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Thread: Installing Windows on a External Drive

  1. #1
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    Default Installing Windows on a External Drive

    Hello people, been hoping that someone here would be able to help me out.

    I have an iMac with 500GB of storage space. I also have another two hard disks, one 500GB and another 2TB.

    I need to run some Windows applications on a day-to-day basis, but do intend to partition my drive on the Mac due to space constrains.

    As the current 2TB hard disk is empty, I intend to partition it and install Windows on it, and the rest of it would be used to backup data.

    Anyone knows how I can do this? I intend to have the 2TB hard disk permanently plugged into my Mac btw.

    Can this be done in the first place?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Installing Windows on a External Drive

    Quote Originally Posted by iRaphael View Post
    Hello people, been hoping that someone here would be able to help me out.

    I have an iMac with 500GB of storage space. I also have another two hard disks, one 500GB and another 2TB.

    I need to run some Windows applications on a day-to-day basis, but do intend to partition my drive on the Mac due to space constrains.

    As the current 2TB hard disk is empty, I intend to partition it and install Windows on it, and the rest of it would be used to backup data.

    Anyone knows how I can do this? I intend to have the 2TB hard disk permanently plugged into my Mac btw.

    Can this be done in the first place?
    i dont think u can install windows on an external hard disk.

    why dont u do this instead - partition your primary hard disk for mac and windows and use your external harddisk for storage.

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    Default Re: Installing Windows on a External Drive

    Quote Originally Posted by pokiemon View Post
    i dont think u can install windows on an external hard disk.

    why dont u do this instead - partition your primary hard disk for mac and windows and use your external harddisk for storage.
    I've thought about that, but I really don't want to keep digging into the hard disk to retrieve information.

    I thought, in the event that I do not need to use windows, i can still use the mac and the applications there.

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    Default Re: Installing Windows on a External Drive

    Quote Originally Posted by pokiemon View Post
    i dont think u can install windows on an external hard disk.

    why dont u do this instead - partition your primary hard disk for mac and windows and use your external harddisk for storage.
    u will be surprised. u can install windows on ur secondary harddisk. ts, is there anyway for u to open up ur external hdd and attach it directly to ur pc?

    select boot as ur hdd. run ur windows installer and select to install windows into the hdd. once ur done u can bring windows anywhere u wanna be.

    to give u an idea, my old pc died on me. but the hdd is still there. i got a usb to sata adapter. i'm able to boot both windows 7 (from my laptop) and windows XP (from the old hdd turned external hdd)

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    Default Re: Installing Windows on a External Drive

    I think you can boot from usb to external hdd unless you are using an older generation of Mac that does not support booting from usb devices. However, I doubt you can use it anywhere any Mac since Windows relies on hardware drivers to work. Unless you bring the same hardware wherever you go.

    Found this on the Internet
    http://guides.macrumors.com/Booting_...External_Drive

    You can also use Boot Camp or virtualization on Mac to run Windows.

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    Default Re: Installing Windows on a External Drive

    Quote Originally Posted by ManWearPants View Post
    I think you can boot from usb to external hdd unless you are using an older generation of Mac that does not support booting from usb devices. However, I doubt you can use it anywhere any Mac since Windows relies on hardware drivers to work. Unless you bring the same hardware wherever you go.

    Found this on the Internet
    http://guides.macrumors.com/Booting_...External_Drive

    You can also use Boot Camp or virtualization on Mac to run Windows.
    but ain the drivers installed in the windows xp? it shld be in the hdd. i have no probs so far LOL

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    Default Re: Installing Windows on a External Drive

    Well, so far there is no way I know how to open up this iMac, or at least I don't want to risk breaking it.

    And, nope, this mac ain't going anywhere. It'll be right here on my desk with my hard disks.

    Anyway, does the above solution only work for XP? What about Windows 7?

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    Default Re: Installing Windows on a External Drive

    Quote Originally Posted by iRaphael View Post
    Well, so far there is no way I know how to open up this iMac, or at least I don't want to risk breaking it.

    And, nope, this mac ain't going anywhere. It'll be right here on my desk with my hard disks.

    Anyway, does the above solution only work for XP? What about Windows 7?
    it applies to any os. oses boot from any hdd. just make sure u install into the right one.

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    Default Re: Installing Windows on a External Drive

    Using conventional means, in short, no. ( for win2k & win XP, not sure about win7)

    You can install windows on ext HDD but you can't use it as the OS because it is not possible to boot windows from USB HDD (Conventionally).

    It is by design. Because when the OS loads, it will take control of the USB ports, and this sort of "resets" the USB connection. So anyone who boot fro the USB HDD will get the BSOD message "BOOT_DEVICE_INACCESSIBLE" somewhere during booting.

    Perhaps there maybe a hack somehow. But, by conventional methods, no.


    Quote Originally Posted by iRaphael View Post
    Hello people, been hoping that someone here would be able to help me out.

    I have an iMac with 500GB of storage space. I also have another two hard disks, one 500GB and another 2TB.

    I need to run some Windows applications on a day-to-day basis, but do intend to partition my drive on the Mac due to space constrains.

    As the current 2TB hard disk is empty, I intend to partition it and install Windows on it, and the rest of it would be used to backup data.

    Anyone knows how I can do this? I intend to have the 2TB hard disk permanently plugged into my Mac btw.

    Can this be done in the first place?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Installing Windows on a External Drive

    Idk Mac but as I went into boot menu for PC, I found that there is an option to boot from my WD ext HDD. I using RAID, so, my RAID first, second is the HDD. Try to play with the BIOS setup, maybe you can.
    Only Sony device mostly, haha!

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    Default Re: Installing Windows on a External Drive

    Quote Originally Posted by allenleonhart View Post
    but ain the drivers installed in the windows xp? it shld be in the hdd. i have no probs so far LOL
    The drivers are only installed for what it detects during the installation. If you bring your hdd to another PC which requires different drivers, it will not work.

    I believe you can boot from ext usb as long as the bios supports it but the above applies.

    I vaguely remember someone was selling a bootable ext hdd with Windows XP that will work regardless of the host PC at an IT show some years back. Cannot remember the brand or company.

    The simple way now is to use bootcamp. Why complicates an already complicated life?
    Last edited by ManWearPants; 19th April 2010 at 08:40 PM.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Installing Windows on a External Drive

    Quote Originally Posted by Limsgp View Post
    Using conventional means, in short, no. ( for win2k & win XP, not sure about win7)

    You can install windows on ext HDD but you can't use it as the OS because it is not possible to boot windows from USB HDD (Conventionally).

    It is by design. Because when the OS loads, it will take control of the USB ports, and this sort of "resets" the USB connection. So anyone who boot fro the USB HDD will get the BSOD message "BOOT_DEVICE_INACCESSIBLE" somewhere during booting.

    Perhaps there maybe a hack somehow. But, by conventional methods, no.
    that's what i thought so too. where is geekbrains????

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    Default Re: Installing Windows on a External Drive

    Quote Originally Posted by ManWearPants View Post
    The drivers are only installed for what it detects during the installation. If you bring your hdd to another PC which requires different drivers, it will not work.

    I believe you can boot from ext usb as long as the bios supports it but the above applies.

    I vaguely remember someone was selling a bootable ext hdd with Windows XP that will work regardless of the host PC at an IT show some years back. Cannot remember the brand or company.

    The simple way now is to use bootcamp. Why complicates an already complicated life?
    hmm. not true i think. think abt it. i believe drivers (or at laest a general driver) is pre installed in each os. cause for example, if u plug in a hdd new one into a comptuer, it will say installing hdd driver. one: driver comes along the objects hardware. 2: driver installers are pre installed in os already. it is possible
    correct me if i'm wrong. but i'm saying generally from experience so far. no such issues.

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    Default Re: Installing Windows on a External Drive

    Quote Originally Posted by allenleonhart View Post
    hmm. not true i think. think abt it. i believe drivers (or at laest a general driver) is pre installed in each os. cause for example, if u plug in a hdd new one into a comptuer, it will say installing hdd driver. one: driver comes along the objects hardware. 2: driver installers are pre installed in os already. it is possible
    correct me if i'm wrong. but i'm saying generally from experience so far. no such issues.
    You forgot that a lot of present day chipsets are not in WinXP native drivers list. I used to do these when I DIY my PC years back but now have progressed to notebooks so no longer playing with these.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Installing Windows on a External Drive

    Quote Originally Posted by allenleonhart View Post
    hmm. not true i think. think abt it. i believe drivers (or at laest a general driver) is pre installed in each os. cause for example, if u plug in a hdd new one into a comptuer, it will say installing hdd driver. one: driver comes along the objects hardware. 2: driver installers are pre installed in os already. it is possible
    correct me if i'm wrong. but i'm saying generally from experience so far. no such issues.
    i have reinstalled my win os many times on my sony notebook. i have to manually install each driver from intel chipset software and driver, graphics card, wireless to sound card.

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    Default Re: Installing Windows on a External Drive

    If such a product exist, it would probably been sued by M$ if it is a big company, if it doesn't come with a windows license. Also, how about the driver issue that you actually mentioned? The manufacturer would not be able to foretell what target hardware configuration that the user is using on.

    Anyway, from internet, such a means might actually be possible, but quite unlikely to be found in a legally selling product.


    Quote Originally Posted by ManWearPants View Post
    I vaguely remember someone was selling a bootable ext hdd with Windows XP that will work regardless of the host PC at an IT show some years back. Cannot remember the brand or company.

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    Default Re: Installing Windows on a External Drive

    A bit OT.. but perhaps you can invest in ghost. Can save a lot of efforts..

    Prepare a fresh system with all drivers etc.. and those essential programs, then ghost it.

    Quote Originally Posted by pokiemon View Post
    i have reinstalled my win os many times on my sony notebook. i have to manually install each driver from intel chipset software and driver, graphics card, wireless to sound card.

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    Default Re: Installing Windows on a External Drive

    Quote Originally Posted by Limsgp View Post
    If such a product exist, it would probably been sued by M$ if it is a big company, if it doesn't come with a windows license. Also, how about the driver issue that you actually mentioned? The manufacturer would not be able to foretell what target hardware configuration that the user is using on.

    Anyway, from internet, such a means might actually be possible, but quite unlikely to be found in a legally selling product.
    well. it is illegal to sell the HDD. hmm.

    what if we add an internet connection for it to dl driver. not too sure cause i killed my pc 3 months ago due to psu burn out and i moved on to a notebook too haha
    so very long no mess with this kind of stuff.

    but as far as i know, my old hdd from the pc boots fine as windows xp on my notebook. via the usb to sata adaptor.

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    Default Re: Installing Windows on a External Drive

    Quote Originally Posted by Limsgp View Post
    If such a product exist, it would probably been sued by M$ if it is a big company, if it doesn't come with a windows license. Also, how about the driver issue that you actually mentioned? The manufacturer would not be able to foretell what target hardware configuration that the user is using on.

    Anyway, from internet, such a means might actually be possible, but quite unlikely to be found in a legally selling product.
    I did ask the salesman about the licensing but cannot remember what the answer was. It has been that long. He did a demo and the thing did really work. Couldn't afford it back then so did not probe deeper. I don't see it around anymore. I'll see if I can recall the name after search around the internet abit. It is a French product.
    Last edited by ManWearPants; 19th April 2010 at 11:44 PM.

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    Default Re: Installing Windows on a External Drive

    Have you tried removing the int HDD from the laptop then boot from the ext HDD via the BIOS boot menu?

    Your case is really interesting.. because M$ actually officially state that it does not support booting from ext HDD.

    Quote Originally Posted by allenleonhart View Post

    but as far as i know, my old hdd from the pc boots fine as windows xp on my notebook. via the usb to sata adaptor.

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