Boot to WinPE and install XP from an XP ISO using winnt32.exe
Note: An alternative method is to boot to WinPE and run WinNTSetup.
- Vanilla Microsoft XP ISO (unmodified)
- Can only install to IDE Hard disk (unless nLited ISO is used which includes Mass Storage Drivers)
- Fast - can be automated with no user input once install starts
- USB drive is not required to be left connected once text-mode setup has completed
- No 2nd reboot to E2B menu required
- A Vista/7/8 32-bit Windows Install ISO (or WinPE ISO) is also required (Win10 x86 will report a "Basic Disks created by Windows NT 4.0" error).
1. Easy2Boot overwrites \AutoUnattend.xml and \Unattend.xml with \_ISO\E2B\FiraDisk\auwinnt.xml2. Windows Setup or PE boots3. WinPE Setup looks for \AutoUnattend.xml file on any REMOVABLE DRIVE (e.g. USB Flash drive or CD/DVD) - WinPE looks for \Unattend.xml when wpeinit runs.4. PE runs the WindowsPE RunSynchronous command from the .xml file which then looks for and runs LoadIsoW.cmd5. \_ISO\E2B\FiraDisk\LoadIsoW.cmd loads the XP ISO as a virtual drive and then runs \_ISO\E2B\FiraDisk\RUNWINNT.cmd6. RUNWINNT.cmd prompts the user and formats, or wipes and partitions the target drive and runs winnt32.exe with the correct command line parameters.7. Remove the USB drive and reboot the system to begin the XP Setup text-mode file copy phase which runs from the target hard disk.
Note: By default, the script will assume you will want to wipe and partition Drive 0, however you can prepare any target drive using DiskPart and install XP onto a different drive and partition. Use 0=Max for the default Drive 0 partition size when asked, but then when asked again later if you want to wipe Drive 0, answer N=No - you can then select a different target volume drive letter.
- The first ISO is just your Windows XP Install ISO - i.e. the OS that you want to install (this does NOT need to be contiguous)
- The second ISO needs to be a 32-bit WinPE v2/3/4 ISO - this can be a whole Vista/Win7/Win8 Install ISO OR just a Vista/7/8 WinPE ISO (Win8 PE recommended)
E2B Fixed Disk
Later versions of E2B can use WIMBOOT instead of needing a WinHelper flash drive with E2B Fixed-disk USB drives.
If you are booting Easy2Boot from a USB Hard disk and do not use WIMBOOT, you will also need a WinHelper USB flash drive containing these 3 files -
These 3 files must be on the root of your USB 'Helper' Flash drive.
- AutoUnattend.xml (overwritten - required for Win Vista and later OS Install ISOs),
- Unattend.xml (overwritten - required for WinPE ISOs)
- WINHELPER.USB (marker file to find correct USB drive)
Note: E2B can install any number of Windows ISOs because it uses a special feature of Vista+ OS's which looks for a removable media drive such as a USB Flash drive or DVD. If you only want to install ONE Windows Vista/7/8 ISO using E2B from a USB Hard disk then you can accomplish this without the need for a 'Helper' Flash drive by simply extracting the whole \sources folder from the Windows Install ISO using 7Zip and copying the \sources folder to the root of your E2B Hard drive. If you delete the \sources\ei.cfg file then all available versions (e.g. Basic, Professional, Ultimate) will be offered. Of course, if you do this, you can then only install the version of Windows that is in the \sources folder on your hard disk. See here for details on installing Win7 in this way.
How to make a WinPE ISO
Using the 'Install XP using WinPE' menu option
3 Install XP using WinPE [X]
Select a Windows XP ISO - choose the XP ISO you want to actually installWhich folder is the WinPE ISO in: - choose one of the Windows folders on your Easy2Boot drive that has a WinPE 32-bit ISO file (if using XP 32-bit)Enter WinPE 'Helper' ISO - choose the helper WinPE ISO (for instance a Windows 7 32-bit install ISO file or a Win8PE 32-bit .iso if installing XP 32-bit)Default Disk 0 1st partition size in MB (0=MAX) : - You will be asked to confirm this again later on before the disk is wiped, and then you can choose to just format one partition only and not wipe the whole disk or install to a partition without formatting. Use 0 for maximum size. If you are not going to wipe and partition the disk, choose 0 or any size.Choose an Unattend.txt file (0=MANUAL INSTALL) : - You can specify an unattend.txt file (there is one included in the XP folder which you can copy if you like). Press 0 for no unattend.txt file which means you will have to answer all the questions from XP Setup manually.
Booting to WinPE
- The system will then boot to WinPE from the Vista/7/8 WinPE ISO and should automatically open a blue console window (the auxiliary USB Flash drive must also be connected if using a USB E2B Hard Disk)
- WinPE will detect the xml file, run the section of code inside it and then mount the XP ISO file as a virtual drive.
- You will be asked if you want to wipe the internal hard disk and re-partition it.
Check the drive list carefully to make sure the correct drive has been selected! You may need to maximise the blue console window.
- If you answer N then you will be asked if you want to format a single partition on the hard drive (e.g. C:). This partition will be made active and will become the system partition. Note: if you answer N to this question also, the install will stop. If you answer S=Skip then XP will be installed to an existing partition.
- Winnt32.exe will then be run (and will use the Unattend.txt file if you specified one to automate the install process) - this will take several minutes...
- Press a key to reboot to the internal hard disk and the XP Setup should then proceed - the USB drive(s) can be disconnected.
echo Press a key and reboot from the internal hard disk to continue Setup...REM pause > nulwpeutil reboot
Recommended for Easy2Boot (fastest flash drive!)
SanDisk Extreme SDCZ880-128G-G46
Fastest USB 3!
See Blog post