This article explains the booting sequence of Windows XP.




  1. QEMU for windows.  (As my system is windows 7)
  2. Bochs for windows.
  3. Windows XP DVD image. Name it Winxp.iso

(Create the image file by imageburn or else from the original Windows XP DVD, or DL it yourself)




  1. Create a hard disk image file by bximage.exe (in the Bochs folder).
  2. Use the following settings. HD, flat, 2048MB. XPhd.img
  3. Run QEMU from command line.

qemu -m 1024 -boot d -cdrom Winxp.iso -hda XPhd.img

  1. This will install the windows xp to the image file XPhd.img.
  2. After the formatting and initialization, it is possible the QEMU cannot reboot itself.
  3. In case of that, just close it and run the folloing command line.

qemu -m 1024 -boot c -cdrom Winxp.iso -hda XPhd.img

  1. It will automatically restart the installation process.


  1. When installationi is finished, run bochsdbg.
  2. Set both the virtual machine and host memory over 1024MB.
  3. Locate the hard disk image to XPhd.img
  4. Set the parameter to flat, cylinder 4161, head 16, sectors/track 63.
  5. In the boot option, choose hard disk.
  6. Fire it up.
  7. Now you can debug the booting process of a hard disk with windowsxp installed.

Some important steps of windows xp installation

After initilization, the windows xp installer will do partition to your hard disk.

What actually is going on during this process is the installer simply calculate the values which will fit into an 4*16 bytes partitioins entry table.

Mix the table with the boot code into a sector.

Copy that sector to the first physical sector of your hard disk.


After the partitioning, you will be able to ask for how to format the partition.

During formatting, in case of NTFS, installer will create (?) the metafile ($MFT, $Volume, $BITMAP...) to the corresponding space in the hard disk.


The booting sequence of Windows XP


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