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How to install OS without optical drive or floppy?

Hey guys,

I have a Sony Vaio VGN-FS810/W. There is no floppy drive, the computer is pretty old so no boot option for USB (didn't know BIOS password so had to press shortcut keys to get to boot menu). The optical drive won't read anything anymore and my OS has a disk error so it doesn't even boot to XP.

I would like to reinstall XP to the laptop. Is there any chance I can get a external USB optical drive and get that to boot my XP CD? Or maybe a IDE to laptop HD adapter and install the OS from my desktop and then move it back into my laptop?

Thanks for reading!
8 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about install optical drive floppy
  1. An external optical drive should work. That's how I installed the OS on my netbook which doesn't have an optical or floppy drive either.
  2. Thanks, but that would mean purchasing a external optical drive. Not very ideal since I am tight on money. Can anyone confirm that a IDE to laptop HD method works? (Moving the laptop HD to a desktop and install the OS there, then move the HD back to the laptop)
  3. Your plan to install on a desktop machine and then move the drive back to the laptop is impossible. When the Install is done, the process will analyze all the hardware devices in the desktop system it is running on - and there are probably at least 20 of them in the mobo, plus attached devices - and install all their drivers. THEN you move it to a totally new system that has an entirely different set of components. The very best you could hope for is that it might boot with lots of problems. The more likely scenario, even IF it could work, is that you could instead do a "Repair Install" on the Laptop machine. That is, you could boot from the original Install CD and choose Repair Install, which completely re-analyzes all the drives and fixes them up. But WAIT!! That requires having an optical drive in the laptop to do this, and you say you can't do that! In fact, if you had one, you would just do the proper Install on the laptop to begin with.

    It appears whatever you do will cost $$. I suspect buying an exterrnal optical drive is cheaper than having the internal one replaced. For a faint hope - what about trying to simply clean the optical drive, just in case its only problem is dirt?
  4. When my brother told me his old computer needed a reformat and had a broken disc drive I tried an external DVD drive. It wouldnt let me boot from this drive and I figured that was because it was USB, and he couldn't boot from USB. Eventually we got his actual tray to read the disc, maybe because of cleaning, or maybe because of luck.
  5. Thanks guys, I'll probably try to clean it first and maybe try to find someone to lend me a external cd drive.
  6. Best answer
    There is also the option, if you have a usable internal dvd drive, to use a SATA to USB adapter. They run about $20 and are very useful for many things.

    You could also get the install started using a desktop, then when it asks for the initial reboot, shut it down and swap the drive over to the netbook.
  7. Well, if you want to do what dgingeri suggested and buy a converter, you might as well throw in an extra $5 and just buy a cheap LG DVD Burner. Got mine off of NewEgg for $24.99 and free shipping. Works great, but didn't come with any cables.
    Your call, though... I've tried swapping HDD's between computers like what was suggested, but as Paperdoc said, the onboard devices are almost always different, unless you get extremely lucky. (I can almost guarentee that the parts used on a laptop motherboard and desktop motherboard are different.) I still havn't found a way around this, though...
  8. Best answer selected by jonnejon.
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