Windows XP users can create a bootable Windows setup disk for free by using a CD-burning software program. Other prerequisites are: a genuine Windows XP license key, hardware drivers and an empty disc.
You must first create a new folder to store all disc content. Do so by right-clicking on an empty area of the desktop, selecting New and then clicking New Folder. Then navigate to the root of the hard-drive partition that holds the operating system, and copy the i386 folder to the new folder you created. C:\ is the default operating system partition in most systems.
Create a text document in the CD content folder by using the right-click menu, open the document, type Windows, and save it. Name the document WIN51IC if using Windows XP Home Edition or WIN51IP if using the Professional Edition. If using a Service Pack with either, type in ".SP" at the end, followed by the Service Pack version. For instance, the text file for Windows XP Professional Service Pack 3 should read WIN51IP.SP3.
Download w2ksect.bin from Ask-Leo.com, and put it in the disc folder. This file makes the computer treat the disc as a bootable drive.
Using a CD-burning software program, burn the entire installation folder to a blank disc. You should pick ISO9660 + Joliet as the file system, disable emulation, indicate the w2ksect.bin file as the boot image, and check the Bootable Disc option. Once the CD is ready, make sure to check its contents by trying to copy them back to your computer, to ensure that the entire disc is readable. A faulty Windows XP bootable disc may render your system unusable.
ImgBurn is a free CD-burning software program that is compatible with all the mentioned settings. You may need to change your BIOS settings to boot from the disc.