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Making a Hard Drive Bootable with NO CD / FLOPPY

Last response: in Windows XP
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January 8, 2009 3:59:28 AM

I have this sony vaio laptop, and the good people at sony decided not to give this drive the ability to boot from a usb device (external dvd or floppy)

Unfortunately the DVD drive that was built in BROKE, and I need to install windows on this laptop using a brand new hard drive.

Any ideas?

I can't boot from the windows dvd, I can't boot from a floppy, the drive is totally empty so I can't put anything on it.

I CAN however, connect it to another computer and format it, I thought I could make it into a MSDOS bootable drive (like when you format a floppy) but windows does not allow it on a drive this size.

Is there a program I can use to install the i386 files on this drive and make it bootable from a different computer?

HELP please!
January 8, 2009 9:14:59 AM

I think you're going to have to borrow an external DVD drive.

You can do a network install from a suitably configured Windows Server, but I'd assume you don't have that available.
January 8, 2009 11:34:01 PM

Sorry maybe I am not familiar with the latest technology or perhaps I misunderstood your setup

You said "I CAN however, connect it to another computer
and format it, "
How are you doing that ?
You have a blank hard drive and you connect it to another computer and you have an instant network connection ?

Is this work on all computers or just Sony ?
Related resources
January 9, 2009 9:54:20 AM

The technology to connect a hard drive to another computer is not that advanced! In simple terms - remove hard drive from computer one; connect it to suitable connectors on computer two.
January 9, 2009 3:09:33 PM

if yuo could copy the contents of the installation dvd onto the hard drive after formatting it etc, and then get a dos prompt you stand a chance of running it, but you really need to look at the bios again because a usb device is your simplest bet for a new os.
January 10, 2009 12:30:09 PM

Its been a while but try this.
Format the drive on the other computer.
While still connected type sys c: e: (enter)
(Insert the correct drive letters)
This used to allow booting back in the day and I think should still work.

Look on google for XP flat install and follow directions.
You will need a xp disk to do this.
This allows copying all files to the drive into a I386 folder
Replace drive and it should boot and then you can run setup.

If all else fails you can get a cd from newegg pretty cheap.
January 10, 2009 1:01:56 PM

Sorry I guess I misunderstood
I thought the laptop is going to be connected to the other computer with a network cable or something else on the outside.
If the hard drive is going to be removed from the laptop and installed or connected to a pc then I don't see a problem of making it bootable as mentioned in the previous post
Installing xp from the command prompt might be a bit tricky but if the product key is available then I think it can be done

January 10, 2009 1:05:54 PM

Once its back in the sony open a command prompt (Ithink thats all youll get)
navigate to the folder with setup.exe type that and enter.

I guess I should have mentioned that as it is rather important.
It will then go into the graphical interface for the rest of the setup.
January 17, 2009 11:24:01 PM

Well it's not as easy as it sounds
I got a new hard drive recently and just for fun I wanted to see if I can install xp without the cd or a floppy drive to meet the original posters condition
Formating it is not a problem however making it bootable I don't think it can be done without some outside help.
The sys drive: command is from windows 98 so that would not be available
in an xp os
Also fdisk idoesn't work with xp (at least for me) so I can't set the active partition
I installed xp on it as a slave in a dual boot system but if I make the drive
the master after xp is installed and I try to boot from it I get "ntldr is missing" so I am stuck again
I think one way or the other the xp installation will need a cd or a floppy for a windows 98 startup
After the drive is made bootable in a master setting than perhaps there is a chance to flat install xp
January 18, 2009 9:52:32 PM

Ok I didnt realize I was talking to 2 different people here.
I thought I was talking to the person who made the post.

for status 1 you have to use diskpart to partiton a disk and then format it.
It is so much easier to create your own post as it makes it soooo much easier to tell someone what to do than to hijack someone elses post and not provide any information of your own concerning what it is that you want or are trying to do.
January 18, 2009 11:36:59 PM

For pat it's not a problem for me
I just joined the conversation because of misunderstanding the way the hard drive is going to be connected to the other computer
After realizing that it was just a regular connection I thought just like you that it should be easier to load xp
Then after getting a new hard drive I wanted to see if it can be done without having a cd or floppy Just as a personal challenge in case I have to do it for real some day and also to learn more about xp since I am still new to xp
Of course the original poster probably has probably found a way to install it
by now but I don't see how he could have done it without a cd or floppy

You are answering to the original poster I am just listening for a good answer since the suggestion with the command from windows 98 would not work with xp
So I am just following any suggestions that may work since I am curious to the answer myself as knowledge not because I have the actual problem

Sure the easy answer is to get a dvd or connect to a computer that has a dvd and or a floppy but having none of that how can it be done ?
Perhaps it's not possible

I looked for diskpart but it's not on xp and I was reading more about it and I found out that discpart is part of the recovery console

So therefore the next question is how to get into recovery console without a cd or floppy ?

You don't have to answer to me only to the original poster if he is still looking for answers and others who may read this and may be interested
January 19, 2009 10:05:27 AM

Well after furthur research It looks like they took that sys option out.
here is a link to some boot disks that can be copied oever after the disk is partitioned (with the correct switches to make it a bootable partition)
http://www.bootdisk.com/bootdisk.htm
February 14, 2009 9:27:28 PM

I stumbled across this thread because I've got a Toshiba Portege Tablet PC whose external slim CD bombed shortly after the hard drive croaked. It doesn't support USB boot either, but it does support PXE booting across the network.

I've never set up a PXE boot server on a network myself, but according to this thread, it sounds simple... you don't need a server OS for the PXE server -- XP will do.

If your bios supports PXE booting, you might check it out!

http://www.lockstockmods.net/2008/04/26/easy-way-to-pxe...
September 11, 2011 3:04:28 AM

this will fix the problem . first you must install the hard drive in a laptop that supports cd boot , and then install windows 2000 boot windows 2000 then copy the windows xp installation files to a flash drive then run installation from the flash drive when prompt select new installation . wait until it copies the files and is about to restart then take the hard drive out and put it in the laptop without the cd drives to boot n.b make sure flash drive is installed in the laptop that you want to program THATS HOW WE DO IT IN JAMAICA A YAWDY TING
!