Boot Windows xp/2k from usb 2.0 hdd


   I tried to install Windows XP on a external usb hdd. The first part of installation (copy files form cd,...) was ok.
   After that, when windows try to boot first time from usb hdd, in the loading drivers process, a blue screen appears, with error 7b.

What should i do to boot windows from the external usb hdd.
I'm using a laptop Acer Travelmate 662LCi as host.
If necessary i can use windows 2000 insted of xp.

Thank you,
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Ensure in your BIOS that USB booting is enabled.  Also, (if that isn't the only solution) when you are running the setup for 2K/XP (same for both), when the computer reboots, if you do (and you should) get a screen with a grey bar across the bottom, press F6 to set up SCSI / RAID drivers.  
After you do that you should be all set.
(If my hardware/software/os tests have served me well)
Good luck
sey7Author Commented:
BIOS booting is enebled, since i was able to complete the first part of the installation on the usb hdd.
The blue screen appears after (about 10 seconds) Windows start to boot for the first time from the usb hdd.
Pressing F6 when Windows XP boots from the usb hdd has no effect.
Joseph NyaemaIndependednt ConsultantCommented:
Can you boot into safe mode?
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sey7Author Commented:
The behaviour is the same like booting normaly.
I think the initial OS install doesnt have the drivers nessacary to use the USB HDD as its boot device

like sey7 said u need to get into the F6 menu this is where you can install additional drivers..

I would try tapping F6 repeatedly during the boot.. If this doesnt work you can add drivers during the install process
sey7Author Commented:
I don't have any driver.
If i install Windows on the internal hdd, the usb is working corectely, without installing any driver.
heres your answer

To specify an "additional mass storage device" (this means disc drive) for Windows 2000 or XP during Setup, press F6 during the boot into text-mode Setup.

To specify an "additional mass storage device" (this means disc drive) for Windows 2000 or XP during Setup, press F6 during the boot into text-mode Setup. At this point insert a floppy containing the drivers. If the drivers came on a CD, you must copy them to a floppy diskette before this step in order to install them.

 You may never have noticed the "F6" option before, since it happens at the bottom of the screen and is visible for only a few seconds during a standard install. What you most likely encountered during the setup process was a screen which came up informing you Setup could not find any drives installed on your computer, and it could not continue,

To be able to hit the F6 button, you must restart the Setup process, and watch the bottom of the screen after pressing Enter on the "Welcome to Setup" screen. There will be some moments of files being loaded, and then you should see a message appear which says "Press F6 if you need to install a 3rd party SCSI or RAID driver". This message will only stay on the screen for a couple of seconds, so press F6 as soon as you see it appear. After this is done, you will see other messages appear, and it will act as though nothing is happening, but eventually a screen will appear which will allow you to install the drivers for the HBA or controller.
I think your PC might be infected with a boot sector virus or you have some kind of antivirus settings enabled in BIOS. If you have such settings in BIOS, disable it and then start your pc using Windows 98 boot disk. When the setup file is loaded and you see the a:> promt, type fdisk /mbr and then restart your PC. Remove the startup disk and run the setup again, if possible, delete all your partitions and create new one. Visit this link at Microsoft that discusses various causes of Error 7b:;en-us;Q122926

Hope this will help.
sey7Author Commented:
As i mentioned before, i don't have a usb driver separately. In normal installation no driver is needed to install.
Should i extract somehow the drivers and put them on a floppy?

Regarding viruses, i use Norton Antivirus 2004 updated every day.

ok did you read the MS article, does it has anything related to your problem? What kidn of USB hard drive you are using?
sey7Author Commented:
sorry, i dodn't found any solution in that article. i readed few weeks ago.
i'm using an external hdd case which comes with no drivers for windows xp
have you checked the manufactuers website...  also have you checked to see if there are any updates for your BIOS
ok... What is the brand of External HDD? The problem sometimes might not be the driver only, there can be many other reasons.
o ya also have you used this HDD on any other computers to test for proper functionality..
i know that sounds trivial and you may already have...   just gotta cover all the bases
sey7Author Commented:
if i boot windows xp from internal hdd and plug the external usb hdd i can read|write files without any problem, without any driver.
yes but arent you trying to boot from USB drive? Case is different when you boot from an internal Hdd and plugin your external USB HDD coz windows has already started and it has everything to read and write to your USB drive. If you can tell the USB drive manufacturer, I hope I can help.

Your BIOS must support booting from a USB drive and you need to enable legesy support for USB in the BIOS. If the BIOS supports it you will have an option to select USB External HD as the first boot device. If it isn't an option then your BIOS doesn't support it. It may be possible to update to a later version that does support it, but that is doubtful
sey7Author Commented:
The BIOS recognize the external hdd and i'm able to choose to boot from it.

As i mentionend in my question, after installation windows start to boot from the external hdd, but it stops with a blue screen.
Sey 7, can you plz inform us who is the manufacturer of your USB HDD. :) When posting these kind of questions, its important that you include information such as OS (that you did) and manufacturer of your hardware, what kind of pc you are using as it will be a great help in troubleshooting.

Can you please the exact message of the BSOD please, that will help finding the error.
sey7Author Commented:
Detailed description, as requested:

OS i tried to install: Windows XP Professional on Laptop Acer Travelmate 662LCi.
In the USB box i have a harddisk Quantum 30GB.
USB box: "Mobile disk" Model No: HD-337-U2

The error message when Windows boots:  ..."inaccessible boot device 0000007B"... and the "classic" text if it is the first time ...
Current versions of Windows should not be installed to USB hard disk drives because Windows does not support USB hard disk drives as the primary boot device.
How about an external firewire hard drive? Is Windows able to boot from those in general? I have been trying to find some information about it but no luck. Hopefully you guys can help me out

Thanks :)
sey7Author Commented:
Hello guys,

   If nobody found a solution i will reauest the deletion of this question.

From what I have read so far you will need to find the DOS driver for your external USB drive and copy those onto a startup floppy. If you don't have the drivers, then all you can do is go on a search for them. Windows has plug and play but DOS doesn't, that is why it gives you the blue screen. I'm trying the same thing with my USB/Firewire external at the moment but am also still looking for correct DOS drivers
sey7Author Commented:
I didn't found such a driver, and i'm not sure it exists.

I'm not sure what Bart PE ( is doing, but such a installation is able to boot from my usb hdd. So, it is possible to boot windows xp from usb.
When i worked for Ford all the new Dells we were getting in came with no floppies.. We had to use pen drives with boot disks on them... So the option is out there to do this... The thing you will find a problem with is getting the Firmware support for such a task... This is a big thing though so i can see you getting a resolution soon.
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I just read this.  I know it's closed.

The usb hard drive has a driver.  to find out, right click my computer and select Manage, then go to the Device manager.  Find the USB hard drive in the hardware list (it must be connected), then view the properties.  Somewhere in the properties sheet, it should have a driver.

Try copying whatever files it says to a floppy disc.  Or search the net for a driver (maybe
sey7Author Commented:
Even if i find the files and copy to a floppy, i also have to create a file oemsetup.txt or so, otherwise windows will not load the files from floppy.
 And i don't know whet to write in that file.

Marius Seiceanu.
Sorry guys! I know this thread is closed but I found an answer to your request.

You need first to download the executable file at the following address

It's your HD driver.  You should find it on a CD given by your dealer.  This EXE extracts drivers files.  In the folder \MaxtorDrv you will find files needed for your HD.  So get a computer running WinXP, download that files said before and run it.  After that, you will find that directory (c:\MaxtorDrv) on the HD.  Copy files from (C:\MaxtorDrv\Drivers\usb) to a floppy disk and then go to your computer having XP on the USB drive.  Start PC with the floppy in the floppy drive and press F6 when it's asked.  It should give you the info on your USB drive and you just need to select it and install it.  Run windows and it should be okay!

- Jean-Francois "Maxter" Trepanier
  Computer technician, Programmer, Net Admin
  BCE Emergis
I just tried this and have the same problem working with a Dell XPS laptop and an External HDD. Same exact error message but the difference is the external HDD is a IBM Travelstar IC25N030atda04-0... Anyone have any ideas?

Weird... the part number you gave is one of an internal HD for laptop.  Is it that you use an external adaptor? If not, well... I'm lost.  IBM site only writes stuffs about internat HD with that part number.  Give me more info about that.

Jean-Francois "Maxter" Trepanier
  Computer technician, Programmer, Net Admin
  BCE Emergis
Yeah its the drive I pulled out of my old Dell Inspiron 8100. Its now in a USB 2.0 enclosure which I was trying to get to work as a boot device. I'm thinking I need the USB drivers installed so that XP will see the drive after the "splash" screen. It appeared to install fine just giving blue screen after "first time windows is starting".

Yeah! You need the USB device driver at the first step of the intallation.  It is asked at the beginning of the installation when they talk about SCSI drivers and stuffs like that.  You kust need to press F6 (I think it was that) and then install with the drivers copied on a floppy disquette.  So look if there is a driver for you SCSI device for WinXP.  If yes you should be able to do something.  If not, good luck!

Jean-Francois "Maxter" Trepanier
  Computer technician, Programmer, Net Admin
  BCE Emergis
I know the question is closed but still I think

Comment from nyck6623
Date: 05/10/2004 09:50AM EST

Is the correct answer.

Is a floppy drive definitely needed.
Could one use a CD (maybe bootable) instead for the USB Drivers.
Have you got Powerquest Boot for Windows ??
Why delete a valid question just because there is no solution?
I'm trying to do the same thing, but with Windows 2003 server on a Dell D810 laptop... anyone succeed ?

Am reading this now, so sorry that this is coming so late. There is a generic USB driver that supposedly works for all USB drives, you might like to give it a shot...
Just in case anybody looks in on this in the future you can't currently boot winxp from a usb device without hacking the windows kernel [yeah right!], because windows re-initilizes the usb bus late in boot sequence effectivly cutting access to the boot device.  Try:-

a) obtaining a copy of xp embedded; it may be possible to compile the OS to negate this problem.
b) use linux

Let me know if I'm wrong! I'd be very interested to hear from anybody who has actually achieved this and dosn't just have a theory!

Folks - this works fine:

I'm doing it now (XPSP2) and it works great - fast, no issues, no gotchas.  


We will dump the contents of your original Windows XP CD , extract a few files from the Image using ISO modification software, edit the files, and put the modified versions back on the ISO. The resulting ISO image is burnt back onto a CD media, and can then directly be used to install Windows on your USB drive.

I am also covering a few pitfalls that happened to me, in hope they will save you a bit of time.


1) Does your computer support booting from USB?

    Usually, if its an option in your BIOS boot sequence menu, the answer to this is yes. If its not there, look for BIOS updates. If you are not sure, proceed and see what happens ;-)

2) Sorting out the "Bootability" of your USB-Drive

    Connect your USB drive to your computer, directly, without a Hub. Then, shut down your computer, disconnect any other hard disk drives from it, and insert your original Windows XP CD into the drive. Start the installation, and proceed to the section where you are allowed to pick a hard drive. If it goes beyond the partition selection, your drive is already fine for booting Windows XP. If not (seems to be the cases with many of the Freecom USB HDDs for example), you will get an error like "Windows is unable to find your drive, partition, data etc bla". This is usually not a big problem. All you need to do is "properly" format the drive. Reboot into your normal Windows, and get this HP tool , and use it to format your HDD completely. I chose NTFS format, worked fine everytime i tried. After this, my drives are recognized as valid installation devices by the Windows XP installer.
    (In fact, i did not manage to create a USB primary partition with FAT32 that was recognized as being installable)

3) Dumping the original Windows CD into an ISO File


    Pretty easy one. Simply open WinISO, and select Actions -> Make ISO from CDROM, and save your CD image.


4) Extracting the files we need to work on


    After the CD dump is done, close and reopen WinISO. Then, open the ISO file you just created using File -> Open.
    Now, click the I386 folder, and select the following files (Ctrl key to multi-select)

        * TXTSETUP.SIF
        * DOSNET.INF
        * USB.IN_
        * USBPORT.IN_
        * USBSTOR.IN_

    Select Actions -> Extract and put the resulting files into some folder to work on them.

5) Unpacking IN_ files



    Use the Cab SDK (from the command line) for extracting the contents of the .IN_ files. Each of them contains exactly one .inf file. If you are unsure how to use the Cab SDK, here is an example command line: "cabarc x USBSTOR.IN_" . You should end up with three new files in the folder, called:

        * usb.inf
        * usbport.inf
        * usbstor.inf

    You can now delete the .IN_ files.

6) Editing the files

    This is the main job. i ll also try to explain a bit whats happening. Use a simple Texteditor like Notepad.


        This file is loaded on the initial install step by the Windows XP CD installer. In this file, we will change the way Windows treats USB devices during system setup -- the default is to only treat them as input devices during installation -- we will change this to include mass storage driver support (which needs to be loaded into the installer much earlier in order to work).

        First, move the following entries from [InputDevicesSupport.Load] to the [BootBusExtenders.Load] section , as shown here


            pci = pci.sys
            acpi = acpi.sys
            isapnp = isapnp.sys
            acpiec = acpiec.sys
            ohci1394 = ohci1394.sys
            usbehci = usbehci.sys
            usbohci = usbohci.sys
            usbuhci = usbuhci.sys
            usbhub = usbhub.sys
            usbstor = usbstor.sys

            usbehci = usbehci.sys
            usbohci = usbohci.sys
            usbuhci = usbuhci.sys
            usbhub = usbhub.sys
            usbccgp = usbccgp.sys
            hidusb = hidusb.sys
            serial = serial.sys
            serenum = serenum.sys
            usbstor = usbstor.sys


        ... now the same for [BootBusExtenders] and [InputDevicesSupport]


            pci = "PCI-Bustreiber",files.pci,pci
            acpi = "ACPI Plug & Play-Bustreiber",files.acpi,acpi
            isapnp = "ISA Plug & Play-Bustreiber",files.isapnp,isapnp
            acpiec = "Integrierter ACPI-Controllertreiber",files.none,acpiec
            ohci1394 = "IEEE-1394-Bus-OHCI-konformer Anschlusstreiber",files.ohci1394,ohci1394
            usbehci = "Erweiterter Hostcontroller",files.usbehci,usbehci
            usbohci = "Open Hostcontroller",files.usbohci,usbohci
            usbuhci = "Universeller Hostcontroller",files.usbuhci,usbuhci
            usbhub = "Standard-USB-Hubtreiber",files.usbhub,usbhub
            usbstor = "USB-Speicherklassentreiber",files.usbstor,usbstor

            usbehci = "Erweiterter Hostcontroller",files.usbehci,usbehci
            usbohci = "Open Hostcontroller",files.usbohci,usbohci
            usbuhci = "Universeller Hostcontroller",files.usbuhci,usbuhci
            usbhub = "Standard-USB-Hubtreiber",files.usbhub,usbhub
            hidusb = "HID-Parser",files.hidusb,hidusb
            serial = "Treiber fr seriellen Anschluss",files.none,serial
            serenum = "Enumerator fr seriellen Anschluss",files.none,serenum
            usbstor = "USB-Speicherklassentreiber",files.usbstor,usbstor
            usbccgp = "USB Generic Parent Driver",files.usbccgp,usbccgp


        Next, we also have to write several keys into the registry. Convieniently, the txtsetup.sif allows you to specify files that are parsed and instered into the registry at install time. Insert the following in the [HiveInfs.Fresh] section:

            AddReg = hivedef.inf,AddReg
            AddReg = hivesys.inf,AddReg
            AddReg = hivesft.inf,AddReg
            AddReg = hivecls.inf,AddReg
            AddReg = hiveusd.inf,AddReg
            AddReg = dmreg.inf,DM.AddReg
            AddReg = usbboot.inf,usbservices


        and also in [SourceDisksFiles]

            usbboot.inf = 1,,,,,,_x,3,,3
            bootvid.dll = 1,,,,,,3_,2,0,0,,1,2
            kdcom.dll = 1,,,,,,3_,2,0,0,,1,2

        Finally, save and close TXTSETUP.SIF. We are done with it.


        Now, open DOSNET.INF , and change the second [Files] section to look like this:



    6-C) usb.inf

        Change the bolded lines in the [StandardHub.AddService] and [CommonClassParent.AddService] sections:

        DisplayName = %StandardHub.SvcDesc%
        ServiceType = 1 ; SERVICE_KERNEL_DRIVER
        StartType = 0 ; SERVICE_DEMAND_START
        ErrorControl = 1 ; SERVICE_ERROR_NORMAL
        ServiceBinary = %12%\usbhub.sys
        LoadOrderGroup = Boot Bus Extender

        DisplayName = %GenericParent.SvcDesc%
        ServiceType = 1 ; SERVICE_KERNEL_DRIVER
        StartType = 0 ; SERVICE_DEMAND_START
        ErrorControl = 1 ; SERVICE_ERROR_NORMAL
        ServiceBinary = %12%\usbccgp.sys
        LoadOrderGroup = Boot Bus Extender

    6-D) usbport.inf

        Change the bolded lines in the [EHCI.AddService], [OHCI.AddService] , [UHCI.AddService] and [ROOTHUB.AddService] sections:

        DisplayName = %EHCIMP.SvcDesc%
        ServiceType = 1 ; SERVICE_KERNEL_DRIVER
        StartType = 0 ; SERVICE_DEMAND_START
        ErrorControl = 1 ; SERVICE_ERROR_NORMAL
        ServiceBinary = %12%\usbehci.sys
        LoadOrderGroup = Boot Bus Extender

        DisplayName = %OHCIMP.SvcDesc%
        ServiceType = 1 ; SERVICE_KERNEL_DRIVER
        StartType = 0 ; SERVICE_DEMAND_START
        ErrorControl = 1 ; SERVICE_ERROR_NORMAL
        ServiceBinary = %12%\usbohci.sys
        LoadOrderGroup = Boot Bus Extender

        DisplayName = %UHCIMP.SvcDesc%
        ServiceType = 1 ; SERVICE_KERNEL_DRIVER
        StartType = 0 ; SERVICE_DEMAND_START
        ErrorControl = 1 ; SERVICE_ERROR_NORMAL
        ServiceBinary = %12%\usbuhci.sys
        LoadOrderGroup = Boot Bus Extender

        DisplayName = %ROOTHUB.SvcDesc%
        ServiceType = 1 ; SERVICE_KERNEL_DRIVER
        StartType = 0 ; SERVICE_DEMAND_START
        ErrorControl = 1 ; SERVICE_ERROR_NORMAL
        ServiceBinary = %12%\usbhub.sys
        LoadOrderGroup = Boot Bus Extender

    6-E) usbstor.inf

        Change / Add the bolded lines in the [USBSTOR.AddService] section

        DisplayName = %USBSTOR.SvcDesc%
        ServiceType = 1
        StartType = 0
        Tag = 3
        ErrorControl = 1
        ServiceBinary = %12%\USBSTOR.SYS
        LoadOrderGroup = Boot Bus Extender

    6-F) new file: USBBOOT.INF

        Create a new file called USBBOOT.INF in the same directory as your other changed files, and put the following content into it:


        HKLM,"SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\USBSTOR","DisplayName",0x00000000,"USB Mass Storage Driver"
        HKLM,"SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\USBSTOR","Group",0x00000000,"System Reserved"

        HKLM,"SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\usbehci","DisplayName",0x00000000,"USB 2.0 Enhanced Host Controller Miniport Driver"
        HKLM,"SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\usbehci","Group",0x00000000,"System Reserved"

        HKLM,"SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\usbhub","DisplayName",0x00000000,"USB2 Enabled Hub"
        HKLM,"SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\usbhub","Group",0x00000000,"System Reserved"

        HKLM,"SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\usbuhci","DisplayName",0x00000000,"Microsoft USB Universal Host Controller Miniport Driver"
        HKLM,"SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\usbuhci","Group",0x00000000,"System Reserved"

        HKLM,"SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\usbohci","DisplayName",0x00000000,"Microsoft USB Open Host Controller Miniport Driver"
        HKLM,"SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\usbohci","Group",0x00000000,"System Reserved"


7) Repack the inf files into their original IN_ format

    If you have not already deleted your extracted .IN_ files, do so now. They need to be replaced. Open a DOS shell again, and navigate to the folder with your changed files. Then exceute the following commands:

    cabarc n USB.IN_ usb.inf
    cabarc n USBPORT.IN_ usbport.inf
    cabarc n USBSTOR.IN_ usbstor.inf

    The three IN_ files should now exist again.

    Congratulations. All out modifications are done.

8) Inject the changed files into the ISO

    Open your Windows CD image again with WinISO. Navigate to the I386 folder, and delete the following files from the ISO, saving the changes to the ISO afterwards:

        * DOSNET.INF
        * TXTSETUP.SIF
        * USB.IN_
        * USBPORT.IN_
        * USBSTOR.IN_

    Just to be sure all is updated in the ISO, cloase and repoen the ISO in WinISO. Now, again go to the I386 folder and select "Add Files". Now add your changed files, in detail:

        * USBBOOT.INF
        * DOSNET.INF
        * TXTSETUP.SIF
        * USB.IN_
        * USBPORT.IN_
        * USBSTOR.IN_

    Save the ISO. You are done.

9) Burn the ISO back to CD

    Feel free to use any burning package you want. I used the free and simple Burnatonce

10) Install Windows XP from the CD


    Shut down your computer. Disconnect ANY internal and external hard drives (so Windows cannot find them during installation and mess up their Master Boot Records hehe). Some computers will have trouble to boot without an internal HDD attached, check in your BIOS and, if possible, remove the HDD from the boot sequence and set the USB Harddisk as the first boot device, and the CDROM as second.

    Also, now connect your USB Harddrive directly to the computer, without any Hubs in between.



    Windows should install just fine, with the exceptions noted below.

    Issues you will encounter during installation:

        * During driver installation, the USB drivers will prompt you, as they are "not certified" - This is normal. Our changes invalidated the checksum, and therefore the driver is no longer signed. Just press "yes" a couple of times.
        * Upon completion of the install, the system will complain once on the first bootup that the pagefile does not exist. You can ignore this for now, as Windows will work fine without it. People are looking at fixing this issue, but its not critical for now.


    Once everything is up and running , shut down and reconnect all your drives.
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