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Boot Vista from external USB HDD.

Posted on 2010-09-02
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Last Modified: 2012-08-14
I have a HDD that was in my laptop (HP DV9000). Vista os is installed on the HD. I have put the HD in a USB 2.0 external case and would like to boot from it. When I try I get a BSOD.

What must I do to get this HD to boot? I have selected to boot from an external USB device in BIOS as the first device and I get drive activity during the boot but no joy.
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Question by:Oxen_Schwantz
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Expert Comment

by:vickzz
ID: 33585795
Press F12 key on your keyboard so it shows the boot menu and then select USB Option.

Here is an article:

http://www.techmixer.com/install-windows-vista-from-bootable-usb-flash-memory-drive/
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Author Comment

by:Oxen_Schwantz
ID: 33587781
Perhaps I was not clear as to what I wanted, but...
I alreay have vista OS on the HDD--I want to boot that OS not install it.
Am I misreading what you sent me?
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by:jameso99
ID: 33588749
It's probably blue-screening because it doesn't know what drivers to use - you have installed disk drivers that are specific to your machine on the drive and so Windows wants to use those.
You can't just boot an OS from a drive like you can under Mac OS X.

If you want to be able to run Vista off the drive you'll have to install it to the drive so your PC will set up those drivers as the primary disk for booting.

Something to try (but it's not guaranteed to work) is to boot into the drive while it's inserted into the laptop drive bay, delete the IDE or SATA controller in Device Manager (you will get a popup which you can ignore) and then shut down.  Then try booting it off the external drive.  
Worst case is you'll have to plug the drive back into your laptop and re-install the controller devices in Windows.

Make sure you've backed stuff up though- if you mess up the drive there's no guarantee you can get it all back during this :)
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Accepted Solution

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marsilies earned 500 total points
ID: 33589569
Windows is not designed to boot off an external USB drive. It won't install to a USB drive, and if you connect a drive via USB, it won't boot.

You can create a Windows PE that will boot from USB, but full installations won't install or boot.

Someone got Windows XP to install to and boot from USB:
http://www.ngine.de/article/id/8

However, due to the differences in how XP and Vista install, I haven't read anywhere of anyone getting a Vista install to work.

Here's a previous question with the same answer:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Windows/XP/Q_21963587.html

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