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Can Vista on an external hard drive boot?

Last response: in Storage
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November 16, 2009 5:50:00 PM

Hello everyone,

I have a couple of question that I hope someone can answer.

I have a laptop (2.5 IDE hard drive) with Windows XP loaded onto it. I also have another laptop with a SATA hard drive (that has the Vista OS loaded onto it) Both have been enabled to connect to my wireless router automatically (when the computers are turned on) as my WEP password has been saved on both machines.

Scenario: I would like to use the SATA drive (with Vista) as an external hard drive for my laptop (that has XP loaded)

Let's say I take out the SATA hard drive and put it into an external case and connect the case to the main laptop through the USB port using regular USB cables. As mentioned before, the external SATA hard drive (with Vista) has the wireless connection set to automatically connect to my router; ie the wireless settings are set to allow the hard drive to connect automatically on system start-up. Now, let's say I have my main laptop turned on and then I attach my exteral SATA hard drive (with Vista) to that computer. I notice a green line expanding (from left to right) at the top of my screen (URL field) as the files load. After a couple of minutes, the files load and I am able to see everything in my external hard drive.

Does this mean that Windows Vista actually booted on my external hard drive? (ie Is it possible to have both Operating systems running simultaneously? )

Do any internet based applications on the external hard drive (ie limewire) turn "on" and connect to the internet?

Do internet applications (on the external hard drive) automatically connect using the NIC card of the laptop (that contains the internal hard drive)?

I would appreciate any help regarding this query.

Thanks in advance,
Jake
a b G Storage
November 18, 2009 1:07:51 AM

It all depends if your motherboard supports USB boot. If it can, and there's a Vista installation on the external hard drive, then yes, you can boot using Vista on an external hard drive.
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November 18, 2009 2:49:50 PM

however, does it mean that it will actually boot automatically? Meaning if I turn on my laptop with XP and that boots, then add my external hard drive (with Vista), does it mean that the Vista OS hard drive actually booted in order to see its contents or does it simply only work as a storage device
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a c 359 G Storage
November 18, 2009 8:19:48 PM

The only way it can boot from the external drive with Vista on it is if you tell it to do that, AND your machine has the ability to do it. "Tell it to do that" means setting (in BIOS Setup) the location of your boot device to the external drive.

If you boot your machine without the external drive connected, it will boot from its usual place into XP. Then when you plug in the external and it establishes a connection with that unit, your machine will still regard it only as a data storage device while it continues to see your first boot drive called C: as its "home". Even if you have the external drive connected when you boot up, as long as your BIOS is set to boot from the internal drive containing XP and NOT to even try to boot from the external unit, then it will use the internal unit ONLY as its boot source. The external still will just be a data storage device.
Share
November 19, 2009 3:06:02 PM

thanks for your help
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September 4, 2010 12:11:02 PM

I have a similar problem. However in my case my laptop's motherboard went out so I took the hard drive out and placed it in an external enclosure. I am attempting to boot my desktop from the external Vista drive but I am getting an error that I don't recognize "Err1Err3"; I hit enter and the PC boots from my C: drive in XP. I have been unsuccessful in finding information to help me.

The thing is I have MS office, visio, project, etc. on the laptop hard drive but not my desktop and currently can only see my files that were created using these program but not open them.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.



Paperdoc said:
The only way it can boot from the external drive with Vista on it is if you tell it to do that, AND your machine has the ability to do it. "Tell it to do that" means setting (in BIOS Setup) the location of your boot device to the external drive.

If you boot your machine without the external drive connected, it will boot from its usual place into XP. Then when you plug in the external and it establishes a connection with that unit, your machine will still regard it only as a data storage device while it continues to see your first boot drive called C: as its "home". Even if you have the external drive connected when you boot up, as long as your BIOS is set to boot from the internal drive containing XP and NOT to even try to boot from the external unit, then it will use the internal unit ONLY as its boot source. The external still will just be a data storage device.

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