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Windows 7: Trying to boot from external ATA HDD

04 Jan 2011   #1
Seijun

Windows 7
 
 
Trying to boot from external ATA HDD

My b/f has two very old IDE/ATA hdd's from some now dead lappys. Both hdd's are living in external usb enclosures. Both have win XP installed. He has a brand new lenovo laptop with win7 64 bit installed. He wants to be able to boot the comp from the old hdd's. He set the boot order in BIOS to boot from the USB first, but it would not boot from either of the old hdd's in this way. I'm not sure the specifics because I wasn't there, but the computer froze and/or threw errors when trying to boot from either. Is there some trick to making this work? The computer DOES recognize both hdd's in "My Computer", it just won't boot from them. He plans to wipe win XP from one of the drives and install ubuntu


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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05 Jan 2011   #2
byngo

windows 7 ultimate 32bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Seijun View Post
My b/f has two very old IDE/ATA hdd's from some now dead lappys. Both hdd's are living in external usb enclosures. Both have win XP installed. He has a brand new lenovo laptop with win7 64 bit installed. He wants to be able to boot the comp from the old hdd's. He set the boot order in BIOS to boot from the USB first, but it would not boot from either of the old hdd's in this way. I'm not sure the specifics because I wasn't there, but the computer froze and/or threw errors when trying to boot from either. Is there some trick to making this work? The computer DOES recognize both hdd's in "My Computer", it just won't boot from them. He plans to wipe win XP from one of the drives and install ubuntu
This will not work for many reasons:-
1) No windows OS is designed to be bootable from USB (there are complicated modifications that can be done to system files but dont go there)
2) A windows operating system is installed to a particular computer. You cannot easily take a hard drive from one machine and expect the operating system on it to work with another computer. (the two machines would need to be identical in hardware)

If you intend to install Ubuntu onto one of them, this too will not boot from USB on the majority of systems but modifications can be made fairly easily to the ubuntu boot commands to get it to work.
I would suggest connecting the USB HDD, Download and burn yourself an Ubuntu live CD. Insert it into the laptop, dont worry, Ubuntu live cd will not change anything on your laptops operating system or settings.
Then you need to look for the "install Ubuntu options". This next process will ask you where you want to install Ubuntu. be careful to choose the right HDD. (if you really want to be sure you can take the lenovo's internall hdd out for now, it is not needed for this operation)
During the process the USB drive will be formated so any existing data will be gone.
Now you should have Ubuntu on the usb hdd.
Take out the live CD. Reboot making sure your boot options are set to "USB HDD" first (assuming you do have that option in the bios).
With some luck, Ubuntu will fire up. If not, you will get a "DOS" like error message.
Now, I have been at this point myself in the past but I cannot remember how I fixed it. You need to search the Ubuntu forums but it was something along the lines of adjusting some boot parameters to basically give more time for the OS loading sequence i think. The adjustment required could vary from machine to machine.

I did also manage to install XP to a USB hdd eventually but that was a pain getting it to boot trust me. Main problem being that when you install a windows operating system, at first it will see the USB hdd via the bios, but a short way into the installation process and loading of drivers, USB will be momentarily disabled, hence the HDD disapears and the installtion falls over.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Jan 2011   #3
byngo

windows 7 ultimate 32bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Joules View Post
I don't know but it could have something to do with the jumper pin settings on the backs of the drives....
2.5" Laptop Hard drives of either PATA or SATA do not have any jumper settings.
3.5" SATA hdd's do not have any jumpers either

Only 3.5" PATA ide HDD's have them.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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05 Jan 2011   #4
Mike Connor

Several, including Windows 7 x64 Ultimate
 
 

You need to read this;

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/BootFromUSB

Regards....Mike Connor
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05 Jan 2011   #5
byngo

windows 7 ultimate 32bit
 
 

Yes indeed, Good link and explains the potential pitfalls to encounter. (There was a little more to getting Ubuntu to Load from USB than I remembered).

I also found this link which is a litttle less intricate to follow and since you have a modern laptop, I dont expect your BIOS has a problem booting from USB HDD in the first place so problems associated with Older computers and Bios should not be applicable to your new Lenovo Laptop.

A much easier way to install Ubuntu on a USB device (Stick or HD)!*|*Ubuntu Geek
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Jan 2011   #6
mlevy

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by byngo View Post
This will not work for many reasons:-
1) No windows OS is designed to be bootable from USB (there are complicated modifications that can be done to system files but dont go there)
2) A windows operating system is installed to a particular computer. You cannot easily take a hard drive from one machine and expect the operating system on it to work with another computer. (the two machines would need to be identical in hardware)
Regarding number 2. That was the case until Vista. I actually just had to replace the MB, CPU and memory in my dad's PC and we just took his HDD, plugged it in and Win 7 detected the new HW and installed it, no OS reinstall needed. Replaced an AM2 nForce 570 board with an AM3 AMD 870 board. See my thread below

Does 7 handle a system board change better than XP?

Of course, I do understand that the drives in question are XP, but I figured I'd help you help others have to do less work.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Jan 2011   #7
byngo

windows 7 ultimate 32bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mlevy View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by byngo View Post
This will not work for many reasons:-
1) No windows OS is designed to be bootable from USB (there are complicated modifications that can be done to system files but dont go there)
2) A windows operating system is installed to a particular computer. You cannot easily take a hard drive from one machine and expect the operating system on it to work with another computer. (the two machines would need to be identical in hardware)
Regarding number 2. That was the case until Vista. I actually just had to replace the MB, CPU and memory in my dad's PC and we just took his HDD, plugged it in and Win 7 detected the new HW and installed it, no OS reinstall needed. Replaced an AM2 nForce 570 board with an AM3 AMD 870 board. See my thread below

Does 7 handle a system board change better than XP?

Of course, I do understand that the drives in question are XP, but I figured I'd help you help others have to do less work.
Wow, never knew that. I have W7 Ultimate now and I will keep that in mind. I must admit, I don't think I would have even asked the question you asked in that post. I would have just done a re-install in my ignorance.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Trying to boot from external ATA HDD




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