Now that I've got eeeXubuntu installed on my 4GB SD card, I figured I might as well try installing Windows XP on my Eee PC's main memory. After all, even if I royally mess things up, there's zero chance of ending up with an unbootable machine unless I lose my SD card.

But there are just two problems:

  1. I don't want Windows XP to eat up more than half of my computer's solid state disk
  2. I don't have a USB CD/DVD-ROM drive
Either one of these alone wouldn't pose much of a problem. You can slim down your Windows XP installation using nLite. Or if you want to install a full system by copying data from your XP DVD to a USB flash drive, you can follow some relatively simple instructions from Eee PC Tutorials. But try using those instructions to install an nLited copy of XP and you could be in for a world of headache.

So here's what I found out after spending the better part of a day working on it: Whatever you do, do not remove the "manual install" feature using nLite. This will make it impossible to load the files properly onto your USB flash drive. Since the manual install feature takes up 40+ MB, it looks like a prime candidate for removal at first, but looks can be deceiving.

The second thing I learned is that you must delete all 4 partitions on your Eee PC's SSD.

So in a nutshell, here's what you need:
If you follow my advice and make sure not to remove "manual install" from the install disc, and make sure to delete all of your Eee PC's existing partitions (I know one says BIOS, but don't worry, you won't actually delete your BIOS if you delete this partition), you should be able to avoid the dreaded "missing hal.dll" and missing "ntldr missing" errors that seem to be the most common problems that pop up if you do things incorrectly.

Also note that several times while I was trying to install from the flash drive, I was told that files were missing. The solution seemed to be to prep the flash drive over again. I don't know why, but this seemed to help, even though I did everything exactly the same way the second time around.

Once you get XP up and running you still need to load the Asus drivers if you want support for WiFi, sound, and the Eee PC's unusual 800 x 480 pixel display. This was easier (and more time consuming) than I expected. All I had to do was copy the files from the Asus support DVD to a USB stick, plug it into my Eee PC and click setup. Installing the drivers takes a pretty long time.

Overall my Eee PC is pretty responsive when running XP, but for the first time I'm thinking seriously about upgrading the RAM from 512MB to 1GB. I disabled the page file to save space and cut down on writes to the solid state disk. And while 512MB is plenty of memory for Xandros or Xubuntu, it's a bit light for Windows XP with no page file.

When I first installed my nLited version of XP, it took up 1.3GB of space. Removing the page file got that down to just 609MB, and after clearing system backup data following the instructions in the Eee PC user manual, XP was using just 458MB. Of course, because I couldn't leave well enough alone I decided to install Windows XP SP3 RC, which bumped my installation all the way to 1.6GB. I'll continue tweaking, but for now I'm happy to say I have an Eee PC that can boot into Windows XP or eeeXubuntu.


Nick said...

Nick from eeetutorials here, I've heard back from some of my visitors that nlite installation work with my guide as long as you don't remove the manual installation files. Nice site btw :)

Anonymous said...

thanks for the write up. would you pl inform how to get this"Eee PC that can boot into Windows XP or eeeXubuntu." meaning Win XP as well as EEEXubuntu. by the way how much disk space is LEFT after having 2 that psbl to have XP alone & then add Linux.Any option for having one OS in SD card & boot from that. pl clarify.thanks

Brad Linder said...

All you have to do is follow the steps in this article to install XP on your main memory and install eeeXubuntu onto an SD card:

The net result is a dual boot system with XP running from the SSD, and Xubuntu running from an SD card. The way I've configured XP, it takes up just over a gig with a dozen or so programs installed, leaving nearly 3GB for storage. Since Xubuntu is installed on an SD card, it doesn't take up any of my main storage space at all.

Dan said...

thank you sooooo much. This must have taken you a while to figure out. I'm glad I stumbled across this. You saved me a ton of time!

Anonymous said...

It is really important to remove that virtual memory/swap file even if you do not have much ram installed. Solid State drives wear out fast with write cycles.
Thanks for a great sight. I am going to try your link to the 1000 video resolution tonight. I will post photos of my results in a few hours.

latte said...

Remember if you are slimmed down and not running automatic updates to use precautions.

Mark said...

I used Nlite then just connected a USB to IDE adapter to an old CDROM. Then I moved "My Documents" temporary internet files, and all my new installation disks onto the second HD of my EEE 900. It was really slick

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