instaling xp on usb drive

By probizzle
Sep 25, 2006
  1. HI i just picked up a external usb maxtor 3200 200 gig hard drve. i got it working fine and everything so i dont want to use the internal hard drive for xp cuz its small. is there a way ican instal windows xp on the usb drive ive tryed but it wouldnt alow me to for some reason so is there another way i can or am i doing something wrong
  2. nickc

    nickc TechSpot Paladin Posts: 923   +11

    a 10 GIG HDD should be big enough for the C: drive so why not use the big drive for storage, and usb is a good way to backup as it doesnot have to be on all the time...
  3. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    Theoretically, if your PC allows you to boot from a USB drive, you could try the following:
    Put that Maxtor in your PC as your main C-drive, and using Disk Management, make it the active one. Install XP on it.
    Take it out again, back in the USB-case, don't connect it yet.
    Put the old harddisk back in, and using Disk Management, remove it being the Active one, and change it's driveletter (which would be C) to the next free letter, after your CD/DVD etc.
    Connect the USB drive, switch on, set BIOS to boot first from USB, and keep your extremities crossed.
  4. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    AFAIK one cannot boot Windows from USB because the USB bus is reset during bootup and Windows will "lose" the boot drive, giving you a nice BSOD.
  5. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,573   +65

  6. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,330   +622

    booting USB depend entirely upon USB support in your BIOS.

    if you have that option, then -- it's propable that it will work.

    nice part is, you can select the device (after the install) and if it fails,
    there's no loss -- just go back to your C:
  7. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    My IBM Thinkpad T23 boots from a USB device, and that lappy is nearly 4 years old!
    So why would a (probably) more modern PC not do the same?
  8. smore9648

    smore9648 TS Rookie Posts: 697

    USB Drives are excluded during boot up, depending on the bios setup. I know mine is.
  9. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,330   +622

    well, are we speaking from first hand experience or a conjecture from detail
    we know and implications we conjecture?

    My laptop has BIOS USB support and here's what I just did;

    mount my USB thumb drive
    go to bios and set the boot order
    1. CD Rom
    2. Removeable Devices
    3. HD
    4. Network Boot

    expanding [2] I expected the thumb drive to show up, but rather
    it was listed as one/two HDs, so I ordered them USB, followed by the HD

    save and continue ....
    what happened?

    Access to the CD, pause
    access to the USB Thumb and a full stall
    no progress into the HD

    the stall on the USB was due to no bootable image being thereon and
    once an HD is optioned for boot, other drives are not successively searched.

    If I had a bootable image on the thumb drive, I am certain I would have gotten
    it to run.

    SO, I'll move the question, are we guessing here or does someone have a
    a bootable drive for an emperical test ???

    Anxiously awaiting your feedback :)
  10. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,573   +65

    Windows XP cannot boot or even be completely installed on a USB drive. That's a fact based on experience. Perhaps there is some sort of modifcation that can be done? I've tried both using an imaged drive and the regular install directly onto a USB drive - sadly without positive results.

    It certainly should be possible though. Apple's OSX and many flavors of Linux support booting from a USB device, but Windows was never designed for this apparently.
  11. Samstoned

    Samstoned TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,018

    Ok I have no experaince and as to date have no plans to do this
    but MS
    has a page for usb boot
  12. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 3,814

    The main problem I've seen with external usb hdd's is that they get rather hot, so running windows from one wouldn't be a very good idea anyway!!!!!
  13. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,573   +65

    One thing I didn't mention is there's Windows PE, which can start from a USB drive.
  14. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Booting from USB and booting Windows from USB are two different things. The problem is not the ability of the BIOS, but the retardedness of Microsoft (as usual).

    I believe you can boot any other decent OS, or at least Linux, BSD, DOS from a USB device. Just not Windows.
  15. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,330   +622

    Now that's a complete statement and give the state of MS, fully understandable :)
  16. Samstoned

    Samstoned TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,018

    on further review
    I find I have been doing recovery boot disc's and found in that forum
    boot usb
    and these people seem to be doing just that
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