Installing XP using DPMS


Installing Windows XP directly from an ISO requires 3 boots, the first two boots must be from the E2B USB drive:

  1. Do NOT configure the BIOS with the E2B USB drive as Drive 0 = first HDD. The internal hard disk shoud be the first disk. Boot from the E2B USB drive using the BIOS Boot Selection menu and hotkey (e.g. F2, F8, F9, F10, F12, ESC - depending on system)
  2. Boot from the E2B USB drive and choose STEP 1 for first text-mode Windows XP Setup stage (formats and copies file to hard disk)
  3. Re-boot to the E2B USB drive again after Windows text-mode Setup stage resets and choose STEP 2
  4. Re-boot after Windows GUI-mode Setup stage has completed (if it reboots to E2B press F7 to reboot to the hard disk)


  • For the most reliable installation experience (less chance of BSOD!), load the ISO into memory in both STEP 1 (Alt+1 and answer Y) and then reboot and choose STEP 2 (use Alt+2). Loading the ISO into memory on each boot is not always necessary however - it depends on what mass storage driver is required and what BIOS/chipset the system has.
  • If you want to use a unattend.txt\winnt.sif file with the ISO, refer to the Unattended Installation page.
  • If you have a modern system, the Driver Pack included in E2B may be too old and may not contain a driver for your disk controller. You can update the Driver Pack by following the instructions here.
  • You can quickly check to see if a driver for your system is included in E2B by using the Utilities Menu - List matching XP DriverPack.ini entries menu.

1. Press W to select the Windows Menu

2. Press Alt+1 to run step 1

3. Choose your XP ISO file

4. At the DPMS Options prompt - hit [ENTER] for Y  (equivalent to option 2). The two F6 SRS floppy images will automatically be made for you which contain a Ram Disk driver and the correct OEM mass storage driver. (If you have problems with the Windows installation - e.g. Windows BSOD or resets just before T-3 minutes stage or have a SCSI controller, try option 3=WinVBlock instead followed by Alt+2 for the 2nd stage)

Note: If booting from an E2B USB-HDD and using FiraDisk (default) then you need to answer Yes to the 'Load XP ISO into memory' question or else you will get a BSOD 0x0000007B error when Setup switches to Windows protected mode! If booting from an E2B USB Hard Disk, you cannot install to  AHCI/SCSI systems having less than 512MB of memory, because you need to load the ISO into memory for these systems. You can use WinVBlock instead, but WinVBlock requires loading the ISO into memory in STEP 2. For this reason, if you have AHCI/SCSI/RAID systems with 512MB or less, use E2B on a USB 'Removable' Flash drive.

5. Wait for XP Setup to start - or press [ENTER] if you are impatient

Note: you can enter A for Abort or C for Command prompt (or D for Debug at command prompt) at this last prompt and then press [ENTER]. 

C/D drops you to the grub4dos command shell - pressing ESC from within the shell will continue where you left off and start Windows Setup).

6. Now go through the normal XP install options  (there is normally no need to use F6). Format the drive and allow XP Setup to copy the files to the hard disk as usual.

7. When the system restarts, boot back to the E2B USB drive again (if the system boots to Windows you will get an '.asms files not found' error - just reboot back to E2B again and carry on as below).

8. Press W to select the Windows Menu again

9. Press Alt+2 - this is the safest and most reliable option for XP Step 2  (or use Alt+3 but you must leave the USB drive connected - if you used OEM+WinVBlock you MUST use Alt+2 and not Alt+3)

  Now choose the SAME ISO XP install file that you chose in step 1. If you get an 'asms files not found' error, repeat the whole install again but try the WinVBlock driver. If possible, always load the whole ISO into RAM (answer Y when prompted).

10. Windows Setup GUI Mode will run and you can complete the installation of Windows XP (after it reboots)

Note: If the FiraDisk RAMDisk driver was installed, it will be removed if you answer Y for Yes to the prompt that will appear when you get to the XP Desktop.

Although the FiraDisk driver does no harm, it does show up as as 'Unknown Device' in Device Manager. If you want to keep FiraDisk, answer N for No.


The two Virtual Floppies that are generated will contain identical files (all driver files will be on both disks). The only difference is that one disk will contain a txtsetup.oem file with a different default driver setting from the other. ie. one txtsetup.oem file will be set to load an AHCI driver and the other will be set to load the OEM driver.


If you have an IDE system and no OEM driver is required, both WinVblock (fd0) and Firadisk (fd1) will be loaded.

E2B DPMS2 Options

1 = OEM+FiraDisk - does not add the WinVBlock driver to the F6 floppies

2 = OEM+FiraDisk+WinVBlock - THIS IS THE DEFAULT = Y = FiraDisk will be loaded

3 = OEM+WinVBlock+FiraDisk - the default Ram Disk driver that will be loaded will be WinVBlock


If you just press the [ENTER] key then Option 2 will be selected = FiraDisk.

If you choose 1 then it is the same as Option 2 (except that the WinVBlock drivers will not be copied to the Virtual F6 floppy disks)

If you choose 3 then both FiraDisk and WinVBlock drivers are copied to the Virtual F6 floppy disks, but Windows will load the WinVblock driver automatically instead of the FiraDisk driver.


The best option to use is option 2. Only use option 3 if option 2 does not work.

FailSafe: If you have a particularly difficult system that seems to crash (BSOD), use Step 1=  Alt+1 - then DPMS2 option 2 = FiraDisk - then Y=load ISO into memory - then Press F6 and load all 3 drivers (OEM+Fira+WinV) - reboot - then choose Alt+2


IMPORTANT: If the Option 3 (WinVBlock driver) is used, you can only use it on 512MB+ systems because in STEP 2, you must use the 'STEP 2 - Install XP [Alt+2] (512MB+ systems]' option.

NOTE: You can use both FiraDisk and WinVBlock and an OEM SRS driver, just press F6 at the start of XP Setup and load all the drivers listed.

Known Issues

  • missing - If using the D/M/L driver pack, you need to unzip the s2k332.7z file.
  • 0x00007B as Setup loads Windows at start of text-mode Stage 1 phase - try loading the ISO into memory (answer Y before the question times out!) or select the WinVBlock driver instead of the FiraDisk driver.
  • If the E2B USB drive is a USB Hard Disk, load the ISO into memory when asked.
  • If you have a DELL PC and no matter what you try you always get BSOD 0x0000007B error - re-make the XP ISO and use a special version of \i386\ntdetect,com. 
  • VBox Scsi (symmpiv driver) install resets at approx T-3 (almost at end of stage 2) - use WinVBlock rather than FiraDisk
  • VBox SAS (symmpiv driver) IRQ_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL at approx T-12 - use Alt+1 (loads ISO into memory) for Step 2.

DPMS2 Output text

The colourful text displayed by DPMS2 will show you what drivers were selected and what two drivers will be loaded by default if you do not press F6. 

If more than one OEM (SRS) driver is found, you will be asked to choose which one you want to be the default.

If more than one OEM driver is required you MUST PRESS F6 at the start of Setup and load ALL the drivers manually from the list presented. This is because the maximum number of drivers that DPMS2 can install automatically (without pressing F6) is 2 (one for each virtual floppy - and one must be the RamDisk driver FiraDisk or WinVBlock).

Using DPMS2 in your own grub4dos menu

If you wish you can use the DPMS2 package in your own application. The DPMS driver folders (\D\M\) must be located directly below the folder that contains the DPMS2.g4d batch file. If you wish to generate a Ram Disk driver floppy, you must specify a value for the grub4dos environment variable FIRA (1=Firadisk only, 2=FiraDisk(default)+WinVBlock, 3=WinVBlock(default)+Firadisk. If you do not set the FIRA parameter before calling DPMS2.g4b then only the SRS F6 virtual floppy (or floppies) will be made.

If there is no SRS driver required and you asked for two floppies and use FIRA=2 or FIRA=3, then one floppy will have a default driver=FiraDisk and the other default=WinVblock.

If you use FIRA=2 or 3 and ask for just one disk you will be asked to choose which driver you want loaded by default.

The DPMS2.g4b batch file also takes a parameter (optional)

(no parameter) = create maximum of two floppies

0 = create fd0 only

1 = create fd1 only

2 = create maximum of two floppies  (same as no parameter)



#create two F6 floppies (one SRS, one default=Firadisk)

set FIRA=2

/mypath/DPMS2.g4b 2


#create one SRS OEM driver F6 floppy on fd0

set FIRA=

/mypath/DPMS2.g4b 0


#create one SRS OEM driver F6 floppy on fd1 + WinVBlock as default on fd0

set FIRA=3



Note that some special commands are also required in your grub4dos menu - see the ..\grub\XPStep1.g4b, ..\grub\XPStep2.g4b and ..\grub\XPStep2LowRam.g4b batch files for help.