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Windows 7 install on USB drive

    Question

  • Hi,
         I am not sure if this is right forum to post. Is it possible to install Windows 7 on an external USB drive?  I can't find any answer for this. I tried installing to an USB drive and got error message saying Windows 7 cannot be installed on USB drive.

    Thanks in advance,
    CK.
    Sunday, April 12, 2009 6:28 PM

Answers

  • Sorry this is not possible. Make it a great day.
    "In the End The Love You Take, Is Equal To The Love You Make"
    • Proposed as answer by THE C. _ Monday, June 01, 2009 7:50 AM
    • Marked as answer by ck_windows Monday, June 01, 2009 5:14 PM
    Tuesday, April 21, 2009 7:32 AM

All replies

  • Sorry this is not possible. Make it a great day.
    "In the End The Love You Take, Is Equal To The Love You Make"
    • Proposed as answer by THE C. _ Monday, June 01, 2009 7:50 AM
    • Marked as answer by ck_windows Monday, June 01, 2009 5:14 PM
    Tuesday, April 21, 2009 7:32 AM
  • Well the problems Windows 7 is not installing or showing the USB Drive in Installation is that Microsoft Windows Operation systems are designed for SATA AND IDE Hard Disk for installation and the maximum unit is Windows 7 cant be installed on a USB Drive. And again if you tried to install Windows 7 it will say an Error and close up. So the answer for your question is Windows 7 can't be installed on a USB Drive.



    Thanks
    Sharif Mohamed [Sherry,Wirelex,Naterey]
    Saturday, May 02, 2009 2:36 AM
  • yes, you can.  i did it today on my netbook and it works perfectly.  i am not a computer person, but i know enough to transfer the file to a usb using winrar, then extracting of the files onto the desktop, then running the setup application.  
    Sunday, September 06, 2009 12:11 AM
  • Hello jeffs248,


    Did you see the date of this thread? That is not the samething your saying, he is asking something totally different! The OP wanted to install Windows 7 onto a USB flash drive, install then run the windows from it, which is NOT possible! Make it a great day!










    "In the End The Love You Take, Is Equal To The Love You Make" (The Beatles last song from thier last album, Abbey Road.)
    Tuesday, September 08, 2009 7:52 AM
  • I have seen the date of both the original question and the replies, but just want to add it is definitely possible to both a) install windows 7 from a usb flash drive and b) install windows 7 onto a usb flash drive. I have been running windows 7 rc on my eee pc for 5 or 6 months now. It is installed onto a 16gb shdc card and runs acceptably. The eee is a 4g model. The only modification was to increase ram to 2gb.
    Saturday, October 24, 2009 5:06 PM
  • Can you give us the steps you did to get Windows 7 to install on a USB drive??  Thanks.

    Saturday, October 24, 2009 5:15 PM
  • I'll try and dig them out. From memory it involved getting win 7 install onto a 4gb bootable usb stick, which took some time, then install from there onto flash. Windows recognised but wouldn't install to a removable drive, so just prior to that stage of install there is a registry hack to the section pertaining to usbtor and 2 others. Like I say I wil try and find this today and let you know.
    Sunday, October 25, 2009 9:53 AM
  • Hello KHolmesUK,



    Maybe possible? Link: http://blog.taragana.com/index.php/archive/create-bootable-windows-7-usb-drive/, also this link: http://kmwoley.com/blog/?p=345  tell me if these work, then I will stand corrected! ;-)

    Hope this helps you. Let us know either way. Make it a great day!





    "And In The End The Love You Take, Is Equal To The Love You Make" (The Beatles last song from thier last album, Abbey Road.)
    Sunday, October 25, 2009 10:31 AM
  • i believe its possible and the above link can surely help you..
    |bugITs - technology news and updates || EUTS: Everything Under The Sun|
    Tuesday, October 27, 2009 9:00 PM
  • So do you think they have the wrong end of the stick... Sorry I just couldn't resist it!

    I am quite glad W7 gave me so much hassle - it has forced me to reacquaint myself with all of you in here, I forgot what interesting threads you have. I haven't had much timee or need to come in here since I moved from AI to RI and started studying psychology. I am thinking of uprading W7 HP to Pro so I can use XP mode. I opted for Home Premium this time because I hoped there would be less of the "Are you the administrator" ____. Oh dear what a mistake - it is even worse - instead of being treated like a malicious intruder W7 now treats me like a naughty 5 year old who has used her v-tech to hack into daddy's laptop. I could put up with 'Are you sure' but 'do you have permission' takes the biscuit.

    I don't expect an OS to be able to think but surely it could be programmed to see/count that there is only one user/administrator who is not sharing anything with anybody and if/when i do - I'll organise it myself with no help/interference from W7. I am fed up with it arguing with me. EG I want to send a zipped copy of the latest revision for editing - without closing the file and losing my place in 300 pages - but W7 refuses to allow this because SOMEBODY else might be using it. Even if there was anybody else to be using it it wouldn't matter - its a only a copy! HowToGeek has shown me how to fix this with HoboCopy but it involves using command prompt and making registry changes and I am a bit scared - it has been a while since I did anything like this and this is a brand new laptop - doing a system restore would undo all my installations and the customisations and changes that i spent a whole week making. But if I upgrade to pro they might be lost anyway - it depends how good Windows Easy Transfer turns out to be. 

    Anyway I have a sort of Quick Launch now so I don't need to completely reorganise my working methods that took 10 years to hone; these Windows developers should ask us what we think about it before they go changing our basic work tools. Thanks for all the help and support guys. It is a good job you are here, I have yet to experience Dell's customer support I can't find my service tag and the online registration site has been down all week.
    • Proposed as answer by SUP375 Friday, November 05, 2010 3:46 PM
    Monday, November 09, 2009 2:29 PM
  • Friday, November 13, 2009 5:20 PM
  • Is it me are all you missing the original question "Is it possible to install Windows 7 on an external USB drive?" Keyword ON...He is trying to install Windows ON ,not trying to

    Create a Bootable Vista / Windows 7 USB Flash Drive   

    Create Bootable Windows 7 USB Drive

    • Proposed as answer by brianorme Tuesday, November 17, 2009 3:06 AM
    Monday, November 16, 2009 6:23 PM
  • I haven't attempted this but I don't see why this is not possible, if you can make your USB drive internal first. A laptop example: Remove the hard drive from your laptop, remove the hard drive from the external enclosure. Install you USB hard drive into your laptop. Install Windows 7 as a normal laptop install. Once the install is complete, replace all of the hard drives back into their original locations. Attach you USB drive and boot. Select your boot options, and you should be presented with the local hard drive, or the USB drive. Either option should work perfectly normal; at least on that particular machine.
    Tuesday, November 17, 2009 3:10 AM
  • I've tried popping open my external drive and installing it in my pc to install win7 but found that after making the drive bootable and a flawless install I get a 0x490 error when trying to boot. It happens right after loading the classpnp.sys driver but still happens when I renamed the driver to classpnp.bak so it wouldn't load. I'm not sure exactly what's going on because I tried to use boot logging and no boot log was created as well as there's no dump files. I had to use the recovery option to find the error. I'm going to try to research this error but for now if anyone knows anything more please pitch in.
    Wednesday, November 18, 2009 9:31 AM
  • how do you install Windows 7 on a 2GB USB Drive?
    Wednesday, December 02, 2009 1:42 AM
  • YEA I,ve been looking all day to try and find a way to install windows 7 to a USB flash drive... here says its impossible but is it possible to install VISTA on USB drive?

    AND I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT A BOOTABLE USB TO INSTALL WINDOWS FASTER (ACT AS A REPLACEMENT FOR WINDOWS CD)
    I AM TALKING ABOUT BOOTING THE FULL OS FROM THE DRIVE SO THAT THE ENTIRE OS RUNS FASTER
    Friday, December 11, 2009 1:47 AM
  • http://www.intowindows.com/install-windows-7-on-usb/

    It will run slower off a flash drive. Here you run it in a VM, but you can check out somthing called bartPE which would let you boot live from a flash drive. It will run slower from the flash drive, because hard disks are generally faster than flash drives. SSD are an exception and you can nativly install windows 7 on an SSD.
    Thursday, December 31, 2009 9:06 PM
  • Well I have a Macbook Pro and a Dell PC Desktop. I purchased a 1TB USB2.0 External HD and I was looking to install Win7 onto the HD so I could boot into windows from my Macbook without partitioning my Macbook HD. So I cracked open my External Drive and plugged it into my Desktop as an internal drive via SATA. I successfully installed win7 and it would boot fine internally but when I plugged it into USB port will start to boot but then I get an error message. It then asks me if I want to go to system configurations in my BIOS or if I want to continue and boot Windows normally. If I choose BIOS it just takes me there and I have no idea what to do. It is already set to boot from USB so I don't know what else I can do. If I select the continue to boot normally the computer just restarts. All of this is on my Dell PC so I haven't ran into any Mac problems yst I was just wondering if I could get some help with this.
    Tuesday, January 12, 2010 5:08 AM
  • I thought BartPE just creates an iso of the disc your using and then removes parts adds parts to slim it down and make it a rescue OS. If so that would still mean I'd run into the same error. Unless it actually changes the registry to allow portability? Plus, have you tried it to see if it supports win7 for alteration? Last I checked it was vista and back only. Lastly, there were some pretty big changes since the .7100 version till now...
    Wednesday, January 13, 2010 6:31 AM
  • I'm sure it is possible 'cause PC Users latest magazine (Feburary 2010) has a tool in it for installing win7 on usb.
    Sunday, January 31, 2010 2:11 AM
  • deleted
    • Proposed as answer by Dabur972 Sunday, January 31, 2010 3:00 PM
    • Edited by Dabur972 Sunday, February 07, 2010 7:16 PM to much BS in this thread
    Sunday, January 31, 2010 3:00 PM
  • You aren't getting what we are trying to do here. We want to INSTALL Windows 7 ONTO a usb drive and then boot from that. What you have posted are a bunch of links to install FROM a usb drive which is not what we want to know how to do.
    • Proposed as answer by AndrewH1993 Wednesday, December 22, 2010 7:22 PM
    Monday, February 01, 2010 4:42 AM
  • what do you mean the read speed is too slow.... usb stick read speed will always exceed hard drive read speed for it is flash memory.... or maybe i'm missing something here....
    Monday, February 01, 2010 9:12 PM
  • Here you go ppl!!

    Requirements to install Windows 7 on USB:

    # An USB flash drive with a minimum of 6 GB disk space to install Windows 7 or Vista. You can use a 4 GB drive to install XP.

    # Bootable Windows 7 USB or DVD.

    # Free time

    So let’s begin with the installing Windows 7 on USB procedure:

    1. First of all, connect your USB to the machine and backup all the data from the USB drive.

    2. Download VirtualBox portable, double-click on the executable file and extract the contents to your USB.

    install windows 7 on usb

    3. Now, go to the VirtualBox portable folder in USB, and execute the Portable-VirtualBox (.exe) file.

    4. From here onwards, you need to follow the onscreen procedure to create a virtual disk and install Windows 7 on USB. Follow the install Windows 7 on VirtualBox guide to complete the process or do the following:

    5. Once you finish the installation process, you can safely close VirtualBox and remove your USB drive

    6. You can now use this Windows 7 USB drive on any Windows machine that you want. To use Windows 7 on other machine, connect the Windows 7 USB, open USB drive, and run portable-VirtualBox file.

    Hope this helps!!

    Friday, February 05, 2010 8:25 AM
  • http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/dd535816.aspx

    http://windowsteamblog.com/blogs/springboard/default.aspx

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/dd361745.aspx?ITPID=mscomsc

    http://edge.technet.com/Media/Installing-Win7-using-a-USB-Stick/

    http://blogs.technet.com/askperf/archive/2009/04/24/indows-7-setting-up-a-usb-bootable-device-for-installs.aspx

    http://blogs.technet.com/jeffa36/archive/2009/04/22/windows-7-setting-up-a-usb-bootable-device-for-installs.aspx

    http://blogs.technet.com/aviraj/archive/2009/02/01/installing-windows-7-using-usb-thumb-drive.aspx

    http://blogs.msdn.com/cesardelatorre/archive/2009/08/14/indows-7-setting-up-a-usb-bootable-device-for-installs.aspx

    http://blogs.technet.com/stephenrose/atom.xml

    http://blogs.technet.com/stephenrose/archive/2009/07/28/a-bootable-usb-utility-to-create-bootable-usb-drives-for-win-7-and-server-2008.aspx

    http://blogs.technet.com/bpaulblog/archive/2009/05/15/install-windows-7-without-a-dvd.aspx

    Maybe you just aren't good with English and don't quite understand still what we want. indows-7-setting-up-a-usb-bootable-device-for-installs.aspx indows-7-setting-up-a-usb-bootable-device-for-installs.aspx indows-7-setting-up-a-usb-bootable-device-for-installs.aspx Installing-Win7-using-a-USB-Stick/ Every one of those and the rest of them are for installing FROM a usb drive to your HARD DRIVE, not installing Windows 7 from a HARD DRIVE TO a usb drive. See we would like to have the OS installed ON the USB stick so we could take it anywhere. There exist such a thing for Windows XP but you must have MagicISO or a similar program to save the disc image of your Windows XP install DVD. From there you have to edit it and then burn a new DVD for installing. You are simply saying to take the disc image and then put all the files on a USB stick so then the OS will install from the USB drive onto the hard drive but Windows will never boot from a USB drive natively without some editing to the software. If you don't believe me, then take your USB stick and put it in your USB port. Then put your Windows 7 install DVD in your DVD drive. Restart your computer and boot from the disc. Then when Windows asks you what drive you would like to install it on tell it your USB drive. It won't do it. If you find some magical way to do it then great, but once it is installed try to boot from your USB stick. Windows won't do it because it can;t recognize any USB drives or a processor. On a good note though, the very last post you have given a link to a product that is going to do what we would like to do so maybe you are starting to understand. The downside is that this costs money and I, at least, am looking for a free way to do what they are doing.
    Friday, February 05, 2010 8:33 PM
  • No it's you Dabur - You don't seem to be getting it and I have looked at your links. Look at the names, they say things like "for installs".
    What we are talking about here is not can you copy Windows 7 to a USB key - which can then be used as the install source for Windows 7 - i.e. you boot off the key and you can then use it to start installing Windows 7 onto your PC, we're trying to work out if we can actually install and run Windows 7 in its entirety from the USB.

    That means - inserting the key into a machine, booting off of it, and then getting to a desktop and having Windows 7 running (with no communication to the hard disk).
    What you are listing here is a lot of links that show how to put the Windows 7 source files onto a USB key in order to assist with installs, none of them are talking about how to run Windows 7 actually from the key (other than the setup)
    Sunday, February 07, 2010 9:08 AM
  • No it's you Dabur - You don't seem to be getting it and I have looked at your links. Look at the names, they say things like "for installs".
    What we are talking about here is not can you copy Windows 7 to a USB key - which can then be used as the install source for Windows 7 - i.e. you boot off the key and you can then use it to start installing Windows 7 onto your PC, we're trying to work out if we can actually install and run Windows 7 in its entirety from the USB.

    That means - inserting the key into a machine, booting off of it, and then getting to a desktop and having Windows 7 running (with no communication to the hard disk).
    What you are listing here is a lot of links that show how to put the Windows 7 source files onto a USB key in order to assist with installs, none of them are talking about how to run Windows 7 actually from the key (other than the setup)

    you know i will remove all posts i made in this thread , should i post with screenshots maybe the talk and mesages and the links that are provide with the links i gave ?

    learn to read and take the time to go true them , then you would have found a lot of usefull info , thats what i posted , what a waste of time , if i had known about all this BS i would have never posted them , ...
    Scan with OneCare + 50 Windows 7even Tips + Plagued by the Privacy Center? REMOVE IT + Threat Research & Response Blog + Sysinternals Live tools + TRANSLATOR+ Photosynth + Microsoft Security + Microsoft SUPPORT + PIVOT from Live Labs + Microsoft Live Labs + Office 2010 beta + Get Windows LIVE!
    Sunday, February 07, 2010 7:14 PM
  • Okay then stop posting until you find some useful info thanks.
    Monday, February 08, 2010 12:33 AM
  • I did check and I still don't see how this is helpful, in any matter, to the topic. It doesn't tell you how to make a bootable COMPLETE FUNCTIONAL USB WIN7, nor does it tell you that it cannot be done or why... If you found useful info in there point them out... but i did check and i did NOT find any.
    Monday, February 08, 2010 7:08 PM
  • I did check and I still don't see how this is helpful, in any matter, to the topic. It doesn't tell you how to make a bootable COMPLETE FUNCTIONAL USB WIN7, nor does it tell you that it cannot be done or why... If you found useful info in there point them out... but i did check and i did NOT find any.

    if you would have looked a bit further you would have found links and posts regarding the topic , ....

    including some people who wrote the review for this one

    http://mcpmag.com/articles/2010/02/02/spyrus-to-offer-secure-portable-windows-os.aspx 

    maybe next time i should post some instructions with pictures , ....
    Scan with OneCare + 50 Windows 7even Tips + Plagued by the Privacy Center? REMOVE IT + Threat Research & Response Blog + Sysinternals Live tools + TRANSLATOR+ Photosynth + Microsoft Security + Microsoft SUPPORT + PIVOT from Live Labs + Microsoft Live Labs + Office 2010 beta + Get Windows LIVE!
    Tuesday, February 09, 2010 5:39 AM
  • Hi,

    I haven't read every post here, so I am not sure if the original question was actually answered.

    However if I understand the objective correctly, i.e. to run Windows 7 from a USB drive, then I can confirm that this is possible.
    I have been running Vista and then Windows 7 x64 from USB drives for over a year.
    Why? Well my work is very strict on the applications that can be installed on their machines (and rightly so).
    By running my own OS and apps from an external drive, I am simply taking advantage of the laptop's hardware.  When the USB drive is disconnected, there is no trace of any of my apps etc.

    The easiest technique that I found was to use VMWare, as described in this guide http://www.vistax64.com/tutorials/204022-vista-installed-usb-hard-drive.html .

    It does run a little slower, but to be honest, other than the slow (sometimes 3-4 minutes) boot time, I don't really notice it.  Once up and running there is no noticeable difference.

    When I was researching this, I came to understand that it is not recommended to run windows from a USB key for any length of time.  This is due to the limited writes on a usb key - see http://www.getusb.info/what-is-the-life-cycle-of-a-usb-flash-drive .  A hard drive connected through USB is apparently no worse than booting from via a PATA/SATA channel.

    Hope this helps.
    Sunday, February 28, 2010 5:25 PM
  • I know I'm bumping an older thread, but has anyone found a solution to this yet?

    It looks like it is possilbe. Look at the stickies here: http://www.boot-land.net/forums/index.php?showforum=77

    Wednesday, March 31, 2010 3:42 PM
  • Have you done this? I attempted it and it will not boot when I put my HD in its external case but when it is internal it works fine.
    Sunday, April 11, 2010 7:40 AM
  • Again - yes this is possible.  I have been booting this way for over a year now and I am running W7 x64 from a USB drive as I am typing this.

    The easiest technique that I found was to use VMWare, as described in this guide http://www.vistax64.com/tutorials/204022-vista-installed-usb-hard-drive.html .

    "It does not work" ? you need to be more specific.

    However the most likely reason is that the registry and files are not configured correctly to start USB at boot time.

    • Proposed as answer by efrant Tuesday, July 06, 2010 2:38 AM
    Sunday, April 11, 2010 9:31 AM
  • Well I am not using VMWare because I want windows to run natively off of my HD so VMWare isn't even a consideration. But do be more specific. I get my computer to boot from my HD using the method suggested by karyonix from the link that efrant posted. The Windows symbol appears, like the green and red dots before it actually makes the windows symbol and then my computer just restarts suddenly with no notice or anything.
    Sunday, April 11, 2010 11:10 PM
  • Kenshin417 you have obviously misunderstood.
    I am running W7 x64 from a USB drive “natively”.  You can only do this if you configure the OS to start the USB drivers at boot time.  The method that I mentioned above allows you to build Windows Vista/7 inside a VMware image and to configure the USB drivers (registry settings and INF files).

    When everything is configured correctly, you can then boot from the USB device natively i.e. without the use of VMware.

    Alternatively you can modify these settings by modifying the registry/files within another OS once the system is built.  The correct settings are in the link above.

    If the USB drivers are not configured correctly, the boot process with do exactly as you describe – get to the windows logo then blue-screen and reboot.

    Best of luck.
    • Proposed as answer by Tal0n Tuesday, July 06, 2010 7:27 AM
    Thursday, April 15, 2010 7:04 PM
  • You are very right Tal0n, I completely misunderstood you. Thank you very much for the info I will have to try and let you know how it goes.
    Friday, April 16, 2010 3:23 AM
  • Sorry this is not possible. Make it a great day.
    "In the End The Love You Take, Is Equal To The Love You Make"


    Well, I am wondering: Why such a trivial task and formely possible is missing for Windows 7 ?

    I am puzzled by such a blatant technical flaw...

    Can someone explain me ?

    Thank you.

    JD

    Tuesday, July 06, 2010 12:01 AM
  • TalOn,

    I hope it hasn't been too long to make a reply to this post. I have tried following the guide you list, however, I am using Windows 7 Home Premium rather than Vista and I am using VMware Workstation 7.1.2 which appears to have quite a different proceedure than the one given in the guide. I am unable to access the drive through VMware and install the OS, I only get a "Boot Manager is missing" error. If I go into the setup and change the boot order (in VMware) so that the OS installation disk is accessed, then I see "Windows is Starting," but it won't actually go to the Setup screen, but rather locks up. Do you have any suggestions?

    Thanks.

    Monday, October 04, 2010 10:47 PM
  • I have successfully achieved this without using any virtual machines by following this tut: http://www.boot-land.net/forums/index.php?s=c78481cfbbec9b31268baac05478c57c&showtopic=9196

    It does involve using SATA drive initially and then through SATA - USB connection, but as author says, you can always copy an image to a real flash drive.

    Friday, November 05, 2010 12:08 PM
  • click the start button and in the search field type "uac" slide the bar to the bottom "never notify" and restart.  it will quit asking you "are u sure?".
    Friday, November 05, 2010 3:47 PM
  • the problem is u started w a mac ;).  lol jk y do u ppl want to instal the os to a flash drive limited to only 480mb/s bandwidth.  sata 2 is 3.0 gbs.
    Friday, November 05, 2010 3:51 PM
  • You can use the following utility for the same:

    https://sourceforge.net/projects/setupfromusb/files/


    Regards, Ashish Sharma Software Consultant Polaris Software Lab Pte. Ltd. - Singapore
    Saturday, November 06, 2010 4:30 PM
  • NO NO NO NO NO. Install TO, boot FROM

    NOT install from. Motherfuck

     

    Wednesday, November 10, 2010 2:09 PM
    • Proposed as answer by jw412 Monday, November 22, 2010 9:11 PM
    Monday, November 22, 2010 9:11 PM
  • do NOT try to download that software from JW412 - It's a damn malware.

    As to installing and running windows 7 from a USB drive/ external HDD connected through USB, well it was very possible with WIN XP, so i presume it is also possible with 7 as well

    Saturday, December 18, 2010 11:27 AM
  • Talon, you're correct, (IMHO) the reason we don't have this option by default is that USB drivers are not loaded before the rest of the OS.  For this to work we need to load USB drivers at the same time as things like SAS/RAID cards.  Also, thank you for conducting yourself professionally.
    Wednesday, February 23, 2011 9:13 PM
  • booting off USB can be a giant security hole, allowing 'random guy' access to all local resources, HDD, NIC, without ever authenticating to the domain.  Even if he can't get into the network, all local HDD data is most likely available to him.  
    Wednesday, February 23, 2011 9:16 PM
  • hi there, just to let you know, you dont have to upgrade to pro to use the compatability mode function. you only need to right click the .exe file or desktop icon for the program you would like to run and go to the compatability tab in the properties menu. i hope this helped you. also if you change the "user account controll" settings in your user accounts controlll panel you wont have to verify yourself so much..... ;)

                       ~friendly neighborhood noob

    Friday, April 01, 2011 5:43 AM