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With Mac OS X, I can copy the DVD to a FireWire drive and use it to install on many different machines.

I want to do the same with Windows XP. Is there a way to copy the CD to a FireWire drive and have it be bootable? Ideally, I'd like to perform the initial copy from a Mac, using Mac/Unix tools. I don't care much about editing the hell out of the copied CD contents.

I'm installing Windows on Macs. That means EFI with a BIOS compatibility thing. I'm installing it on a second partition of GPT drives with partition data mirrored to an MBR. Let's assume it's an internal SATA drive, for now. So, just like BootCamp.

Yes, I'm aware that imaging the installed OS and replicating it to all the machines would be easier. I might do that, but I'm really interested in the idea of not having to use a Windows CD/DVD to perform installs.

So far, nothing straightforward showed up. The Googles is a mess.

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This really is dependent on the computers BIOS as to whether it supports booting from Firewire, and I suspect many will not.

If they do, then making a Firewire drive bootable should be much the same as doing it with a USB drive, the steps for which can be found in this question.

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Well, they're Macs, so it's not BIOS, it's EFI, and of course they support booting from FireWire. Since ever. – kch Aug 8 '09 at 9:05
Thanks for the USB pointer, but I'd prefer to perform the initial steps from a Mac. I'll try to do as explained there anyway by loading a Windows VM. – kch Aug 8 '09 at 9:08

XP can't without hacks. However Vista/7 can be without much hassle.

Format the Apacer Flash Drive Run CMD.EXE and type the following. Note: This set of commands assumes that the USB flash drive is addressed as "disk 1". you should double check that by doing a list of the disks (type "list disk") before cleaning it. If you have multiple hard drives, like an SDFlash drive or a Multibay drive, you could end up wiping your second drive using this command.

select disk 1 
create partition primary 
select partition 1 
format fs=fat32 

Copy Windows Vista's DVD ROM content to the Flash Drive Simply issue the following command to start copying all the content from the Windows Vista DVD to your newly formatted high speed flash drive.

xcopy d:\*.* /s/e/f e:\
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The original source for this answer seems to be!DA410C7F7E038D!1665.entry Verbatim, minus where Kurt Shintaku credits his friend "Josh" for some of the entry. This might be a large copy-paste across the entire internet, but you should still cite references that are not your own. This helps the community at large by finding relevant links which the OP of the reference may have also posted. – mpbloch Aug 10 '09 at 15:47
Also, the OP asks about XP, not Vista. – mpbloch Aug 10 '09 at 15:48

I don't know pre-2000, but from 2000 up you can install just by running the correct setup program (there are two, one for Windows mode one for command line mode) from the 386 folder from the installer. The hard part is that you'd need to have a bootable image from which to get into the initial setup environment.

As far as I know there is no way (maybe with win7 or vista, I don't know because I avoided them like the plague) to boot with that. The setup files are separate from the boot loader. You might need to find a bootable disk of DOS 7 (the equivalent version for Win98's DOS version) and see if you can run the setup program from that, and then image that setup to a firewire disk. I really am not sure because of the Mac's EFI environment; Windows is constructed on computers that use a BIOS, not the Mac firmware.

Is there a reason you don't want to be able to just image the partition from one Mac to another? DD would be your friend in that case.

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Actually, there's Winclone for that, which takes care of a few more things that DD can't. I may end up just imaging, yes. I'm just curious about my options. I'm so used to having Mac OS X setup in a FW drive. It's weird it can't be done with XP. It's kinda lame that you need to have one specific media for the damn thing to work. – kch Aug 8 '09 at 13:59
The other issue is with the SID. Make sure if you clone that you run NewSID to change the security ID on files and the registry or you could end up with some goofy behavior later on. And the network name must be changed. I don't know if Winclone takes care of that or not. – Bart Silverstrim Aug 8 '09 at 23:54

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