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Windows 7: Installing XP to an external drive

08 Feb 2011   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate X64
Installing XP to an external drive

I have a laptop with a broken LCD. I can hook it up to a monitor to use, but the monitor doesn't work until Windows starts. I am trying to install XP onto the hard drive from my Windows 7 computer but am getting the "blocked due to compatibility issues" message. Is it possible to do it?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Feb 2011   #2


Unfortunately you have to boot the XP installer to install and cannot run it from Win7. You also cannot install to an external HD without great trouble and poor performance.

You can run XP Mode from Ultimate or Pro, or virtualize XP from within any Win7 version using Vitual Box, Virtual Player or VMWare freeware.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Feb 2011   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate X64

Thanks, I was afraid of that. Just to be clear, I'm not wanting to run from the external drive, just wanted to install the OS, then pop it back into the computer from which it came.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

09 Feb 2011   #4
Julio Cortez

Windows 10 1703

I think you could remove your W7 hard drive from your machine, connect the laptop's drive instead of it and try launching the XP install from the XP CD. Once finished, remove the laptop drive from your machine (and of course pop it back into the laptop) and connect the W7 disk back into place.

But chances are that you will eexperience some drivers issues at least, if you install XP on a PC and then pop the disk into another (I assume completely different) one.

It can be useful giving it a try anyway, for the sake of discovery :P
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Feb 2011   #5


When changing hardware XP requires a repair install, also done by booting the XP CD: Repair Windows XP - How To Perform a Repair Installation of Windows XP - Part 1 of 2
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Feb 2011   #6

Windows 10 Education 64 bit

Maybe this will help. It reportedly works for XP too. Its just some info I saved to a text file many moons ago.
Requirements for Using the "WINNT32 /SYSPART" Command
In Windows 2000, the /syspart parameter for Winnt32.exe causes Windows 2000 Setup to copy all the necessary boot files and temporary Setup files to a drive and mark the partition as active. You can then install the drive in another computer,
turn the computer on, and continue with Setup.
To use the winnt32 /syspart command, the following conditions must exist:
You can run the command from a Microsoft Windows NT 4.0-based, or Windows 2000-based computer.
The server or workstation must contain two hard disks; the second hard disk must be the destination disk.
The second hard disk must have a primary partition. The /syspart switch sets this partition as active..
The second hard disk must be formatted so that Setup can copy files to it.
There are no limitations as to the hardware in the target computer.
The information in this article applies to:
Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Feb 2011   #7
Julio Cortez

Windows 10 1703

+1 to what alphanumeric wrote while I was posting.

On a different note, if also that doesn't work:

I once had to put the two old system disks of mine (which were in a RAID0) on a different PC (my boss' one) which had the same motherboard as mine but different VGA and CPU, to try recovering the data from the RAID after a chipset failure on my mobo.
Well, call me lucky, but everything I was asked for was a re-activation (within 3 days if I don't go wrong, instead of the usual 30), so I didn't need a repair install even if I installed the OS on a PC (mine) and ran it on a different one (my boss' one).

Maybe he would be as lucky as I have been? Giving it a try, even if it may lead to trouble (as I already stated before), seems the only way to me:
if it went well, he'd have a laptop. If it went bad, he'd have wasted 2 hours of his life
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Feb 2011   #8


You can also remove all drivers from an XP install done on another machine by using Acronis 10 or higher with Universal Restore to image it over, or by booting Paragon Adaptive restore CD to do this before starting it on the target laptop.

SysPrep will also do this as the last step after install on the other machine and works on XP, similar to this: Windows 7 Installation - Transfer to a New Computer
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Installing XP to an external drive

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