How to install windows xp from usb

Last Updated: Jan 25, 2024 by

If you have an old computer or are looking to upgrade your operating system, you may be considering installing Windows XP. However, many newer computers do not have a CD/DVD drive, making it difficult to install the operating system from a disc. Luckily, you can still install Windows XP using a USB drive. In this guide, we will walk you through the steps of installing Windows XP from a USB drive.

Why Install Windows XP from USB?

There are several reasons why you may want to install Windows XP from a USB drive. Some of the main benefits include:

  • Faster installation: Installing Windows XP from a USB drive is typically faster than installing from a CD/DVD.
  • No need for a CD/DVD drive: As mentioned, many newer computers do not have a CD/DVD drive, making it impossible to install Windows XP from a disc.
  • Portability: A USB drive is small and easy to carry around, making it a convenient option for installing Windows XP on multiple computers.

What You Will Need

Before we dive into the installation process, there are a few things you will need to prepare:

  • A USB drive with at least 4GB of storage space
  • A Windows XP installation disc or ISO file
  • A computer with a USB port
  • A working internet connection (optional)

Creating a Bootable USB Installer

The first step in installing Windows XP from a USB drive is to create a bootable USB installer. This will allow your computer to boot from the USB drive and begin the installation process.

Step 1: Format the USB Drive

The first thing you need to do is format your USB drive. This will erase all data on the drive, so make sure you have backed up any important files. To format the drive, follow these steps:

  1. Insert the USB drive into your computer.
  2. Open “My Computer” or “This PC” and right-click on the USB drive.
  3. Select “Format” from the drop-down menu.
  4. In the format window, make sure the “File system” is set to “FAT32” and click “Start”.
  5. Once the format is complete, close the window.

Step 2: Download and Install Rufus

Next, you will need to download and install Rufus, a free and open-source USB installer. Rufus is a lightweight program that allows you to create bootable USB drives from ISO files. To download Rufus, follow these steps:

  1. Open your web browser and go to
  2. Click on the “Download” button.
  3. Once the download is complete, open the Rufus installer and follow the prompts to install the program on your computer.

Step 3: Create the Bootable USB Installer

Now that you have Rufus installed, you can use it to create the bootable USB installer. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Open Rufus.
  2. In the “Device” drop-down menu, select your USB drive.
  3. Click on the “Select” button next to “Boot selection” and choose your Windows XP ISO file.
  4. Leave all other settings as default and click on the “Start” button.
  5. Rufus will now begin creating the bootable USB installer. This may take a few minutes.
  6. Once the process is complete, you will see a message saying “READY”. You can now close Rufus.

Installing Windows XP from USB

Now that you have a bootable USB installer, you can use it to install Windows XP on your computer. Follow these steps to begin the installation process:

  1. Insert the USB drive into the computer you want to install Windows XP on.
  2. Turn on the computer and enter the BIOS setup by pressing the designated key (usually F2, F10, or Del) during startup.
  3. In the BIOS setup, go to the “Boot” tab and change the boot order so that the USB drive is the first boot device.
  4. Save the changes and exit the BIOS setup.
  5. The computer will now boot from the USB drive and you will see the Windows XP installation screen.
  6. Follow the prompts to complete the installation process. You may need to enter your product key and choose your installation options.
  7. Once the installation is complete, remove the USB drive and restart your computer.


If you encounter any issues during the installation process, here are a few troubleshooting tips:

  • USB drive not recognized: If your computer does not recognize the USB drive, try using a different USB port or a different USB drive.
  • Installation freezes or crashes: If the installation freezes or crashes, try restarting the computer and starting the installation process again.
  • Missing drivers: If you are missing drivers during the installation process, you may need to download them from the manufacturer’s website and save them to the USB drive before beginning the installation.


Installing Windows XP from a USB drive may seem daunting, but with the right tools and steps, it can be a simple and efficient process. By creating a bootable USB installer and following the installation steps, you can have Windows XP up and running on your computer in no time.

Gulrukh Ch

About the Author: Gulrukh Ch

Gulrukh Chaudhary, an accomplished digital marketer and technology writer with a passion for exploring the frontiers of innovation. Armed with a Master's degree in Information Technology, Gulrukh seamlessly blends her technical prowess with her creative flair, resulting in captivating insights into the world of emerging technologies. Discover more about her on her LinkedIn profile.

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