Creating a Windows XP/Server2003 bootable flash drive

By Scotty Dennis

What will you need 

Flash drive 256MB+ (I used a 512MB Lexar JumpDrive)

Basic Installation Instructions 

  1. Install PE Builder (use default installation options)

  2. Insert your Windows Installation CD into your CD Drive

  3. Open PE Builder

  4. Under Builder set "Source: (path to windows installation files)" to your CD drive

  5. Make sure "Output: (c:\pebuilder3110a\BartPE)" is set to "BartPE"

  6. Set "Media Output" to "None"

  7. Click "Build" and the files will be built (this may take awhile)

  8. Exit BartPE

  9. Extract PeToUSB3.0.0.7

  10. Open PeToUSB.exe

  11. Set "Destination Drive:" to "USB Removable"

  12. Find your USB disk in the pull down menu

  13. Check "Enable Disk Format", "Quick Format"

  14. Set "Source Path To Built BartPE/WinPE Files:" to "C:\pebuilder3110a\BartPE"

  15. Check "Enable File Copy" and choose "Overwrite Always" on the drop down menu

  16. Click start (okay the messages and off it goes…. also may take a while)

  17. There you go you now have a bootable version of windows on a flash drive.

Booting the flash drive 

  1. Plug flash drive in USB slot

  2. Start computer

  3. Enter BIOS

  4. Set your boot order so that the USB boots first, before your hard drives, CD-ROMs and Floppy Drives

  5. And it should into BartPE


Visit for more information on BartPE Visit for more information on

Installing Windows XP from USB thumbdrive

December 22nd, 2007 by admin

Please note this tutorial works on all computers not just the Asus EEE PC.

To complete this tutorial you need a 32bit version of Windows XP or Windows Vista installed on your home PC.

What you'll need: USB_PREP8 (alternative download) PeToUSB (alternative download) Bootsect.exe (alternative download)

Extract the files in The next step is to extract USB_prep8 and PeToUSB. Next copy the PeToUSB executable into the USB_prep8 folder. Inside of the USB_prep8 folder double click the executable named usb_prep8.cmd.

The window that opens will look like this:

Press any key to continue

You next window will look like this: These settings are preconfigured for you all you need to do now is click start. Once the format is complete DO NOT close the window just leave everything as it is and open a command prompt from your start menu (type cmd in the search bar or run box depending on your version of windows.).

Inside of the command windows go to the directory you have bootsect.exe saved. (use the cd directoryname command to switch folders)

Now type "bootsect.exe /nt52 R:" NOTE R: is the drive letter for my USB stick if yours is different you need to change it accordingly. What this part does is write the correct boot sector to your USB stick, this allows your PC to boot from the USB stick without it nothing works. Please note: When running the bootsect.exe command you cannot have any windows open displaying the content of your USB stick, if you have a window open bootsect.exe will be unable to lock the drive and write the bootsector correctly.

If all went well you should see "Bootcode was successfully updated on all targeted volumes."

Now you can close this command prompt (don't close the usbprep8 one by mistake) and the petousb window.

You window you see now should look like this:

If it doesn't try pressing enter.

Now you need to enter the correct information for numbers 1-3. Press 1 and then enter. A folder browse window will open for you to browse to the location of you XP setup files (aka your cdrom drive with xp cd in) Press 2 and enter a letter not currently assigned to a drive on your PC Press 3 and enter the drive letter of your USB stick Press 4 to start the process.

The script will ask you if its ok to format drive T:. This is just a temp drive the program creates to cache the windows installation files. Press Y then enter.

Once it's done formating press enter to continue again, you can now see the program copying files to the temp drive it created. Once this is done press enter to continue again.

Next you will see a box pop up asking you to copy the files to USB drive yes/no you want to click yes.

Once the script has completed copy files a popup window asking if you would like to USB drive to be preferred boot drive U: select YES on this window.

Now select yes to unmount the virtual drive.

Ok we are done the hard part, close the usbprep8 window.

Now make sure your EEE pc is configured with USB as the primary boot device. Insert your USB drive and boot up the EEE.

On the startup menu you have two options, select option number 2 for text mode setup.

From this point on it is just like any other windows XP installation delete/recreate the primary partition on your EEE pc and format it using NTFS.

Once the text mode portion of setup is complete it will boot into the GUI mode (you can press enter after the reboot if your too excited to wait the 30 seconds)

Once the GUI portion of setup is complete you will again have to boot into GUI mode this will complete the XP installation and you will end up at you XP desktop. It is very important that you DO NOT REMOVE THE USB STICK before this point. Once you can see your start menu it is safe to remove the usb stick and reboot your pc to make sure everything worked.

This method has advantages over all current no cdrom methods of installing XP to the EEE. You do not have to copy setup files in DOS to the SSD and install from there. It gives you access to the recovery console by booting into text mode setup, and it gives you the ability to run repair installations of XP if you have problems later on.

I hope this worked out for you and please post feedback to the comments section.

documented on: 2008-03-08

How to boot BOINCpe/BartPE from a USB flash drive or USB HDD

Instead of running BOINCpe/BartPE from a CD you can also use a little tool to make it work right away from a USB flash drive or external harddrive. This guide describes how to set up your USB pen drive/stick in 3 simple steps. BOINCpe only needs a 256 MB USB key to run. These are available for little money e.g. on eBay.

Please note that BOINCpe will still use a RAM disk to store intermediate computational results for the BOINC work units. This way a flash drive will not be worn out soon because of its limited number of write cycles. Basically, you could even write-protect the USB drive.

Step #1: Configure BOINCpe/BartPE 

BOINCpe/BartPE on USB drive using PeToUSB - Part 1Please refer to How to set up BOINCpe and BOINCpe: Advanced Configuration on how to set up the plugin configuration meeting your needs.

You will not need to create an ISO and neither burn this build of your configuration to a disk (Media output = "none"). However, you need to be aware of the location where the output is being generated (the directory displayed after Output).

After the build process is completed, proceed to step #2.

Step #2: Prepare your USB drive 

BOINCpe/BartPE on USB drive using PeToUSB - Part 2 (PeToUSB Configuration)Download PeToUSB and set it up according to the presented screenshot. Unfortunately, the latest version is available in German only.

Important notice: All your data on the USB drive being used for BOINCpe/BartPE will be lost if you follow these instructions!

Please backup your MBR (Master Boot Record) using the Tools\MBR sichern… command first. In case something goes wrong, you'll be able to restore the original MBR and don't end up with a useless USB drive.

Next, make sure you select the correct target drive (Ziellaufwerk). Finally, select the marked checkboxes and specify the output path of the BOINCpe/BartPE build and hit Start.

Please note that this guide is based on BartPE v3.1.10a and PeToUSB v3.0.0.8_GER.

Step #3: Boot the new host using the USB drive 

You might have to modify the boot sequence in the host's BIOS setup. Since the UIs of different manufacturers look slightly different to each other, you should watch out to have one of the following device as prioritized boot device: "Removable device", "USB Storage Stick", "USB Flash Drive" or similar.

Some screenshots of popular BIOS versions are available here.


Major parts of this guide have been contributed by Thomas. Thanks for sharing your findings!

PeToUSB was developed by Rich Burnham from Please refer to the licence under which the tool is available. Related Articles

BOINCpe: Live-CD for BOINC

With BOINCpe you can run a dedicated BOINC machine in-RAM (using a RAM disk) starting from only 256 MB of total RAM. This is useful to operate your BOINC farm more energy-efficient (without HDDs) or to temporarily activate machines without hard disk drives (HDD) for BOINC.

You only need the following components for a fully capable BOINC crunching machine featuring low power consumption:

BOINCpe is based on BartPE and, therefore, on a preinstalled Microsoft Windows environment. It is as light-weight as any Windows can be. There is no 24 hour limit for operation like in WinPE. Of course, you need a proper license for the Windows version you are running (XP Home is sufficient). BOINCpe itself is free!

In combination with a BAM (BOINC Account Manager) Account, it is extremely easy and comfortable to integrate new machines. Basically, it is copying a couple of files (~4 of them), burning the CD and booting up…

documented on: 2008-03-08