How To Setup a Portable Development Environment on a WD Passport.


My goal is to setup a portable development environment on a WD Passport. Specifically, using a WDML5000TN to run Windows XP Pro.

However I have encountered a problem...

After reading the procedures to setup a usb stick and trying a number of them I was able to configure and boot WinXP via Barts PE. This confirmed that the basic boot process would work.

My next problem was installing Windows XP on the WD Passport. Because the install performs a reboot, the process would fail. After numerous tests to get around this, I performed the install on another hard drive and copied it to WD Passport.

Here is what has worked so far:

1) Using Norton Partition Magic, NTFS format the WD Passport drive.
2) Using the HP USB Key utility, add a boot record.
3) Using a spare hard drive in a desktop pc, install Windows XP on that drive.
4) Using Norton Ghost, copy the hard drive to the WD Passport. Note, do not select the "copy mbr" option.

Now I have a clean installation on the WD Passport. After checking my target workstation bios and startup configuration, usb boot was enabled.

*** Here is the problem ***
When booting from the WD Passport the boot record is successfully executed and the NTLoader appears to work as well. I confirmed this by executing safeboot and watching the load process. The system begins loading dlls from %systemroot%/system32 and then stops and reboots.

Unfortunately enabling bootlogging in the boot.ini does not save a log.
Is there another way I can capture the failing step so I can debug this?



Note: This was originally posted in the Flash Media forum. It has been reposted here since this is more of a General Storage question.
2 answers Last reply
More about setup portable development environment passport
  1. I think I read somewhere that when XP boots it resets the USB and thats why it drops out.

    I am trying to do the same thing with a portable dev env.

    Probably going to use virtualbox and run in a virtual environment
  2. As karazy pointed out, if you want something that is truly portable you'll be much better off using a virtual machine. With VMware Workstation, you could create a VM that you could run on just about any computer using VM player. BTW, VM player is free.

    Using a USB drive will result in an installation that is at best "somewhat" portable. Every time you try to boot a machine that uses a different chipset, you will encounter problems ranging from inability to boot, to a non-working Windows installation. When it works, you'll have to install a bunch of drivers specific to the machine you booted from in order to have something that is usable. I am going to guess that a Windows install on a USB drive will successfully boot on different machines about 30% of the time, if that.

    Even a VM is affected by the problem of varying hardware but significantly less than any installation that is tied to hardware. If the VM works (which will be 90%+ of the time, you won't have to install any drivers either).

Ask a new question

Read More

Development Western Digital Storage