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Install XP from a Partition rather than disk?

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Hey everyone.

I have purchased and currently waiting on a Lenovo Thinkpad X61 laptop to be shipped to me. It comes with vista, but I am planning on installing XP on it. I'm thinking that maybe there is a way to put the contents of the XP disc on a separate partition over network or maybe take out the hard drive and use my desktop to do it. I could then start the installation with a bootable USB thumbdrive or something? Are there any guides on how to do this?

Maybe I could simply stick the hard drive into my desktop and do the whole install on it, install all the lenovo drivers and stick it back in the laptop? Would anything like this work?

Edit: Forgot to clarify, there is no optical drive on the X61, which is why simply installing normally is out of the question. I'm really wondering about my second idea now, if there is a way to do that and still have windows recognize the laptop's hardware, it will probably be my best bet. But I'm afraid that it might not work because windows will first chose all the drivers for the hardware of my desktop.

Edited by ditto_n
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Though it is not a very straightforward process, it is possible to "pre-install" XP on a hard disk.

The procedure is generally called "sysprep" install (search on the board for this specific keyword).

Basically you start the setup from an already booted WIN32 environment, in a "special" way, so that XP files are copied to the target (laptop) disk temporarily connected to the desktop and at the first boot from the (laptop) hard disk the windows setup will autoatically start from hard disk.

I am afraid you'll have to read and learn a bit and make some tests before being able to perform such an install.

Of course you have to add to the source all needed drivers, and this can be in some cases a bit tricky, expecially if some drivers come packed, you will probably need to search and study a bit in the "unattended" section of the board to learn how to add your drivers, but I guess that you can start a "normal" XP install and add drivers later, if you are not going to re-install frequently the amount of time spent learning and testing "unattended" solutions would be a waste.

A viable alternative could be using a PXE/RIS install (I am assuming that your laptop does have PXE booting capabilities) using the network as "install media", this gives more flexibility and allows faster "redo from scratch" if a problem occurs).

A thread with some details (and a report of success) is here:



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Thanks so much to both of you. I'm thinking if I can find the money I'll just get an external enclosure for my IDE drive. It seems like it will be the most painless route.

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