Installing Windows on an external hard drive

If I have the sata the USB cable can I take an external laptop hard drive and install Windows on it and then place it back in another laptop to use??

Or is that not recommended???
brian ramdhaniCT Technician Asked:
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Two things:

1. If OEM then the answer is no.
2. If Retail Windows, then possibly maybe. Why?  You would need proper drivers for every machine you plug it into.

No, Not recommended.

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brian ramdhaniCT Technician Author Commented:
If the laptop it belongs to has a bios password and you want to reimage the hard drive

It's a laptop hard drive
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
If all you want is a Back Up of a given drive, use Acronis or Ghost and do it that way.

If the hard drive has a password it is hard to defeat.

If the laptop has a BIOS password, it will be required each time you turn on to use the USB drive.
Acronis True Image 2019 just released!

Create a reliable backup. Make sure you always have dependable copies of your data so you can restore your entire system or individual files.

David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
You can do this (a) if drive is recognized as the correct drive type and use win2usb and install windows onto the usb drive..  once completed (30 minutes or so) then boot from the usb in the desired machine.
ANUPKUMAR NAIRManager IT InfrastructureCommented:
Hi I thing the question should be more presise, can you breaf why this is required?
starting windows from an external drive does not influence the bios password, since that is required BEFORE windows start

to fix the password problem, you ask the owner the password, or go to the manufacturer, and show proof of ownership.
this is to protect stolen laptops
Windows2go is a technology available to enterprise customers. Do you run windows 10 enterprise? If so, you can easily create a movable installation on a USB thumb drive. It starts anywhere.

Google more about "windows to go"
that does not address his password problem imo
Danny ChildIT ManagerCommented:
I'd imagine that the Windows Activation would go berserk as it would see different hardware fingerprints, even on similar models of laptop.  However, that's just an opinion, not tested it!
I have not yet understood how a bios password even entered here. The asker will have to specify what type of bios password he talks about, because a pw protecting the bios does not mean we cannot boot without, while a hard drive password again does not mean we cannot use (for example) windows2go on that system.

About activation: Windows2go is for enterprise customers, and will reactivate anytime automatically, each time the usage counter of your volume license will rise by one.
>>  because a pw protecting the bios does not mean we cannot boot without,   <<<  ???i thought that was just the goal of having a bios password - to protect the data against stealing...
That's why he needs to clarify it. Bios passwords protect the bios settings. What you mentioned is a boot password setup in the bios and of that kind, there are different flavors as well, some are instantly breakable, others not... But none would stop a plugged bootable USB thumb drive from booting.
brian ramdhaniCT Technician Author Commented:
ok folks just to clarify this bios password....

the laptop that the hard drive is in has a bios password to enter the bios

the reason i want to enter the bios is because the bios settings has disabled boot to cd or boot to usb and i wanted to go into the bios to enable it so i can reimage the laptop

this is not my laptop but a child from a school that the school gave them but the technician for that school left and he is the one who put in the bios password...

the child called me to assist cause i am a technician in another school

so i was thinking maybe the easiest way is to remove the hard drive and connect it to another pc that has no bios password on it and then boot to usb and reimage the pc....

what are your thoughts
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
we can't help you with the bios password.. you have to contact the person that put in the password or prove ownership to the manufacturer
You can't remove the password, without knowing it !   -->  ( what good is a password that can be "repaired" ?)
modern laptops keep it in a security chip - for anti-theft reasons
resetting the bios does not help;  nor does removing the battery, since the password is not in there
you would need to know in what chip it is, and how to reset that
you have to turn it in to the manufacturer, and show proof of ownership - then they can help
or replace the mobo !
Ok, to help you with applying the manufacturer's image, we'd first need to know the procedure for that. Do you have a DVD, or is there a recovery partition? The latter might just require a key combination to be pressed at startup.

Applying a factory Image to a drive that You removed might be possible. I'd ask the manufacturer for hints.
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