Can USB HD boot like Window CD

By mephisto_007
Sep 24, 2006
  1. Can a USB HD be boot like Window CD?
  2. smore9648

    smore9648 TS Rookie Posts: 697

    Do you mean boot from an image on a USB drive to the PC? Yes you can.

    Change your settings in BIOS to make the USB drive the first item to be searched when booting.
  3. mephisto_007

    mephisto_007 TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 224

    The reason I'm asking is because I wanted to format my laptop but the CD ROM drive is broken and I'm wondering if I can make my USB External HD as a window cd to boot, format and install new window...
  4. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,573   +65

    No. The boot record for a CD is different from a hard drive. You will not be able to make a bootable external drive that acts like a Windows CD without some real down and dirty modifications.

    The best you'll be able to do is take the drive out of your laptop and to another system. Use a USB or 2.5" to 3.5" IDE adapter and format the drive using FAT32. Copy the contents of the Windows XP CD to the hard drive in a folder called 'INSTALL' (for instructional purposes). Reinstall the drive in the laptop and boot from a floppy diskette ( for a Win 98 diskette image). Run the XP setup program. You can do this by typing C:\Install\i386\winnt.exe

    The setup will be painfully slow, but it will begin. You'll also have a FAT32 drive, which is a nasty thing these days. You can convert it later to NTFS, although that has its short comings as well. :\
  5. mephisto_007

    mephisto_007 TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 224

    Thank Rick I'll follow your instruction and hopefully it will work...
  6. mephisto_007

    mephisto_007 TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 224

    Laptop doesn't detect USB floppy, I think it because I format the drive and there is no driver for usb? so what can I do?
  7. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,573   +65

    No, it has nothing to do with drivers. Your BIOS (and most recent ones do) supports booting from USB floppy regardless of what's installed in the system and it does it on the lowest of levels.

    You may need to change your boot order in the BIOS setup. Perhaps there is a boot menu (usually press F8 or F10 during the BIOS screen) and you can select it manually. And its possible your boot diskette is messed up.
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