Windows 7 installation

So a couple of weeks ago I tried to play Skyrim. It wouldn't play in fullscreen, so I've been trying to fix that. One possible problem is that I recently upgraded to Windows 8 Pro. I thought I had played skyrim on win8 before with no problems, but I could be wrong. Anyway, I've been trying to install windows 7 to troubleshoot this, but I've run into several issues. I have two external USB HDDs in USB 3.0 enclosures with plenty of space on them, so I considered installing windows 7 to those. However, When I use disk manager and select the "Shrink Volume" option, it gives me a message:

The service cannot be started, either because it is disabled or because it has no enabled devices associated with it.

So I'm not sure what to make of that. But I'd like not to erase those drives, shrinking one partition would be preferable so I could make a small partition (maybe 32 GB) to install windows 7 on as a troubleshooting tool. But, I would also like to try something else.

I recently bought a 32 GB USB 3.0 flash drive and thought it would be useful to install Windows 7 directly onto it so I could boot directly from it. Its easy to install windows from a USB stick, but to actually install windows TO the USB disk and run windows from the USB stick I've never heard done before. When I run the install DVD, it doesn't list any drive but the SSD in my laptop. I looked online, and I saw posts which said it was straight up impossible with windows 7 and some which said it was possible. I was wondering if anyone could give me a straight answer as to if it is possible or not, and if it is, how to do it. Keep in mind that while I do have Windows 8 available (I hear its easy to do it with windows 8) the idea was to get a working installation of windows 7 as a troubleshooting tool. Anyway, if anyone has any ideas, I would appreciate them (on either the Skyrim issue or the windows 7 installation. As for Skyrim, i've already tried everything to be found online or from common sense, but a border still appears every time) I appreciate any ideas.
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  1. follow these instructions for a portable version of Windows 7 on a usb flash drive = this will allow you to run windows 7 on any machine without compromising the operating system that is currently installed, you will have to install drivers also.
  2. I looked at that, but isn't that running it through a virtual machine? I was hoping to be able to boot from it.
  3. No that's not running it from a virtual machine.
  4. The Stealthinator said:
    No that's not running it from a virtual machine.

    Yes, that is running it from a virtual machine.

    Windows 7 BY DESIGN cannot be installed on a USB hard drive. It only supports install on internal drives (or esata because it doesn't know the difference). There a way to install it on an internal drive, hack the registry to get it to work via USB, then move it external, but its REALLY not worth the effort and you'd be better off spending your time looking for the real problem
  5. Also google or forum search are your friends.

    Bottom post

    There's plenty of posts on the issue. Also if you, for some strange reason, did an "upgrade"(shudder) instead of a clean install of windows 8 there are reports a clean install may fix it.
  6. unksol said:
    Yes, that is running it from a virtual machine.

    No, because you're loading the OS on a USB (you did state that doesn't work, tho). Loading it on a USB (like you can for ubuntu) and running it in a virtual machine are different.

    I think that's what rattman meant.
  7. The Stealthinator said:
    No, because you're loading the OS on a USB (you did state that doesn't work, tho). Loading it on a USB (like you can for ubuntu) and running it in a virtual machine are different.

    I think that's what rattman meant.

    If you had read the link you would see that its using virtual box portable and is "installing" windows 7 on a virtual disk image. To use it you hook it up to a host PC. Already running an OS. And again launch virtual box portable to load the disk image to the VM.
    Its not a bootable OS its a virtual OS. The disk image just happens to be stored on a USB.
  8. unskol, I did do an upgrade, but up until now I've had no reason to do otherwise. Why do you say shudder? Does it muck up the registry? Also, is there a link for the registry hack to allow win7 to run via USB? I have some free weekends coming up, so I can do it then. Also, as for that Tom's Hardware post, I had seen that and tried that, but it didn't work for me. I thought I had run Skyrim in win8 without this issue, but I maybe I hadn't, and the clean install would fix it. It might be worth trying, but I'm a bit low on time, so I'd prefer not to do that. Anyway, I do appreciate the thoughts, though.
  9. Best answer
    Upgrade *should* work but theres never a good reason not to do a clean install from my point of view, especially with how easy it is. Why not start with a clean system?

    I'd just take an image, do a clean install if it works then you know, if not restore the image.

    The registry hack was actually windows XP it seems. There's a long complicated explanation here about halfway down


    For windows 7 that involves using a virtual disk. You can boot from it and its not a VM like virtual box. But it looks like a lot more effort than just sticking a drive in or doing a clean install
  10. Ok so I swapped HDDs and put my old on back in, then reinstalled windows 7 onto that drive, and tried skyrim, and I didn't get the border, so it must be caused by win8. I would really like to just fix win8 instead of wiping everything and starting over since I'm a little short on time, but if necessary I can do that. However, I put my SSD back in and tried to boot from the HDD with win7 on it (through a USB 3.0 enclosure) and I got to the "starting windows" screen, which stays there for a few seconds and then reboots, so I'm guessing that its windows sensing its being booted through a USB connection. So can I swap them and edit the registry for win7 so that it'll allow for booting through USB? It would be nice so that I didn't have to spend so much time setting up win8 again. Again, thanks for all of the help so far.

    Edit: I haven't gotten a chance to read that thread about running win7 through USB, so I'll take a look again and see if I can edit the registry to allow booting from removable storage.

    Edit2: I just skimmed the post about creating a VHD for windows 7, but it didn't seem exactly what I wanted to do, and, correct me if I'm wrong, isn't really aimed to what I am trying to do, and might not work correctly. Anyway, if anyone has any ideas, I'd greatly appreciate them.
  11. Best answer selected by commanderriker.
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