Create Custom Windows XP CD with SATA Drivers

With the widespread introduction of SATA hard disk drives and the unexpected longevity of the Windows XP operating system a lot of users nowadays are having problems when trying to install Windows XP.

Whether you’ve replaced your hard disk with a big chunky SATA one or decided to downgrade to XP from Windows Shitsa (eh, of course I mean Vista) then it’s likely you’ll come across an issue where you are either prompted by Windows XP setup for a floppy disk containing a driver or setup simply bombs out with a blue screen of death (BSOD).

The reason for either of these annoying interruptions is that the driver for your hard disk simply isn’t on the Windows XP CD….bummer eh.

You probably don’t have a floppy drive either, right?

This article gives you step by step instructions on how to create a new Windows XP CD from your existing CD plus add in the vital SATA driver that Windows setup so badly desires.  No floppies required!


To achieve this feat you’re going to need the following:

  • An original Windows XP CD
  • A working Windows XP PC
  • A blank writable CD (that is CDR or CDRW should work fine)
  • nLite – a fine, free utility used to create a custom XP CD.  Download Here (opens in new window)
  • SATA Drivers – This is the tricky part.  OK here’s the way I’d start looking:UPDATE January 2011: How To Find Your SATA Drivers
    • Go to your PC, laptop or motherboard manufacturer’s website
    • Find the Support or Downloads section
    • Find the Hard Disk or SATA or Hard Disk Controller or Motherboard drivers area
    • Download the driver package to your hard disk and extract to a folder on your desktop.  For the purposes of this article, I will download and extract my SATA drivers to the SATA folder located on the desktop.
    • If you can’t find it then leave a comment with your PC/Laptop/Motherboard manufacturer and model number and I’ll find them for you

Create the Windows XP CD

  1. Install nLite – you may be prompted to install Microsoft .NET Framwork.  If you are then, install it.  nLite requires this.
  2. Have your SATA drivers (see above) downloaded and extracted to a folder on your Desktop.
  3. Insert your Windows XP CD.  If it autoplays, just cancel back to your Desktop.
  4. Launch nLite by locating the program on either your Desktop or in your Start Menu
  5. On Welcome to nLite! screen click Next
  6. On the Locating the windows installation screen click Browse and select your CD/DVD drive (i.e. your Windows XP CD/DVD) > Click OK > Click Next
  7. You will be prompted where you want to save the CD installation files.  Select or create a folder as prompted and click OK.  The XP install files will begin copying to the folder.
  8. Click OK on the Presets screen.
  9. Now you are presented with a number of options – select the Drivers button so that it has a green light next to it > click Next
  10. On the Drivers screen, click Insert > You will be asked for Single or Multiple driver option.  This will depend on the drivers you need for your particular hardware.  I am doing this with a Dell SATA driver package and have opted to choose Single
  11. You will no be prompted to select a single driver INF file.  Again, this is dependant on your own specific hardware.  You will need to find out your specific hardware information from your manufacturers website so that you can select the correct driver file.
  12. You will now be asked to select a Mode and an Integration option.  For Mode you will need to select Textmode driver as this the driver Windows Setup requires.  You then need to select a driver from the list of textmode drivers.  Ensure you select the correct driver for your particular hardware & OS.  After you have selected, click OKand Next.
  13. Now you’re asked, “Are you sure you want to start the process?” > Click Yes.
  14. When the process finishes you will see a summary have the opportunity create an ISO file.  Click Make ISO.
  15. Select a location to save the ISO file to and click OK.
  16. Once the ISO file is saved you can use it to create a bootable CD using your favorite CD burning software.

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