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Laptop HD crashed; no floppy; no CD-Rom and Bios doesnt support USB

  • Laptops
  • Floppy Disk
  • CD-Rom
  • Windows XP
Last response: in Windows XP
November 13, 2009 11:39:39 PM

How do I reinstall Windows XP on my laptop (Compaq V5000 - which is several years old)? The laptop's cd-rom is dead. There is no floppy disk drive. The hard drive has crashed. I have read on some websites that I can make a bootable usb drive. However, I have not been succesful in making a bootable USB thumb drive when the laptop's BIOS doesnt support a USB device to be bootable.

The only thing I do have is my desktop computer (which is working fine) and a USB external case for the laptop internal hard drive.

Any ideas?

More about : laptop crashed floppy rom bios doesnt support usb

November 14, 2009 2:03:40 AM

It may not boot from a USB flash drive... but how about a USB DVD or floppy drive? If not, then your only option is to replace the faulty optical drive. There is simply no way to install a working version of Windows on another computer and bring it over to the laptop... that is unless you know someone with the same laptop. If the hard drive isn't completely dead, you do have the option of ghosting it to the new drive. Those are about the only options you have available.
November 14, 2009 2:03:44 AM

If the CD drive doesn't work, there isn't much you can do other than getting a replacement CD drive (or trying to fix this dead one).
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November 14, 2009 2:06:18 AM

Ok Thank you for the quick replies. The cost to replace the CD-Rom is $190 dollars. So I dont think it is worth paying almost $200 dollars for the CD-ROM. I have tried installing the OS from a USB-External CD but that didnt work out.
November 14, 2009 2:11:29 AM

$190 to replace the CD drive? That's insane.
November 14, 2009 2:28:06 AM

What do you mean ghosting the laptop drive to the new drive? The laptop hard drive is still good. How do I ghost a version of XP to it?
November 14, 2009 8:29:31 PM

If the old drive is still good, you can clone the old drive to the new drive. But if it's your XP installation that's hosed and not the hard drive, then that suggestion won't work.
November 14, 2009 9:50:07 PM

The old hard drive is still good. I just cant install the OS on the old laptop hard drive because I dont have a CD-ROM or Floppy. And the old hard drive's OS is gone so it wont even boot up to windows.
August 13, 2010 2:10:48 PM

This is a bit long-winded but I had the same problem and managed to solve it. How you obtain the "tools" is up to you

You need:

(1) a copy of windows 98 or ME (either one needs to be upgradeable if you wish to install XP)
(2) Copy of windows XP
(3) a spare Desktop hard-drive. It needn't be big. Any size will do. And a working desktop pc to work with
(4) Windows 98 boot disk
(5) Hard drive caddy for laptop hard drive
(6) Hard drive ghosting software (I recommend Norton Ghost but there are plenty free ghosting software available).
(7) Partition Wizard (
(8) A USB memory stick (optional)

Firstly, install the hard drive ghosting software and Partition Wizard software on a working PC

Next, we are going to make a bootable DOS drive

Place the spare desktop hard drive into a working PC as the master drive, boot with the windows 98 boot disk and then format using the command 'format c: /s'.
If the drive is NTFS, then you will need to go into 'fdisk' to make it into FAT32 otherwise it will not format. After it has formatted, switch off your pc and then on. You should see the following DOS bootscreen:

Microsoft (R) Windows 98
(C) Copyright Microsoft Corp 1981-1998


Now that this drive is formatted, install this drive as a slave drive on the working PC and switch on

Plug in your laptop hard drive via the USB caddy

With the partition wizard software , create an extra partition on your laptop hard drive. The size should be enough to contain the contents of Windows 98 or ME OS disk. Create a folder in this second partition (we'll call in 'WIN' for future reference). Copy the contents of the 98 or ME OS disk into the WIN folder.

Using the ghosting software, copy the spare drive to the first partition on your laptop drive. If the ghosting software of your choice has the option to save the image, then I recommend you save the image of the spare hard drive - just in case (so you don't have the hassle of putting in & taking out hard drives in future)

Your laptop hard drive should now contain two partitions. One should be a bootable DOS partition, the other should contain ME or 98 OS disk contents.

Remove Laptop drive from desktop PC and place into your laptop.

Boot up laptop - it should come up with the DOS bootscreen

Type 'd:' without quotation marks and hit return.

Type 'cd win' without quotation marks and hit return

Type 'setup' without quotation marks and hit return

You should now be on your way to installing windows 98/ME onto your laptop

Goes without saying that if you require XP onto your laptop, place contents of XP OS disc onto a USB key and upgrade once you have completed installing 98/ME

Note: Because of the time this consumes, It might be worth using windows 95 as opposed to 98 or ME as thats relatively quick to install but I have never tried this method with windows 95 (and using a USB stick to upgrade may be a problem)

Another note: You cannot install XP direct from a windows 98 startup disk hence the reason of using ME/98 initially.

It may be worth saving the laptop hard drive image using the ghosting/cloning software once you have completed installing windows.

I know this way seems long but I've gone through the net and had answers of "it can't be done" or "boot from USB (which is not an option anyway!)", but this is something I've learned by experience, not assumption.

Hope this has helped if you still require it

And if you want a blow-by-blow instructions, then mail me