Installing Windows XP from a Microsoft-downloaded .exe file

I recently received a downloaded copy of Windows XP SP3 from Microsoft (I ordered the downloadable file, rather than a mailed CD, for installing on one of my Macs), and noticed that, unlike usual disk images, this file had the extension .exe rather than .iso or .img...

To get it to work with VMWare, I needed to either turn the file into an image, or burn it to a physical CD or DVD. After searching fruitlessly for hours, I finally found a great little app, nlite, that helped me burn the files that came out of the .exe archive to a disc (the app is also a great help for slipstreaming an XP install).

To burn the .exe to a disk image or disc:

  1. Expand the .exe image by double-clicking on it, and choosing a folder into which to expand the files.
  2. Download nlite, and run it.
  3. Follow the steps to create a bootable ISO, and select the folder into which you expanded your install files in step 1.
  4. Burn the disc, or copy the ISO where you need it, and enjoy!