Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Trying to boot Windows 7 from external hard drive

  1. #1


    Posts : 3
    Windows 8

    Trying to boot Windows 7 from external hard drive


    I'm currently using a Dell Inspiron 3520 laptop with Windows 8 on it. I have an external hard drive from a Windows 7 desktop. It recognizes the external hdd right away and I can access it but I can't figure out how to boot Windows 7 as the primary. I've tried changing boot order in bios but I've had no luck as it still boots Windows 8 first. Is there a way to use the Windows 7 as the primary drive or could someone teach me about dual booting? Even a way to temporarly turn off the Windows 8 hard drive will work. I just need to access the Windows 7 hard drive without having to navigate through program files to have to open something. Any ideas?

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Quote Originally Posted by jhamms66 View Post
    I have an external hard drive from a Windows 7 desktop.
    Was the (now) external drive ever a boot drive for Windows 7. If so, was it an internal drive for the Win 7 desktop?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 3
    Windows 8


    Yeah. It was the sole internal drive for my desktop
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Posts : 5,360
    7/8/ubuntu/Linux Deepin


    An external drive?

    7 won't boot natively via usb if that is what you are trying.

    It is possible ,with a couple of registry changes.

    You would also need to add it as a boot menu entry.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Posts : 3
    Windows 8


    And how would I go about that?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 1
    windows 7


    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

  7. #7


    Posts : 5,360
    7/8/ubuntu/Linux Deepin


    Yes, that makes the couple of reg changes for you.

    Phil has been making that for a while.

    Haven't looked at it recently - I just do it by hand
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Posts : 474
    Win 8 (64) : Win 7 (64) : Vista (64) : Android JB 4.2 : iOS 6


    If you use a USB hard drive dock ($30), it will surely work without any third party application. And I would recommend USB 3.0 for faster transfer rate. I have it and it really works. It's actually made so that you won't have to open up your PC to switch hd. It will be recognized by the PC as an internal hd in the same level as C drive. I have the white Nexstar USB 3.0 dock.

    Here: hard drive dock - Google Search
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Germany/Florida
    Posts : 4,514
    Vista and Win7


    Not sure whether that will ever work. Since the Windows 7 system HDD comes from another PC, then you probably run into driver problems and if you solved those you may get activation problems. So this is not a done deal even if you get it to boot.

    Btw: I run my external systems like this - both Windows 8 and a few Linux distros.

    Portable OS - Carry your OS on an External Drive - Windows 7 Help Forums
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    If I image internal hd to external hd, can I boot to external hd to copy back to new internal replacement hd
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Trying to boot Windows 7 from external hard drive
Related Threads
Hello, After experiencing some malfunctions in my hard drive I decided to buy a more reliable one before my existing hard drive completely died. I've used Windows 8.1's backup and recovery tools to create an image of my existing hard drive in the hopes that I can restore this image to my new...
Hi, thanks for all the help you have been giving me! Can i install windows 7 or 8 to an external hard drive so i can take it to another computer, select it from the boot menu and it will boot up? Thanks!
HP Envy dv7, Windows 8 Seagate 2TB drive mounted in a Thermaltake, Max 5 enclosure. The drive does not show in Windows 8. Does show when running Disk Management (diskmgmt.msc) but shows as "Unallocated" without a drive letter. If run the Seagate drive tools, it shows up as unallocated, with...
Hello, Sorry if this is a silly question with a simple answer but I'm not terribly tech savvy and am pulling my hair out over this! I recently purchased a WD 1TB external portable hard drive.When I first got it it was immediately recognised by my laptop (a 2 day old Asus Ultrabook S400C)....
Hello everyone, A few months ago my laptop broke and it needed repairs. The HDD was replaced and i got my laptop back with one new HDD inside and one "broke" HDD in a bag. Later the "Repaired" Laptop crashed again so i bought a new one and took the HDD out of the old laptop. I bought a HDD case...
Hi I successfully managed to create a virtual hard drive on my external drive to try boot windows 8 off it. I managed to boot it up and the login screen also appears as normal. I have a successful login, But on the second time login I am faced with black screen and the cursor. I'm aware that...
I have a 2TB Western Digital My Book Essentials, it's filled with tons of old photos, movies, docs, games, and I'm scared to think of what else. The SATA to USB connector broke on it, so I took the drive apart and put it inside my computer. I opened up device manager because it wasn't showing up...
Eight Forums Android App Eight Forums IOS App Follow us on Facebook