I recently upgraded my main development machine to Windows 7. This involved wiping out my primary boot drive (Windows XP 64-bit) and starting clean. Before I wiped it, I did a direct disk-to-disk copy to a big external hard drive I have. While I have been able to migrate most of the necessary files without any problems, I was wanting to boot from it today to check a few settings. I plugged in the hard drive, rebooted, changed the BIOS to boot from USB-HDD first. But, no mattter what I do, it always boots from my primary drive to Windows 7. I do not see any kind of error message or anything.

How can I boot to Windows XP 64-bit on this external hard drive?

  • I am currently running a CHKDSK /R on this drive right now. But it is a 2TB so it may take a while. – Josh Stodola Apr 2 '10 at 18:01

Is the external drive bootable? How did you copy the data?

You need a boot sector on the drive, generally laid down by the installation process.

A simple windows copy will not copy this sector. You'd need to do the equivalent of a unix "dd" command to grab the exact image of the disk.

  • I used Norton Ghost to do the disk-to-disk copy – Josh Stodola Apr 2 '10 at 18:06
  • Is there any way to make it bootable? – Josh Stodola Apr 2 '10 at 18:07
  • I think Ghost is supposed to do this, but am not sure. If you completely disconnect the internal drive and try to boot from the external drive, what happens? – DCookie Apr 2 '10 at 18:56
  • I will have to try that later, I am on the road now. Will keep you posted. – Josh Stodola Apr 2 '10 at 20:18

I have booted off USB drives many times. Some disk copy software does not copy the boot sector. Use the command on the Windows 7 DVD in the BOOT menu - bootsect.exe /nt60 x: (where x: is your external drive)

  • not working :( i have this problem too – Arash Mar 27 '13 at 10:05

I think this way may help you.

Guide: How To Create A USB Bootable Installer Drive For Windows 8

finally i found the answer!!

I needed to boot from a External Hdd, because I had no CD/DVD-drive and no flash usb. This worked for me: Use MiniTool Partition Wizard, a free tool!

- create a boot disk in partition wizard
- boot your computer with boot disk in
- copy the win8-iso-partition (do the step 5 thing as well, but as described in comments) from external hdd to the computer hard drive.
- set partition as primary and active
- reboot, and boot from local drive

Step 5: In the Command Prompt, type-in the following commands and hit Enter key after typing each command.



bootsect x:

(where “x” is your external hard drive’s drive letter)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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