Installing XP on an external Hard Disk enclosure

I am in the process of trying to reinstall my MCE 2005 rig onto a new Raptor Hard Disk, using my previous 320GB for backup storage. Problem is that this PC is frequently used by other family members and I can't put it out of action for an entire 2 days while I install Windows and all the other software properly.

Rather than having to unplug my old 320GB hard disk and swap it for the raptor each time I wish to work on the new installation, I was thinking about utilizing a spare HD enclosure by placing the Raptor Hard disk in the enclosure and booting off the Hard Disk . I am also having issues getting the Windows Installer to notice my SATA controller, but it seemed to recognise my WD MyBook Hard Disk as a partition!!

If I was to:

install Windows and everything onto the Raptor by placing the Raptor into the enclosure, and then
once I had completed all the necessary work,
remove the Raptor from the enclosure back into the case connected directly to the motherboard SATA port and then boot off the newly prepared Raptor...

what pitfalls or problems could I encounter in my new installation of Windows? I am going to have to ring up Microsoft to reactive Windows as I am using the same key in my new installation - the other installation will be wiped clean, and its the same computer that I am using since I last activated Windows (I was prompted to reactive after drastic changes in hardware(my graphics card)). The last thing I want to do is sabotage my new installation of Windows. Any warnings would be greatfully appreciated!
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  1. I have a 4GB memory stick I was attempting to install Windows XP on. There's many problems with booting XP from a USB device. XP was not designed to be booted from a USB device. Notice that this is different from installing XP from a USB device.

    Here's the 2 pitfals I know of:
    1. When XP boots up normally, it resets the USB bus and redetects all of the hardware. Unfortunately when this happens and your boot device is the USB device, your USB device becomes inaccessible and XP blue screens before it loads. The solution is to steal the USB drivers from a Windows 2003 SP1 kit and stick them on the XP boot disk. The USB drivers for 2k3 SP1 don't reset the bus, solving this problem.
    2. Depending on your computer, USB boot devices are emulated in 1 of several ways. When I attempt to install Windows XP on a boot device I can select the device and partition, but it always returns an error stating something like "the device could not be accessed'. This error is why I have so far been unable to install XP on my memory stick. I have no clue if/how you get around this problem. I've spent about 4 hours reading everything I could find on this error and so far have no solution.

    I found a few 'guides' that tell you how to install XP onto an external device, but after all the registry/ini changes it didn't help.

    If anyone has gotten this to work, please share with us what you did. I was considering posting a question on the forum myself on this topic. So far my solution was to download Ubuntu and use that. It installed perfectly to my other USB drive and works great.
  2. I have a newer system with XP Pro that I installed the OS onto an external hard drive with no issues.

    I haven't tried a flash drive though I will just to test it out.
  3. Did you install the OS onto your external hard drive doing anything special? Some places recommended you install XP on the hard drive as an internal drive, then put it in the external box. Now I'm really curious as to how the heck it worked for you. Even reading on the BartPE forum you have to steal the USB drivers for the BartPE disk. Maybe I'm completely lost because of the 10 different ways I read to do it and I'm fusing them all together into 1 ugly mess. Did you install it using an XP disk that had SP1 or SP2 on the disk? Apparently it works much more often with SP1 than SP2. I don't understand why, just that people say it is that way.
  4. I connected the hard drive via USB and booted up with a service pack 2 disk. It detected the USB drive and allowed me to install windows on-to it. Nothing special.
  5. marshahu said:
    I am in the process of trying to reinstall my MCE 2005 rig onto a new Raptor Hard Disk, using my previous 320GB for backup storage. Problem is that this PC is frequently used by other family members and I can't put it out of action for an entire 2 days while I install Windows and all the other software properly.

    Rather than having to unplug my old 320GB hard disk and swap it for the raptor each time I wish to work on the new installation, I was thinking about utilizing a spare HD enclosure by placing the Raptor Hard disk in the enclosure and booting off the Hard Disk . I am also having issues getting the Windows Installer to notice my SATA controller, but it seemed to recognise my WD MyBook Hard Disk as a partition!!

    If I was to:

    install Windows and everything onto the Raptor by placing the Raptor into the enclosure, and then
    once I had completed all the necessary work,
    remove the Raptor from the enclosure back into the case connected directly to the motherboard SATA port and then boot off the newly prepared Raptor...

    what pitfalls or problems could I encounter in my new installation of Windows? I am going to have to ring up Microsoft to reactive Windows as I am using the same key in my new installation - the other installation will be wiped clean, and its the same computer that I am using since I last activated Windows (I was prompted to reactive after drastic changes in hardware(my graphics card)). The last thing I want to do is sabotage my new installation of Windows. Any warnings would be greatfully appreciated!

    The reason why you couldn't see your SATA HDD when trying to install windows is because you needed to install the SATA drivers. You'll need what they call an "F6 floppy disk" so right after the windows xp install starts, on the bottom of the screen you'll see a notice that says "press F6 to install drivers" or something like that. Hit F6 a bunch of times, the install will continue to load the drivers it has from the CD, but when it's done, it will prompt you for the floppy disk.

    Here: http://downloadcenter.intel.com/filter_results.aspx?strTypes=all&ProductID=2101&OSFullName=Windows*+XP+Professional&lang=eng&strOSs=44&submit=Go%21

    That has the floppy configuration utility F6 method floppy disk files you'll need. What motherboard do you have? And/or what chipset does your motherboard have?

    If you do use the external drive to set it up, make sure you install the RAID/AHCI Software - Intel® Matrix Storage Manager found on the page of the link I gave you. It will install the SATA drivers for XP. If you don't install it, then when you pull it out and plug the SATA drive into your motherboard, it might blue screen when you boot up. Let me know how it goes.
  6. I have an Asus A7N8X-E Deluxe Motherboard with a Silicon SATA Controller. I am having troubles with my SATA driver disk that I am using as it is simply refusing to recognise any SATA drives but it happily recognises the MyBook. This problem I have posted about separately in another forum post. In the meantime to get around it, if Windows MCE 2005 is recognising the MyBook as a potential hard disk to install Windows onto then I was thinking I could use my other enclosure to put the raptor in, and then work on the system as and when needed, unplugging the raptor when other people need to use the PC so it boots back into the current installation, and then moving the Raptor drive back into the system once I have done everything with the new setup.

    I don't intend on using any RAID configurations with my new setup. Just want to use the 150GB Raptor as one hard disk and the 320GB as another separate hard disk for PVR Recordings and CD Images which I mount in Alcohol 120%. I have the SATA Drivers for my motherboard to install in Windows once it is setup - I have the motherboard CD with the SATA install program. Can I install this on the new setup before I unplug the Raptor from the enclosure??

    Any other pitfulls I need to worry about??
  7. CompTIA_Rep said:
    I have a newer system with XP Pro that I installed the OS onto an external hard drive with no issues.

    I haven't tried a flash drive though I will just to test it out.
  8. Hi CompTIA_Rep,
    I am surprised to know what you said.

    I am having problem with my internal SATA HDD and need to be sent to service centre for warranty. This will take few days, probably weeks.

    After reading BartPE, I have bought an external HDD (seagate) and tried to install the XP SP2 onto it by just disconnecting the internal SATA. Initially it all looked fine, the first go was fine, then after first reboot it started to boot from USB HDD. But to my surprise, after few seconds, it popped up the microsoft blue screen saying that "internal error - Ox0000..007B". I guess it was referring to some memory location of the HDD partition used for installation.

    Anyway, I tried to reboot/chkdsk as suggested by the installer. Nothing worked. BTW,The external USB HDD showed as a hard-disk drive in BIOS (not merely USB / flash memory).

    I am still not done, waiting for some miracle to happen.

    Can anyone please help!
    -------------
    sankudey
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