New PC but no CD-Drive, no HD; how do I install XP?

I'm about to purchase a new rig that comes complete with everything but a CD drive and a hard drive. I have my old HD with XP installed and I've read that if I put the XP boot cd in the new rig's drive and then hook up the old HD, I can boot and go through the repair process to have Windows recognize the new hardware (mobo, etc). It seems that this process is sketchy at best, but I think I'll give it a go. Thing is, it doesnt come with a CD drive. Can I simply hook up my old CD drive in the new rig, somehow power it up to place the XP boot disk in the tray, then attach the HD? (I've heard that trying to power up XP by simply plopping in the hard drive is likely fatal, and thus I dont want to risk trying to power it up, open the CD tray, get the disk in, all before it tries to load windows).

Maybe I'm just missing something (I'm kind of new); can you open and close the CD drive without an HD in anyway, so long as it has power?

I'd really appreciate any help and thanks in advance!
7 answers Last reply
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  1. 1. Open the new(er) PC and install your HD and CD-Rom drive.
    2. Power up
    3. Place your XP CD in the CD-Rom.
    4. Boot into the BIOS and go to "hardware config" and set the CD-Rom to be the 1st bootable device - then restart and it should boot from your XP CD (do a fresh you have the motherboards driver CD?)
  2. First off, thanks for the reply Noya, I really appreciate the help.

    I believe I'll be getting the drivers for the motherboard. Perhaps I should download those first and burn them onto a CD just in case? Also, powering up with the HD installed, wont that launch right into Windows (=bad) before i get a chance to get the boot cd in the drive and power off the computer? Also, booting into BIOS, I read that you repeadtedly press Backspace at power up, is that correct?

    Thanks again
  3. It's usually delete not backspace. Though I suppose it might use that button on your motherboard, some even use F2.

    Also, you should be able to open the CD drive at any time when the system has power. You can also power on the pc and then hit the pause/break button to pause the boot process while you open your CD Drive and insert your boot CD, hitting enter usually resumes boot.
  4. 1. install the HDD, and DVD/CD ROM
    2. power up, and repetedly tap the "del" key
    3. set the first boot device to CD
    4. save and exit
    5. system will ask to boot from CD, hit "enter"
    6. format, and install XP
    7. configure XP options
    8. begin installing drivers (use CD if burned, if not download from the mfgr.)
    9. good to go
  5. as far as i know, a windows install will work on another (the newer) computer IF the northbridge chipset is the same as it was on the older computer, which is likely not the case. as well, check and make sure the old HD and optical drive are the same interface type as the new ones (older computers used EIDE connections for HD and optical, newer ones likely use SATA)...if they are the same type, following Noya's instructions is your best (easiest) bet.

    if you are looking for options for some reason, the bios may enable a USB boot or a network boot if you have that ability.

    you may be able to do a repair, but clean installs usually have better results, for me.

    good luck.
  6. Actually, you don't have to have the same chipset, depending on the version of Windows, you can use sysprep, a deployment tool from MS, on the old system before moving the drive into the new system.
    With Vista, you don't even have to do that. I installed a Vista 32 boot drive from and AMD X2 4400 system on an Asus A8R32 board into a Q6600 system on a Gigabyte GA-EP35-DS3R board, it just booted up, installed the new device drivers and carried on.
  7. thanks for all the info folks. I think my most pressing concern is that this version of XP is the same that came with my Dell. Last year I upgraded my HD and cloned the old one without a problem. I've read that while that copy of XP is technically tethered to my Dell desktop, if I have the XP repair cd I should be able to migrate the HD, so long as I don't have two copies of the same OS running at the same time. Does that sound about right? As for sysprep, I've read up and as I understand it prepares XP for (basically) finding new hardware in the near future upon boot up. Is this something I should be doing?

    I'm pretty excited about this upgrade in performance. I'm going form a P4 2Ghz, 512mb of RAM to a Intel Core 2 Duo 2.5GHz with 2GB of RAM. Finally, I can have multiple tabs open in FireFox :P

    Thanks for all the help everyone, much appreciated!
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