How To Install Windows 7 To USB External Hard Drive [Must Read]

As you likely know, while one can install Windows 7 from an external hard drive, one can’t install the same to an external hard drive with default settings. For all those users waiting for a good workaround to install Vista, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 to an external hard drive, here is the complete solution.

Windows 7 SP1

Even though Windows recognizes and displays the USB hard drive in the installation screen, it doesnโ€™t allow you install Windows on the same. When you attempt to install Windows 7 on external drive, you get “Windows cannot be installed to this disk” error.

Install Windows 7 to an USB external hard drive

So, if you want to install Windows 7 on an external hard drive you need to follow the steps given below. The procedure is simple but you need to install Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK) first to get some files. We would like to thank fujianabc @ boot-land forum for this workaround.


# An external hard drive formatted with NTFS

# Windows 7 installation files (if you have Windows 7 ISO use Virtual Clone Drive freeware to mount it)

# Windows Automated Installation Kit (free download from Microsoft)

NOTE: Make sure that you have a minimum of 15 GB free space on your external hard drive before starting the procedure. Although we are not going to delete the contents of external hard drive, we recommend backing up your external hard drive contents before trying this guide.

Install Windows 7 on a USB drive with ease

Step 1. Create two folders named Windows Files and WAIK Files on your desktop or any other drive which has a minimum of 5 GB free space.

install windows 7 to an usb external hard drive

Step 2: Download the ZIP file from here and extract the contents to WAIK Files folder. Before starting the actual installation procedure, you need to have three files: Bcdboot.exe, Bootsect.exe and Imgex.exe. These files can only be obtained by installing Windows Automated Installation Kit for Windows 7 on your Windows PC. After installing WAIK, simply search for these files in the Windows installation drive to get them. Once you have these three files, copy them to WAIK Files folder that you have created in the above step.

Install Windows 7 to an USB external hard drive10

Step 3: Copy all the contents of Windows 7 installation DVD to the Windows Files folder.

Step 4: The next step is to run Installer.cmd file as Administrator (Right-click on installer.cmd and select run as administrator). In the first screen, you will be asked to press Enter to continue.

Install Windows 7 to an USB external hard drive15

Step 5: Press Enter key to browse to the install.wim file present in the Windows Files folder. The Install.wim file can be found under Sources folder (Windows Files/ Sources/ install.wim).

Install Windows 7 to USB external hard drive1

install windows 7 to usb hard drive

Step 6: Now, you need to select the Windows 7 edition that you want to install on external hard drive. You can select the edition by entering the index number shown in the screen. For example, type “5” (without quote) and hit Enter key to select Ultimate edition.

Install Windows 7 to an USB external hard drive2

Step 7: The next step is to enter your External drive’s drive letter. Enter the drive letter (ex: L) and press Enter key.

Install Windows 7 to an USB external hard drive3

Step 8: Now, type in the drive letter of your ACTIVE partition and hit Enter key. Generally “C” is the active partition. You can find the active partition by opening Windows Disk Management tool (type diskmgmt.msc in Start menu search area and hit enter to launch it).

Install Windows 7 to an USB external hard drive4

install windows 7 to usb external disk

Step 9: Finally, the installer will ask you the drive letter that you have entered to install Windows 7 is a USB hard drive or not. As you are installing Windows 7 to an external hard drive simply type “Y” without quote and press Enter key.

Install Windows 7 to an USB external hard drive5

Finally click Enter key again to start extracting the Install.wim files. This might take a few minutes. Once done, you will be asked to reboot your PC to continue the normal Windows 7 installation procedure.

Install Windows 7 to an USB external hard drive7

Install Windows 7 to an USB external hard drive9

Step 10: Reboot your PC and follow the usual Windows 7 installation procedure to complete Windows 7 installation on external hard drive. Your PC will be restarted twice or thrice during installation.

Please note that the installation procedure might be slower as you are installing Windows 7 to an external hard drive.

Step 11: Once done with the installation, you are good to go. You can install all drivers and other software to start using the best Windows version on your PC.

Note: We have tested this method to install x86 flavor of Windows 7 to Seagate USB external hard drive. But should work fine with x64 as well. Users who would like to carry Windows 7 on a USB flash drive can follow our how to carry Windows 7 on USB flash drive guide.

UPDATE: If you’re having issues with this guide. please go through our how to install Windows 7 on USB with ease guide for easy instructions.



  1. stein says

    This is useless as it requires the boot sector to be at C: which already contains Windows and it cannot be booted separately from the fixed drive. Worse, now the internal HD will not boot without the ext. Ridic.

    Who needs this? 2 windows 7 installations?

  2. admin says

    @ No pastry please,

    The script doesn’t contain any malicious code. Could you please tell that antivirus software that you’re using? Thousands of users have tried the script in the last couple of years without any issues. Please check the following link to results from VirusTotal for the batch file. As you know, VirusTotal uses over 50 antivirus engines to scan each file.

  3. No Pastry Please! says

    READ the contents of the batch files, is is a VIRUS and rewrites your destroy your MASTER BOOT RECORD on your system disk! You will NOT be able to reboot your box without the Windows install CD.

    The only thing that works right is ImageX.exe, all other lines in the installer.bat which manipulate the registry or call up DISKPART or BSDBOOT should be deleted. You will have to go online and do those by hand. ALL positive comments with smiley faces in them are OBVIOUSLY fake, I did not read any of this page before starting to do this.

  4. No Pastry Please! says








    allow your Windows CD to “Load Files” until finished, then start creating the new system in WINDOWS.0 directory, Now PULL THE POWER on your system. Reset your boot device back to the system disk, FORCE the booting of the SECOND menu option (it changes boot.ini to 1 second, so you have to jump on it!) and regain access to your PC. Go into System Properties/Advanced/System Startup and edit boot.ini by hand. Remove all likes that contain “WINDOWS.0” in them and reset the delay time to 6.

    The only thing that works RIGHT is the ImageX.exe program, the rest of his batch is
    FAR FROM COMPLETE and needs WORK, lots of it!

    Do NOT use Windows AIK files because NUMBNUTS forgot to mention there are THREE
    versions of BSDBOOT, BOOTSECT and IMAGEX in there! God man, what a FIASCO! Why the HELL didn’t you make separate batch files for separate goals?

  5. Stteve Hutcheson says

    I like it. It installed fine on the first ext. hdd. The next time I tried it I got the error
    “Windows Imaging Utility has stopped working. ”

    0% ] Applying progress The Wim file Applied O.K.

    Processing the Registry and usb boot watcher . . .

    Error occurred when loading the registry
    Press any key to exit . . .

    Any help would be appreciated. Thank you

  6. Imaginashawn says

    Maybe it can be done with ease but not with such confusing instructions. For example, your first step says to ‘ Download the ZIP file from here’ without saying what zip file it is and then you talk about it and the WAIK together to add to the confusion.

  7. Another guys says

    I noticed a problem :
    When I disconnect my external hard drive, I can not boot from C: internal hard drive.
    I need to have both drives connected to use Windows.

    I tried to use the script given here [] to enable the hard drive to be used on other computers, in order to see if it will solve boot problem, but I received a sysprep serious error.

    Script to use as admin is :
    \Windows\System32\sysprep\sysprep.exe /oobe /generalize /shutdown

    I tried then the solution of using a graved Windows ISO to use repair function on both Windows installation, but so far, effects are not noticeable.

  8. aslfkjhasfkdh says

    BADLY needed clarification: you have to partition your target drive first, in disk management. first delete all partitions on your empty target drive by right clicking in diskmgmt. then create simple volume, 100 MB, NTFS, drive letter R for example (this is = system reserved aka the small sector containing boot loader for windows) and quick format. Next format the remaining large unallocated space, to K (or whatever letter other than A, B, and cant use C because the computer youre running this cmd on already has a C drive) NTFS and quick format. Then run the installer.cmd. Then the first prompt for OS partition thats where windows files will install, in my example K drive, and select R drive as the boot drive. If this method actually worked these are the steps you need but I think this guide is broken, or I cant find a solution for the life of me. wintousb doesnt work, as selecting my drive in bios afterwards it still wont boot, just crashes.

  9. jasdeep says

    Step 11: Once done with the installation, you are good to go. You can install all drivers and other software to start using the best Windows version on your PC.

    Does that also mean that external hdd can be used to boot on another laptop whose internal hdd has crashed? and then install the drivers? more like a portable

  10. Henrik says


    Does anyone know if this prodecdure works with Windows 10.
    I would like to install Windows 10 on an external disk.

  11. Guy says

    When this is done, will the current C: drive be whiped and ill have to use the External hard drive from then on? or will it just create a 2nd install and give me the option on the boot menu?

  12. Snap says

    But tell me how to upgrade it from windows 7 to 8.1. and by the way better to use wintousb

  13. Robert says

    So how do we FIX the problems that arise if we use this method? It’s in an infinite “Installation restarted unexpectedly” loop

  14. Robert says

    Tried using this before reading the comments. Now my computer won’t finish the install. It bluescreened, and now it keeps saying that that installation was interrupted and it needs to restart the computer and restart the installation. What do I do? How can I revive my computer?

  15. HONEY says


  16. User says

    One of my biggest frustrations with the Net is people who actually know less than they want people to think they do. I am wanting to put Windows 7 Pro 64-bit on a stick, and i am doing some reading to see how to do it. I just wasted some valuable time reading this crap. One good soul at least warned us that using this method can damage our C drive installation of Windows as well! Flush this stuff down the sewer and give us GOOD instructions on how to create a bootable Window USB drive.

  17. Cameron says

    Hi i followed the instructions and successfully installed Windows 7 on an External Hard Drive.However after Windows was installed when i tried installing other programs i kept getting File System Corrupt messages.Went through CHDSK and even then kept getting File System Corrupt, couldn’t even complete sfc completely.All told i spent more than 2 hours and my C Drive on External Drive is useless except for booting up Windows 7.Waste of my time.Now I’ll just Format it and Install Windows the normal way.Thanks for wasting my time!

  18. admin says

    This guide was originally written back in 2010. There were no easy-to-use tools back then.

  19. Frank T says

    What I don’t understand is, why this long way, when you can use the “how to install Windows 7 on USB with ease guide” is there other benefits of it ?
    But cool the easy way is there …


  20. ionut says

    You’d better use WinToUsb 2.0 beta. It works fine and it’s free. You’ll need windows 7 installation dvd in iso format.

  21. ashish says

    it works fine on my laptop .. but when i am booting my external hdd from another laptop(with a crashed internal hdd) it shows an error “bootmgr is missing” after i hit ctrl+alt+del system reboots and shows an error “no bootsector in usb device”

    please help me

  22. Lubomir says

    dear friend, why do you make a fool of all of us? Nothing works by your procedure.
    Only result is blue screen.

  23. Jon says

    yep tried it and I must be missing something because it showed a blue screen after the first reboot to finish install.???
    Anybody get passed this? Thanks

  24. demz says

    I just want to warn you guys, these instructions will mess the OS which is installed in your internal HDD and will corrupt your system files. This article is invalid.

  25. Misbah says

    I tried to install windows 7 on my external hdd using dell laptop running windows 8. Everything worked fine till i restated my pc. Now my screen is stuck at windows boot manager where a file ‘winload.exe’ is missing and corrupt. I cant go onwards as my original windows 8 is not listed in the OS options. Only windows 7 is here which is not loading correctly. Please help. I am in a mess :(‘

  26. Mack says

    When I run the installer it tells me I need 521 my of free space on any partition for temp files to install Windows. Free enough space and restart installation.

    Error code 0x80070103

    I have gigabites of free space on any number of partitions including my primary active.

  27. Taylor M. says

    So I have a question which may seem dumb, but I’d rather be safe than sorry. My mom’s laptop is broken and I suspect its the hard drive. I’d like to install windows 7 onto an external hard drive and run the laptop from said drive. I just want to make certain that I won’t change anything on MY windows 8.1 computer when I use my computer to install the windows 7 operating system onto the external HD.

  28. martin says

    Hi all,
    Im trying to install windows 7 on my external HDD. Im in point to reboot the pc, i have set the bios boot from usb but it will is working only to point where the WINDOWS logo is shown for a few seconds and after this whole pc get an bluescreen. What i’m doing wrong ? I have tried to reinstall the windows on HDD several times but still the same issue. ๐Ÿ™ getting tired of this. If someone can help i will appreciate it ! thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. Justin says

    This process works great for Windows 7 but installing with Windows 7 SP1 ISO or after installing updates through Windows Update causes your installation to blue screen. However, if you do not install any of the Windows 7 updates, this will work great.

    @dinescu : the install.wim should be at this path: Windows Files/ Sources/ install.wim after you copied your Windows 7 installation files like in step three above.

  30. Brian says

    The installer cannot find install.wim. When I hit enter to search nor if I manually type path…please help!!!

  31. Dinescu says

    yeah it works…….but I’m guessing that for most people after reboot it’s not an automatic spoon-fed menu installation……’s manual and involves using Windows SIM which appears in the start menu after you reboot……there’s instructions on what to do on the web if you search it…’s not hard, just really freaking tedious.

  32. Dinescu says

    the same thing that happened with everyone else who commented here; works fine up until you reboot to finish installation. at first I thought this was because I installed the iso image into a ntsf formatted partition on the external hard drive and it had to be FAT32 or exFAT because another blog this author wrote stated something like “in order to boot windows from usb you have to use UEFI and not Legacy” (which I’m assuming is the default for most machines?) but then when you reformat the external hard drive where you want install windows as exFAT or FAT32 the “fast installer” gives you the message “disk is not ntsf format, reformat disk to ntfs”.

    I’ve yet to try to install the windows iso to a FAT32 flash drive using “live linux” or “universal iso to usb” or “linux multibooter” applications (all free, all online for download) with the computer in UEFI secure boot mode; it doesn’t work in Legacy mode, or least hasn’t for me yet (and I tried on two different laptops. It must work though because why would linux guys include an option on their pendrive-writing programs for windows 7, 8, pro, etc if it didn’t work? wouldn’t make sense.)

    You can use this method to install a new clean version of windows in place of the one you have; all your data, settings, drivers and software are erased though so if you want you want to keep them you have to back them up beforehand. to do this you input the same disk for both the Active partition and the installation partition.

  33. Ethan F says

    Hi guys

    I used easyBCD and f**** up and deleted my BOOTMGR system partition and now I’m in this mess like the rest of you!

    Luckily, I had saved ALL of my data (pictures, music, documents, etc.) in a separate partition so retrieving my data was super easy.

    I took out the 2.5” HDD from my laptop and used Fosmon Technology USB 2.0 to 2.5″ 3.5″ IDE SATA HDD Hard Drive Converter Adapter Cable + AC Power Adapter (it’s $9.95) to connect HDD to my asus netbook, and then I transferred all my data (107GB in 1 hr over usb 2.0).

    I then formatted the HDD completely and erased everything.

    I don’t have a flash drive now and the one I ordered will arrive in 2 days, so I hope that I can put Windows 8.1 on the USB flash drive and that the empty HDD inserted into the laptop will automatically be able to install the OS and everything will be fine (hopefully).

    Anyway, I hope you can all retrieve your precious data!
    Remember, always have two partitions: one for your system and one for your data.

  34. Technik says

    Hi, thank you for the effort.
    I want to try it but i noticed that those who ask for your help concerning there โ€œBOOTMGR is missing.โ€ problem don’t get any response? What does it mean?

  35. glen says

    this does not work. everything installed correctly, but once it told me to restart my computer what do I do then? I boot up the install disk still says I cant use a usb, try and hook it up on the computer I am going to be using it on and its missing the BOOTMGR and another g something file. really wish people wouldn’t put things like this online unless they worked.

  36. David Burgin says

    ATTN!!! BOOTMGR is missing solved!

    You must be able to get into recovery. After following the method above and you get bootmgr is missing you need to disconnect your old hard drive. Then when you do start up repair it will repair external drive and then will boot.

    I am using mt laptop right now with no internal hard drive. Just my newly installed external hard drive

  37. 4N0N says

    Yeah so when I load the install.wim, no images show up at all. I guess it doesn’t matter as this author isn’t doing jack **** to help anyone. Thanks for nothing.

  38. Saidou says

    I have a company HP Elitebook 8470p. Because I don’t have any privileges in Windows, I want to try this tutorial out.
    My question is as followed:

    (1) If I take out the internal drive and try above method, will it then create a separate MBR partition to boot?
    The problem is that booting from another drive/boot partition is locked by my company (tried it with Ubuntu).

    (2) I also don’t want to make changes to MBR partition of that internal drive so I won’t get in trouble with my employer ๐Ÿ™‚ When I re-add the internal drive will it then keep 2 separate MBR boot partitions or does it merge it?

    (3) My boot menu for the moment has folowing priorities: DVD-drive –> USB –> HDD
    So whenever the external drive is not connected it boots automatically from the internal drive, when USB-drive (Ubuntu) is inserted it boots from the USB drive. (no changes to internal MBR drive)

    Thanks for your help.

  39. Steve says

    I just noticed that it says “external hard drive” specifically. Does this method work on usb FLASH drives?

  40. Steve says

    I have the same problem as Archmaester. I get a โ€œBOOTMGR is missing.โ€ every time i try booting from usb. I tried repairing with a Windows 7 dvd (both automatic repair and manual from command lines) , nothing help.Anyone knows how to fix this?

  41. Richard Mangaliag says

    Please help i got this error message.

    [ 0%] Applying progress
    Error restoring image.

    A required privilege is not held by the client.

    The Wim file applied O.K.

    Processing the registry and usb boot watcher…

    Error occurred when loading the registry
    Press any key to exit..

  42. Archmaester says

    Did all the steps above without mistake …it took me 141 minutes to finish the procedure but after that i received an error “BOOTMGR is missing.” after restarting and booting in USB …

    How to Fix this? pls respond ASAP … my IDE Hard disk is dead 1 day ago and i need a temporary solution using this method …

  43. Jasmine says

    This tutorial does not work when you try to install Windows 7 on a hard drive using a computer with MacOSX, my computer couldn’t run installer.cmd

  44. Kyle says

    I am sorry to say that but your guide only worked for me until step 9. When the copy process was completed, I tried to reboot from the Install DVD, where I got the usual error (cannot install on USB …) and the try to reboot from the external HDD just gave me a flashing _ . So, what did I do wrong?

  45. Daniele says

    Thank you for this guide!
    I have two questions:
    1) Would it be possible to install Windows 7 on a SSD plugged into a USB docking station?
    2) After installing, is it possible to put the SSD inside the notebook and boot from there, or will there be disk-letter problems?

    Thank you in advance

  46. Martin Hidalgo says

    Thanks you very much, the system was installed perfect !!!… Easy to do with your instructions.

  47. Koray says

    Can I use windows7 installed external drive with different computers? This is a so important. If I can’t, it doesn’t make sense having windows7 on an external drive.

  48. admin says

    Thanks for your comment. It should work fine. I have tested it. Are you getting an error while attempting to boot?

  49. chris says

    Did all steps when I reboot didn’t go into windows 7 installation shows me 2 window 7 OS’s one works (internal HD) and the other does not (external HDD) states kernel debugger is missing or corrupted how do I fix this please help .I guess you cant since you just delete one of my comments

  50. chris says

    I did all steps I restarted and I see 2 window 7 OS/the one on my internal and external HD.when I click the usb say cant find kernel debugger is missing or\system32\kdcom.dll……and that takes me back to were I can choose the internal and external interal loads fine but my 5000 external wont load up.PLease help

  51. Gordy says

    It works fine, done it with a few different external USB Hdd’s and systems . A internal Hdd has to be present on some systems as device controller will not work without one.
    For those who seem to install OK but then complain it still boots to the Internal HDD :doh: you have to choose the USB external drive using the machines boot options at start up.

  52. Mahaveer Bhardwaj says

    I have installed win7 32bit on an external HDD. but I can’t boot it. Everytime I try to boot my laptop’s original OS boots up. please help

  53. Matei says

    I have an external drive Samsung S2 Portable, 500Gb. After finishing with the green instalation screen, I re-booted chosing to boot from USB. BIOS recognized the external HDD, but when comes to boot, a blinking underline cursor on a black screen appears and nothing happens. Is it possible that my external HDD does not have the posibility to boot?

  54. RIN says

    Why is mine saying wincmd cannot be found?

    Also it is not finding setwimpath??

    How can I fix these?

  55. step 8 says

    Step 8 isn’t fully clear. Basically, you want to use the same drive letter as your USB drive. E.g: if install on usb E:, then you want E: in the step not C: otherwise you brick your system. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    The metod isn’t work for 100%. On some hw just doesn’t work.

  56. Rumanoid says

    ——–DOES NOT WORK——–

    ——–DOES NOT WORK——–

  57. Daniel says

    Has anyone that got to the install and got ‘can’t install to USB drive’ managed to get it working?

  58. Pissed says

    What is the point of this if i still need to have my original boot drive in my pc in order to boot from the external usb?

  59. admin says

    I don’t think it’s possible when you have installed Windows 7 on external using the above mentioned method.

  60. Jack says

    Is there away to remove the Windows 7 option from windows boot manager after the install is complete? so my computer just starts like it used to?

  61. Pete Ash says

    One other thing; there were 3 versions of Imagex.exe on my laptop (for some reason), one of them is the 64-bit version and the other is the 32-bit version. Just ensure you have the correct version for your OS inside your WAIK folder. They can be found at C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\x86 and C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\amd64 respectively. So far so good……..

  62. Pete Ash says

    The file “Imgex.exe” is actually “Imagex.exe” : Note the “A”. This is real confusing unless you search for the answer as to why this can’t be found in the WAIK installation. Thanks though for a great article.

  63. Rumanoid says

    HELP PLEASE!!!!!
    I used windows xp to run the script, and at the end I got some errors. While trying to boot for the first time it installs just fine, but when i reboot to just run windows, it will stop halfway loading the windows logo, flash a blue screen and then reboot. I filmed it and watched in slow motion and it says something about new hardware failure
    PLEASE HELP!!!!!

  64. Josh Wiggins says

    Im on step five and im using Windows 8 64bit os and whenever i click my install.wim file it says this app can not run on your pc ?

  65. Snoopy says

    Select the install.wim from your Windows Installation DVD or image, but not from the “Windows Files” folder you’ve created previously. At least, that has worked for me.

  66. Hugh Perkins says

    I needed to mark the partition active (using diskpart), and use bootsect /nt60 [/mbr] on my usb drive letter, before it would boot from the usb.

    diskpart is on any Windows 7. bootsect is one of the files that is copied into Waik Files folder.

  67. shubham says

    Hello I want some help. I tried a lot to install windows 7 to My external HARD DRIVE but I have not succeeded yet . I have done the whole procedure correctly but in the end , at the time of installing windows 7 I got message that “windows cannot be install to this disk . setup does not support configuration of or installation to the disks connected through USB or IEEE 1394 port”. please help me out of this error.

  68. Kiko says

    Hello! While trying to do this, in the image number, there are no images available (to choose which version of windows I want to install).
    Does anyone else had this problem? Any ideas in how to solve it?
    Thank you for your help!

    Best regards,

  69. suresh says

    what is the diff between drive letter of ext hd and drive letter of active partition(step 7 and step 8) is thedrive letter of active partition the drive in which win 7 is alredy installed in internal hd?

  70. Haitham Said says

    For those facing Blue screen.
    It means that the new hardware (for the usb hard disk loptop) were undefined so.
    Before going through the previous steps make the following:
    1- The WAIK folder and Windows Folder save them in any partition of the usb had disk
    Then go on with the magic steps at the end before restarting the computer
    1- Remove the hard disk and attach it to the original Laptop
    2- Start the original laptop and it will start the installation windows and begin to identify the hardware.
    I wish i have made something good

  71. Raymond says

    Hi! everything was fine until i reboot..
    After reboot.. Starting Windows.. Suddenly Blue Screen “A problem has been detected and windows has been shut down to prevent damage to your computer”


  72. Tony Prodger says

    I have followed all the steps (had to find and download some of the files from other sources). Am using windows 7 and when I try to install Windows 7 (64) although the external drive is shown as an option, when I choose it I am informed that:

    windows cannot be installed to this disk. Setup oes not support configuration etc..

    Am I doing something wrong?

    many thanks

    Tony Prodger

  73. Burak says

    I have a problem with this installer
    Everything is going well until it finishes copying files when it finishes it says this message “Failure when attempting to copy boot files ” I did everything as ordered but i’m stuck here

  74. Suraj Murudkar says

    Guys, it works great and very effectively. I have installed Windows 7 in my new 500 GB External HDD and its going very smoothly. Even the the links here given are working and easy to download, thanks to person whoever have made this page, Thanks alot ๐Ÿ™‚

  75. Jeremy says

    I got to step 10, but when I try to restart the computer to install the OS, it won’t start the installer.

  76. Eric Beyer says

    I get to step 10 without errors. My green screen looks exactly the same as yours. But when I reset my PC, it boots only to my main HD. I cannot boot this drive on this or another PC I have to finish the install. What am I doing wrong?

  77. Deendayal Sundaria says

    I have installed windows 7 on my external hard disk and it is working fine with my acer laptop but my another dell laptop on boot displays blue screen.

    Please help me to fix this issue.

  78. Axedall says

    I am having a problem where in step 5 when I select the install.wim file, I get a message saying “this app can’t run on your pc”. I am running windows 8 on an x64 machine. I copied the WAIK files from the x64 directories (ia64\Bcdboot.exe; tools\ia64\imagex.exe) except for Bootsect.exe which only had a amd64 and x86 folder version so I used the one from amd64)

    Has anyone else had this problem and/or know of a solution to it?

  79. Kevin O says

    i tried to run installer as admin and i found the “install.wim” file but it tells me:

    ” The image file C:\Users\Kevin\Desktop\WAIK Files\imagex.exe is valid, but is for a machine type other than the current machine.”


  80. Ja says

    Idiot. Step 8 is not C: it’s the boot partition of your flash drive, I’ve fcked up my system…

  81. Libor says

    Hi all!

    Anyone else is expecting error at step 7? i go all needed stuff, all if fine, disk set as primary active 25GB but when i set the LETTER of USB DRIVE, press Enter….and its gone,it fails with no error, just disappears. Anyone any ideas? yes i am running it as Admin..

  82. maik says

    hi, very good tutorial, but, can i use thi procces with a windows 7 lite? sorry for my english ^^

  83. Sofia says

    I followed all the steps until 9, but then shows me “ERROR: The system can not find the key or registry value specified”
    ERROR-Failed to get target OS drive letter info from registry.
    Script failed.
    When I go to boot from cd, selecting where I want to install shows no drivers.

  84. Morocco says

    Heads up everyone if you experience my problem, I solved it because I missed the “Run installer.cmd” as admin.

  85. Morocco says

    Hello, I am through to the step where I select my active partition. It is “C:” for my computer, yet when I enter “C:” or “C” it states it is an unwritable disc and to enter a new letter. What does this mean?

  86. Jeffrey says

    I’ve completed all the steps as shown but when I try to boot from the drive I’ve put the os on it needs a boot loader/mgr. Why?

  87. sunny says

    hi i have done all the above procedure using a 8 gb pen drive the hole procedure is done as u say but when i am restarting my PC nothing happened its start normally or when i start using boot option and c house pen drive ctl+alt+del error has come what should i do can i upgrade my pen drive or there is ant other way i want to use windows in my pen drive

  88. Ricardo Quesada says

    Thanks for all this help, I just made it and works fine.
    The only one problem I’m having is when trying to install .Net framework 4 or Sql Server (tools that I’ll need in my image), it is just crashing and don’t know why… Do you have any idea that could help me with this?? I’ll really appreciate that!

    Thanks in advance.

  89. Bhen says

    Hi i did everything and it was ok, but when i try to boot it on the other laptop it say windows operating system couldn’t be found something like that , how can i fix this? i’m using 32gb flash disk, because my internal hard disk is having a problem and i can yet afford to buy new Hard disk, thats why i want to use my 32 gb flash drive for the mean time.

  90. Jaime says

    Well, thanks for the suggestions.
    This procedure enabled me to rescue a hard disk that was not booting. It was necessary to boot my broken PC from an external USB hard disk previously prepared from another computer. I want to clarify general aspects and some variations that were necessary in my case in order to make everything work fine.

    First: The files needed to copy into the “WAIK Files” folder can be found from various sites in the Internet under the name of “NT6.X_fast_installer”

    Second: The software: Automated Installation Kit (AIT) must be downloaded from the Microsoft web site, as it comes in ISO format it is necessary to burn it into a DVD in order to install it later.

    Third: In my case, after I ran the “installer.cmd” file and I finished up loading Windows 7 in my external hard disk, it did not boot and I could not continue with the Windows installation. I repeated this process several times without having success.

    SOLUTION: Make a quick format to the external USB hard disk and then use on of the multiple procedures found on YouTube to make a boot from an external USB memory. Apply it to the external USB hard disk, I used a simple software called “WiNToBootic.exe” that left my external hard disk booting perfectly. After this, go into the external hard disk and erase all the files copied, the only files left are the hidden boot ones. Then, continue normally with the process of running the “installer.cmd” file as an administrator and all the other steps described in this blog.

    In the end, when the boot from the external usb hard disk is required to finish the windows installation, unplug the disk and connect it to the PC in which you wish to recover your lost information. The external disk will boot up normally to finish the windows installation, then go to the broken disk to rescue your lost information.

    Thanks for all you comments and I hope it works for you.

  91. keith says

    this is not working. don’t tell me nothing. I went through the steps. Don’t know where it partioned but not on my external hardrive. rebooted and tried to install and same dam error shown from the beginning of step 1. this is stupid. WILL NOT LET ME INSTALL WINDOWS TO MY EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE…

  92. hezron93 says

    where is the zip files to be inserted to the WAIK folder? cant find it in the link given.. :((

  93. Kathy says

    I followed all the steps, but when i run the windows intaller, it still says me that windows cannot be installed in am usb :S, after i do the first boot nothing happened, i dont know what to do.

  94. Eugene says

    Hi , thnx for info, but I have a question. If I want to boot from usb external hdd. for example if I don’t want to use my hdd in laptop at all. I need just create for example, small active partition on usb hdd , and primary. And in step when we choosing letters use them?

  95. Ken Frey says

    I went through all the steps but he installation doesn’t start after the reboot. When I start the installation from either the Windows Files folder or a DVD it still says that I can’t install on a USB drive.

    I’m using a hard drive in an external enclosure that has it’s own C drive as it’s boot drive. As my external drive it is the F: drive. My only thought was that in step 8 it is asking for the Active partition. I chose the F: drive. My concern was that if I chose C: (the active and boot partition for my laptop) that it would compromise my laptop. Thoughts/ideas?

  96. aahhhhhh says

    This ruined my OS. I got to step ten just fine (hadn’t installed windows 7 yet) rebooted after the WAIK green screen part then when my PC tried to boot up my standard OS, it fails. It thinks its trying to boot windows 7 and gets confused and restarts again and again. I checked the boot sequence in the BIOS to make sure its not trying to boot from the external and even unplugged the external. I can’t even get into safe mode or anything.

  97. Arms Longo says

    May I add: you may have to use the imagex.exe file from a different architecture than you would think: I am going thru this procedure for a Thinkpad with Intel core i5– and it only worked with the imagex.exe file from the “AMD” folder in the waik files.

  98. EM says

    Congratulations, I use this procedure and all is ok… thank you for that help about “How To Install Windows 7 To USB External Hard Drive [Must Read]” Felicitaciones por este procedimiento para instalar Windows 7 en disco duro externo. Todo muy bien. Gracias por todo.

  99. TOBY.G says

    my computer does not restart and when i restart my computer with the USB all i get when it is starting windows is a blue screen witch say that there is a error

  100. PRAJWAL says











  101. Sulpicio says

    i managed to make a solution with the no grldr problem. now i facing with the Blue Screen! after it boots and loads windows 7 logo it hang up and blue screen shows. i read that some solutions is to disable SATA from bios, but when i check my bios, i did not found any SATA configuration. help please

  102. Sulpicio says

    Hello, i successfully installed my windows 7 to external Western Digital 500 gb. but when i boot from my Sony Vaio, it says “no: grldr”. so i troubleshoot it using my PC, the PC boots from the external HD but then works fine.. how to fix the problem when i boot my external HDD to the laptop? please help..

  103. mahir says

    hi there every thing went really smooth until this error showed_up “error occurred when loading the registry ” then “press anykey to exit” . any ideas

  104. Travis Stein says

    Was pulling my hair out until I saw the .jpg in step 2 over “imgex” not being “imagex”. Please correct this! ๐Ÿ˜€

  105. Friggi says

    I though I followed then instruction 100% but when I try to boot up from USB, then LP boots up like normal, just a bit slower!? Any idea?

  106. anonymouse says

    bcdboot.exe and imag.exe can be obtained here:

    bootsect.exe is in your windows installation files! after extracting the installation files from the iso as instructed, open the “boot” folder and you’ll see bootsect.exe. make a copy of it and put it in the waik folder and you’re ready to start!

  107. Brandon says

    Everything worked great up to step 10, it finished and said hit any key to exit, did not ask to reboot to finish installation. When I rebooted myself and selected the external as the boot location, it simply loads the operating system on the computer, is there something else I am missing

  108. Deme says

    I’m trying to do this on a Mac, All works up until booting from the USB at which point I get the Blue screen of Death (BSOD). I saw some people mention disabling the SATA in the BIOS but the mac has no BIOS ๐Ÿ™ has anyone figured out an alternative to this or is there a way to inject hacked drivers to the windows startup so that it can bypass the SATA controller?

    Any help appreciated.

  109. 12344321 says

    when i try to select active partition it tells me that the partition is not writable, please help!

  110. Ryan says

    I got this to work as well. Even on an older laptop with a Pentium M. It’s slow but works well!

  111. David Williams says

    Thanks for this shit. I did everything, it rebooted and logged into windows normal and now my pc doesnt detect USB devices and there is no solution. Fuck you

  112. Draco says

    How long dose it take to setup after you restart for some reason its taking varry long its setup is installing devices and its at 27% and its ben slowly moving so far maybe 4hrs or more like 20min for 1%

  113. Ganesh says

    I Have Install win 7 32 Bit in may Ex HDD but this is the use only one computer, i will be connect another computer not working win 7 in External HDD,
    please Give me Solution used in any computer in external HDD win 7 32 Bit.

  114. Jesus says


    I have done this and all runs perfectly with the exception of the virtual memory as the paging size resets itself to 0 every time I restart my system, so anything that uses a lot of memory cannot run.

    Any ideas on how to fix this problem?

  115. SuVuTi says

    It works with 64 bit windows also. runs a little slower than having an actual HDD but surprisingly fast for a portable HDD. just follow the steps and make sure everything is good.
    You can also input this within the cmd window after restart and install so that you can run on any pc=

    \windows\system32\sysprep\sysprep.exe /loobe /generalize /shutdown

    (make sure to put the spaces in exactly where I have placed them {between [sysprep.exe, /oobe, /generalize and /shutdown]})

  116. Carbon says

    Hey i completed every step and even booted it succeesfully on the laptop i did the steps with, but when i try it on other computers, it says “BOOTMGR is missing press ctrl+alt+del to restart…” anyone able to explain how i get around this?

  117. KP says

    Can someone help me fix the corrupted boot sector of my
    hard drive? I installed the win7 pro onto my WD hard drive with the helpb of this document but after a windows update I cannot boot it anymore.

  118. Shen YL says

    I have install Win7 according to your instruction on an ASUS MB, HP Notebook, LG Notebook. I was able to install it on my Fujitsu netbook, only if I set the SATA to IDE mode. Is there a way to slip in the AMD SATA Controller? Your approach bypass the F6 in phase I of Windows 7 installation, where one could load the special storage drivers. Please help, I tried injecting the drivers into the BOOT.WIM and INSTALL.WIM, but always get the BSOD during step 2 of the Installation.

  119. Grom says

    The link to downloading the files into the “WAIK Files” folder doesn’t exist can you please re-upload the zip and repair the link please? Can always email me the zip file if you can. Thanks!

  120. KP says

    I have installed Win7 Pro and Ultimate a couple of times according to the original instructions (1.) .
    It worked perfectly. The problem is that installing some applications, windows updates or even uninstalling applications will cause BCOD or failure to boot. I cannot figure out how to fix these problems.
    So I reinstall Win7…..???????!!!!!!!

  121. Daniel :) says

    I canโ€™t find Imagex.exe on my computer. After I installed WAIK I found Bcdboot.exe and Bootsect.exe but Imagex.exe could not be found. PLS HELP

  122. R?mak???a says

    For people reporting broken link to ZIP file from step 2:

    1. Google for “Windows Vista/2008/7/2008 R2 Fast Installer” or for “NT6.X_fast_installer_100219.7z”


    2. Try one of the following links:


    For people reporting broken downloads of Windows Automated Installation Kit:
    the correct md5 of KB3AIK_EN.iso is 1e73b24a89eceab9d50585b92db5482f.


  123. hagen says

    My usb drive letter was F:
    So I chose:

    driveletter os-partition F:
    driveletter bootpartiotion F:
    usbdisk: yes
    last question I didin’t make a change

    This installation is perfectly working on my dektop
    But is not working on my laptop

    I started with testing on my laptop (BSOD)
    Then I plugged it in my desktop and all went well.

    I still can’t use it on my laptop
    any suggestions?

  124. Himanshu says

    after completion of all above steps getting below error when booting on USB SEAGATE GO FLEX HDD

    A Disk Read Error Occurred
    Press CLT + ALT + DEL to restart

    can n e 1 help me out this….

  125. Joe! says

    I have a laptop that has a password protected BIOS. I wanted to format and install windows 7 from USB however with the BIOS locked i couldn’t boot from my USB without taking apart the entire laptop to get to the battery to reset it. After reading this i simply removed the HD from my laptop and used an adapter that made it USB accessible (USB 2.0 TO SATA/IDE). Followed the directions and when time came to reboot i just removed the HD and put it back into the laptop and started it up. LOW AND BEHOLD it booted right into installation and now everything works fine. THANKS AGAIN FOR THIS TUTORIAL!

  126. Armin says

    sry for myenglish

    hi, i do this with windows 8 and working, i use windows7 ultimate x64 and i install win8 32bit to seagate expansion 320gb. imagex.exe[find in my friend pc,i think its for win vista] bcdboot.exe[find in win7 drive C: ] bootsect.exe[find in win7 enterprise dvd] in step 10 i restart my laptop and after rebooting its boot to win 7 i restart again and boot win8 and do install progress until chose partition and close setup, rebooting system and boot from my hdd, win8 coming and so nice ๐Ÿ˜€ i play pinball in win8 and its amazing. i shout down win8 and disconnect my hdd, turn o my laptop and see blue screen say need usb or disk, i put win7 disk and boot this and use system recover, automatic find problem and fix, rebooting and boot to my win7 but now my microsoft essential security say windows did not pass genune validation, and see under screen in my background this copy of windows is not genuine. this is good have OS on portable hdd but lost your win on internal hdd, its should have a boot menu to chose..

  127. Marki says

    Hi. when i restart the computer it says error starting system on usb.
    what do i do

  128. AZ says

    FYI:Yes, you can install to a USB. Thanks to your site instructions, and a little work, I was able to install Windows 7 to a Patriot 16GB USB drive. It works just fine, except it’s a little slow, which is to be expected.

  129. mkr says

    Step 6 is not working for me. iam not getting any images and index numbers. Please Suggest me how to get index numbers as step 6.

  130. skippythewhale says

    okay. more problems. the external that windows 7 is installed on will only run if it is plugged into the same port every time. when i plug it into a different port on the same laptop, i get “registry failed to start.” what is going wrong here? it will work only in the laptop i installed it with, only in the same port i originally used. and apparently “loses” its OS when i try to use the external on another laptop, even when i plug it back into the same laptop. i have to reformat the drive and start from scratch every time.

  131. khaled ahmed says

    for the people who made it to step 10 then u restart your pc to instal the win-7 what you do wrong is>> enter the bios and make the first boot the external HDD then let the pc start normally do not activate the cd let the pc boot from the external it will start make some registry changes and welcome to your new win-7 from your external hard. ๐Ÿ™‚
    PS: im not the post creator im just a guy who try it as you are and find responsibility to make Note about it i hope you enjoy it
    from experience test it’s a bit slower than normal if you have a strong pc hardware specially the cash and ram capacity you will be more than fine.

  132. skippythewhale says

    i have a problem. i run through all the steps. it loads up windows 7 just fine. but then two things happen: when i plug the usb into another laptop and boot from external HDD, i get “Operating System Not Found.” when i plug it back into the original, i get either “Operating System Not Found” (if using boot menu) or a blank screen (if starting from BIOS). i did the step to make the usb portable on the usb OS. what do?

  133. Mohsen says

    Thanks stan
    Worked for me…

    i have problem with install and no boot my External hdd but i used recovery and command prompt and fixed with this command:


    Thanks again stan

    for reading full solution you can read stan comment (this is above)

  134. Vittrup says

    This actually does work!
    Ran into many errors tho. The EasyBCD is very important to make it boot from usb external hdd!. find guide on youtube for this!
    Also, if getting blue screen, remember disabling SATA (choose IDE)

    I am now running my laptop from usb external hdd with windows 7 ultimate!

  135. Lucas says

    I tried all the steps and always get “BOOTMGR is missing. Press Ctrl+alt+del to restart” No matter what I try.
    I am using WD250gb USB HDD attached to my Acer 5920G which has installed win7 on a spare internal hdd.

    I even downloaded WAIK from microsoft (1.7gb) and took the original files again. Win7 ISO working fine, the installer.wim reports that bootmgr menu has been created, all fine and I need to restart. I spent over 8h today on it and not a single thing works…

    I used win repair via the consol x to rebuild the BCD file (strangely, after the installer.wim finishes, no “x:/boot” folder is to be seen on the USB HDD partition, it is on the original internal C:\ hdd).
    Manual add of this file and folder causes error “\Boot\BCD Status 0xc0000000f wrong boot configuration data” to appear.
    Any advice, please?

  136. Tasos says

    I am sorry but the procedure is wrong, the Windows can not be installed into an external Hard Drive!
    When I Boot for Installation the external HDD always is not acceptable even if I followed exactly the procedure predescribed!

  137. gimj3000 says

    this one really helps, i followed it step by step, now i do have an external usb hdd on with win7 it. THANKS A LOT!!!

  138. R0zzer says

    Once i get to step 4, it says that image.exe can not be found when it is clearly in the folder!! Very frustrating!!


  139. Jonas says

    I can’t find Imagex.exe on my computer. After I installed WAIK I found Bcdboot.exe and Bootsect.exe.

  140. Adam says

    I would like to add, I have been trying MANY methods to try and install/run windows 7 on a External USB device. This worked up until I booted like normal, and it intsalled drivers,services,Windows 7 Ultimate..Then I got the bootloader error message..

    However, all I did is reboot the system like normal and allowed the MAIN computer to allow so time to recognize the USB drive and it worked without a hitch. THANK YOU!!!!!! Man I have spent along time searching and you have been a Godsend!!

  141. farshad says

    when I start the Installer.cmd it asks me for the Install.wim but when I open the Install.wim it says tat this version of Installer is only for windows vista not for windows 7 that you are running. what can i do about this? Is there a Installer for computers that are running windows 7?
    thank you

  142. Black Screen says

    i doo all crefully….but whn i rstart my cmptr and boot frm external hdd….just a black screen come and nothng hppan…i bean waitng for an halft hour…bt f*ckd by ths problm….help me…

  143. says

    Having a problem…. 0xc0000001 winload.exe is corrupted or something like that.. how to resolve..?

  144. Joshua says

    Please help I keep getting an error at 93% that windows cannot copy all the files with the imagex.exe I don’t know what to do

  145. Akt_123 says

    im getting the same error message which i was getting earlier….
    windows cannot be installed on this drive message….can anyone tell me what have i done wrong?i have followed the exact same procedure which has been given on top still im not able to install it on external harddrive….

  146. D.Paskalev says

    Hallo. I am following the procedure but I am meeting two difficulties:

    First: There are 3 files named Bcdboot.exe; 3 files named Bootsect.exe; and 2 files named Imgex.exe. Exactly which one of all these three do I need?
    Second: I am reaching successfully step 9 but then nothing happens- no progress indicator, nothing…. Why so? Any suggestions?

    Thank you!

  147. Jeff says

    I keep getting the Blue Screen of Death when I go to load Windows 7 that I installed on my external hdd, according to these directions. happens as 7 is loading. what am i doing wrong?

  148. Abrar Camacho says

    Beautiful Program. I have been searching, searching and searching for a hack as wonderful as this. My system is quad-booting 3 types of Windows including this one I installed, using this method, on my 1TB external HD, Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit. Does not laggggg at all! Just takes time to boot up, that’s it! Still installing programs as I have space (now). ๐Ÿ˜€

    Only ran into one problem, since I am a amateur computer specialist I came up with a fix in no time. I loaded the settings and did everything from the steps above. I rebooted and the system and “BOOTMGR IS MISSING” error prompt came up. All I had to do since I had Windows 32-Bit already installed, I used the boot entry editing software program, “Easy BCD”, and created a new boot entry directed to the Partition on the External Drive. Volia! Booted up perfectly

  149. Tony T says

    I would really like to get this to work. I have a RAID system that is down on me, and I can’t do any rebuilds to the RAID without Windows running, well that’s the problem Windows won’t boot because my drives are in a ‘Degraded’ state. So I would like to get Windows running externally so I can try to rebuild the array instead of losing all my data. My data is still there cause I can see it when I load Windows XP in to the Recovery Console after the(F6) install.
    So I preformed everything in the main How-To..After my first error “Error Loading Operating System” I rebooted and it actually started to finish the install, but once it rebooted again the “Error Loading Operating System” is back with the black screen and it stops there. This is the same error I was getting when I tried to directly load my original Windows XP straight to the USB drive. I’m stuck now. Does someone have any good advice that will help me?

  150. frostbyte says

    is there a way to set the swap file? i did followed the tutorial for my wife’s computer. windows boots up file, but all of the ram is used up making the machine lockup easily. she has 2GB ram. the reason i am using this system is that her onboard hd controller burned out.

  151. Gonzoman says

    Hello There,

    Excellent tutorial. I had it working though it cost me a while. I had a recurrent blue screen as mentioned in many of the posts. I thoght the exteranl disk was properly flagged as active and bootable and it was not, i was using a diskless pc with a bootable hirens cd usb key (mini windowxp, diskpart, and diskgenius). What it worked for me was using a linux tool, gparted, and flag the partition as bootable. I have to mention that the 3 files required from waik can be obtained from a winpe cdrom once the computer is booted. The catch is that to make a winpe you need the waik … If anybody needs tehm files I might be able to upload to megaupload or similar.

  152. Slammer says

    I must be doing something wrong here. I’ve tried this with like 3 different windows discs and each one either gives me a BSOD during “windows is installing devices” or freezes at that time without a BSOD, at various different times. Tried disabling SATA controllers in BIOS, didn’t help. First, can someone clarify: which folders do we get the Bcdboot.exe, Bootsect.exe and Imagex.exe files from? There’s 2-3 of each. Google seemed to say use amd64 for all 64 bit, and x86 for all 32 bit, but I can’t be sure. Maybe that’s my problem. I’m a very experienced computer user, so the fact that this won’t work for me is frustrating. Any ideas?

  153. Armi1P says

    When I made my USB drive ‘active’ with dikspart.exe, I can type the USB drive’s letter at the active drive question?
    So, with this, it will boot from USB drive?

    (Sorry for my bad english, I’m hungarian ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

  154. Jamir Monteiro says

    Please, at step 6 the Install.wim program seem not to read imagex file, because, it is not showing images files to select the ultimate version.

    What is happening?

  155. Dumplump says

    Read *do* Read *Do *read* do…


    *read…….* WTF? I NEED THE C DRIVE TO BOOT FROM THIS? well that’s pretty lame and useless. I want a portable OS and not the lame one booting from Virtual box. I can install Grub and Ubuntu to this external drive, why does Microsoft have their heads up their asses?

  156. collin says

    @Mr_Zombie yeah i have booted from a 8gb USB. there are a whooole bunch of guides on it already. just search it. i havent been able to do this guide though… because i dont have windows 7 files ๐Ÿ™

  157. Mr_Zombie says

    I’ve tried installing Win8 using this method and ended up with 0xc000000f error (“/windows/system32/winload.exe file is missing or corrupted”) during booting the windows.

    Then I’ve tried another method from forum: installed Win8 on virtual machine, run an usbbootfix script found on the forum and cloned the content from the disk on external hdd. While bcdedit.exe, when run from the external hdd, lists Windows 8 on the boot list, booting from the usb hdd ends up with a black screen and white blinking cursor. :/

    Anyone succeeded in booting Windows 8 from USB drive?

  158. Musa says

    @Vincent @Ray, were you guys able to sort out the windows 8 install issue? I’m thinking of installing it on an ext hdd as well but I want to know if it’s even possible.

  159. Ray says


    Did you try setting the boot order to USB first? (assuming it’s a USB external you are using) I’m just guessing here. Also, I’m trying to install Windows 8 Developer Preview on an external also, but I get stuck at the “Preparing” Screen and the spinning circles. Seems like my external’s not doing anything either so I guess the install got stuck. What did you do exactly? I couldn’t find the bcdboot.exe or imagex.exe from the Win8 ISO so I used the one from Win7. Any info would help me…thanks!

  160. Vincent says

    In an effort to install Win8 on an external with Win7 on my internal I followed instructions and everything appears to have installed properly. When I reboot though the normal Win7 appears and cannot figure how to get Win8 started to get a glimpse of what it is about. Any suggestions or clues? Thanx.

  161. Mike says

    Thanks! The instructions worked out great. Theres a typo on the filename imagen.exe (from WAIK).

    My only issue is everytime I boot this os (which I sysprepped to use on my ultraportable) the “performance options” menu opens and the virtual memory settings I set & apply never persist.

    I’ve tried:

    sc config afs start= disabled
    (I don’t even have afs service running)


    sfc /scannow
    (no errors found)


    reg add “HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management” /v DisablePagingExecutive /t REG_DWORD /d 1


    clearpagefileatshutdown is even set to 0

    I’m stuck, only thing else I can imagine is an upgrade install, which, due to the nature of this original install (to ext usb) I fear will ruin the install.

  162. stan says

    Ok here is a small troubleshoot
    First of all if you are installing to an external drive, I beleive the instructions are incorrect

    say you have a local HD with windows xp on partition C: and then you have a USB drive with a letter X:

    The you should then enter X: and X: as your options for step 7 and 8 and then enter Y for external hdd

    A) If you are successfully booting and the windows starts the installation, but then crashes with a blue screen of death (BSOD) – try going into BIOS and looking for SATA settings and changing to “compatibility” or disable sata or something similar

    B) if you are restarting but your computer boots into the wrong thing – e.g. your regular windows XP or what have you, you need to go to your BIOS settings and reconfigure your start order

    D) you are booting, but then you get a blank cursor, or some message about not finding boot files, etc. This is a bit trickier. What I had to do was this

    insert the windows 7 installation CD
    Select the “recover” option
    If a prompt comes up to automatically fix the problem – you are on the right track, but CANCEL the prompt
    choose the Command Prompt

    you will get a command prompt that will read X:\sources\

    bootrec.exe /fixmbr
    bootrec.exe /fixboot
    bootrec.exe /rebuildbcd

    if it asks for a partition, enter the drive letter of your external drive (it may change it on you)

    As a first step to any boot problems, you may also try setting the USB partition as active. TO do this, right click my computer>manage>storage>disk management> right click on the partition where you are trying to install the win 7 files and set active

    Hope this helps someone

  163. The Craze says

    I did it! It worked! =D
    for people who could follow the advice and installed the system with 100%
    Step 9 Activate the partition where you installed windows 7 DH in external
    Opening the Windows Disk Management tool (type diskmgmt.msc Start menu search field and press Enter to launch it).
    go on the partition where you installed windows 7 (eg L) as in step 7
    now and click the right mouse button and then click => mark partition as active!
    You must restart your system after this step!

  164. Austin says

    After the setup is done and I reboot the pc nothing happens for one. It just loads my regular Windows 7 copy and when I select to boot from USB External Hard Drive it gives me an error saying “NTLDR is missing”. Please help me on fixing this problem I need this to boot from USB and work for my school work. THANKS IN ADVANCE!

  165. andrepd says

    Hi. Is there any place where I can get the bcdboot.exe, bootsect.exe and imgex.exe files? My internet connection is so slow I can’t download a 1.66 gig iso file just for three files. Help would be much appreciated. Thanks!

  166. Nzm says

    Hi i install win 7 64 bit on my 1 tb ext hdd, everything is working great but only 1 little problem. I have to choose everytime i boot which win 7 i want to load (ie 1 on my int hdd and 1 on my ext hdd)
    How can i set my pc to boot automatically from int hdd if my ext hdd is not plug in.

    any idea what i can do???

  167. Calfared says


    It worked with someone? I read all of cometary and not met anyone who said it worked. And the author does not answer any questions. I think it does not work or we’re all doing something wrong.

    It is important to the author comment on whether it really works or not and help visitors.

    Unfortunately I have not found anywhere else on the internet running Windows 7 by an external hd.

    If anyone knows, please here.

  168. Fede says

    In the procedure described by fujianabc not to do anything after running Install.cmd.

    It is assumed that after the process, Windows 7 is already nstalled on the USB disk. I reboot my computer and is impossible to start from my USB Hard Drive, simply, it is ignored.

    When I try to continue with the normal installation, it displays the same message thet does not let me install on a USB Hard Drive.

    Does this really work?. What to do to start the computer with the USB hard drive?

    Thank you very much.

  169. Fede says

    Sorry for my english.

    Thank you for your tutorial. Is very intsresting.

    I use a 32GB USB Flash Drive.

    Your procedure works with an USB Flash Drive?

    I’m following your steps 1 to 9,

    When I reboot my system, nothing occurre, I run a W7 Setup and my flash drive not shown in disk list.


  170. Tommy says

    Hello i followed all your steps clearly until the final part.. An error occured wen loading the registry. press any key to exit

  171. Sarah says


    Many thanks for your guide, it’s very clear and good to follow. I am trying to use your guide to install windows 7 on a samsungG3 external usb hdd. The problem is that when i get to the point of restarting to start the installation my laptop just restarts windows from the internal disk and gives me code 5 error when I try to boot from dvd in the bios. I am using an .iso bootable image as I don’t have the originals , could that be the isue perhaps? I hope you can inform me,many thanks,sarah

  172. Tanner says

    The installer has been on “[ 98% ] Applying progress” for over half an hour now… Is that normal?

  173. Tanner says

    Question: After installing Windows AIK, I searched for the files, and there are two or three of each one. Do we need the ones in the x86 folder, amd64, or ia64?

  174. fais says

    If I do all the above instruction in my pc and then, I use the installed window7(in external hard disk) in my laptop, will it works??
    Thanks by the way.

  175. aliefweb says

    hi.. all you step is correct for me but when i start the computer and set in bios to my external hdd computer said BOOTMGR is missing, what is problem?

  176. clyox says

    Hello! I don’t know if this is the place where I should write to.

    I can’t install any version of windows on my laptop, because it seems that the CD-DVD drive does’n read the cd(s) to the and, and it gives me errors.

    My question is: how can I preinstall the windows to the hdd (from another pc) an then, when I power on my laptop, to start the instalation process directly from my hdd. The Bios doesn’t give me the possibility to boot from LAN or USB, only HDD and CD-DVD.

    Thank you!

  177. deschepper jan says

    seems very interesting only to point on issue 2 isn’t clear to me. You have to download a zip file but I cannot locate which one as it shows several with the link.

    Which file needs to be downloaded?
    Which files are in the packed file.


  178. hanji says

    Hey thanks for the tip. I ran into some issues installing Windows 7 a USB drive. I followed the steps above, but i was getting the error that “BOOTMGR is missing”. So i booted to the pre-installed windows installation and in diskmanager, i rightclicked on the C: drive of the usb disk, and selected “Mark as Active”. Then, I followed this link:

    and the installation continued and completed sucessfully.

  179. maplemer says

    sebbe: (thanks to Payton above you)
    janson: you’re not doing something right or you need to try again

    I’m also having issues with winload.exe. I tried changing the directory to sys32\boot\winload.exe, which doesn’t work. I doubt copy-paste-replacing winload.exe’s will work. I tried both drive letters for the boot partition. I’m suspicious that something else is wrong. It may be my GRUB bootloader, but who knows.

    I’m kind of confused as to how we’re supposed to follow the standard installation process if it can’t install to ext hd. Also, doesn’t the AIK install to the hard drive already?

  180. Viresh75 says


    Nice tut, but I get an error.
    My system can’t find winload.exe.
    I have tried several times, but it won’t boot up from the external hdd.
    What to do?

  181. max says

    Can anyone help me.. i did all the steps.. that went fine then i tried booting from usb.. it starts to load windows and then i get blue screen.. any help ??

  182. Lee N says

    i,ve done step 1-9..and it was smooth..

    but in step 10 when it reach “Install Windows” with all the partition and stuff, it says “Windows cannot be installed to this disk. Setup does not support configuration of or installation to disks connected through a USB or IEEE 1394 port”

  183. David_T says

    hello… This is a great post.. but nobody is answering to the questions… Mrยด. IntoWindows donยดt let it die… This is one of a kind into the whole web…

  184. lakha says

    thanks for the advice, but when i reboot my laptop, to reboot it to my usb hdd external, it cant install windows 7. when i install win 7 on my usb hdd external, its say cant install win 7 on this disk, plz help me. am waiting 4 an answer.


  185. SoLo says

    Not sure what I am doing wrong. Everything installs fine and it says 100% complete but when I reboot the computer I attempt to boot from my USB hard drive and it says kernel is missing. Can anyone help me?

  186. SoLo says

    I have a netbook with a bad hard drive. Is it possible to do all the setup on my desktop then plus the usb hdd into my netbook for installation?

  187. Blaque says

    Hey tktz, I got a new harddrive for christmas for this purpose and could really use the assistance. If you or anyone else could help me out it would be great. I check it often.

  188. tktz says

    its simplier to install win 7 to internal and than make from it external by using eSATAp cable … its supported only in PCs and NBs with eSATA port … Win 7 doesnt install on external hdd over USB … but if you install it on internel and than make from it external win 7 will boot but it ends by BSOD … eSATAp is right solution ! TkTz

  189. Blaque says

    Hey, I really wanna try this out but do to my sucky computer it would take forever to download and install “Windows Automated Installation Kit”. Would someone be willing to zip the (Bcdboot.exe, Bootsect.exe and Imgex.exe) files needed for this. If you would, u can either post a download link here or if thats not allowed send it to my email ( Thanks ๐Ÿ˜›

  190. AlexHacker says

    Hey, beautiful tutorial.
    I’ve got a copy of XP. Would this be compatible with the Installer? Thanks.

  191. darkii94 says

    Now I have installed it succesfully, thanks Payton ๐Ÿ˜‰
    But I still can’t install Windows 7 on my external… :S
    I did step 1-9, but when I try step 10 still the same fault is showing up. (I want to install W7 Home Premium x86)
    Someone knows how to fix this? :S

    Thnx darkii

  192. boeykes says


    I want to install windows 7 on my external hard drive.
    I found your site by google and tried it.
    The problem i have is the following:
    – when i click on here ( for downloaden the zip file)
    (step 2)
    the link doesn’t work. Where can i find the zip ??
    or where can i find the files that i need to put in the waik folder on the external hard drive ??

    If it’ easier for you, you can send them to my e-mail adres.


  193. JHS says

    The link to the Zip file (mentioned in point nr 2) does not work anymore. Could you please update the link? Many Thanks!

  194. Vamban says

    When i try to download Zip file from 2nd point as specified above, the download links is not working. Will you please update the working link?

  195. Dav says

    this works and allows me to boot from my external hard drive. however, when I boot from the external hard drive, it says that windows 7 cannot install to the computer because it cannot configure it.

  196. Dav says

    I am trying another method in which in the last step I set the drive letter of the OS partition to the letter of the external hard drive.

  197. Dav says

    I tried to install windows 7 another time on my 500gb seagate external hard drive with 2 partitions. This time, I tried the method sucessfully booted to my external hard drive but it then gave me the error that it cannot install to computer from the setup screen.

  198. Dav says

    I tryed the first method described by John Patrick Halili
    it said that windows cannot be installed on this machine. I have a 500gb seagate external hard drive and am installing the x86 flavor of Windows 7. However, I have partioned the hdd and hope to duel boot with mac osx and windows. I already have mac osx installed and when I boot up from the external hard drive, it gives me the option to duel boot. will I have to ntfs format the entire drive to get windows 7 on it?

  199. Blessey says

    Hi thanks for putting up the method.

    All works fine till step No:9 but then it does not restart automatically and if I restart the system it shows up with blue screen. I have also tried to repair by putting the windows cd.. but everything fails at this point. If you have any suggestions please let me know thanks bye.

  200. tony says

    I have met a problem, I have insatlled the operatoin system followed by your procdure, it went well, but when system restarted, the blue screen is appeared, In the safe model, the problem is occured in when loading disk.sys, how can I handle it?

  201. mohammas says

    Great work i just made all that in 30 min after i read this method everything is working so fine , just one question pleas , how can i make it to boot from external hard disk instead of taking the order from the original windows to boot

  202. Klima says

    Forget to say “THANKS”. I make my laptop running with failure on IDE controller – HDD and CD dont work. Boot from live USB XP and my USB HDD is C: active partition and partition which I install Win 7…

  203. Paul says

    Can u please elaborate points 9 & 10 and what do u mean by normal windows installation (booting from DVD or external HDD)?

  204. CVX says

    Thank you! All work correctly, but pagefile.sys removes on start… How to made it always stay in system disk?

    Sorry for my English. I’m Russian =)

    P.S. You made one error in guide. Nor imgex.exe -> imagex.exe

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