Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


How to make Portable Windows system (any version)

  1. #1


    Hafnarfjörður IS
    Posts : 4,376
    Linux Centos 7, W8.1, W7, W2K3 Server W10

    How to make Portable Windows system (any version)


    Hi there

    ADDED Notes for UEFI systems --- see my last post in this thread for details when using UEFI systems.


    If you haven't got Windows 8 Enterprise and you want to make a portable Windows system then it can still be done quite easily (and a good learning process too).

    What you need to get acceptable performance is a USB3 stick (large enough for a Windows system) or better an SSD - if you've got or replaced an older 120 GB SD for example that will be perfect.. An SSD connected to even a USB2 port will provide a decent enough response - better if you connect the SSD to a USB3 port even with the standard SATA==>USB2 cable. An esata connection is fastest. You need also a USB installation stick.

    1) Download OPENSUSE 13.1 either the full version or the Live CD -- while the live CD is less download the full version seems to work better.
    2) Create a bootable USB of the downloaded distro. To do this read this link - it's better on a USB even if you DO have DVD/CD's in your machine. Faster and easier.

    https://en.opensuse.org/SDB:Create_a..._using_Windows

    3) boot the USB -- Very important press F2 to select your language and keyboard and F3 to select the correct video resolution for your monitor.

    4) In the selections after boot choose KDE (it's the easiest and most Windows like interface for people not used to Linux).

    5) Now follow the instructions here EXACTLY - especially the BOOT LOADER otherwise you will write the boot record to your Windows HDD and you'll get problems booting Windows if the external HDD isn't connected to your system. (You can use EITHER the full distro like I've suggested or you can use the live CD. I prefer the full distro as there are some things I like to run on the Linux system. The Live CD is better for just a leaner mean machine.

    6) after booting install VMWARE PLAYER

    (instructions -- two links)

    Installing openSUSE 13.1 onto an External Hard Drive. - Blogs - openSUSE Forums

    How to install VMware Player on OpenSUSE 13.1

    7) Install your Windows Guest OS

    8) Now you've got a 100% PORTABLE decent Windows OS (and Linux too).


    The same mechanism can be done with other Distros -- the main thing is to ensure the GRUB LOADER doesn't get written to your internal HDD's. Linux has no problem booting and running from external devices.

    If you hose up GRUB so it gets written to your Windows HDD - simply insert your Windows install media, choose repair system ==> command prompt

    uninstall - Removing GRUB from windows system after uninstalling Ubuntu from Windows 7 - Ask Ubuntu

    (Although this refers t UBUNTU it's the same for almost any Linu distro).

    Have fun -- great learning tool too for Linux and Virtual Machines.

    (Allow your machine to boot legacy OS'es if you have Protected boot / EFI - that way the system is genuinely portable rather than by creating an EFI version).

    Screenshot -- Suse 13.1 with Vmware workstation 10.1 and BBC TV running totally off eternal SSD.

    Cheers

    jimbo
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails snapshot1.png  
    Last edited by jimbo45; 28 Apr 2014 at 02:56.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    I've got to get me a 64GB USB3 stick to try this with, sounds like fun.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 38
    Win 8 Pro


    You could also try Portable Virtualbox : Portable-VirtualBox | Download of Portable-VirtualBox
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Germany/Florida
    Posts : 4,514
    Vista and Win7


    Great idea. Since I have A full blown Linux Mint on a stick, I'll try with that.

    To create a Mint stick, you can use this method (very easy)

    For the VMware Player installation I will try this method. That looks the easiest to me.

    I have already 6 VMware Player virtual systems parked on a SSD attached via eSata - including Windows 8.1. I currently run those system from VMware Player on Windows 7 hosts. On some systems I use USB3 which works well too.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Hafnarfjörður IS
    Posts : 4,376
    Linux Centos 7, W8.1, W7, W2K3 Server W10


    Quote Originally Posted by whs View Post
    Great idea. Since I have A full blown Linux Mint on a stick, I'll try with that.

    To create a Mint stick, you can use this method (very easy)

    For the VMware Player installation I will try this method. That looks the easiest to me.



    I have already 6 VMware Player virtual systems parked on a SSD attached via eSata - including Windows 8.1. I currently run those system from VMware Player on Windows 7 hosts. On some systems I use USB3 which works well too.
    Hi there

    it's no problem running VM's parked on external media - however the purpose of the post was to explain that this system BOOTS and RUNS entirely on the external media - even if there's no INTERNAL HDD on the computer (or it's broken).

    That's why I explained on how to install the bootloader without touching your existing system in any way. This makes the external USB a totally portable system - although you might on rareish occasions find the Linux system needs to have another graphics driver installed if you run the system on WILDLY dissimilar hardware - such as a computer with an external NVIDIA specialized gaming GPU - however it boots fine to lots of different laptops without any problem.

    VBOX should work too or even XEN (although you need to access the VM then by RDP / VNC) - the trick is to make the bootloader ONLY USE THE EXTERNAL BOOT USB. You want the system to boot normally when the usb is not attached of course.

    I want to try and find an absolutely MINIMAL Linux system now to do this on. Something based on Knoppix might be a good idea as it dynamically determines the hardware set at boot time and loads the appropriate drivers --this would make the system REALLY flexible.

    The Linux system would need 1) simplest GUI possible
    2) VMWARE or VBOX software
    3) An Internet browser - OPERA / MOZILLA etc
    4) Optional - VLC / Video / audio software, and possibly CD / DVD burner.

    (Depending on your Host's graphics you might get better graphics on the Linux system than the VM but I've found graphics (non 3-D) perfectly acceptable on the Guest. DVD playing (virtual ISO mounting) and video streamed from the net works just fine).

    On your Virtual machine(s) just install anything you feel is useful my main VM is a Windows 7 system where I have Office 2010 (Eng and Icelandic versions), Photoshop CS6, IE11,Acronis, SQUEEZEBOX audio server, Mini SAP testing system SAP 7.02, SAPGUI 7.20, CALIBRE e-book management, NERO v9 and De-DRM all installed.

    Very useful portable system -- also useful when working with a work PC with hideous versions of Office etc (French !!!!).

    Those with XP systems could do this really easily on a very small USB stick and you can isolate it from the main network so security not an issue when support ends -- I also have an XP system which have an old scanner (canoscan- still excellent), and some blue print plotting / drawing software - works fine.

    Cheers
    jimbo
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Germany/Florida
    Posts : 4,514
    Vista and Win7


    I understand. That was my point too except that I use the Universal Linux USB installer which makes the task a lot easier.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Germany/Florida
    Posts : 4,514
    Vista and Win7


    This is fun. I am making this post from my virtual Zorin that is running from the external SSD under VMware Player on my Mint Mate Flash drive. I did not even have to install any tools. I can copy/paste between both systems. Below the picture with the Mint Mate taskbar on the bottom and Zorin above.

    It was relatively easy to install VMware Player although I had to wrestle a bit with Terminal. If there is a general interest, I'LL make a little tutorial on how to get Mint on a flashdrive and how to install VMware Player. Next I will try to run my Windows 8.1.


    Click image for larger version

    Update: Just ran Windows 8.1. Runs like on rails. Beautiful.



    Click image for larger version
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Hafnarfjörður IS
    Posts : 4,376
    Linux Centos 7, W8.1, W7, W2K3 Server W10


    Hi there
    Windows 8.1 runs actually a LOT faster than W7 using this method -- even PHOTOSHOP works acceptably fast --Office (2010) gives almost as good a response as a Native system.

    On a laptop also on the W8.1 VM the Touch facility works just fine - touch keyboard / on screen keyboard etc -- even though the Host Linux system doesn't know anything about it !!!.

    BTW so long as your VM is <4GB and the Intel Hardware virtualisation feature is enabled in the BIOS you CAN run a 64 bit GUEST from a HOST 32 bit system such as XP -- however as we are running from the SSD directly the actual (original) HOST system on the PC is irrelevant since we aren't running anything from the installed OS.

    @WHS -- seems like a lot of cruise ships in your screenshot -- I'm ALREADY thinking of Summer hols - even though we are still only at end of March !!!. At this time of the year the days in Iceland get really long now -- sunset is around 20.10 !!! - later on we get sunset at around 23.40 !!

    Cheers
    jimbo
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Germany/Florida
    Posts : 4,514
    Vista and Win7


    Now is the best time for cruises in the Carribian. You don't want to go in the summer - too hot and always risks of Hurricanes.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    Mt. Crumpit cave
    Posts : 108
    Win 7 Ult X64 SP1


    With all these portable Windows running around, doesn't that run up a huge activation key bill?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
How to make Portable Windows system (any version)
Related Threads
I have searched through forums, but could not find the solution to my problem: I have a notebook ASUS with Windows 8 preinstalled. Yesterday I was doing some housecleaning jobs with some freeware tool (don't remember the name). Afterwards I have not been able to boot into Windows. CURRENT...
Hi there just for the fun of it I installed Visual Studio (PRO) 2013 Previewon the Windows to Go 8.1 system I'd just made. Works fine for the limited bit of messing around I've done with it Incidentally I'm going to UNINSTALL it and install Visual Studio 2013 EXPRESS instead -- it's much more...
Hi I need to replace a file in windows\system32\en-us and it gives me a deny file to be copied how can I do this so I can copy a file or replace a file. thanks sorry how to gain access.
Hi there. I know Ms employees read these Forums from time to time so what seems to me a sensible suggestion: If Ms is looking for a bit of extra revenue why not make Windows to Go as a chargeable feature in W8 Pro. I know many external free lance consultants who would find this feature...
So when I was using Windows Vista I used Acronis True Image, when windows 7 came along I use macrium reflect, now I am using windows 8. What are you guys using now? I don't know what to try or use this time. I have three hard drives one for my OS, one for media+installation of programs and lastly...
Read more at: Windows 8 System Builder Version May Come Cheap | PCWorld
Hi there all try this tiny webcam app if you are having trouble getting a webcam to work on your laptop (Internal USB based ones). Usually the built in ones have trouble working in newer versions of Windows. It's a Portable app so nothing to install -- can run it off your usb stick if you want....
Eight Forums Android App Eight Forums IOS App Follow us on Facebook