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operating system on a removable drive


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#1
mridang_agarwal

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hey guys, i have USB 2.0 200GB external Hard Drive. Is it possible to install windows XP on it? Is yes, how?
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#2
coffeedrinker

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In a word. No.

Windows XP when installed scans your computer for motherboard, video, RAM and all the other stuff. It can only be installed on a computer once.

It stores this information so people cannot reinstall XP on other machines.

Microsoft is watching.
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#3
mridang_agarwal

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leaving piracy issues aside - is it possible?
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#4
coffeedrinker

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no
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#5
Vaillant

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coffeedrinker, next time someone asks a question, research it. If you don't have first hand experience, and if you're too busy to go out and query the web about a question, leave it to better men then you.

mridang_agarwal, yes it is possible, entirely so. I did it myself, once. Today's modern BIOSs allow you to select between different boot devices, and therefore you can tell it to try and boot from the removable drive. Installing it on the removable is a bit different.

Now, when you want to install it on the external, just run windows setup, and select the 2nd hdd ( windows setup shows it clearly that it's 2 diff hdd's)

setup will be normal, and automatically, the boot will allow you to run it and switch between the 2 windows, using xp's bootloader.

All this being said, installing on a removable has its drawbacks. If done improperly, it can make it so that the computer won't boot without having the external running

Also, dont even think about taking that hdd and making it a "moble" computer. Windows needs to stick to the same hardware system. You try to run it off another tower, you'll crash windows, instantly.

Bottom line is that there isn't much point to installing on an external, even if with today's BIOS's supporting USB natively, and allowing you to switch boot devices, etc, it can be done. I recommend, if you still do want to try this, to disconnect your harddrive inside the tower, install windows on the external, and then replug the main drive. That way, windows will be seperate on both drives, and by switching boot devices you'll have 2 functionning, independent systems. It'll also allow you to scrap the external windows later without fuss, cause otherwise you'll have to tweak xp's bootloader to put it back to original state.

Feel free to ask for more specifics, I'm assuming you know quite a bit about all this already.

Edit:

Also, keep in mind that if you try to use the same windows CD, the external install won't be updated by microsoft, as it is illegal... And you run the risk of invalidating your windows alltogether. I personally have no quirrels with using a windows CD twice, but it isnt recommended and generally banned by geekstogo, seeing how it's illegal. I answer ur question cause it's pretty general, and applies to many different systems too, per example you could install a free linux distro on the 2nd drive just as easily. Anyway, I'm rambling on. Good luck.

Edited by Vaillant, 01 August 2006 - 12:06 AM.

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#6
mridang_agarwal

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Hey thanks a lot "Valiant". The actual scenario is like this: I have a laptop that witha 40 gig HDD. I want to install the second OS (Win XP ) on the removable disk. I ant to keep one OS for office and and the other for Personal use. i could have easliy partitioned my HDD and installed both of them simultaneously by my god forsaken company prohibits me from doing this as it is their laptop. The OS is intall on the externall HDD, i just plan to use only on my laptop so the question of windows crashing due to a different hardware configuration goes out of the window. I have never ever done this before so i might ask a few "dumb" questions. Another thing is that, yopu mentioned that i shoud diconnect my internal hdd before installing the new OS as it might create problems during bootup. This would have been a simple task on a desktop PC but on a laptopn i would take part the whole thing. :whistling: . Is it possible that i disconnect the internal HDD of a desktop pc, plug my drive into the USB port of that pc and install XP. I would just do a default install without installing nay specific drivers and once ive done that, i could connect it to my laptop and boot the OS from the external drive and then install the drivers.

And now for the ladt question: When i do install a OS on a external drive do i have to disconnect the internal hdd everytime i boot the pc?
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#7
Vaillant

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Hmm laptop ok that changes the rules a bit... Instead of disconnecting the internal drive, we'll hide it. But it's alot more tricky.

What to do then, and I can't give you a direct download because that would be totally illegal, but what to do:

You need to hide the windows partition on the system. As much as you can install multiple partitions, multiple windows, you can also hide a partition, like some manufacturers do, to protect the contents, and it is only visible if you enable it. This is also true in windows setup. If you hide the partition, and start another windows install, setup will think it's the only OS on the system, and will install like so.

It's up to you to find a tool to do it. Personally I use gDisk that came with my copy of Norton Ghost, but scince you may not have that luxury, google something like "need to hide partition" or "utility to hide partitions" I recommend Super Fdisk, it looks promising, but I didnt try it.

Anyways, by having the existing windows hidden, install your windows, and after thats done unhide the old windows. To switch from the 2 windows afterwards, when booting up, use the BIOS boot device selection, and go to your removable drive, instead of the primary drive.

You won't need to touch the internal hdd this way :whistling:

But installing it on another computer is no-way... this HAS to be done on the same system, installed, and run.
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