There was this ancient IBM Thinkpad T21 that needed an XP installed onto it. Problem was it had no CD drive, just an internal floppy unit. After having tried and failed several of the alternatives for transferring the XP installation files to USB, and they all failed for different reasons, I decided to try boot floppies. I know, "boot floppies"? Wasn't that something they used in the computer stone age? Well, yes. So consider this a very retro exercise. Microsoft still provides boot floppy images for download. They're different downloads for the Home or the Professional edition of XP. You also need to match the language of your XP installation CD with the language of the boot floppies. But the type of licensing doesn't matter. There are no OEM and VLK versions. In my case I needed the XP SP3 Home Swedish version. There's a little problem though. The boot floppy images are Service Pack level sensitive as well. My XP is SP3, but the newest floppy images available are SP2 level. After googling about the subject I found a tip that said if you copied over one file from the SP3 XP CD and replaced the resident one on the first floppy, you'd have your SP3 upgraded boot floppy. So I downloaded the closest image to what I needed, SP2 Home Swedish. When you download the boot floppy images you get a single file. By running this file you're taken through a process where the program asks you to feed the floppy drive 6 floppies in a sequence and, if everything goes well, you'll have your 6 XP SP2 Home Swedish diskettes. But we're gonna do it another way. First we'll extract the separate files that contain the images of the floppies. We'll do that painlessly with the aid of WinRAR. Then we'll use a program called WinImage to replace the file TXTSETUP.SI_ on the first diskette image with TXTSETUP.SIF from the SP3 Home CD, which will make the floppies accept working with an SP3 system. TXTSETUP.SI_ and TXTSETUP.SIF are treated the same way by the installation program. Difference being that TXTSETUP.SI_ is CAB packed while TXTSETUP.SIF is a straight text file. If both are present, the straight file will be preferred. With WinImage the physical floppies can be formatted and written in one go. The nice thing, compared to doing it the Microsoft way, is that if a floppy fails you don't have to start all over from the beginning. And that's all there's to it. Kinda. A prerequisite for this to work is that your source CD isn't heavily patched with mass storage drivers etc. Use an unpatched source. If you really need mass storage drivers you can put them on another floppy and invoke them with F6 while the first boot floppy is loading. Before happily grabbing the 6 floppies and running off to wherever you'll perform the installation, have a dry run with them. This means, boot a computer with the first diskette, feed it the second when asked to, the third, etc. Untill all 6 have loaded without complaints, or without blue screen crashes. If the installation program complains that some file is missing, write down the name of that file and copy it to that diskette from your CD. If you get a blue screen crash, write down the error numbers and google for them. After successfully loading of all 6 diskettes the installation program will find that PCMCIA attached eternal USB CD-DVD drive containing your XP installation CD. Or even that parallel port attached CD drive, if you provided the F6 drivers for it. The rest of the installation will proceed in the normal way. Reboots during installation will not require the diskettes again. If you don't want to really install XP you can just check that the CD is found and then turn off the computer. If the dry run was succesful you could add another file to the first diskette, namely WINNT.SIF, which is the answer file for the installation program. In it are the answers to questions you'd normally type in with your keyboard or click with your mouse. Like the serial number or the time zone you live in. A WINNT.SIF file on floppy will override the one contained in the CD. If there is one there. Many times there isn't. Look in the i386 folder. An idea one might get when studying TXTSETUP.SIF, which is the file that tells the installation program what to load and where everything is, is that maybe one should edit it and remove unneeded stuff? Good idea. One only needs to precede a line with reminder or comment signs, a semicolon ; to make it not count. But it seems TXTSETUP.SIF is quite sensitive to tampering and crashes when the semicolon is placed in front of the wrong line. For the adventurous personality there are even further ideas. Provided that the first diskette is copied the right way, it contains a boot loader, the content of the other floppies can be simply dumped to some other media. Like a USB stick for instance. Easiest way to do this is via UltraISO. By transferring boot floppy 1 to a USB stick with UltraISO and by then adding the files of the other diskettes to that same stick, you'll have a bootable XP stick of sorts. It will try finding an installation CD and then reboot or crash. Since I don't want to end my post with the word crash, I'll just add; Good luck!