Boot Windows xp from external hard drive

Discussion in 'Asus' started by FlipMyLid, Jul 9, 2007.

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  1. FlipMyLid

    FlipMyLid Notebook Enthusiast

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    It's me again with my HD caddyless ASUS S1300n. Wondering if I can boot up Windows with an external Hard drive USB connected. If so, how would I load the Windows operating system onto the external HD?????

    I know that I can boot up UBUNTU with the CD drive. Could I do the same with Windows XP and use the external hard drive as storage.

    Those are the other alternative to a Laptop without a HD caddy!!

    Any help would be much appreciated.

    Thanks
     
  2. E.B.E.

    E.B.E. NBR Procrastinator

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    Well, in the BIOS there should be an option to boot from "USB" or "USB HDD" or "Removable Device" or something like that. Then your external HDD should boot.

    About installing: I am not sure whether and how it'd work on an external HDD. But you can try. Plug it in, insert the installation CD, start the installation process, and see if it displays the HDD partitions. If it does, you're good to go, otherwise I do not know how you can proceed -- ask further.

    There are possibilities to make a WinXP bootable CD. Check this link: http://www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/ and/or google for "windows xp live CD".
     
  3. JPZ

    JPZ Notebook Deity

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    This is not possible. When windows xp boots, it reinitializes all USB devices. When doing so, all usb devices are momentarily disabled and turned off. When this happens, windows loses access to the drive it is installed on, and crashes.

    It is entirely possible to install windows on a usb hard drive, or a normal hard drive in a usb enclosure. You just can't boot windows from it.

    It is possible to boot an operating system from a usb drive. I have installed slax, a slimmed down version of Linux Slackware, on a usb memory stick. It works fine on any computer which supports booting from a usb device.

    I have seen windows xp based live cd's, and it would be possible to use something like this and then use your usb drive as storage. However, none of the windows live cd's I have come across were any good.

    EDIT: I have used the above live cd (Bart's PE live cd), and although it was over a year ago, the live cd was only good for running diagnostic tests on various systems.
     
  4. fabarati

    fabarati Frorum Obfuscator

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    Well for me, windows (both XP and Vista) refused to install on an external hdd (both usb and firewire).
     
  5. E.B.E.

    E.B.E. NBR Procrastinator

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    Maybe you can buy an eSATA enclosure but only if your computer has an eSATA port.
     
  6. MilestonePC.com

    MilestonePC.com Company Representative

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    Yes and No, I believe it is hit and miss for laptops.

    Here is a guide on how to do it, you should also read the forums aswell.
    http://www.ngine.de/index.jsp?pageid=4176

    I have tried this with my desktop and it worked, I had to unplug my internal hard drive and then booted from the external hard drive. I just checked to see whether it would work or not, I didn't do any gaming or anything else.

    I haven't tried it on my laptop, I believe you will have to physically remove the internal hard drive, and then try to boot from the external. Good Luck
     
  7. JPZ

    JPZ Notebook Deity

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    Wow, thanks a lot for that! That is a very interesting project. It looks like (at a quick glance) that he messed with the boot files relating to USB, to change how windows handles them at boot time. It looks like a simple workaround to the problem I mentioned in my previous post.
     
  8. lappy386

    lappy386 Newbie

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    Any chance that this could work with a hard drive out of an old laptop? The thing died on me and I had all my good software on it. I have a laptop for the time being and I have taken the hard drive out and installed it in a external enclosure. It is a dual boot with Ubuntu and Windows. When I try to boot, I get a blue screen that I don't have time to read.
     
  9. JPZ

    JPZ Notebook Deity

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    Hmmm... you can't just access your data on the hard drive without booting that windows install?

    It was a while ago when I read the above information, but if I remember correct, you need to specially configure windows when you install it. Meaning, if you want to boot from your old laptop drive, you need to reinstall windows. Which isn't going to work.

    If you absolutely have to boot from that drive in order to rescue your information, I would suggest that you swap it into a working laptop as the primary hard disk, boot from it like your normally would a laptop, rescue your data, and swap the hard disk from that laptop back in.
     
  10. E.B.E.

    E.B.E. NBR Procrastinator

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    I would suggest instead of booting normally to boot into safe mode, because all the drivers will be wrong on the new hardware setup, and things might bluescreen or otherwise not work.

    Then save your files.

    But if you just need to save data (not recover software installations) then you can just put the old HDD in a USB enclosure and copy the stuff.

    If you have software installations that you want to use and you cannot install them on a new Win installation, here's what I suggest:

    put old HDD as primary HDD in new laptop, boot into safe mode, remove ALL the drivers and hardware-related utilities.
    reinstall drivers for new hardware.
    and keep on using the old Windows.

    But this is very much a compromise solution, and given my experience with Windows I would say this will work worse than a clean install.
     

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