Installing Windows XP on a USB flash 4GB

I want to be able to boot XP from a flash drive. (not just install it from usb)

I've tried everything with VMware and VirtualBox to get it installed. When I raw access the flash drive in VM, the windows installation won't properly recognize it, and can't finish formatting it, same thing with external HDD.

Then I created a working VMDK (it boots fine from the VM) and wrote VMDK file directly to USB drive, windows gets bsod with "unmountable boot volume" error upon loading screen.

I'm thinking of mounting the VMDK file in host and copying the disk directly on the usb (mbr and everything else).

Are there any *working* guides? don't suggest anything with bartpe, as I want a real installation of XP.
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  1. A "real" installation of XP will not run from a USB drive; that is why you are having a difficult time finding a guide.
  2. PhilFrisbie said:
    A "real" installation of XP will not run from a USB drive; that is why you are having a difficult time finding a guide.



    Why so? Is that your opinion or a fact?

    There's no hardware reason for this. I've ran windows 7 and windows xp installation from this flash drive. I'm guessing all it requires is a little fix, like make windows recognize the flash drive as a hdd.

    Are there windows based o/s that would run from a flash drive?
  3. You can install and run XP from a flash drive. It is not advisable for a couple of reasons..

    The flash drive has a limited life-span of writes and it is wore out. Windows does a lot of disk writes, so don't expect the flash drive to last more than a few weeks.

    Booting and running from USB is slow.

    On the bright side however... It is a good way to gain access to a broken regular XP install.

    If you really want to do it, Google "run xp from flash drive" and there are a few methods to do it. The one that requires you to modify a few of the files from the XP disk is the one you want. You'll need WinIso or similar to modify files from an image of your CD and then burn that new image back to CD.

    Your VMware virtual machine will never boot and run from a flash drive, it is not a complete copy of windows and it relies on the host for it's livelihood.
  4. tigsounds said:
    The flash drive has a limited life-span of writes and it is wore out. Windows does a lot of disk writes, so don't expect the flash drive to last more than a few weeks.


    I've seen this somewhere, and I'm curious if it's true. I thought flash drives were very similar to SSD and RAM memory, aren't those supposed to have much greater lifespan than HDD? Is there a research indicating that flash drives can only do a limited number of writes?


    tigsounds said:
    Your VMware virtual machine will never boot and run from a flash drive, it is not a complete copy of windows and it relies on the host for it's livelihood.


    I guess so. However it should at least run from within VMware, but it doesn't.
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