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Booting from an External USB 2.0 HD

spdougan asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-03
I find my self in a predicament.  I have this neat-o Iogear (no, not Iomega) 80GB External USB 2.0 hard drive that I would like to use for Ghosting.  Ideally, what I'm trying to do is eliminate thumb/jump drives and floppy disks and CD/DVDs altogether and just use this 80GB drive for all my ghosting needs, so... is there any way to set this sucker up as a primary boot disk?  The systems I'm going to be using this on are Dell Optiplex GX620's which support Boot-from-USB.

thanks in advance!
- steve d
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Try this.

Find a computer with a diskette drive.  Format a 1.44MB disk and copy system files to it (making the disk itself bootable).  

Go to tools, folder options and unhide protected system files & hidden files.  Copy everything (except io.sys) from the freshly formatted floppy to your hard drive.  

You should be able to boot into it.  Now you can copy the dos-based ghost.exe from your ghost cd to the hard drive.  Edit autoexec.bat so that it starts ghost.exe and you should have a working bootable external USB hard drive with ghost.

Please let me know if you need clarification...

Take care,

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Most Valuable Expert 2015

Get yourself acronis trueimage, which by the way is far superior to symantec ghost. Acronis has a mediabuilder which can create a bootable CD (but it also works for other removable media, I've used it for ls 120 floppies, but not yet for USB drives) with the program on it.

In addition to taki's response above (copy the system files and such so that it is bootable), you need to make sure to go into each system's bios and modify the "boot order", so that boot from USB is BEFORE the hard drives.   That way, assuming your usb device is plugged in, you're good to go.  

I usually set my systems' boot order to be:   Removeable/USB, CDROM, HD1

As far as getting a boot disk (to copy..), you can find everything you need at "bootdisk.com".   Free boot disks that do exactly what you need.  

Here's another article descriving how to set up a USB device as bootable:  http://www.pcstats.com/articleview.cfm?articleid=1676&page=2

Check this, may save you some buck with free software and you can self-build bootable from USB (or at least idea how to) the last link is more likely what you are trying:



Also try this link:  


This points to a utility that you can use to format your USB hard drive while making it bootable.

Please let us know whether the above worked.


thanks everyone for your good ideas... however, in this instance, so far nothing has worked.  we tried copying over boot files, we tried setting boot order, tried the hp utility... so far, it's a no-go.  my co-worker is going to try some stuff with different flavors of DOS, but that's not lookin' too good either.  *sigh* we're probably all going to have to get thumb drives...

- steve d
Ouch!  There must be a solution to it... Let's continue the thread.  Can you tell me what the make/model of the drive is and what you are trying to accomplish?  What are you looking to boot into?  Could USB 1.1 / 2.0 make a difference?  
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