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Thread: Installing and Running Windows 8 from External Drive

  1. #1
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    Mar 2013

    Installing and Running Windows 8 from External Drive

    Windows 8 is a new OS offering a complete new interface and lots of touch based feature. There are many who just want to test it. But for that you have to install it on your system making a separate partition and messing with the boot loader. In this guide I am going to show you how you can run windows 8 through an external hard drive. It is fairly easy but a bit lengthy process. You can install windows 8 just like you install it in your pc and provide an external location so that your internal partition is not touched. Also you can wipe out it easily if you don't want to use anymore.

    Windows 8 does not offer you any live boot like Linux. Due to which it is not easy to test it through a DVD or any other bootable media. But thanks to this process. Still before moving ahead it is better to take your system backup. If you won't there can be issue later on. Here we are installing a new OS so there are chances that you might face any problem if the setup is not proper. Checkout the requirements panel before going ahead.


    • You need an external hard drive. But the storage space must be above 30GB. This is because if you install programs on that then the system will not function well.
    • The second thing you need is an usb. It must be minimum 8 GB in size. You can also use a Windows 8 bootable DVD. But using a pen drive is far easier. It is also faster.
    • To move ahead with the process the first thing you need is to create a VHD Disk. VHD stands for Virtual Hard Drive disk.
    • Do not forget to backup your data completely. If anything happens you have to re-install windows back.

  2. #2
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    Mar 2013

    Re: Installing and Running Windows 8 from External Drive

    Steps to install Windows 8 on external hard drive:

    • Download Windows 7 USB DVD Tool. This will help you to download the iso file of Windows 8.
    • The next step is to create a vhd disk. A VHC is similar to a hard drive but it consists of virtual partition. So here we are not touching your existing file system but creating a new one over that.
    • Connect your hard drive and right click on My Computer and click on Manage. In that you can see all connected device.
    • Here click on the external hard drive. You can see an option called as More Action. Click on that and choose VHC.
    • Choose the external hard drive as location to save the vhd disk by providing a name. Once done exit Disk Management and follow the same step above to enter it to initialize the VHD.
    • Once done right click on the new unallocated space and create a partition. You can see option new simple volume. The same process of creating a new partition.
    • Follow the screen wizard and create a new partition. Use NTFS file system. Once done your VHD is ready to install windows. Remember the drive letter assigned to vhd like D or E or H.
    • Using Windows 8 USB tool create a bootable usb. You can also use Windows 8 DVD.
    • Reboot your pc through that bootable media and go ahead with the setup process.
    • Here you will have to launch cmd to configure the vhd as installation location.
    • For that on the partition menu hit Shift + F10 to launch cmd.
    • Type the following command: DISKPART> select vdisk file=d:\VMs\Win8.vhd & DISKPART> location of vhd.
    • You can see the list of drives in that hit refresh by pressing Alt + Tab to see the virtual drive.
    • Click on it and choose next. Do not worry if windows setup restarts a number of times.
    • Once done you can use your live id to configure the system.
    • When you disconnect the external drive windows will not boot properly. To fix that go in your Windows OS and run msconfig. In that go in boot tab. You can find listing of windows 8 Default OS and windows 7 Current OS. Make Windows 7 as default.

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