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Windows 7: Install windows 7 on USB external hard drive

10 Jan 2010   #11

Win 7 Ultimate 32bit

I have made it work once. But due to it being unstable, I don't play with it, I don't have time.
I will try again some time when there is a newer version out.

Let me clarify,,, I did not say it was usable, but doable.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Jan 2010   #12

Windows 7

I am running Win 7 from usb hard drive right now to post this. You cannot suspend or hibernate. Also you need to keep a backup of the system hive because plugging lots of usb stuff CAN screw the inf and usb detection driver load order(had this happen once). But as long as you follow these precautions I've been running it this way since September 09.

You can't move between different machines or else will have to re activate and the drivers get screwed up as well. So portable it is not. Runnable from USB hard drive it is.

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Install windows 7 on USB external hard drive-win7.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Feb 2010   #13
Nuno Brito



Sorry but I think that a lot of details about need to be clarified.
I think the message speaks for itself. Windows cannot be installed to a USB hard drive.
Yes, it can:
NT 6.x fast installer: install win7 directly to usb extenal drive

It hasn't been accomplished according to Google for any Windows OS except XP, and that tutorial is one of the most complicated around.
This is possible for windows 3.1, windows 9x, windows XP and windows vista/7

Both 3.1 and 9.x are running on top of DOS and will boot from whatever media DOS boots from.

Here are two projects that illustrate this:
minibox - mini windows on a box - The CD Forum (minibox - win3.11)
WinBuilder Running on Windows 98 (Win98 LiveCD)

For XP there are oodles of free LiveCD projects, many of them based on winbuilder and this is as simple a few clicks. (I'm not joking).

Try out something like LiveXP and you'll see what I mean: WinBuilder: Downloads / Stable or active projects / LiveXP (current)

For Windows Vista, go for VistaPE (VistaPE Home) or try out some of the recent versions of VistaPE made by other developers as the original author stopped working on VistaPE some time ago: VistaPE Leopard Beta II

For Windows 7 there also plenty of projects around. If you don't want to build them by yourself following complicated tutorials, try out this one: Win7RescuePE

Although, yes, Winbuilder has made the process a bit more complicated.
WinBuilder is an engine specifically designed to build boot disks.

There are a lot of projects that use winbuilder to power them. If they are complicated or not is the responsibility of the project author, winbuilder itself is a simple as it can get (one .exe file with less than 1 Mb): WinBuilder - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

You can't move between different machines or else will have to re activate and the drivers get screwed up as well. So portable it is not. Runnable from USB hard drive it is.
If you try the PE version of Windows 7, it can be made almost as complete as a full windows 7 without the nuisances of driver detection and reinstall.

Not an ideal solution but faster and smaller sized (~300 Mb).

My System SpecsSystem Spec

27 Mar 2013   #14

windows 7 32bits

I found how to boot windows 7 on a external hard drive by using a program called PWBoot.
Again, the name is PWBoot.
It took me ages to find a program like this.
All you have to do is install windows Vista or windows 7 by connecting the drive on ata or ide. Then after the installation is over, you boot into windows and install the program PWBoot. From that moment on, your hard drive will be able to boot from a USB. Sweet uh?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Install windows 7 on USB external hard drive

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