Installing Windows on an external USB HDD

Posted on 2004-11-30
Last Modified: 2010-04-14
I would like to install Windows 2000 on an external USB HDD (Maxtor).  Initially, I tried a new install, but the USB drive was not detected during install, even if I added the USB storage via F6.

Next I did a fresh install on my internal HDD, added all the necessary drivers (USB, etc) and created a Ghost image.  This Ghost image was then placed onto the USB HDD.  The bios on my server has been modified to boot from the USB HDD (the bios sees the USBn HDD as a hard disk, so I have alter the priorities of hard disk, so that the USB is 1st and the internal 2nd).

On server reboot, the initial part of the reboot from USB happens, however, halfway through the Windows logo screen, it BSOD with an error "inaccessible_boot_device".

What I think is happening, it that I have not altered the boot.ini, so it looks at this and then fails.

Several questions:
1.  is a bootable external USB HDD with Windows feasible?
2.  am I going about this the right way?
3.  if so, what needs to go into the boot.ini

Question by:neilhu
    LVL 11

    Accepted Solution

    I don't think you are going to be able to do it. Here is why:

    In fact, by default, Windows 95, 98, ME, NT4, 2000, XP, and Linux only handle boot devices on the ATA/IDE bus, and certain SCSI busses. As a result, the most common result of trying to install or launch a 32-bit OS from a USB boot device is a blue screen with "INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE" displayed.
    LVL 15

    Expert Comment

    I think it will work, but only if CF is worng. :)

    You say the BIOS sees it as a Hard Disk, this is good.

    If you install Windoze to a hard disk on this system, plug in the USB drive, then boot from the IDE drive, how does the USB drive appear in Disk Manager? If it shows as a standard type, and gives a location, then I think you're in, you just need to fix the ARC path.

    If it shows as something non standard, then I think CF is right...

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