locked
Can Vista boot to a USB hard drive? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I have a Dell Inspiron laptop, running Vista Home, that recently has developed some major problems. Whether I start in safe mode or normal mode, I get a black screen with the mouse cursor. I can move the cursor, but nothing else happens. Keyboard commands (CTRL-ALT-DELETE) etc. do not help. I used system restore to go back to the earliest date that was available (when the laptop was running normally), and the restore did not help. Various diagnostic tests did not find anything wrong with the system (HD, memory etc.)

     

    It looks like I will have to reinstall Windows, but I do not want to loose the files I have on this system (the only option I have to install Windows would overwrite my files & programs).

     

    My question is: can I use an external USB drive, install Vista on it, and then boot from that? Then I can transfer anything I want to keep to the USB drive, reformat the internal drive, and install Vista on that? Then I can erase the USB drive and use it for backup?

    Saturday, October 4, 2008 6:29 PM

Answers

  • Hi

     

    You said that the CTRL+ALT+DEL does not help.

    When you press these keys, at the black screen, does this show the options menu where you can click the Task manager? 

     

    If it does, click to open the Task Manager.

    Select File / New Task (Run...)

     

    In the Create new task dialog box, type  explorer.exe  and click OK.

     

    Does this start Vista?

    If not, then it is a deeper problem.

     

    You cannot install/boot Vista from an external USB drive. This is not supported.

     

    Your best recovery option would be to replace the current hard drive with a new drive of the same type.

    Install Vista on this drive.

    Replace the original drive as a slave drive.

     

    You could then boot Vista and recover your data from the slave drive.

     

    Let us know if you need more help.

     


    If this post helps to resolve your issue, click the Mark as Answer button at the top of this message.

    Ronnie Vernon
    Microsoft MVP
    Windows Desktop Experience
    Saturday, October 4, 2008 7:54 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Hi

     

    You said that the CTRL+ALT+DEL does not help.

    When you press these keys, at the black screen, does this show the options menu where you can click the Task manager? 

     

    If it does, click to open the Task Manager.

    Select File / New Task (Run...)

     

    In the Create new task dialog box, type  explorer.exe  and click OK.

     

    Does this start Vista?

    If not, then it is a deeper problem.

     

    You cannot install/boot Vista from an external USB drive. This is not supported.

     

    Your best recovery option would be to replace the current hard drive with a new drive of the same type.

    Install Vista on this drive.

    Replace the original drive as a slave drive.

     

    You could then boot Vista and recover your data from the slave drive.

     

    Let us know if you need more help.

     


    If this post helps to resolve your issue, click the Mark as Answer button at the top of this message.

    Ronnie Vernon
    Microsoft MVP
    Windows Desktop Experience
    Saturday, October 4, 2008 7:54 PM
    Moderator
  • Ronnie,

     

    When I press CTRL-ALT-DEL, nothing happens. I still have the same black screen. The strange thing is, the HD activity light is still going, so the computer is doing something.

    Saturday, October 4, 2008 8:05 PM
  •  DirksterG30 wrote:

    Ronnie,

     

    When I press CTRL-ALT-DEL, nothing happens. I still have the same black screen. The strange thing is, the HD activity light is still going, so the computer is doing something.

     

    It sounds like the system is still trying to complete the boot process, but something is preventing this?

     

    You have already tried all of the installed recovery options, so the procedure that I posted is probably the only recourse you have left.

     

    Hope this helps.

     



    Ronnie Vernon
    Microsoft MVP
    Windows Desktop Experience

    Saturday, October 4, 2008 8:21 PM
    Moderator