Monday, 12 November 2012

[How to] Install and Boot Windows 8 From an External Hard Disk

Want to try the latest Windows 8 from Microsoft without messing up your existing operating system? The best option would be to install Windows 8 on an external hard disk if you have one.The process is quite simple.It involves the creation of a Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) on your external hard drive and then installing the Windows 8 ISO on to the VHD.

Prerequisites:
1.Windows 8 ISO (Download )
2.PWBoot Software( Download)

The main steps involved in the installation of Windows 8 on an external hard drive are:
1.Create a Virtual Hard Disk on your external hard drive
2.Install the Windows 8 ISO on to the VHD using PWBoot
3.Reboot and configure your installation settings

Step 1: Create a Virtual Hard Disk (VHD)

Connect your external hard disk on to your computer and open the Disk Management.Identify and select your external hard disk from the list of memory devices connected to your computer. The name of the hard disk used in this article is “TOSHIBA EXT”.

Create a VHD as shown in the screenshot below.
Create VHD on External Hard Drive To Install Windows 8 
Attach VHD

Specify a location for creating the Virtual Hard Disk and name it with a name of your choice. Here we have named it “windows 8”.Also specify the size of the new virtual hard disk to be created.Select the “Fixed Size” option.Now click “OK”.

Once the new VHD is created (which may take some time) ,A new disk (Disk 2 here) appears on the disk manager.

VHD Created

The VHD now needs to be initialized as shown below.

Initialize VHD Created Now
Select VHD To Be Initialized

Right click on the “Disk 2” and click on the “Initialize Disk” option.The VHD is now initialised and can be seen in the Disk Management with an “online” status.Now create a partition on the VHD.

Create a New Partition To Install Windows 8
Right click on “Disk 2” and select the “New Simple Volume” option.

Create a New VolumeTo Install Windows 8

A new partition is thus created.

New Volume Created

Step 2:Install Windows 8 on the VHD using PWBoot

PWboot is a small application that helps you to install Windows 8 silently on to the virtual hard disk using the WIM file which is found among the windows installer files.Download PWBoot from here.

Now that you have downloaded PWBoot , extract the files of Windows 8 ISO to some location on your computer.Start the PWBoot application and follow as shown in the steps below.

Select "Install" Windows Option on PWBoot

Select The Windows 8 Installation File , install.wim

Browse and select the install.wim file from the windows 8 installation files.It is found in the "sources" folder.

Selec the VHD as the volume


PWBoot Installs Windows 8 on To Your Hard Drive

After the installation process is over, run command prompt in elevated mode (Run as administrator).Use the bcdboot command with the “windows” folder in the Virtual Hard Disk as the command parameter.

Add Windows 8 to boot list

Now check if Windows 8 is listed among the boot OSs by running msconfig.exe

Use MSCONFIG to check if new Windows is listed

Step 3: Reboot and Configure Windows settings

Restart your computer and configure the windows settings.Enter the product key when prompted for. Once the configuration is over you can run Windows 8 directly from your external hard drive.
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