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Booting Windows XP off a USB or FireWire drive

Discussion in 'PC hardware help' started by vancity, Apr 4, 2005.

  1. vancity

    vancity Member

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    Hey is it possible to boot up a PC using an external USB or FireWire drive that has Windows XP loaded on it?

    Thanks,

    Pete
     
  2. baabaa

    baabaa Active member

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    Only if your BIOS allows you to boot from USB/firewire.

    Check your BIOS to see if you can select an external USB device.
    I believe most BIOS's can now, haven't come across one that allows firewire as a bootable connection, but maybe wrong............................
     
  3. LitKnow

    LitKnow Guest

    I have a very similar query, so felt it would be appropriate to raise it here rather than start a new thread (?).
    I have a subnotebook computer (Compaq Evo N200). It doesn't have integrated CD-ROM or 3.5in floppy drive. I want to format the hard drive and so need to boot from a device other than the hard drive. The CMOS has an option "Enable support for Legacy USB" which I have set to on, but when I have tried to boot from a floppy disc in a USB disc drive, it still boots from the hard disc (I have set the boot order appropriately).
    Any ideas as to what I can do here?
    What does the word "legacy" mean in this context?
     
  4. baabaa

    baabaa Active member

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    A nice pdf document on legacy specification can be found here:
    http://www.usb.org/developers/devclass_docs/usb_le9.pdf

    In order for you to boot, you will have to have some sort of initial driver to communicate with the floppy, as you have no integral devices, you are in a 'chicken and egg' situation.

    I would consider looking for an external floppy adapter for your pc (not USB) as this would be the easiest to do.

    If I locate some information which will allow what you are asking then I shall post, hopefully someone else may jump in here and either agree or disagree with me...........
     
  5. ddp

    ddp Moderator Staff Member

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    what windows are you using as i've done 2 laptops with usb foppy using win98se boot disk with no problem so check a bit further in your bios
     
  6. baabaa

    baabaa Active member

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    Interesting, can you remember any prerequisite in the BIOS that was required aside from the enabling the legacy devices, as I thought legacy devices were predominately non plug and play items, and due to the initial addressing/irq's required for standard keyboards etc then I would have assumed seperate drivers etc, unless it had a clear setting in the BIOS such as USB Floppy Legacy support or removable device support.

    I am a little 'cloudy' so any chance of a quick savvy update?
     
  7. ddp

    ddp Moderator Staff Member

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    these were p4 asus motherboard laptops. just setup in bios to boot from floppy & worked!
     
  8. baabaa

    baabaa Active member

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    Ah yes, it is the BIOS alone that controls this ability.

    However, should a particular BIOS not contain any configuration to enable USB floppy etc, how would you go around it to accomplish a boot from external device?

    In LitKnow's case, if the BIOS has not got these options I suppose the best way is to attach the PC to an expansion base, or indeed a floppy/cdrom connected to the relative pins on the expansion base..............
     
  9. ddp

    ddp Moderator Staff Member

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    if he has an external cd rom drive than can boot off the windows disk if boot option for cd rom is in bios
     
  10. baabaa

    baabaa Active member

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    Yes, I haven't had any experience with his type of compaq, but looking at the specs it is a portable device that houses the main devices on the expansion base.

    Therefore I am sure there must be some more settings in the BIOS for external devices etc.
    Just need to really dig in the BIOS to locate them...............
     
  11. LitKnow

    LitKnow Guest

    Thanks for the advice - I've been coming to the same comclusion: that I need to buy a docking station and boot from the CD-ROM (I've seen one on ebay).
    Just as an aside, would it be possible to remove the hard disc, put it into a friend's (quite different) laptop and format the disc on that and add a basic installation of, say, WinXP (which will have the drivers for USB floppy and PCMCIA CD-ROM, which are both peripherals that I already own)and then put it back into the Compaq, or would that confuse the Compaq?
     
  12. baabaa

    baabaa Active member

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    Trouble is it will load up drivers in relation to the other motherboard.

    It could confuse it (never tried it), but when you insert it into your original laptop then you will need to run a 'repair' installation to get it configured for your motherboard.

    Personally I would either opt for the docking station (cost dependent), or see if there are some external deviecs that can be configured for it.
    Personally I would assume that there are in fact settings in the BIOS that can overcome this problem, as I find it hard to believe that the BIOS settings would only come into effect by using a docking station.
     

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