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Installing windows 8 to external hard drive

    Question

  • I bought 500gb WD essentials HDD. support usb version 2 and 3.

    I want to install windows 8 to my external hard drive so that i can use windows7 default , but sometimes windows8 from external HDD. how i can do it?

    I have also important files on that HDD i want to install windows 8 there in such a way that i can access those file from extrnl HDD from windows 7 also.

    Thanks

    Monday, May 14, 2012 12:03 PM

Answers

All replies

  • Hi,

    Windows 7 and 8 cannot be installed on external HDDs. But, Windows 8 will have a new feature called Windows To Go and you will be able to run Win8 from a USB device.

    Monday, May 14, 2012 6:13 PM
  • Hi,

    Windows 7 and 8 cannot be installed on external HDDs. But, Windows 8 will have a new feature called Windows To Go and you will be able to run Win8 from a USB device.

    How i can run windows 8 from External HDD instead of USB. 

    and also how i can make a windows 8 to run from external HDD , as i have only .iso image of windows 8

    Monday, May 14, 2012 6:20 PM
  • Hi,

    I’m afraid you cannot do that. Windows 8 only support to be installed on a USB drive. More detail steps you can refer:

    http://tweaks.com/windows/52279/how-to-create-a-windows-to-go-usb-drive/

    Thank you for your understanding.

    Regards,

    Leo   Huang


    Leo Huang

    TechNet Community Support

    Wednesday, May 16, 2012 2:51 AM
    Moderator
  • I believe that is mainly a motherboard problem. On my new laptop, you can boot from external HD's and Windows does not handle them as "removable devices". Older BIOS versions didn't allow that but both are necessary conditions to fulfill your request. My guess would be: If your BIOS/MB is newer than 11/2011, you should be able to boot from your *.iso disk (not from within Windows 7!!), point the installer to a valid (primary) partition on your external HD and install Windows 8 there. To start it, just change the boot order to "boot from drive x:" (x being your volume label of the OS partition on the external drive) and restart the computer. Be aware this will not be a multi-boot configuration and will not allow cross-platform data access.

    Understanding Windows is like understanding women.

    Thursday, May 17, 2012 5:34 PM
  • There's a way of doing this. If you want to know, let me know.

    Monday, October 15, 2012 5:15 AM
  • @Ayan07 , can you please tell me the method if you know it? Thank you :)
    Thursday, November 01, 2012 8:39 AM
  • Hi,

    Actually after some time investigating the "how to" around the tech community i was able to compile a solution (kudos for all the ones out there that shared their ideas, experience and knowledge, without them i would not be able to find a solution).

    Ok so here is a method that worked for me using a 500GB WD USB HDD, a copy of Win8 Entreprise and a Win7 computer (its an old laptop, Intel dual core T2390 @ 1.8GHz with 4GiB RAM).

    This procedure took me about 20 min to finish:

    Install Windows 8 TO an USB HDD:

    You need imagex.exe on your computer (get it form Windows AIK: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=696DD665-9F76-4177-A811-39C26D3B3B34&displaylang=en)

    You also need the file install.wim located on the Windows 8 install disc/image.

    i recomend to copy imagex.exe and install.win to a directory not on the destination USB drive to be faster.

    steps of the procedure:

    1: open a command line and switch to the folder were you putted the imagex.exe
    2:  run DISkPART (on the command line :P), you will enter Diskpart "mode", now enter the following commands:
    .1:List (it will give the drives on your computer. Be careful to id the USB one)
    .2:select disk "insert the disk number without the commas" (be certain that you write the number of the USB disk you want to be installed with windows8)
    .3:clean   (this will wipe all the disk partitions... its actually an optionall step if you know what you are doing)
    .4:create partition primary 
    .5:format fs=ntfs quick
    .6:active
    .7:exit (and leave Diskpart) (note this entire step can be done with any partition manager. I tried Paragon and it worked, as long you mark primary and active on the partition)

    3:still on command line, and on the directory you have imagex and install.wim (or if you know the path to bout you can just write it :P)
    .1: imagex.exe /apply install.wim 1 "USB drive Letter":\     (this took me about 10 min to finish)

    4: bcdboot "USB drive letter":\windows /s "USB drive letter":

    5: reboot your computer, make shore that its booting from USB or DVD and put the Windows 8 install disk on the optical drive

    .1 boot Windows 8 install disk and enter repair mode.

    .2 select auto repair and select the usb drive instalation. After its finish it will reboot. 

    .3 on your PC (BIOS) make available USB drive boot and reboot the system. It should work now (it did for me)

    NOTE: you should live about 150MB of unallocated space on the USB HDD before the partition... This will be used for creating the boot partition of Windows 8 (i noted that some people did not needed this).

    I hope this helps anyone.

    • Proposed as answer by ExNoR Monday, March 04, 2013 4:20 PM
    Friday, February 22, 2013 5:02 PM
  • Hi,

    Actually after some time investigating the "how to" around the tech community i was able to compile a solution (kudos for all the ones out there that shared their ideas, experience and knowledge, without them i would not be able to find a solution).

    Ok so here is a method that worked for me using a 500GB WD USB HDD, a copy of Win8 Entreprise and a Win7 computer (its an old laptop, Intel dual core T2390 @ 1.8GHz with 4GiB RAM).

    This procedure took me about 20 min to finish:

    Install Windows 8 TO an USB HDD:

    You need imagex.exe on your computer (get it form Windows AIK: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=696DD665-9F76-4177-A811-39C26D3B3B34&displaylang=en)

    You also need the file install.wim located on the Windows 8 install disc/image.

    i recomend to copy imagex.exe and install.win to a directory not on the destination USB drive to be faster.

    steps of the procedure:

    1: open a command line and switch to the folder were you putted the imagex.exe
    2:  run DISkPART (on the command line :P), you will enter Diskpart "mode", now enter the following commands:
    .1:List (it will give the drives on your computer. Be careful to id the USB one)
    .2:select disk "insert the disk number without the commas" (be certain that you write the number of the USB disk you want to be installed with windows8)
    .3:clean   (this will wipe all the disk partitions... its actually an optionall step if you know what you are doing)
    .4:create partition primary 
    .5:format fs=ntfs quick
    .6:active
    .7:exit (and leave Diskpart) (note this entire step can be done with any partition manager. I tried Paragon and it worked, as long you mark primary and active on the partition)

    3:still on command line, and on the directory you have imagex and install.wim (or if you know the path to bout you can just write it :P)
    .1: imagex.exe /apply install.wim 1 "USB drive Letter":\     (this took me about 10 min to finish)

    4: bcdboot "USB drive letter":\windows /s "USB drive letter":

    5: reboot your computer, make shore that its booting from USB or DVD and put the Windows 8 install disk on the optical drive

    .1 boot Windows 8 install disk and enter repair mode.

    .2 select auto repair and select the usb drive instalation. After its finish it will reboot. 

    .3 on your PC (BIOS) make available USB drive boot and reboot the system. It should work now (it did for me)

    NOTE: you should live about 150MB of unallocated space on the USB HDD before the partition... This will be used for creating the boot partition of Windows 8 (i noted that some people did not needed this).

    I hope this helps anyone.

    wow, this was really helpful! but you forgot to mention one thing: it doesn't automatically assign a letter to the hdd after repartition, so you need to go to the partition manager and manually assign one (right click on the new partition, click mounts and paths, or something like that)

    oh and it's not "shore", it's "sure" :D

    also, the install disk doesn't detect the HDD for me :/


    • Edited by Paulius123 Friday, March 15, 2013 7:29 PM
    Friday, March 15, 2013 12:29 PM
  • In short no. In medium possibly. In third with a lot of work yes.

    Comments: hardware pending.

    Basic foundations of windows and hardware. If the hardware is wrong, it will never work.

    Most home users windows are made to simply only install on drives the bios sees. Windows Install has an order that it chooses to boot and load from in hardware software list. Installation is dependent on the bios and how it is written. Also dependent on the boot manager in windows.

    With a ton of work and software windows can load from some other device.

    Esata is supported fully. 1 computer, 1 license, 1 install or multiple if paid for.

    Linux has many examples that boot from usb or 1394 fire-wire. Keep in mind they are made from scratch to do this from the ground up.

    A usb drive with windows fully installed and running will not function on other hardware because of all the drivers and registry settings and security keys etc. The Windows install marries the hardware and locks in an activation key. So it will not work on any other computer. This has to do with license and copy protection. If this was missing there would be no way to pay and cooperate with license on each computer.

    There are other license that can be paid for that will allow for this type of installation. Bigger business that have many identical computers like a grocery store for example with volume license keys. Also Manufactures of computers buy activated volume keys. General home users are not allowed to buy these keys because of laws by both the software manufacture and court laws. People are in jail because of breaking such laws. Schools have special windows license also.

    If you plug a fully working os into other hardware it would stop working exactly the same way any internal drive os fails to load. It can not read and write to missing or other wrong hardware. This is by design.

    Linux can do it because, again, it is made to do so.

    Esata works fine because the hardware and software are transparent to the os. The os never sees or knows that it is external. If five retail os license are installed on five external drives, each drive could boot by itself.

    Virtual drives and windows function in similar ways. One computer can run multiple os and the display can be sent to each end user.

    Windows server can do full backup and restore on multiple networked computers.

    Problem: data I have is spread out on several computers but I want to access it from any computer with out having to install network software, and with out having to unplug and replug in drives. Answer: is network attached storage. Plug the usb data drive into the router. The network shows it on all computers. Data can even be accessed by a web address through the internet. There are pros and cons of data security.

    An old simple hardware answer is to install a large hard drive and install multiple os on multiple partitions. Boot manager allows to chose the os you want. Third party software is a favorite for creating these pre os boot choices.

    Sunday, May 12, 2013 9:00 PM