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Windows 7: Will my PC Boot from an External USB Drive?

15 Sep 2015   #1
Stevekir

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 
Will my PC Boot from an External USB Drive?

Windows 7 Home Premium. PC built last March, C: is a 256 GB SSD. It contains no documents (they are all on an internal spinning HDD.) Motherboard is Gigabyte GA-H81M-S2H. (image attached). It has UEFI. I want to set up an additional drive (outside the case for easey access) to act as a bootable backup. I would clone the C: drive to it (keeping it up to date Windows-wise) and use it to boot the PC if/when necessary.

The obvious and simplest way to do this would be to use an external USB spinning hard drive plugged into a USB socket on the PC's case (I have sockets for USB 2 and USB 3). I've got a new USB 3 drive already sitting on my desktop, Western Digital Elements. But I have been told by several sources that Windows 7 does not reliably boot from a USB drive.

Is that true please? If so, how could I have my PC modified to make USB booting work?

Thanks.




Attached Thumbnails
Will my PC Boot from an External USB Drive?-motherboard.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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15 Sep 2015   #2
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

It can boot from a USB, but it's not easily done and problematic.

An alternative is to use a "drive dock", connected to the PC through an eSATA port. You put an ordinary spinning internal drive into the dock and connect it by cable to the PC. The dock is effectively an "external drive", but the drive is exposed in an open enclosure---not inside an enclosure. This works well--I ran my PC this way for a week last spring. I just restored an image of C to the docked drive.

But your case and motherboard apparently don't have an eSATA port, so an eSATA dock won't help you.

So you are back to square one: fighting the shakiness of USB booting or using other methods--imaging or cloning to an internal drive. You appear to still reject those other methods.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Sep 2015   #3
AddRAM

Windows 7 Pro x64 Windows 10 Pro x64
 
 

Why does it have to be external ?

Why does it have to be USB ?

Just hook the drive up internally, it only takes a minute, do your clone, then update the drive by recloning when ever you feel the need.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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16 Sep 2015   #4
Stevekir

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by AddRAM View Post
Why does it have to be external ?

Why does it have to be USB ?

Just hook the drive up internally, it only takes a minute, do your clone, then update the drive by recloning when ever you feel the need.
On the hooking up internally, that was Ignatzasonic's suggestion and I am thinking aboutit, but the simplicity of connecting a desktop USB drive is attractive. However, many people say that booting from a USB drive is problematical.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Sep 2015   #5
ThrashZone

Win-7-Pro64bit 7-H-Prem-64bit
 
 

My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Sep 2015   #6
LMiller7

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit
 
 

Just to be clear, there are no problems with booting from an external drive. The problem is running Windows 7 on an external drive, something it was never designed for.
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 Will my PC Boot from an External USB Drive?




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