Need a highly portable Windows 7 installation that you can use almost everywhere? This can be achieved by installing Windows 7 onto an external hard drive and all you have to do is just plug the external HDD to any computer and select the External HDD as the boot device on startup.
The following steps will take you through the process of installing Windows 7 on to an external hard drive and then boot from it.
Installing Windows 7 to an External Hard DrivePrerequisites: a) Windows 7 ISO file
There are two methods to install Windows 7 on your external storage device,
1: Install Windows 7 onto a new partition created the External HDD
2: Install Windows 7 onto a Virtual Hard Drive(VHD) created on the External HDD
Let’s see the Method 1:
Step 1: Create a new partition on your external HDD.
Create a new partition on your external hard drive.Windows 7 will be installed onto this partition.
Step 2: Install Windows 7 onto the newly created partition
Now extract your Windows 7 ISO file to some location on your computer using WINRAR or any other program of your choice.
In order to install Windows 7 onto the newly created partition on your external HDD, we use a small freeware called PWBoot.Download PWBoot , and run it on your computer.Here we are silently installing Windows 7 onto your external HDD.
Once you have started the PWBoot program,follow the steps as in the screenshots below:
Select the “Install Windows” option.
Now specify the location of the INSTALL.WIM file, which can be found in Windows >>Sources. Don’t forget to check the box ”Enable boot from USB interface capacity”
Select the External Hard Drive Partition on to which you want to install Windows 7.
Once the installation is complete, Restart your computer, and go to the boot device selection menu and select your external HDD as the boot device.
Step 3: Configure Your Windows Settings Configure your windows settings as usual by creating your User account, specifying your Time and Date settings and so on..
Now Windows 7 is installed on your external hard drive and it is ready to be used on any device.Simply select your external HDD as the boot device in the boot device selection menu, and your portable Windows 7 will start booting.
If you are not interested in creating a partition on your external HDD, you can use the VHD Method which will help you create a Virtual Hard Drive on your external device and then install Windows 7 on to it.Please note that the above linked tutorial for VHD method is for installing Windows 8, but you can also use it for installing Windows 7.
Hard Drive Image Credits:Karen/Flickr