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Windows 7: How to install Windows 7 on a portable hard drive

18 Aug 2009   #31

Windows 7 RC 64bit

I would do it on a eSATA drive rather than USB (it'd be much faster), but most people dont have eSATA ports or external devices with them.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Aug 2009   #32

XP_Pro, W7_7201, W7RC.vhd, SciLinux5.3, Fedora12, Fedora9_2x, OpenSolaris_09-06

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Antman View Post
Chuckle. I so want to learn this. Latest obstacle...
I noticed that prior to my actual posting... 503

First thought was: M$ bought him out !

Second thought: Maybe it actually is down for maint...
Third thought: Yeah, "Temporarily", for how long ?
Last thought: What the hell, posting is the best -I- could do...

Here's a blurb, from when it was still alive:
Installing and booting Windows XP from USB drive -- Guide
(last updated: 11.06.2006 12:23:26 ) created by emanuel
( on 03.03.2006 14:08:51 )

What is this about?

To keep the introduction short, Microsoft denies that booting Windows off a USB drive works.

See this page:
Vista Forums
for example. It says:

*Q: Can a USB storage device be the primary (and only) means of storage?*
No. USB-based mass storage devices cannot be the primary hard
disk storage solution on a regular system ...

Or this one:
Booting / Installing windows XP from USB drive - microsoft.public.windowsxp.basics | Google Groups
from the microsoft newsgroups:

Windows cannot boot from an USB drive. If your computer supports
booting from such device, you can load a boot loader to the USB
device which starts Windows XP from the HDD.

Anyway, the web is full of those. I was wondering about the same
thing, as i did not want to put a Windows partition on my
Linux.based work laptop, and thought it was a good idea to run
Windows XP off a USB Hard drive that i just plug in when i need it,
and boot from it. To put a long story short, this is exactly what i
do now, thanks to the fantastic research of the people credited
below. However, it took me significant time to figure out all the
painful little problems, and i was not fully happy with the current
official guide <> by Dietmar (no pun, he was the
first to make ANYthing public). I wanted an easy guide that allows
creating a modified version of the Windows XP CD, for painless and
transparent installation to as many systems as you want.

This page is the result of my work. Have fun!


...must go to the people that made this guide possible in the first
place. In recent months, a few blokes going by the handles of
*mkiaer*, *Dietmar *and *sisal *and a few others from the
forums <> came
up with many good pieces of research on how to enable any NT-based
Windows to boot from a USB-drive. Little of this guide would exist
without them - in fact the only reason why i write this up is that
my particular solution seems to be lower effort than any of the
steps i saw before. Many of the steps here are the result of their
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Aug 2009   #33


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by AAIRON View Post
on an obscure forum at that,

Well thanks for stopping by. Please don't hesitate in not returning to obscurity
My System SpecsSystem Spec

30 Oct 2009   #34

Windows 7
install windows 7 to usb external drive

I was having the same problem and found the following instructions:
USB hard drive a bootable Windows 7 install disk

Haven't tried it yet, but thought I would put it out there for others to try out as well.
Hope it helps!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Oct 2009   #35
Microsoft MVP


Windows 7 cannot be installed to a USB drive, otherwise people would carry it around to any computer and have a portable Windows 7.

XP could be installed to a flash drive but required heavy installer mods.

I'm sure someone will find out how to do it, but it will read like the tutorials for complex GRUB boot manager requiring a doctorate degree to complete.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Feb 2011   #36

Windows 7 Ultimate 32bit
Possible success..?

So ive tried a few different methods from hours of Google searching and came up with a virtual machine extracted to a USB HDD partition and a custom boot-loader using Easy BCD.

So far I've gotten to the spinning colors but then automatic reboot.

I'm thinking possibly the pagfile and hibernate.sys but not exactly sure. I plan on trying to redo the partition without hibernation or page-filing enabled sometime this week. Any helpful advice is more than welcome
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 How to install Windows 7 on a portable hard drive

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