Running Windows 10 from an external drive

bobruzzo

W1AV
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I had taken the SSD out of my HP Z420 PC cause I am selling the PC. The SSD has Windows 10 home on it. I had an ADATA hard drive enclosure, so I put the SSD in it and just for the heck of it, I wanted to see if it would boot. It did and is running pretty fast even though its connected by USB. The computer is an HPZ210 with 32GB RAM. So I have been running checks on it and it seems to be working very well. When I boot the computer, I press F9 a few times till boot menu pops up....it shows the ADATA as a choice. When I choose it, I see "Attempting to boot from USB....." in upper left of screen. It takes slightly a little longer to boot compared to when it was in the Z420 PC.
I had read many times that Windows could NOT be booted from an external drive.
 

a417

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Mar 14, 2004
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Windows will boot from an external drive, it all depends on how the uefi (and formerly bios) would present the drives to the operating system.

As you can see, your HP workstation uefi probably supports is...otherwise it wouldn't show the boot selection as an option. What is decidedly more difficult is installing win 10 to an external drive. It can be done, I have done it, but it is not without a myriad of hacks and tricks to get it...and then it's fraught with pitfalls and subsequent quirks.

If you decide to get more into a multi-boot mindset, you can install a uefi boot manager like rEFInd - and then you can boot nearly any device that you attach to your system, and you won't need to F9 the boot process and hope that your uefi finds it. Gives you a nice graphical interface, a good selection of low level tools, and something nicer to look at.
 

bobruzzo

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Joined
Nov 4, 2019
Messages
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Location
Cranston, Rhode Island
Windows will boot from an external drive, it all depends on how the uefi (and formerly bios) would present the drives to the operating system.

As you can see, your HP workstation uefi probably supports is...otherwise it wouldn't show the boot selection as an option. What is decidedly more difficult is installing win 10 to an external drive. It can be done, I have done it, but it is not without a myriad of hacks and tricks to get it...and then it's fraught with pitfalls and subsequent quirks.

If you decide to get more into a multi-boot mindset, you can install a uefi boot manager like rEFInd - and then you can boot nearly any device that you attach to your system, and you won't need to F9 the boot process and hope that your uefi finds it. Gives you a nice graphical interface, a good selection of low level tools, and something nicer to look at.
Cool, maybe I will look into rEFInd. I was just sorta surprised when the external ssd booted.
 
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