The following was done on a machine running CentOS 5.4 and Vmware Workstation 7. I used a Kingwin PATA USB enclosure for a 20GB 2.5” hard drive that came out of a Dell Insprion 4100 laptop.

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Unzip the file, and burn the DOS71CD.ISO image to a CD. I used K3b on my CentOS 5.4 host.

Remove the laptop hard drive and put it in a USB drive enclosure.

Connect laptop hardrive in USB enclosure.

The drive should have all partitions removed, so the DOS installation can create a partition during install.

Create MS-DOS Vmware instance with the USB drive accessed via a physical drive (The only hard drive for this instance.), and the DOS71CD.ISO image file as the CD device.

Make sure that both have “Connect at power on” checked.

Boot the CD/ISO by powering on the newly created Vmware instance.

Go through the installation process and allow the installation to create the boot partition and install the MBR and install Smartdrv.

Once the installation is completed, verify that the USB drive boots by unchecking “Connect at power on” for the CD.

Boot the drive up to verify is boots DOS.

Power down the Vmware instance.

Then, copy the I386 directory from the Windows XP CD to the USB drive. I did this from my CentOS 5.4 Vmware host.

Remove the hard drive the enclosure, and put it back in the laptop.

Boot the laptop into DOS. Note: This did not work for me. I had to boot off a floppy and use “fdisk /mbr” to fix the Master Boot Record. Once, I did this things went pretty quickly.

Run smartdrv. Note: This made a huge difference.

Cd i386.

Run winnt.exe.

This will take quite a while (hours even, although not so in my case). It will even appear stuck on the copying files screen, but it will still be working.

I had to boot a few times during the XP install during the copying files stage. It looks like the install also repaired the boot loader. Nonetheless, in the end it is working fine.