I am having a heck of a time trying to make a simple Windows XP installation USB.

I am running Ubuntu 16.04LTS, and am attempting to dual-boot install Windows XP Pro X64 on this same machine (using BIOS). I have made USB install media before using various methods including Rufus, Etcher, WoeUSB and Unetbootin. This time though, I have been trying for 2 days using all of these tools, formatting the USB in various formats, various XP.iso's, and been unsuccessful to even get past GRUB-rescue. I even used Rufus on a Windows 10 machine to try and make the bootable USB to no avail.

So I am sitting here, thinking there has to be some kind of way to skip the tool's automated systems and just manually build this darn USB install media. I have a good .iso from XP install media, I just need to tell GRUB how to look for the files. Right?

I have been reading the GRUB2 manual, but it is a little hard to join all the pieces I need together for this specific scenario. So I guess my questions are:

  • What file format (FAT32, NTFS) should I format my USB to?

  • How do I "install" the GRUB bootloader to the USB drive?

  • What is the best way to configure GRUB to manage booting to the Windows XP install media on the USB?

If there is a better method to achieve this install, I am all ears! I just figure furthering my understanding of GRUB would be beneficial regardless.

  • Is the USB drive only supposed to boot the XP iso? – jc__ Jul 25 '18 at 16:10
  • What SP is your XP image? IIRC, USB 2.0 wasn't supported natively until SP2, and, given that F5-loading drivers during installation only worked with floppies, you might still need to slipstream some basic drivers to get the boot process going at all. This might be better asked on Super User though, as the question's not really Unix-related at all. – ErikF Jul 25 '18 at 16:22
  • jc__: Yes, that should be the only use for this drive. – Tugg Jul 25 '18 at 18:33
  • ErikF: Thanks, I believe I have a SP3 image, but I will double check. Since I haven't gotten past GRUB yet I didn't think there were any drivers involved yet. I might pop this over to Super User, I just thought that GRUB was more of a Unix deal. – Tugg Jul 25 '18 at 18:35
  • Since XP is unsupported, you might find it hard to get drivers for modern hardware. I always found it hard to get 64-bit drivers for XP, even when XP was in common use, so if you have newer interfaces (especially SATA/motherboard RAID), it may be very difficult to actually install XP even if the USB issue is resolved. :-( – ErikF Jul 25 '18 at 21:32

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