Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Boot from external USB hard disc bigger than 137Gb

  1. #1

    Boot from external USB hard disc bigger than 137Gb


    I have USB external hard disc 320Gb that I use to try Windows 8 since Developer Preview until the latest PreRelease.
    I boot from this USB HDD to keep internal HDD intact and protected with end point encryption.
    It went very well until at some point suddenly I cannot boot from it anymore. All the file is in perfect condition when accessed from other system.
    I try to recover with Recovery disc, but found nothing. I delete bootmgr to force corrective action. But still problem not solved.
    Later I read that Grub cannot boot if boot loader and file required for boot is beyond 137Gb (128x1024x1024x1024 bytes). But I never read that Windows has same limitation. Anyway I would like to prove that.
    I find UltimateDefrag that can move certain files to beginning of the disc. I select bootmgr, boot folder, and Windows folder to be placed in front.
    Thankfully it works. I can boot again from my external USB HDD.
    I just wonder how to keep those file in 128GiB boundary, it won't happen again?

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


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


    Quote Originally Posted by Nugroho View Post
    I have USB external hard disc 320Gb that I use to try Windows 8 since Developer Preview until the latest PreRelease.
    I boot from this USB HDD to keep internal HDD intact and protected with end point encryption.
    It went very well until at some point suddenly I cannot boot from it anymore. All the file is in perfect condition when accessed from other system.
    I try to recover with Recovery disc, but found nothing. I delete bootmgr to force corrective action. But still problem not solved.
    Later I read that Grub cannot boot if boot loader and file required for boot is beyond 137Gb (128x1024x1024x1024 bytes). But I never read that Windows has same limitation. Anyway I would like to prove that.
    I find UltimateDefrag that can move certain files to beginning of the disc. I select bootmgr, boot folder, and Windows folder to be placed in front.
    Thankfully it works. I can boot again from my external USB HDD.
    I just wonder how to keep those file in 128GiB boundary, it won't happen again?

    Hi there
    not sure I understand the question here

    1) Boot from external HDD -- is this a FULL Windows system or just a recovery / install disk. The only way to boot completely and RUN a windows system from an external HDD is to use a Windows to Go system which is now only available in Windows Enterprise.

    (You Can actually boot a VHD Windows system from an external HDD but it does require a boot loader on the PC - wheareas the Windows to Go system can boot even if the target PC doesn't have an internal HDD in it at all).

    2) Which version of W8 are you running -- W8 previews etc have expired now and only W8 Enterprise has the Windows to go feature.

    3) you can get a 90 day free evaluation of W8 enterprise from Ms : Download Windows 8 Enterprise Evaluation

    4) For just creating a Multi-boot system from a USB etc or creating bootable external HDD's for recovery / installation then there are tutorials all over the place. I think this is what you are using and it looks like you've solved the problem. Using GRUB / other Linux type loaders usually can work.

    Cheers
    jimbo
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Hi Jimbo,

    You are right that MS doesn't allow Windows to be installed on external USB HDD. I follow article on internet how overrule this limitation. I really boot from USB HDD and work (actually play ) with it.
    I have one bootable WinXP USB HDD because I still some old SW that only run on true XP, not in XP mode nor VM. I have another USB HDD bootable Win8. I really like it. Boot really fast although from USB. Login page in 20 second and land on desktop 20 second later.
    Now I still use WP8 PreRelease which will automatically reboot every two hours. It fine with me that I cannot play too long .

    My only problem is I cannot be sure next time I still able too boot. Windows always do silly things in background. Actually I can make two partitions and keep boot partition smaller than 128Gb, but I don't want waste any space.
    May be I should rephrase my question "How to configure built in defragmenter to always keep Windows system file in beginning of the disc"

    Cheers
    Nugroho
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

Boot from external USB hard disc bigger than 137Gb
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