Creating a Bootable Windows XP ISO from a Folder: 9 Steps (with Pictures)

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Creating a Bootable Windows XP ISO from a Folder: 9 Steps (with Pictures)
Creating a Bootable Windows XP ISO from a Folder: 9 Steps (with Pictures)
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If your computer came with a version of Windows XP installed, but without an installation disc, you may be wondering how to reinstall the system in case something goes wrong. Fortunately, you can create a Windows XP installation disc from the files on your hard drive. Follow the guide below to learn how to do this.

Steps

Method 1 of 2: Create a folder for Windows XP

Create a Bootable Windows XP ISO from a Folder Step 1

Step 1. Create a new folder

For simplicity, we'll call it WINXP and place it in the root directory of your hard drive. You now need to create a folder “C:\WINXP\”. This folder temporarily houses the complete Windows installation files.

Create a Bootable Windows XP ISO from a Folder Step 2

Step 2. Copy the installation files

To create a bootable installation disc from the Windows folder, you need an i386 folder on your computer. This can be found in the root of your hard drive. The location is usually C:\i386\.

  • Copy this folder to the WINXP folder you created earlier. Make sure to copy and NOT move the files. You do this by right-clicking on the folder named i386 folder and selecting Copy. Go to the WINXP folder, right click and select Paste. The files are now copied. Depending on the speed of your computer, this may take a few minutes.
  • After copying you now have a folder i386 folder in the WINXP folder. The directory now looks like C:\WINXP\i386\.
Create a Bootable Windows XP ISO from a Folder Step 3

Step 3. Create the text file for Windows

Navigate to the WINXP folder and right click in the window. Select New and then Text Document from the submenu. This will create a new text document in the WINXP folder. In the document, type “Windows” without the quotes, followed by a single space. Press Enter once.

Click Save and change the file name to “WIN51”. Now include the quotes to make sure the file is saved without an extension

Create a Bootable Windows XP ISO from a Folder Step 4

Step 4. Choose the appropriate files to copy

Depending on the version of Windows that is installed, you may or may not need to copy certain files. Any files you create should be in the WINXP folder.

  • XP Home: Make a copy of the WIN51IC.
  • XP Home SP1: Create the above file along with the WIN51IC.SP1 file
  • XP Home SP2: Create the above files along with the WIN51IC.SP2 file
  • XP Home SP3: Create the above files along with the WIN51IC.SP3 file
  • XP Pro: Make a copy of the above file WIN51IP.
  • XP Pro SP1: Create the above file along with the WIN51IP.SP1 file
  • XP Pro SP2: Create the above files along with the WIN51IP.SP2 file
  • XP pro SP3: Create the above files along with the WIN51IP.SP3 file
Create a Bootable Windows XP ISO from a Folder Step 5

Step 5. Slipstream the latest update of XP

If you have ever downloaded a Service Pack for Windows XP, you will also need to download the installation. This is because even though the system has been upgraded by installing the Service Pack, it does not mean that the installation file has also been modified.

  • Download the Service Pack from Microsoft. Make sure to download the latest SP installed. This article assumes you want to slipstream SP3. Rename the file to XPSP3.EXE and place it in the root of your C: drive for easy access.
  • Open the command prompt (the command window). Click Start and select Run and enter “cmd” in the text field. Press Enter. This will open the command window. Type the following command and press Enter:

    C:\XPSP3.EXE /integrate:C:\XPSETUP

Method 2 of 2: Burn the disc

Create a Bootable Windows XP ISO from a Folder Step 6

Step 1. Download the Windows boot sector

You can download the boot sector legally and for free from various places online. Make sure you do this from a reliable source, and that you download a boot sector for Windows XP in the correct language.

Place the boot image in the root of drive C:. This is usually called w2ksect.bin. This is required while burning the disc

Create a Bootable Windows XP ISO from a Folder Step 7

Step 2. Download and install ImgBurn

There are several free programs available for creating a bootable disk. This guide assumes you are using ImgBurn. You will have to adjust the settings of the program before you start burning.

Create a Bootable Windows XP ISO from a Folder Step 8

Step 3. Adjust your settings

Open ImgBurn and switch to Build mode. In the output menu you can choose whether you want to burn a blank disc or create an image of your hard drive.

  • Drag and drop your WINXP folder into ImgBurn.
  • Select the Options tab. Change File System to ISO9660 + Joliet. Make sure Recurse Subdirectories is enabled.
  • Select Advanced and then Bootable Disc. Check Make Image bootable. Select None (Custom) from the drop-down list of Emulation Type. Click the folder icon and select the w2ksect.bin file you downloaded earlier. Change Sectors To Load from 1 to 4.
Create a Bootable Windows XP ISO from a Folder Step 9

Step 4. Click the Write/Build button

Confirm the changes you have made in the settings. Give the disk a suitable name. The burning process will now begin. How long this takes depends on the speed of your CD burner. Once the process is complete, your CD will work just like a regular Windows XP installation disc.

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