Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

How I can create bootable external hard drive?


How To Create A USB Bootable Installer Drive For Windows 8

(some websites said that you must format your HDD with FAT32 but as you know 1TB cannot be formatted using FAT32)

Create bootable External Hard drive

but i cant format my external Hard FAT32 for doing this and i dont want to use USB cool disks(flash disks) either

is there any other options to do this?

thank u all.

share|improve this question
What on earth is a "usb cool disk"? Try to use proper terminology. – barlop Mar 27 '13 at 8:45
What happens when you try to format it as FAT32? This link says 200GB is ok. another says 127GB.. another says 2TB. MS says a disk size of 8TB is max.… XP had a 32GB limit apparently. anyhow, if there is a limitation then you can create a smaller partition like 100GB You can always increase it later. – barlop Mar 27 '13 at 8:51
@barlop i will try it.tnx – Arash Mar 27 '13 at 9:34
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Apparently it's tricky to install Windows on a USB Hard Drive
Here is an article from 2008 on it

But you can get around that by using an image.

I'd add, that you can use Macrium Reflect, to create and restore images, it is freeware,

Hello there. I have a simple solution for you if you are familiar with backup & recovery by acronis true image. Then step as bellow:
1. Install windows XP to your internal HDD
2. Make backup your windows XP by acronis true image
3. Create 1 primary partition in your external HDD
4. Recovery windows xp backup file which is already created in step 2 to primary partition in your external HDD.
5. Restart your laptop and press F12 key to get in menu boot select . Then select boot from external HDD

There may be a newer method , using diskpart and a VHD, which is mentioned at your link

You can format it as FAT32, and you can always convert it to NTFS later. (I did that with XP).

Windows 7 has a convert command to do that (XP had too apparently)

share|improve this answer
tnx but is there any easy way to do this ? :) – Arash Mar 27 '13 at 7:06
and i want to install windows not using WindowsDVD or cool disks.i mean Using external HDDs not for installing windows in extenal hard drive just for booting from it same as when you boot windows from DVD. – Arash Mar 27 '13 at 7:12
@arashams one doesn't boot windows from a DVD, one boots a windows setup from dvd then installs it somewhere(pretty much,to a hard drive). Then they boot windows from the hard drive. You can copy a windows setup installation onto a hard drive and then install it from a partition on the hard drive,to another partition on the hard drive. People did that sometimes with windows 98,as CDs were slow and there was no USB installation possible. Can you be more clear as to if you want to boot.Windows, or the Windows setup.Booting a windows setup from DVD(if ever doing that) is pretty much a one-off. – barlop Mar 27 '13 at 8:31
BTW Regarding what I said, there is such a thing as Bart PE or WinPE.. which is booting windows from a DVD. Anyhow, you want to boot Windows from an external Hard drive, which is easy once it is installed to that hard drive. You'll have to either a)install it to that hard drive(tricky when external) b)use an image(which involves installing to another hard drive first. 'b' is the easiest way. – barlop Mar 27 '13 at 8:43
You can format it as FAT32, and you can always convert it to NTFS later. (I did that with XP). this is not working when partition size is large and i got error partition too large !!! – Arash Mar 27 '13 at 9:33

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.