Satyendra's Blog

Here i will be discussing about the technologies I am working with and interested in…

Creating a Bootable Windows XP CD

on July 27, 2009
Bootable CD means a CD from which you can start your computer. For installing an OS on any system the CD must be bootable. Now there is a question that why at all one needs to know this if he or she has the Original Windows CD (which is of course bootable). But what would you do if you have that CD which was released some 6-7 years back. Microsoft has already released thousands of updates and security patches for the XP users (which are free to download). Service Pack 3 and other updates are already out their which must be installed on your PC (although not necessary but in such a case your PC is more prone to vulnerabilities). These updates and service packs can be directly applied to your system but imagine how much time will it take to apply them. So all you can do is to update your windows XP cd to the latest version by integrating all the updates and service packs to the CD itself. In that case whenever you install the windows from that CD you will be already up to date without any need to download and install all the updates again (This will be pretty handy if you want to format your computer). But after integrating the updates and service packs simply writing them to the CD won’t make the CD bootable. This article will deal with the steps to create a bootable CD. Integrating updates and service packs will be dealt in another article. You need to follow certain steps to make the CD bootable. To create bootable windows XP CD you require the following software’s:

Windows XP installation files: Copy the files from your Original Windows XP CD to the Hard-disk in some folder. Make sure that the following files and folders are present

Files: Setup.exe, WIN51, WIN51IP, and Setupxp.htm (if the CD is having SP2 or SP3 then WIN51IP.sp2 and WIN51IP.sp3 will also be present)
Folders: I386, cmpnents, DOCS, Support and Valueadd

Nero burning ROM (or any other CD burning software): This is required for burning the CD. Note that you should use Ultra Edition of Nero. OEM edition will not work since Nero Burning ROM is not available with OEM version.

Boot image extracting software (like Magic ISO): Boot image is the data which is to be written on the first track and sector of the CD so that the CD becomes bootable. You can use Magic ISO to extract the boot image from your original Windows XP CD. Boot Image Extractor which is a free command line tool can also be used. To download it just fire a search on Google (since I don’t remember the site from which I downloaded it). If you are not comfortable using these Boot image extracting software’s then you can also download the bootimages directly from some sites. Again search them on Google. The Bootimage file is usually a very small file (around 2KB) with extension such as BIN, BIF, IMA etc or it may have no extension. The extension will vary from program to program which was used to extract the file. But that doesn’t matter. We can use file having any extension.

Steps to create bootable Windows XP CD: Now you have copied all the files to the hard-disk and downloaded the Bootimage file. Now just follow these steps:

  • Open Nero Burning ROM
  • Select CD-ROM(Boot) option when the dialogue box appears.
  • Then select the option Image File and click Browse… button. On the dialogue box that appears select All Files from Files of type option. Then browse the boot image. In this case it is in C:\BootImages\WindowsXP\XP-Boot-Image.bif. Note that the extension of boot image which I have used is BIF but it may be something else in your case. I used MagicISO to extract the boot image from the Original Windows XP CD.
  • Check the Enable expert settings (for advanced users only!) checkbox. Then set Kind of Emulation to No Emulation, Boot message to Blank and Number of loaded sectors to 4. Do not change Load segment of sectors (hex!) setting .
  • Then Click on new.
  • Then browse for the files which you have copied from the XP CD to your hard disk. Add those files to the compilation for writing. After all files are added then click on Burn button. Select the Label and Write Speed. Make sure that the Finalize Disk (No Further Writing Possible!) is checked. Then burn the CD
  • This CD is Bootable Windows XP CD.
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