Thursday, January 14, 2010

SD Card Windows XP Installation on Toshiba Portege M200

After many hours of research and failed attempts, I have finally managed to get Windows XP Tablet Edition 2005 installed on a Toshiba Portege M200. The following instructions describe installing Windows from an SD card when no CD drive or floppy drive is available, and the computer does not support booting from USB drives. This process should theoretically work for other makes and models of computers as well.

*Be sure your computer supports booting from an SD card before trying*

Create a bootable SD card

First, you need a way to boot the computer with an SD card. The Microsoft Windows System setup disk contains the FDISK and FORMAT utilities as well as the files needed for booting. This disk can be turned into an image file and placed on the SD card to make it bootable.

Download the MS Windows XP System setup disk from here and run it to create a physical floppy disk. Download WinImage from here and use it to create a .vfd file from the floppy. Call the file $tosfd00.vfd. Copy this file to the SD card (and be sure the SD card is formatted for FAT).

The SD card will now boot the laptop just like a floppy. Go ahead and try it out to make sure it works. Once this works, copy the i386 folder from your Windows installation disk to the SD card. If you are installing an OS that requires multiple CDs (such as Windows XP Tablet Edition), be sure to copy the contents of the additional CDs to the SD card now. Your SD card is now bootable and can be used to install Windows.

Copy installation files to the hard disk

Insert the SD card into the laptop and boot up. You should be greeted with a command prompt. Most likely, the current hard disk is formatted in NTFS and will not be read by the boot disk. Type FDISK at the prompt and follow the instructions to view/delete/create partitions as needed. I deleted the existing NTFS partition and created a new one. If you make changes with FDISK, reboot your computer.

Next, type FORMAT followed by the drive letter. The letter of my hard disk was C: so I typed FORMAT C:. Follow the prompts to format your drive. This will format the drive as FAT32. No worries, you’ll convert to NTFS later. Reboot the computer again.

Now the hard disk should be recognized and mounted as C:. Use XCOPY to copy the i386 folder and other supporting files from the SD card to the hard disk. My SD card was mounted as D:, so I typed XCOPY D:\I386 C:\I386 /e /s. This process will take a few minutes. If you copied additional files from multiple install discs, copy these files over as well. I typed XCOPY D:\CMPNENTS C:\CMPNENTS /e /s to copy my additional files.

Start installation

You are now ready to start the Windows installation. Type SMARTDRV at the prompt. Then change the prompt to your hard disk drive letter by typing C:. Change directories to the i386 folder by typing cd I386. Finally, begin setup by typing WINNT. The installer will copy files and may ask some questions. You’ll probably want to convert the format to NTFS when prompted. If asked for the location of files on disk 2 or 3, browse to the location where you copied those files to the hard disk. Enjoy!


The Toshiba Portege M200 is a total POS. In fact, that whole line of Porteges are POSs. Regardless, should you run into trouble and need to reinstall Windows without an external CD drive or network installation, installing Windows from an SD card is relatively simple and quick once you know what to do. Feel free to comment any good info you’ve discovered or ask questions.



  1. I have a question. My computer originally had Windows, but then i switched it to Linux out of curiousity a few months ago, but it turns out i didnt like it. I want to switch it back to Windows but i dont have any of the disks for Windows. it doesnt have to be a fancy windows, but can i do this without having to buy anything?

  2. I also have a Toshiba Portege M200 and I agree that it's a POS -- but it *my* POS and I want to continue to live with it. I bought one of the 3 USB/DVD drives that the M200 actually recognizes but getting any new Windows CD or DVD to boot from it is a frustrating and random affair: I can't make it happen on command.

    What I would like is either an IMG file taken from an original, out-of-the-box M200 and before it was first switched on and the Windows XP install package run. That way I could enter my own CD-Key and it would replicate my original install.

    A backup plan would be to have someone clone their original install (same described above, pre-start the first time, out-of-the-box) and sell me that 2.5" drive.

    Microsoft Windows XP Tablet, as a system of OSs, is extremely hostile to long term maintenance and use. Me? My next system is a Mac ... "Phil"

  3. Hi, is there any chance you could put a copy of the $tosfd00.vfd file up on something like FileDropper?

    I can understand all the rest, but a) I don't have a floppy disk to hand, and b) all the links I follow to System setup disks seem to want to create 6 floppies!

    1. Benjol,

      It's been 3 years since I made this post and unfortunately I don't have any of these resources on-hand anymore. If someone could send me the file, I'd be happy to post on my server for download.

    2. Hohum, thanks for taking the time to answer anyway. I'll have to see what I can do...