I am trying to get a hard drive ready for a new computer. I was wondering if I can run setup.exe (within Windows 7) from a Windows 10 USB install flash stick I got ready using an official Windows 10 ISO, to install the OS on a new SSD I have in a USB enclosure. I want to do this in order to get the SSD ready for a new, completely different, machine. I want to do this without messing up the Windows 7 on the old machine in any way - just use the old machine to prepare the SSD for the new machine.

TL;DR - Use a Windows 7 host to prep a Windows 10 install (from a USB flash stick) on a new SSD without impacting the Windows 7 host in any way.

  • Windows cannot be installed to a flash disk using the method you describe. You should be using Rufus to create a Windows 10 ToGo installation. – Ramhound Nov 1 '18 at 15:47
  • I am trying to install it from a flash disk to an SSD inside Windows 7! – PowerDeveloper Nov 1 '18 at 15:56
  • Windows cannot be installed from within Windows to another disk. Windows can only be installed within the WinPE. – Ramhound Nov 1 '18 at 16:03

We should remove the USB hard drive with Win 7, then install Win 10 from a USB flash drive to the new SSD.

How to install win 10 we can refer to the article:

How to install Windows 10 from USB with UEFI support

If we install Win 10 within Win 7, maybe we can install it successfully, but there will be three situations:

  1. When the USB hard drive with Win 7 and the new SSD with Win 10 both plug in the old machine, we can boot from Win 7 or Win 10 (depend on how you select), it is similar to this machine with dual operating systems.

  2. When the USB hard drive with Win7 plugs in the old machine, the new SSD with Win10 is removed form the old machine, we can also boot from Win 7.

  3. But when the new SSD with Win 10 is installed in the old machine, the USB hard drive with Win7 unplugs the old machine, we may not boot the old machine, because the Win 10 has no primary boot record, the primary boot record is in the USB hard drive, not in the new SSD. So when we installed the new SSD into the new machine, the new machine can not boot successfully.

Note: There will be two restarts during the installation of the Win 10 operating system. At the moment of the second reboot, immediately remove the SSD or shut down and install the SSD to a new computer later. Only now we can reinsert the USB hard drive.

So we should remove the USB hard drive with Win 7, then install Win 10 from a USB flash drive to the new SSD. Otherwise Win10 cannot exist independently of Win 7.

  • This does not provide a solution related to the user's question. The short answer is that it's pretty hard to do what the OP is asking. One solution is to create a vritual machine (on a VHD) and then use the likes of Linux dd to bit copy the mounted VHD to the physical disk... but this doesn't make ense when you might as well install the OS from scratch because the host is Windows and won't have the dd tools. Third-party software like Acronis could help... but is it worth it? – Kinnectus Nov 2 '18 at 11:06

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