Install XP Professional on an USB Hard Drive

Hello to the forum. I am trying to install Windows XP Professional on my Western Digital USB external hard disk but my first attempt was not successful… My WD disk appears in BIOS and when i boot from the cd it lets me install on it but when it reboots the PC hangs…

Can someone help me?

Your motherboard must be able to boot from a USB device. Many boards cannot, others require that you enable this function in BIOS. Be sure you have Legacy support enabled in BIOS as well.

My board has the option to “Boot from other devices”. I put it on yes but i think the computer is not booting from it… i have XP home edition on my internal hard drive…

I installed XP again on USB drive with no success… on boot the 2 two XP installations appear but only the one in my internal drive boots… :sad: :sad: :sad:

Suggest you consult with the board’s maker to see if booting to USB is possible. Perhaps there’s BIOS available that will enable this. The “boot from other device” option usually refers to PCI cards and the like.

Going to read the manual now…

Nope… Cannot boot from my USB Hard Drive… :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Any ideas?

contact tech support of manufacturer of ur mobo :wink:

AFAIK you cannot boot Windows XP Home/Professional from USB because at some point in the booting process, the USB support is temporarily reset/lost so you lose the connection to the USB drive.

I don’t have a reference handy, however.

It’s possible to boot some modified/reduced versions of Windows XP (e.g. BartPE) from an USB drive, but I don’t think that’s what you want to do.

Search on google. I tried. Won’t work. DrageMester is absolutely correct.

It all boils down to the XP boot process, when it loads the USB driver, resets the USB bus to re-enumerate the bus devices. When it does so, USB HDD is disconnected, and windows boot process will not be able to find the original drive as it has been enumerated to another “place”. So, when this happens, you WILL get a blue-screen that complains of BOOT_DEVICE_NOT_FOUND or something similar [brain’s rusty].

Thanks guys… since the external USB drive is available from BIOS i thought i could install XP on it… :sad: :sad: :sad:

I did not get a blue screen… i get a dark screen with no messages at all after the xp cd tells me to reboot my computer…

I have to try making a Ghost of a previous XP installation…

Wow glad I’m not the only one who has tried and failed doing with this :slight_smile:

I am successfully using an external harddisk (with lots of pirated software on it) at work. The instructions I followed are still accessible on

It was WinXP SP1. I still have the modified files and can upload them if you are going to install WinXP Sp1 but don’t want to go trough all the steps manually.

Basically you replace some files in i386 and make a bootable disc using nLite.

Time for a bit of Linux advocacy :slight_smile:

You could always try Linux instead. I have just installed
PCLinuxOS on an external 250GB USB2 drive.

Dear moderators. All right this time I won’t mention the reason why I have my external harddive. :MAD:

It is perfectly possible to install Windows XP SP1 on a USB harddisk. I did it following instructions which are still available by this address:

interesting link. just wanted to mention that the link also assumes that your bios has an option to boot from USB. if you cann’t boot from USB then the capability of windows to boot from usb is a non-issue since you won’t be able to.

seemed obvious, but I just wanted to pu tthat out there!

Of course. That page deals with the issue when WinXP takes control of USB over from BIOS.

A little sideeffect of NGINE guide is that USB mass storage devices no longer get installed automatically. The user must do ‘search for driver’ the first time he plugs in a MSD.