Can my computer use an external hard drive instead of an internal one?

Sondra Lucht July 16, 2012
Pinterest Stumbleupon Whatsapp

My internal hard drive is failing. I would like to use an external hard drive as a replacement. But is it possible to run my computer off an external drive?

  1. james braselton
    December 2, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    hi there yeah need 20 killobytes i have comadore 64 with 64 kb and 1 mhz cpu with a 2,400 modem

  2. Vishal Jain
    October 21, 2012 at 7:41 am

    can i use only ssd in my desktop by removing my older hdd??????
    please help...

    • anonymous
      November 22, 2012 at 4:32 am

      Yes Vishal, you can. That's a pretty ignorant question.

  3. Jim Chambers
    October 7, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    I suggest that you save a clone image of your internal HD to your external drive and then replace the internal drive followed by installing image to new drive.

  4. Robert Russell
    September 30, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    Yes,YES, YES, I just ran 2 install disks from Tiger 10.4.9 to a Western Digital 500 GB external Had Drive and it works just as good as the original Fujitsu HD that just crashed!!!!! Sept 30, 2012

  5. sai
    September 27, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    if i install os in my external hard disk, can i use it on other systems also and boot it in multiple systems????????

  6. Edward
    September 15, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    Windows 7 runs fast enough even via USB 2.0. I have successfully run Windows 7 (the iMortaluz version) from a 16GB USB stick in USB 2.0; it actually loads 3 seconds faster than my internal ATA HDD - in order to run smoothly, the read speed of your USB device should constantly be at least 15 MB/s.

  7. VictorGeis
    August 27, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    It definitely is, but it's probably much safer/easier to just buy a replacement internal drive. They're not even too expensive; you can get a drive about 1 TB under $100 easily.

  8. jrasulev
    August 22, 2012 at 11:50 am

    Yep, you can share hard-drives of both of your PCs or buy a NAS

  9. VictorGeis
    July 19, 2012 at 12:08 am

    Yes, all you have to do is install an operating system onto the drive and then when your computer boots up (starts up) you go into the boot screen (you'll have to look this up for your computer) and then select to boot it from this drive.

    There are some downsides as others mentioned above, such as dissatisfying speeds and the fact your computer is incapable of booting from an external drive (if it's old). I personally keep a couple Linux operating systems for emergencies; I use to exclusively use CD's but now I have much more room on a portable USB.

  10. edyshor
    July 17, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    It would be best to invest in another internal harddrive .. also you should start making regular backups to you external hdd until you replace the internal (defective) one .. and even afterwards .. you never know ..

  11. Ben
    July 17, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    Yes it is possible, but do it as a temporary measure while you get a replacement internal HDD.

  12. K L
    July 17, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    It is possible with most modern BIOSes to boot from an external USB hard drive, but in many cases, they will perform worse than an internal drive. However, you could buy a cheap internal drive of a small size to install your operating system/programs to, then place your documents/media on your external drive

  13. pixelriffic
    July 17, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    It is technically possible. It depends on what sort of connection ports your computer has available. You would need at least a USB 2.0 or a firewire port. Depending on what type of internal drive you have, it's likely that using the external will be a good bit slower.

    I would suggest replacing the internal drive, and only using external drives for backup.

  14. Shakirah Faleh Lai
    July 17, 2012 at 3:45 am

    For temporary use, it's ok.

  15. Sohel Zaman
    July 16, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    obviously you can but make sure you have the option to USB boot in your BIOS and select that in first priority in booting. Many old pc's don't support USB booting and in that case, no way of using rather than an internal HDD.

  16. Gaurav
    July 16, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    Yes you can use it, but you have to set external drive as your primary and boot configuration must be proper.

  17. Oron
    July 16, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    Yes, but as others have said, performance will suffer unless it's an eSATA drive. Not only is USB much slower than SATA, but it uses computing resources (CPU cycles, memory), thus slowing your system more.
    The better way to deal with this would be to copy the drive (using imaging software such as the free Drive Image XML) to another drive, and then set up that drive as your internal drive.
    -- For a desktop PC, just buy another internal drive, fit it in and make the copy, then remove the first drive.
    -- For a laptop, buy a cheap USB enclosure (<$5) and a 2.5" drive, fit the drive in the enclosure, connect via USB and then copy the disc image. Now remove the disc from the enclosure and fit it in the laptop instead of the original drive, and Bob's your Uncle!

    • Sid
      September 19, 2012 at 5:12 am

      Hi and thanks, my laptop motherboard hard drive connector broke and I now can only connect the hdd (in external enclosure) to the laptop via usb. So I made the plpbt.iso and it works well to load the hdd (in external enclosure) via the usb port and all goes well until I see the Windows XP logo and stuff on the screen, and I 'm so happy but then it suddenly jumps to a error blue screen, at that point I can only turn off the laptop and try again, but always the same result. What can I do please?

      If required I have my other kids laptop I can use to make adjustments to the hdd or its contents

      OS:WinXpPro sp2+3

      Thanks alot

  18. Dave Rimmer
    July 16, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    I wouldn't recommend using an external drive for windows, you state that it is failing but don't explain how, if I was you I would go for an SSD everything would be much faster, you could still use a portable drive as I do to store most of your other files on ie pictures, music, apps etc.If the SSD is to expensive then just get a new Drive. However you will loose everything on the drive so you need get everything that you still need from your old Drive, You will need a copy of windows with the key for the install of Windows on the new drive along with the Drivers CD to load all the drivers for the System, so make sure you have all that you require before you get the new drive.

  19. Jan Görtzen
    July 16, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Depending on your HDD size (3,5"? 2,5"?) and the interface (SATA, IDE) you might consider opening up your external hard drive, removing it from its case and replacing your internal hard drive with it. This would void your warranty on your external HDD (and maybe your computer, depending whether you built it yourself / bought a complete system), but is by far the fastest solution. It is not hard to do, and there are lots of how-to-guides out there.

  20. Vipul Jain
    July 16, 2012 at 11:21 am

    yes but not recommended.

  21. Mike
    July 16, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Yes it is possible but depending on the connectivity your experience might be unsatisfying.

    For example on an internal SATA hard drive you usually get write and read speeds between 75MB/s up to 110MB/s depending on the data. A drive connected via eSATA will be about the same.

    If your external hard drive is connected:
    via USB2.0 you will see speeds around 25MB/s up to 35MB/s
    via FW800 you will see speeds around 50MB/s up to 65MB/s.
    via USB3.0 you will see speeds around 45MB/s up to 70MB/s.

    In addition external drives are often equipped with 5400RPM drives to decrease the noise and heat which will further lower all of these values.

    If you are just going to surf the web and do office work this won't have much impact.

    If you intend to use graphics applications (Photoshop, ...) , work with video files (edit, modify, encode, ...) or play games you should definitely replace the old drive with another internal one.

    • Luis
      August 2, 2012 at 10:27 am

      Can an external SSD pluged to a usb 2.0 port reach at least a velocity of 50 MB/s???

  22. Alan Wade
    July 16, 2012 at 6:25 am

    Short answer Yes you can, this link explains how to do it:

Ads by Google