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Silly External Hard Drive Question

Posted on 2006-04-17
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Last Modified: 2010-04-03
If I get an external hard drive that connects via USB 2.0, and I ghost my main drive to the external one, will I be able to boot from that external hard drive, since it is connected by USB?
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Question by:kayhustle
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by:Irwin Santos
ID: 16473483
Only if your motherboard supports USB booting..

You may want to take out the hardrive (if possible) from your external drive bay and put it in your computer system to do this.
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by:kayhustle
ID: 16473505
How would I be able to find out if my hard drive supports that?
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by:kayhustle
ID: 16473512
I have an Intel D865 PERL by the way, if you are familiar with that model.
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by:Irwin Santos
ID: 16473514
its not your hardrive.. it is the motherboard BIOS.

When your system boots up, it may display "press F2 / F1 /F12" or some other key combination to go into the BIOS setup to change/view.

WHat is the make and model of your computer?
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by:kayhustle
ID: 16473524
Yeah I built it myself, but Intel D865 PERL is my motherboard.  So you're saying that should be listed somewhere in the BIOS options?
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by:nltech
ID: 16473532
according to the last comment in the this q, you can't boot windows off of usb.
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Operating_Systems/Q_20983648.html

another similar q with no solution:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Operating_Systems/WinXP/Q_21274499.html

but i found this blog comment that suggests a 3rd party alternative:
http://blogs.msdn.com/oldnewthing/archive/2004/04/15/113811.aspx#114366

more information from the evil empire here:
http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/device/storage/usb-boot.mspx
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by:Irwin Santos
ID: 16473551
Intel motherboard upon startup.. press F2 prior to the Intel splash screen.  Locate Boot Options and see if you have USB (able to boot).  Select this.
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by:kayhustle
ID: 16473560
From what nltech is telling me, it can't be done yet with Windows.  I have Windows Vista Beta 2, do you know if that feature is available with Vista?
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by:Irwin Santos
ID: 16473611
"From what nltech is telling me, it can't be done yet with Windows."

Again, that is all dependant on your motherboard and if it supports that feature.  If so, then you don't need Windows.
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by:kayhustle
ID: 16473622
But what I'm saying is that if I Norton ghost my drive with Windows Vista on it to the external drive, will it work.  I don't get the part about not needing Windows.
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by:Irwin Santos
ID: 16473653
Ghost is a separate program that is run off a floppy drive.  you don't need Windows "anything" at all to run.

You do need Windows to create the Ghost disk.
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by:kayhustle
ID: 16473681
Ok, I'm kinda lost now, when I Norton ghost a drive it copies the whole drive, including the OS to the disk.  You're saying I don't need Windows anything to run?  I was trying to boot my whole computer, including Windows, from the external drive.
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by:Irwin Santos
Irwin Santos earned 800 total points
ID: 16473713
"You're saying I don't need Windows anything to run?"

No, you need Windows to make the Ghost boot disk...that's the only focus on Windows you need. If you have made this disk, then you wil boot off it, select your source & target (usb external hardrive).  At this point Windows doesn't load.  The system copies the contents of your orginal drive to the USB external drive.

Again...to reiterate...(3x) you need to have the BIOS on the Intel motherboard selected to boot off the USB device.  If there is NO function or reference to this, then you CANNOT do it.

To resolve this (if exists), you will have to physically remove the drive from the external housing and put it into the computer case.
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by:kayhustle
ID: 16473898
Ok, lets say my BIOS does allow me to do it.  If I boot off the external drive what do I see, you're saying Windows won't load?  So will it boot into MS DOS or something?
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by:PUNKY
PUNKY earned 200 total points
ID: 16474063
Yes, if the BIOS has option to boot from USB, then you should have your windows start up and loading from your external hard drive thru USB port.

As Mr. Irwinpks said, in case of your motherboard does not have USB boot option, you will have to disassembly the USB housing and get the hard drive out, then install this hard drive onto your system and it will boot from there.
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by:nltech
nltech earned 400 total points
ID: 16474180
it sounds like it doesn't matter whether the hardware supports booting off the usb or not, it's a software issue and windows doesn't support it. at least that'd be microsoft's official position on the matter.


i did run across this little howto for putting a fresh load on a usb stick...
http://www.911cd.net/forums//index.php?showtopic=14181&st=228#
linked from here...
http://channel9.msdn.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=142703
in which someone says vista won't support running off usb either.
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by:nltech
ID: 16474186
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scrathcyboy earned 600 total points
ID: 16474729
The answer to the question is - NO.

Forget trying to boot off a USB drive.  While technically possible, it is not worth the nightmare involved.
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by:kayhustle
ID: 16474801
haha, thanks, I'll forget about it then.
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by:Irwin Santos
ID: 16474812
thankyou.
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