Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Windows 8.1 - Wil EXternal Drive in Docking Station boot?

  1. #1


    France
    Posts : 52
    Windows 8 Pro x64

    Windows 8.1 - Wil EXternal Drive in Docking Station boot?


    Hi,

    Just replaced my OS (Win 8.1) Drive, and was planning on using the old drive as a back up.

    This new (and old) drive have just the OS, all my programs and media etc are on other drives.

    Can I put my old OS drive, with Windows 8.1 still installed, into a USB Docking Station, and use it as a back up boot drive. In other words will this drive boot from the Docking Station if I keep it up to date (Copy Disk regularly) in case of internal hard drive failure?

    Thanks in advance?

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Posts : 2,130
    Windows 8.0 x64


    A regular poster on another forum does what you are suggesting. Except he takes it a step further. Since he builds his own, the system internal drive is in a quick release setup. If the drive has a problem he pulls it out and slides in the backup. He uses Macrium Reflect to image to the backup using a docking station.

    But I've also heard from others that a drive in an enclosure will boot via USB. Some techs use that to boot into a fully working Windows system so they have all the tools needed to fix the customer system during a house call.

    Don't ask me about licensing issues since I'm not an attorney. But the poster who does the haedware backup drive I would think is only using Windows on the one drive that is installed in the machine etc..
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    France
    Posts : 52
    Windows 8 Pro x64


    Hi,

    Thanks for the reply.

    I only want to keep the old drive in case the new one fails to boot for any reason. Hopefully that will not infringe any licensing matters.

    I tried to boot from the disk. Got the usual Windows 8 boot screen, but at about the time it would load the login screen got the BSOD. Unfortunately there is no crash dump (not in the usual place anyway).

    It has a different drive letter, O, instead of C, would that make any difference?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Posts : 2,130
    Windows 8.0 x64


    I imagine it would have to be C: to work. Registry entries have hard coded drive letters.

    Also with my friend, that was with an MBR system. Windows 8 has changed to GPT partition scheme and UEFI booting. I know with Windows 7 they could boot from the external. But Windows 8 may be more difficult. In any case, if the external drive is a clone then it should boot if you install it in the machine. So it's still a way to back up.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,490
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit


    "Windows to GO" is the official way of doing what you are trying to do.
    Windows 8 To Go - Setup on a USB Flash Drive or USB Disk
    Windows To Go - Create in Windows 8 Enterprise
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,490
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit


    Also, The drive letter for that drive in disk management when in your current install, will be different from what it is when you actually boot from the drive via USB.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,490
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit


    Quote Originally Posted by caperjack View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by alphanumeric View Post
    "Windows to GO" is the official way of doing what you are trying to do.
    Windows 8 To Go - Setup on a USB Flash Drive or USB Disk
    Windows To Go - Create in Windows 8 Enterprise
    doesn't work with win8 core or pro edition you need enterprise
    Officially yes that's true. Enterprise is the only one with the utility to create one built in. The second link I posted.
    You can roll your own unofficial version though like in the first link I posted. I wouldn't exactly call it "TO GO" though. As it would likely only work reliably on the PC you created it on. Try it on to many PC's and you would likely get a failed activation etc.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Posts : 2,627
    win8.1.1 enterprise


    Quote Originally Posted by alphanumeric View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by caperjack View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by alphanumeric View Post
    "Windows to GO" is the official way of doing what you are trying to do.
    Windows 8 To Go - Setup on a USB Flash Drive or USB Disk
    Windows To Go - Create in Windows 8 Enterprise
    doesn't work with win8 core or pro edition you need enterprise
    Officially yes that's true. Enterprise is the only one with the utility to create one built in. The second link I posted.
    You can roll your own unofficial version though like in the first link I posted. I wouldn't exactly call it "TO GO" though. As it would likely only work reliably on the PC you created it on. Try it on to many PC's and you would likely get a failed activation etc.
    yeah,that's why i deleted my post ,microsoft certifies usb drive ,here is an example of one ,kind of pricey .i have a laptop hdd in a cheap case setup as one but only played with it a few times
    http://www.amazon.ca/128gb-Datatrave.../dp/B00AHTKVF8
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,490
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit


    Quote Originally Posted by caperjack View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by alphanumeric View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by caperjack View Post
    doesn't work with win8 core or pro edition you need enterprise
    Officially yes that's true. Enterprise is the only one with the utility to create one built in. The second link I posted.
    You can roll your own unofficial version though like in the first link I posted. I wouldn't exactly call it "TO GO" though. As it would likely only work reliably on the PC you created it on. Try it on to many PC's and you would likely get a failed activation etc.
    yeah,that's why i deleted my post ,microsoft certifies usb drive ,here is an example of one ,kind of pricey .i have a laptop hdd in a cheap case setup as one but only played with it a few times
    http://www.amazon.ca/128gb-Datatrave.../dp/B00AHTKVF8
    The issue with thumb drives is they can't be "Removable Media". They have to have bit set in their firmware that ID's them as fixed media. I tried numerous "uncertified" drives and they don't show up in the Windows To GO utility. The certified drives have that bit switched. Like you I'm using an old 5400 RPM laptop drive in an external USB enclosure. I tried a 128 GB Lexar USB 3 thumb drive and a 64 GB Kingstone Hyper X USB thumb drive. The Windows TO Go utility won't use them.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    Posts : 2,627
    win8.1.1 enterprise


    Quote Originally Posted by alphanumeric View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by caperjack View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by alphanumeric View Post

    Officially yes that's true. Enterprise is the only one with the utility to create one built in. The second link I posted.
    You can roll your own unofficial version though like in the first link I posted. I wouldn't exactly call it "TO GO" though. As it would likely only work reliably on the PC you created it on. Try it on to many PC's and you would likely get a failed activation etc.
    yeah,that's why i deleted my post ,microsoft certifies usb drive ,here is an example of one ,kind of pricey .i have a laptop hdd in a cheap case setup as one but only played with it a few times
    http://www.amazon.ca/128gb-Datatrave.../dp/B00AHTKVF8
    The issue with thumb drives is they can't be "Removable Media". They have to have bit set in their firmware that ID's them as fixed media. I tried numerous "uncertified" drives and they don't show up in the Windows To GO utility. The certified drives have that bit switched. Like you I'm using an old 5400 RPM laptop drive in an external USB enclosure. I tried a 128 GB Lexar USB 3 thumb drive and a 64 GB Kingstone Hyper X USB thumb drive. The Windows TO Go utility won't use them.
    but the OP wants to use a clone of his setup on a external drive permanently ,and leave his original drive as a go to if needed .
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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