installing Windows XP on the Asus EEE pc using a single USB flash drive

As a purist that I am, the first thing I wanted to do when I bought my eee-1000H is to re-​install the OS. I have planned to run ubuntu linux or FreeBSD, but as I need to use Office at work for a while so I thougnt I’ll get a Wnid­ows installed first.

The prob­lem is: eee PC doesn’t have a CD drive!

After some research, I came across this arti­cle that almost got things working.

So what’s not working?

  1. After fin­ish­ing the text por­tion of the set up, I got the dreaded hal.dll error that many people seemed to have expe­ri­enced using the method in the arti­cle above.
  2. My 8GB USB flash drive is too large to use PeToUSB’s FAT16x format.

How to solve the hal.dll problem

The USB Win­dows set up seems to have screwed up some­where in han­dling par­ti­tions. In par­tic­u­lar, if you deleted the orig­i­nal Win­dows par­ti­tion, cre­ated a new one during the Win­dows set up, which will for some reason create a Log­i­cal partition.

To solve this prob­lem, I used Par­ti­tion Magic from Hiren’s BootCD (which can be easily made to boot using a 8GB USB drive) to create a Pri­mary par­ti­tion for Win­dows first, and then I hid my other par­ti­tions – that’s right, set them to hidden. Then I pro­ceeded to Win­dows XP set up and installed XP onto the Pri­mary par­ti­tion I pre­pared. That’s it, then I could follow the instruc­tions in the arti­cle to finally boot­ing into a fresh copy of Windows.

How to solve the 8GB limit

I haven’t found an ele­gant solu­tion yet. PeToUSB only sup­ports for­mat­ting using FAT16x which doesn’t sup­port an 8GB par­ti­tion. I tried using Win­dows format to use FAT32, skip­ping the PeToUSB step but the result­ing USB drive didn’t seem to be bootable.

I thought about par­ti­tion­ing the 8GB flash drive into smaller par­ti­tions, but I didn’t have the time to try it.

In the end I set­tled with my 1GB flash drive :p