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February 14th 2012 2:58 pm

Is it possible to boot Windows XP from an external hard-drive?

I have a 4 and a half year old laptop that originally came with Windows XP. About a year ago, I bought a new hard-drive, swapped it into my laptop, and put Windows 7 on it. There are times, however, that I need to access certain applications that are on my Windows XP hard-drive. The only way I've been able to do this so far is to swap the hard-drive back in.

I have tried booting the Windows XP hard-drive from usb with an external hard-drive enclosure but unfortunately every time Windows XP begins to load, I get a blue screen. I'm thinking that it is not possible for this setup to work. Can anyone confirm that or let me know if there is something that I may not be doing? If it is not possible, are there any other solutions that may work other than swapping the hard-drive out of my computer?

Your help is appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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9 answers

This is not possible. When windows xp boots, it reinitializes all USB devices. When doing so, all usb devices are momentarily disabled and turned off. When this happens, windows loses access to the drive it is installed on, and crashes.
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I think the main way to make this work is to install Windows XP on the external hard drive, but that is not what you want. (I am not certain this would work, especially if you have other usb devices connected at different times.)

There are some utilities that can do whats called P2P adjust or Boot correction that can fix some of these problems, but if you do that, you will not be able to boot XP if you swap it internally to the laptop (you would have to do the same adjust/correction again)... I would not recommend this option without making a full backup of the hard drive first. (I am not certain this option would work either.)

I have successfully used Paragon Hard Disk Manager for P2P adjust and Boot correction to move hard drives between computers and boot styles: www.paragon­­/home­/hdm­-personal/
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If your just wanting to run Windows XP off a USB drive, the best way is just to Download Hiren's BootCD, which has a copy of Mini WinXp on it, and then set the pc to boot from usb, and your good to go.­/pages­/bootcd

Alternatively, you can do all the install yourself as well, Toms hardware had a guide up for it.­/reviews­/windows­-pocket,1113.h...
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Well I think the absolute best option for you would be to install Windows XP Mode on your windows 7 environment. Could I ask..

What programs do you want to use?
Do you still have the product keys/media for the software?

I can understand you wanting to use that HDD if you don't have the media or product keys for the software then you would have no choice but to use the second HDD with XP installed.. but.. XP Mode is a free install for any Win 7 OS Version and would allow you to install those legacy programs and run them without the hassle.
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Hi, First you download Virtual PC or Virtual Box, and install any one into your PC, these are free software, then you have to create a new virtual machine and then you install what OS you need and use it. this is very simple and powerful solution for your problem. All the best.
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yes it is possible. Just download an ISO file of XP with a product key. Then mount the image on the HD. Then boot it using the boot utility so wat u have done is that u have actually created a dual boot. Thus now u can use XP
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To make this work, you need to put winxp into a vhd disk image, than use grub4dos to boot it.
To avoid BSOD 0x7B you need a virtual scsi driver named winVblock.
I found a full article here :­/2012­/08­/How­-to­-install­-and...
Hope it can help you.

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Hi good day, any body help me. I have hp mini laptop. I lose internal hard drive option due to connecting jake. So i want to run window with sata external hard drive or usb. So please help me what i can do?

Thanks in advance.
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Have been wondering also if I could start up win xp using USB by putting my sata hdd in an enclosure and see if I could JUST get to the files and folders on it. I don't want to use it as an OS, just get to files. I am running win 7-64 on the PC. Thanks.
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