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I have a Western Digital Passport External Hard Drive (320GB) that I want to partition to keep the data on, but use some of the free space to install Windows 7 onto my desktop computer. Microsoft has given me the Windows 7 Enterprise Edition ISO to download. I would like to take the External HD and partition it so I can fit the ISO image onto it. How would I go about doing this?

Trying to use GParted to partition the external hard drive has caused a chicken or the egg problem. GParted can't see the drive unless it's mounted, and when it is mounted it will not allow me to do anything to the partition. When it's not mounted, GParted can't see the drive at all and as such can't do anything to the drive.

Once the drive is correctly partition, how do I go about moving the ISO image Microsoft gave me to my USB External Hard Drive? Are there any special steps that I need to take?

I am using Ubuntu 11.04 & GParted 0.7.0, on my Chromebook to do this. Any support would be appreciated.

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Have you read Install Windows 7 from USB? If not, please do so, and if that fixes your problem, we can mark this as a duplicate. If you have read it, please edit your question to explain what about the instructions there did not work. Thanks. – nhinkle Jun 21 '11 at 2:37
I'll check to see if that works. I'll reply back here if it does or does not. – Mark Tomlin Jun 21 '11 at 6:25
Yeah, that only contains solutions for making a drive bootable on Windows. I want to use a USB Hard Drive, partition it so it uses only the free space, make it bootable, and then use that to install Windows 7, but do it all within Ubuntu 11.04. – Mark Tomlin Jun 21 '11 at 6:29
Please extract the GParted "chicken and egg" problem to a new question (if that's not already been asked). Partitionong and installation are two distinct operations. – Alois Mahdal Jan 23 '12 at 4:15
up vote 2 down vote accepted

If you want to do it all within Ubuntu - install VirtualBox & create a VM for Windows. Install Windows within the VM ( by booting off the downloaded ISO - you can do so using VirtualBox).

Once you have Windows 7 installed in the VM, you can then use the Windows 7 VM to run the Windows 7 USB tool to make Windows 7 bootable from the USB drive.

*Yes I know it's too long, but I did this and it worked fine when my DVD drive conked off and I did not have access to a Windows system.

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You have provided a solution, but I don't think it's THE answer I am looking for. I am going to hold out for a better solution. +1 for the idea tho. – Mark Tomlin Jun 21 '11 at 22:10

I remember getting the USB to boot correctly from Linux was a pain for me. I'm not an experienced Linux user and got a little confused trying to set the boot sector on the USB. I ended up downloading Unetbootin. Unetbootin will set the bootsector. Then you just copy all the files off the iso to the USB drive and boot.

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