Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Booting from external hard drive in VMWare Workstation?

  1. #1


    By the Ocean
    Posts : 177
    Windows 8.1 Pro x64

    Booting from external hard drive in VMWare Workstation?


    I have Windows 8.1 installed on an external hard drive. actually installed...like you would on an internal drive (WinToUSB - Install and Run Windows on a USB Drive)
    and I want to use it with my main PC without booting entirely from it... which is where VMWare comes into play.
    So, want to boot from external drive containing Windows 8.1 using VMWare
    Anyone know how?

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


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


    Hi there
    AFAIK the only way to boot Windows from an external HDD is to either use a Windows to Go system (Enterprise) or create a bootable Linux system (these boot from external devices) and run a VM from the Linux.

    I've done this many times on an external USB connected via a SATA==>USB connector on a laptop. I use an old Laptop HDD -- works fine. If you have a SATA==>USB3 connector even better or an external USB even better.

    Here's a link about this I made a while ago.

    How to make Portable Windows system (any version)

    This system will run TOTALLY from am external HDD even if there's NO internal HDD in the HOST computer. Other solutions like attaching Virtual HDD's are OK but this then NEEDS the initial boot from an internal HDD to mount the VHD. My method runs 100% from the external HDD.

    Cheers
    jimbo
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    By the Ocean
    Posts : 177
    Windows 8.1 Pro x64


    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo45 View Post
    Hi there
    AFAIK the only way to boot Windows from an external HDD is to either use a Windows to Go system (Enterprise) or create a bootable Linux system (these boot from external devices) and run a VM from the Linux.

    I've done this many times on an external USB connected via a SATA==>USB connector on a laptop. I use an old Laptop HDD -- works fine. If you have a SATA==>USB3 connector even better or an external USB even better.

    Here's a link about this I made a while ago.

    How to make Portable Windows system (any version)

    This system will run TOTALLY from am external HDD even if there's NO internal HDD in the HOST computer. Other solutions like attaching Virtual HDD's are OK but this then NEEDS the initial boot from an internal HDD to mount the VHD. My method runs 100% from the external HDD.

    Cheers
    jimbo
    WinToUSB - Install and Run Windows on a USB Drive is my method of installing and using Windows on an external hard drive.

    Here is a diagram showing what I want:


      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Posts : 1,875
    Windows 10 Pro Prieview x64


    No you can't. You can run a VM as a VM but you need a host. You can boot from external drive (if you must) and then it would be the host.

    You can not run two concurrent host OS on your hardware. If you think about it one has to be in charge and decide what window goes where.

    To do what you want you would need to run one host OS and the other two as guests.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    By the Ocean
    Posts : 177
    Windows 8.1 Pro x64


    Quote Originally Posted by adamf View Post
    No you can't. You can run a VM as a VM but you need a host. You can boot from external drive (if you must) and then it would be the host.

    You can not run two concurrent host OS on your hardware. If you think about it one has to be in charge and decide what window goes where.

    To do what you want you would need to run one host OS and the other two as guests.
    cant say I understand completely but since its not a major issue i will end the thread.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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