SOLVED Install Win 7 on USB Drive


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I have Windows XP Pro installed on my desktop. The desktop has 3 internal drives: 1 1tb WD drive, 2 250gb WD drives. I also have a Segate 1tb USB drive.

I would like to install Windows 7 on the USB drive & leave XP on the internal hd until I get everything configured the way that I want it set up, then transfer everything to one of the internal 250gb hard drives.

How do I go about this project, or is there some software available that will do the job?

Thanks for any suggestions.

Ed Wood
 
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catilley1092

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edawood, welcome to the forum! You're going to have a hard time accomplishing what you want. Windows 7 is very picky about this. When you install it, you're going to have to disconnect those other drives. You could do this with Linux, but not Windows 7. Is there a reason you don't want to install 7 on your regular drive (the one that you have XP on)?
 

Mychael

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Even if it could be done there is the issues of performance in trying to run the O/S over USB.
I had tried putting 7 on a spare drive before doing the job properly, it never worked (the install I mean) I was plugging and unplugging drives and it never got there.
 

yodap

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Welcome!

You would have a better chance with e-sata but should still un-plug the other drives to avoid future boot problems.

If I were you, I'd clear one of the 250's and install on that after disconnecting the other 2 drives and perhaps image it over to another one later.
 
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The reason that I want to install it on the USB HDD is to try out Win 7 before I make the leap to that new OS. I have used Windows OS going back to Windows 2, and upgraded to the newer update when they came out. EVERY time I have upgraded to the "latest and greatest", I have had multiple problems with the "buggy" new version. And that doesn't count the fact that I have had to reinstall all of my programs again (there are several that I have that are a major hassle to install/reinstall e.g. Pinnacle Studio, Adobe Acrobat, Corel WordPerfect, Quicken, MS family of products [especially troublesome is Outlook's database of contacts & email], and a few others). If I am not satisfied with the look and feel of Win 7, then I would have to go through the process of reformatting my boot drive again, then reinstalling everything (including Win XP Pro) to a clean drive.

I can install Win 7 on one of the 250gb drives, but to do that would require disconnecting the Win XP boot drive. With the USB HDD, I can select that drive in my BIOS as the boot drive without having to disconnect the other drives. Plus, if I use one of the internal 250's when I reconnect the other internal drives I think I will get the dreaded "blue screen" because the BIOS will not know which OS to boot to.

If I can install Win 7 on the USB HDD, I was hoping that after I got everything set up properly, I could then migrate all the files to an internal drive without having to go through the install process again.

I hope I have answered all questions. If not please raise more. Thanks for your suggestions. Hopefully, through this forum, we can come up with a workable solution.

Ed
 

catilley1092

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If you were to buy the Pro or Ultimate version, you can get Windows Virtual PC w/XP Mode for free. This is a XP Pro SP3 environment that you can install what doesn't work with Windows 7. But you do need a minimum of 2GB RAM (32 bit) or 3GB RAM (64 bit) for it to have plenty of power to run. The XP Mode itself is 32 bit. I just don't think you will get the performance you want through a USB connection. I'm going to do the same myself (attach a drive through USB) to run Linux on. But I know it wont be as fast as it would installed normally.
 
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I heard about windows Xp from USB but not for Win 7. As it takes around 19 Gb of space I don't think this is possible.
 

Nibiru2012

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I heard about windows Xp from USB but not for Win 7. As it takes around 19 Gb of space I don't think this is possible.
He's talking about running Windows 7 from an external hard drive via a USB connection.

He apparently doesn't want to install it to one of his internal hard drives, which would be best in order to test it.

It will be painfully slow, that's for sure.

Surely there is enough space, about 30 GB on one of the hard drives to install it to.
 
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My external USB HDD is 1 Terabyte, so there is plenty of room for the install.

My objection to installing Win 7 on one of the 250 Gigabyte internal drives is that I would have to disconnect the other internal drives in order to install Win 7. Then, I would have to reinstall my group of programs that I normally use because I do not know if I can reconnect the disconnected internal drives after the Win 7 install.

I am afraid that the BIOS would get confused (since I cannot select which internal drive to boot from) and try to load both Win 7 and Win XP Pro. If that happened, I would get the dreaded "BLUE SCREEN", and I am afraid the FAT would become corrupt, then I would have a real mess on my hands, and have to reformat both the XP drive and the Win 7 drive and start over. Believe me, I have been there before in previous editions of Windows OS (think Win 95 to 98, or 98 to Win Milennium), and it is no fun.

Also, I don't know what would happen if I were able to have all internal drives connected, be running under Win 7, and try to run a program that is on the XP drive. I don't know if the program would work, crash, or corrupt the drive.

I have a copy of Windows 7 Ultimate. My whole purpose is to try out Win 7 to see if I really like it before converting over to Win 7. My son has Vista installed on his box and really hates it. It is real slow, and not very user friendly. I have tried it on his box, and would not put Vista on my Box. I understand that Win 7 is simply an improved version of Vista. If I don't like Win 7, I want to be able to go back to XP without having to reinstall everything all over.

Bottom line, there seems to be no good or easy way to test out Win 7 short of having only a single hdd with Win 7 installed on it, and loading all of my programs on that drive to try them out. My biggest objection is databases in Outlook 2003 (which are not that easy to transfer, even though MS says they are), Pinacle Studio Plus 14, which is a killer to install and configure, and WordPerfect X4 which, like Pinacle, is a killer to install and configure.

Thanks for your discussions. If anyone has been through this before, let us hear from you.

Ed
 

yodap

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I am afraid that the BIOS would get confused (since I cannot select which internal drive to boot from) and try to load both Win 7 and Win XP Pro. If that happened, I would get the dreaded "BLUE SCREEN", and I am afraid the FAT would become corrupt, then I would have a real mess on my hands, and have to reformat both the XP drive and the Win 7 drive and start over. Believe me, I have been there before in previous editions of Windows OS (think Win 95 to 98, or 98 to Win Milennium), and it is no fun.

Also, I don't know what would happen if I were able to have all internal drives connected, be running under Win 7, and try to run a program that is on the XP drive. I don't know if the program would work, crash, or corrupt the drive.

I have a copy of Windows 7 Ultimate. My whole purpose is to try out Win 7 to see if I really like it before converting over to Win 7. My son has Vista installed on his box and really hates it. It is real slow, and not very user friendly. I have tried it on his box, and would not put Vista on my Box. I understand that Win 7 is simply an improved version of Vista. If I don't like Win 7, I want to be able to go back to XP without having to reinstall everything all over.
Ed, you are describing my system here to a tee.

Unplug the XP drive and the 250 who's data you want to keep. That leaves one 250 in the box. go ahead and install Win7. Get it set up so you can play with it. Don't activate it until you have a chance to see how it runs on your hardware and install some of your programs. You have 30 days before you need to activate it.

Because you took the other operating system out, both boot sectors are in tact.

Now you need to find out which function key gets you to the boot order menu screen on your computer. That is to say, turn the computer on and after you hear the initial post beep, tapping the proper Fkey will bring you to a BIOS screen where you you will see a list of boot devices. On mine it's F10, on some other brands it's F2 or something else. Your comfort level should be okay here because I see you built this machine. When you are okay with this part, reconnect the XP drive. When you get to the boot order screen now, you will see both drives and simply navigate to the one you want to boot to. If you let the machine boot by itself the drive connected to the lowest # sata channel will boot by default. Neither operating system will have a problem seeing the other.

On my system, because I didn't want to screw any thing up, While in XP I went into device manager/Disk drives, and disabled the drive with 7. And vice versa when in 7 I disabled the XP drive.

It sounds convoluted but it's not. I use Win7 80% of the time so that is my default boot drive. You may set yours the opposite way, but eventually you will end up on 7 because it's great.

I would be happy to help you in any way I can. You have a great oppurtunity to test Win7 without borking up your XP system.

Yo
 

catilley1092

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yodap, part of what you've described here will apply to me, I'll have Linux on my old hard drive in one of those drive cases. I'll be connecting by USB. Will this be my issue too, finding out what key boots my other drive? Or will I have to do some configuring in the BIOS to allow that? The "F" keys, and what each stands for, aren't in my manual. But I do know that you install your new OS by holding F2, and the BIOS changes are made in F10.
 
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yodap

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I'm not understanding completely. You have Linux (Mint I assume) on an hdd, in a drive enclosure?? USB??

All things I described to Ed were on internal drives.

When I want to install a Linux system, and I don't want grub to get in the way I do it as I described to Ed.

Currently I have Sabayon 5.2 installed on the same drive as XP because I don't mind grub in this instance. If I uninstall Sabayon then I'll have to rebuild the boot loader on XP.

I guess what I'm saying is that I'm comfortable with all the F-keys and grub loaders now. 12 -14 months ago, before I found Win 7 beta, I would have been catatonic from it all.

PS. I have Mint installed on a usb thumb drive. It is excellent. When the usb stick is plugged in before boot up, it shows up in the boot menu list. :)
 

catilley1092

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Yes, it's on the drive, but I'm waiting for the enclosure to come in to install the drive. I don't want to mess with GRUB on this drive. It installs fine, but when you want to remove it (the Linux OS), you're left with no bootloader. So you have to repair (from a backup) or one of those repairs where you boot the Windows disc. I want Linux on it's own drive. But I thought that this was a similar situation, I don't want to hijack another member's thread with a different problem. I'll post the question after I get the enclosure, and the drive installed in it. Thanks for your answer, yodap. That is another possibility to look at.
 

catilley1092

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When I get my enclosure and put the drive in it, in "Hardware". That looks like the proper place for it.
 
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Nibiru2012

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I am really surprised that a Gigabyte motherboard does not give you a "First Boot Drive" option in the BIOS. Usually it's in the "Advanced BIOS" settings.
 

catilley1092

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Nibiru2012

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The HP Specs state the following: Memory Installed - 2 GB Maximum Allowed: 4 GB 2 x 2GB

Basically, it's a laptop mounted on a monitor stand with a separate keyboard. Similar to the Apple iMac.
 
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catilley1092

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You're right, it's basically a large laptop without the lid. In fact, my 5 year old Dell laptop has several different connections that this desktop doesn't have. Like those hookups where you plug it in, then screw it down. I have 3 different ones on my laptop, plus S-Video. But this is far better, much faster, better looking, and to a point, upgradeable. I noticed at the bank, they have HP's on a similar mounting, no tower, but a much thicker back to it. Another good thing, no clutter of cables, the basic configuration, keyboard & mouse, and power. You can buy wireless keyboards & mice, reducing the cable to one. Those larger ones (like the bank has), are the same way. Everything is right in front of you. It's OK for now, but like I said before, the next one will be built. The package prices are good, as you know. Hopefully, there will be an eight core processor by then, and a 5GB video card.
 

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