Boot from USB HDD?

I have a full system backup image on an external HDD. Should I be able to boot from it? My BIOS does have the option to boot from USB HDD, and when the USB HDD is connected it is recognized and listed there in the list. I did try it once but it I didnt have the hard disk in the pc disconnected at that time so I think thats why it may not have worked (blue screen etc upon trying). Is that probably the only way to get the pc to boot from the USB HDD, by first having to disconnect the disk drive inside the pc first? Comments please?
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  1. The Operating system must be configured to boot from USB. Windows does not easily boot from a USB device. You should be able to choose to boot from USB whether or not a hard drive is installed.
  2. Thanks for that reply Phil. Could you describe or perhaps please direct me to a source/link which would describe step-by-step method of configuring my operating system (Vista) so I could boot/run from USB HDD. I googled some but no luck so far finding info relating specifically to my issue here.
  3. Best answer
    I'm going to make an educated guess here, in the sense that I haven't proved this particular case.

    A common question is "I put my system drive in a new machine, will it boot?" and the common answer is "probably not." The installation configures certain specific drivers to load early in the process to handle the motherboard, drive controllers, and other hardware. If that is not the hardware that is found, the process fails.

    So booting from a USB copy of the OS is booting into radically different hardware, will get the wrong drivers, and will most likely fail for the same reasons as sticking the old drive into a new machine and trying to boot.

    That said, if this is not your only copy of the drive, you could try my favorite solution for the different-hardware boot issue: Boot to the distribution DVD and do a Repair installation. If this is your only copy, for heaven's sake don't take the risk. Unless this is purely curiosity, pull the external drive out of its case, install it internally, and then boot.
  4. WyomingKnott,

    It's my only copy, and I was thinking of trying to do it our pure curiosity. So I won't bother trying if it has to be such a big complicated ordeal. I don't even know what you mean by "boot from the distribution DVD"; and I believe I don't even have such a thing anyway. Question answered, thanks!
  5. Best answer selected by sgull123.
  6. Yeah - never fiddle around with your only copy. If you break it, you are in for a world of hurt.
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