO USB Flash Dell Inspiron 910 Mini

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I was given a Dell Inspiron 910 Mini notebook that had a bad SSD. I removed the SSD and am now trying to install XP on a USB Flash instead of buying a new SSD, but I have to install from a 2nd USB Flash because this latop has no CD/DVD drive.

I followed a few different tutorials, first making a copy of XP that is capable of installing on a USB drive:
Second, copying the ISO to a 4GB USB drive using usb_prep8: [...] thumb.html
I have formatted the 2nd 8GB USB drive using HPUSBFW.exe as a NTFS drive.
When I boot the laptop with the XP Setup USB drive, I run txt based setup, it starts fine.
Setup shows the empty 8GB USB Drive as NTFS.
When I select the drive, hit enter, keep filesystem intact, I get a generic error saying that the drive is corrupt.
When I tried to format using setup, I get a slightly different generic error, but still says disk is corrupt and cannot format.
When I delete the partition, I can create a new one but cannot format the new partition, it says corrupt.
I have tried to format the empty drive as a FAT32 using HPUSBFW before starting XP setup, same errors.
As I have stated, my XP installation has been modified to install on USB Drives, and I have triple checked the 6 files I changed during that (the 3 .IN_ have all been repacked).
I made sure my ISO was saved properly in WINISO and mounted properly in D-tools before transfering to USB.
I have tried with different combinations of USB Flash Drives and USB Hard Drives of varying sizes.
I am using XP Pro SP3 March 2011 build.
Please help solve the disk corruption error as I do not want to spend any money on this if possible.

All Replies
  • Anyone??

  • What does the BIOS (F2 at powerup) report for the size of the solid state drive?


  • As I stated, the SSD was bad when I received the notebook and is irrelevant now. It showed as a 14gb drive in the BIOS but prevents Windows 7 setup from even loading unless the drive is removed. Windows XP setup hangs for a while when verifying the drive and shows it as a valid drive, but you cannot change the partitions or format without error. So now I am just trying to install XP onto a USB Flash without having to replace the bad SSD. I know XP can be installed on USB Flash, and have tried a clean ISO also a modified for USB install ISO. I just don't know if I need to change any other files besides the 6 in the tutorial I posted above. I do not have a external CD/DVD drive or I would try that.

  • It sounds like the system is already booting from your flash drive - that part is working.  The BIOS must report the full capacity of the drive, or there is a problem with the drive.

    What happens if you choose to format the drive as FAT32 rather than NTFS?


  • The 4GB XP setup USB Flash is formated FAT. The 8GB USB Flash I am installing to is NTFS, but I have tried FAT32, FAT also. Same error after selecting drive in XP Setup, the disk is corrupt. I can boot into either Win7 setup or WinXP setup with no issues, that is not the case. Windows 7 does not allow for installation on USB Drives and I have not found a tutorial to modify the files to do so. That is why I have modified the XP setup to be able to install on any USB Flash/HDD. Forget about the SSD though, that is no longer in the laptop. The BIOS reports both USB Drives as correct sizes and shows manufacturer also. I have arranged them to boot from the setup 4GB USB drive first, empty 8GB USB second, Hard Drive third but disabled since there isn't one. I really don't think its a BIOS issue, I have flashed the latest BIOS update in DOS using a WIN98 boot USB drive before attempting any of this. I have no issues booting from USB or detecting USB, it's only when trying to continue with setup that they say corrupt or cannot delete or creat new partitions.

  • I have a problem with the dell inspiron 910 mini tried to do format from usb to install xp but when I go to pick the hard drive to make the installation of xp I get this message " 7327 MB Disk 0 at Id 0 on bus 0 on atapi" and do not let me keep aware nobody what to do?????

  • To format the drive you must boot from something else - you can't format the drive you've booted the system from.

  • something else ??? that something else???

    Please can you at with more detail voitheisis??

    what should I do??

  • something else??? that something else???

     can you please help me more detail???

    what should I do??

  • Make a Bootable WIN9X Flash Drive and Xcopy the contents of the XP install CD to it.

    Then format the C: drive on the Machine FAT32 and XCOPY the contents of the flash Drive to C:

    Then Boot from C: to a dos prompt.

    Make Sure you have HIMEM.SYS in the Config.sys file and that you run smartdrv.exe 2 times.

    Then Run C:\I386\WINNT.EXE /S:C:\  /T:C:\   /A

    After XP is setup you can convert C: to ntfs with Convert C:   /FS:NTFS.

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  • Thank you very much will try it

  • I get the exact same error. I have used KillDisk to wipe the drive beforehand... and still get the same error as you.

  • You get what error?  You have to format the drive with WIN9X DOS and have himem.sys and SMARTDRV.EXE running then Run XP Setup from DOS.  OR use a USB CDROM Drive aind install that way.   If the SSD onboard is bad it will not install.  You can however Use a USB to SD chip reader and install Linux on that and then Set the Bios to boot from the SD card.  8 Gigs is Really Really small for XP.

    The I386 Directory must be on the C:\ drive that boots WIN9X MSDOS and has SMARTDRV.EXE loaded.

    So your drive must boot MSDOS win9x to C:\  then run WINNT from MSDOS.

    You cannot BOOT XP from the SD Slot and run it but Linux works fine.

    Report Unresolved Customer Service Issues here
    I do not work for Dell. I too am a user.
    The forum is primarily user to user, with Dell employees moderating
    Contact USA Technical Support

    Get Support on Twitter @DellCaresPro

  • Was there ever a solution? it seems like it would be helpful elsewhere as well.

    I hope this helps:

    I had this happen a couple times in a row with re-installing desktops.
    The two times it happened, I had made 2 drives to start the install with, one FAT, and NTFS.
    I was planning to just create partitions in the recovery console and install to the NTFS drive from the FAT dive. It didn't work. Without error that was useful.
    I know I had to create a windows 98 boot disk, because real dos could run without a an extra host controller for the drive needing to load? But I could not address the NTFS drive normally because the NTFS drivers were in the NTFS volume that the win 98 disk could not do much to.
    I had to basically create FAT disks, and it was the installer that copied the NTFS image onto the volume, as NTFS, but it needed to launch from non-NTFS.
    Whereas when I tried to point to an existing NTFS drive from anything but the recovery console, it would not read it as a destination.
    It drove me nuts.
    The solution was similar to starting with one FAT drive, doing what the Console wanted to do to format it and install, then rebooting and doing again to create an NTFS drive from that install, THEN I could treat it as a drive to install bootable to because I was already in an NTFS-aware file system.

    I sadly cannot remember the details that would nail it for you, but I was left to believe that something about the installer needing to run from a virtual machine made it possible to create NTFS from an "existing" NTFS system?

    All I remember for sure, that I think is entirely relevant to this case, is that I had to startup from a win98 partition, in order to address the new volumes from the installer, which would then be able to install them as NTFS, and once I booted into THAT, i could correctly point to another drive, like a slave.

    Maybe there is something about the mods you made to the installer that touches on this same series of details.

    Hope this is remotely helpful as a place to poke around

  • Windows XP is at End of Life and should no longer be used and this thread is a year old.

    Instructions for installation of Windows XP via a USB flash drive are included in my legacy Windwos XP Reinstallation Guide:


    Philip Yip


    Windows Reinstallation Guide and Related Wikies See here for other wikies such as Customising and Using Windows 8.1, Dell Wireless Cards and Unofficial Drivers.