Installing windows to an external USB drive using the windows setup, is not possible. As you are probably aware, windows returns an error every time you select a partition, or the external hard drive to install your windows.
How to fix windows error-windows cannot be installed on a USB hard drive.
However, there are several other ways in which this problem can be fixed. You can:
- Disassemble the hard disk from the USB extension cord and install it into the computer.
- Clone your internal hard disk to an external hard drive.
- Copy the data on the C partition to a partition on the external hard drive.
- Migrating windows using a software to HDD.
1. Disassembling a hard disk from USB extension cord and plugging it into the computer.
This is the quickest, cheapest, and yet the most risky method for solving your problem. Unless you know the safety about disassembling computers, I would strongly advice you not to use this procedure.
However, if you know your computer well, you can disassemble it or take it to a technician who does, and direct them on what to do.
Opening up your hard disk USB extension cord and casing.
Most external hard disks are just normal internal hard disks plugged onto a USB extension cord and covered by a casing.
In order to find the hard disk you have to open up the casing and remove the extension cord, and you will have your hard disk.
- Find and loosen the top screws holding the casing together, then remove the top cover from its place.
- Loosen the shock protectors if present.
- Carefully loosen the hard disk and the extension from its place. They should be plugged in together therefore remove them together carefully, to avoid breaking the cord.
- Remove the cord from its place.
Removing the hard disk from a laptop or a computer.
Computers differ, therefore the procedures involved in the disassembling of hard disks and other devices from a computer differ.
The main steps are to just:
- Find the screws for the covers protecting the hard disk and remove them, plus the covers.
- Find the screws holing the hard disk in place in the computer and remove them.
- Remove the hard disk and plug in the external hard disk.
Installing windows is the easy part, because all you have to do is to boot using the installation disk and install your windows.
Again, this is not a fool-proof method because, some hard disk differ in size ad fitting, and therefore some external hard disks may fail to fit into some computers, especially PC desktops.
For my laptop however, I was lucky enough, for my hard disk was a perfect fit into my Laptop.
2. Clone your internal hard disk into the external hard drive.
If you had not partitioned your hard disk before, this would be the best idea in moving your windows to your hard disk.
Cloning your hard disk will copy all the data on your internal hard disk and print it on the external hard disk. This will allow your laptop to boot using the hard disk since the boot data will have been copied from the internal hard disk to the external hard disk.
However, you can only clone a hard disk using a software, I recommend buying this application. It is very less complicated.
- Plug in the USB hard drive into your computer.
- Open the software.
- Click on the clone your hard disk and a wizard will appear.
3. Copy the data on C partition to a partition on a hard disk.
You can copy your hard disk partition using the command prompt, or using a software.
Using a software.
- This is the easy part. Download a hard disk manager software (Make sure you do not copy using windows explorer, or using another coping software, this will only lead to partial coping of data since this software do not have permission to copy certain bits of data.)
- Open the software, and select copy partition.
- A wizard will appear prompting you to select the hard disk partition you would like to copy to, select a partition on your external hard disk.
4. Migrate windows using a software to HDD.
Download and purchase this software, if you had already downloaded, make sure you purchase since you cannot use the “install windows on HDD/SSD” feature on this tool if you had not purchased it.
- Plug in your external hard disk into your computer.
- Run the software, and Click on the Migrate OS to SSD/HDD
- Select the hard disk partition you would like to migrate the OS on.
- Migrate windows to the external hard disk partition and boot using the external hard disk.