Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

Install Windows to an External hard drive?

  1. #1

    Posts : 107
    Windows 8.1 Pro X64

    Install Windows to an External hard drive?

    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?


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  2. #2

    Posts : 5,591
    ME, XP,Vista,Win7,Win8,Win8.1
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  3. #3

    Posts : 107
    Windows 8.1 Pro X64

    Thanks but i have Windows 8 Pro not Enterprise and i need to install Windows on a drive connected by USB. The setup says 'Windows cannot be installed to this drive'
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  4. #4

    Posts : 5,591
    ME, XP,Vista,Win7,Win8,Win8.1
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  5. #5

    Posts : 107
    Windows 8.1 Pro X64

    This is good but i need to use my actual hardware eg. gpu not virtual.
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  6. #6

    Posts : 87
    Windows 8.1 Pro 64 Bit

    Sorry photos for leaving because I could not upload all the photos .
    The advantages of using this method is that we are not formatting the drive to make it bootable. So, if you have any data on your external hard drive, you need not worry! But we recommend a backup of critical data on the external hard drive just to be on the safer side.

    Step 1: Connect your external USB hard drive that you want to use as installation media to the PC and backup the data to a safe location as the drive will be erased in the later steps.

    Step 2: Open Computer, right-click on the external hard drive icon, and then selectFormat option to open Format dialog box. Select File System as NTFS, select Quick Format option and click Start button to do a quick format of the drive.
    Click Yes for the confirmation prompt. Once the format is done, you will see “Format Complete” message. Click Ok button
    Step 3: We assume that you have a Windows 8 ISO file. You need to extract the ISO file contents to the root of your external drive. To do this, you need 7-Zip (free), WinZip, or WinRAR software.
    If you have any of the above mentioned zip utility on your PC, right-click on the Windows 8 ISO file and select Extract files option to extract the ISO file contents to the external hard drive.

    NOTE: If you are using 7-Zip software to extract the ISO file, right-click on the ISO >7-Zip > Extract Files option. Make sure that you are extracting the files to the root the external hard drive.

    And if you have Windows 8 DVD, simply copy all files and folders of the DVD to the root of the external hard drive.

    Step 4: Now open Command Prompt with admin privileges. To open the Command Prompt with administrator rights you can follow any of these steps:
    A. Type CMD in Start menu search box and hit Ctrl + Shift + Enter keys simultaneously.
    B. Go to Start > All Programs > Accessories. Right-click on Command Prompt entry and select Run as administrator option.

    Step 5: In the Command Prompt, type-in the following commands and hit Enter key after typing each command.
    bootsect x:
    (where “x” is your external hard drive’s drive letter)
    Click image for larger version

    Click image for larger version

    Step 6: Exit the Command Prompt, reboot your PC and then follow our Windows 8 installation procedure (step-by-step) guide to complete installation.

    Good Luck
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  7. #7

    Posts : 2
    windows 8.1

    Install from your external hard disk. 32 bit to 64 bit :-)
    You shall do this. 100 % work.
    ( when your not have any DVD burner or USB key - This work:-) )
    Install Windows 8.0 clean and new install from any External hard disk maket by old from 32 bit system to 64 bit


    ( YOU NEED )
    External Harddisk may be on USB ( like cable ) and any windows 8 - 32 bit install dvd

    lets go.

    I use any 32 bit pc to make this trick. -> convert from 32 to 64 bit install disk :-)

    Take your External hard drive

    Be sure is clean.

    Use any partions program like AOEMI Partitions Assistant ( is free ) to do thas.

    Delete old External harddisk settings inside the Partitions program , and create any ntfs filesystem disk ( like

    40 gb )
    Set this primary and active.

    download your Windows(64X)8pro.iso file - ( Upgrade Windows with only a product key ) is can be download from
    Upgrade Windows with only a product key - Microsoft Windows Help

    Take the iso file uzip thas to your External Hard disk ( use 7 zip is free too )

    Unplug the External Hard disk.

    Go to you 64 bit pc ( where you need to install windows 8 64 bit )

    Inset your External Hard disk like your 64 bit file on

    inset dvd windows 8 install disk for 32 bit.

    boot up pc - and is beginning install from dvd ( 32 bit )

    Dont install fuld - just wait to your got message "instal now" and down you can se chance "repair your computer"

    chance repair your computer -> go to advanced options -> go to Command prompt

    ( Now Command Prompt is open on you 32 bit install dvd on your 64 bit bit pc )

    go to your external harddisk -> G:

    ( external hard drive’s drive letter . like G: where is your external hard disk list)

    go to boot dir -> cd/boot
    Type -> bootsect F:

    ( Now your are NOT DONE - is only cause we are on 32 bit but need 64 bit boot disk. and 32 bit Command Prompt dont

    like 64 bit.....

    Your got error message "NO NTLDR" if your try install from your external hard disk !!!!!! )

    No problem.

    Just run same but for boot settings:

    Type -> bootsect /nt60 F:

    Now your done on your external hard disk.

    ( remove dvd and be sure your harddisk from new 64 bit pc are clean - VIP !!! Windows 8 install dvd inset hiden

    disk drev on your HD. Clean this like move disk out and use any Partitions program to delete all and make a new

    clean primary partition. )

    Good job - now your have a 64 bit install harddisk. :-)

    Sorry my english not is the best. - maby oure forum administrator do thas.
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  8. #8

    Posts : 1
    Windows 7/8

    Maybe you can try WinToUSB to create Windows To Go USB driver, any version of windows 7/8 is OK.
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Install Windows to an External hard drive?
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