Installing Windows XP to external USB HDD

By m4D ยท 4 replies
Mar 11, 2012
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  1. Hi.

    Firstly, there's a great tutorial on the topic,, which describes why std installation won't run from ext usb hdd and how to make it work.

    Nevertheless, i still can't boot xp (sp2). i've succesfully completed first-stage install (dos-like), which transfered some sys files to usb hdd and written mbr to it also. after that, what i see - is a black screen only (i.e. pc freezes), though i can access boot menu (by pressing F8, i.e. boot process from usb hdd starts!). The hdd led doesn't turn off - so the usb bus isn't rebooted. What else can i do?

    p.s. enabling 'debug mode' or 'logging mode' from winxp boot menu doesn't create any output information also.
    p.p.s. i triple-quadruple-... checked every line from the tutorial.
  2. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Posts: 861   +50

    First off, this to me seems like a gosh darn lot of work just to get Windows XP to install on a external USB hard drive. Second, why do you want to do this in the first place? Third, whats wrong with your internal hard drive?

    I've never been a huge fanboy of loading Operating Systems on external hard drives, just for the mire fact that say one day I take that drive elsewhere and someone stayed behind at my house and wants to use the computer while I'm gone......."can not detect operating system" is all their going to get! :(

    Think about it, and good luck!
  3. m4D

    m4D TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ok, I got it done. The trick was to make 1st partition as primary+active and use it as destination for winxp installation.

    A few more questions:

    1) why can't it boot from p2, even if it's marked as primary+active/notactive - any bugs in ntldr? where to look? how to fix?
    p.s.: my guess is that it's my particular system bios bug, because even boot menu behaviour changes, when booting from usb hdd with 2 primary partitions

    2) when moving with this system from one chipset MB to another I get BSOD 0x7B (boot device inaccessible). usually this happens when ide controller drivers, related to the particular chipset, are not loaded (btw it can be fixed by editing HKLM/SYSTEM/ControlSet001/CriticalDevices - just add some STD ide controller there). but where from it comes, while booting from usb dev?
    p.s.: my guess is that usb controller operates through south bridge, but particulat south bridge driver isn't loaded during boot... how to fix this?
    p.p.s.: using different HAL drivers doesn't help here.
  4. D. Garcia

    D. Garcia TS Rookie

    What difference does it make why we would want to do this. If you can offer up some assistance that would be great. But for those of you who need a reason let's try this. As Zen stated you leave your house and someone stays behind and uses your computer let's say for surfing porn. Now you come home and your computer is infected. Where as if you had an external drive with your windows loaded on it, it would make no difference to you since your OS is still uninfected. I'm sure every has their own reason for it. I'm trying to load full version on an HP Thin Client without haveing to buy a larger CF chip.
  5. D. Garcia

    D. Garcia TS Rookie

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