How to Install Windows 10 on External Hard Drive

Jean updated on Sep 12, 2019 to Partition Master | How-to Articles

Is It Possible to Install Windows 10 on an External Hard Drive

"I have a Seagate 2TB Expansion desktop External HDD. Thinking that it will be cool to have an OS on the External. So I want to install the Windows 10 OS on this external HDD. But whenever I tried to install Windows 10 straight onto the external disk, I get an error message saying that windows cannot be installed on a USB drive or IEE 1394. I was just wondering that if it is possible to install Windows on an external hard drive. If so how can I get the Windows 10 OS installed?"

Have you ever imagined that to use your own Windows 10 OS wherever you go? As you might know, while one can install Windows on an external hard drive, one can’t install the same to an external hard drive with default settings. Install Windows on an external hard drive is not an easy task for average users. At most times, Windows recognizes and displays the USB hard drive in the installation screen; it doesn’t allow you to install Windows on the same. When you attempt to install Windows on an external drive, you get "Windows cannot be installed to this disk" error. But don’t worry! Here you can find the complete solution about how to install Windows 10 on an external hard drive.

How to Install Windows 10 on an External Hard Drive

It only takes three steps to install Windows 10 on an external hard drive. Back up the external hard drive if you have important data on it. Then delete all the partitions on the external hard drive. Then, run EaseUS Todo Backup to install Windows 10 on it using the software's system clone function.

1. Back Up the External Hard Drive in Advance

You can simply copy the data to another disk or just use data backup software to do it. As we all know, there are lots of backup software on the market. When you choose one way to back up your data, you must consider the price, convenience and the result, the amount, and size of your files. EaseUS Todo Backup can give you the best user experience. It is a professional, steady, easy-to-use software which enables you back up your external hard drive easily. 

2. Delete All Partitions on the External Hard Drive

Step 1: Open Windows 10 Disk Management program. Navigate to This PC -> Manage -> Disk Management.

Step 2: Locate the external hard drive in the Disk Management interface, right-click on the partition you don't want anymore and select "Delete Volume..."

Step 3: Click "Yes" to permit Windows 10 to delete the selected partition the external hard drive.

delete partitions

After the operation, your deleted partition will turn to unallocated space without a drive letter o it. If you have difficulty in deleting partitions, you can ask free partition manager for help.

3. Install Windows 10 on An External Hard Drive

When you have backed things up and deleted all partitions on the external hard drive, you can start installing Windows 10 on the external device. You can install Windows 10 using system clone feature with EaseUS Todo Backup. This option enables you to migrate your system to a hard drive.

  • Download EaseUS system cloning software.
  • Make sure the capacity of the unallocated space on your target drive is larger than the total size of your boot and system partition. 
  • Check the "Create a Portable Windows drive" option if the target disk is connected via USB.

Then, refer to this guide: clone system with EaseUS Todo Backup or watch the video below.

Step 1: Connect the external hard drive to your PC and run EaseUS Todo Backup and click "System Clone".

Step 2: Select the external hard drive as your destination disk to clone system drive to. Click on "Advanced options" and tick "Create a Portable Windows USB drive", then click "Next".

Step 3: Wait till the System Clone process completes.


100% of people found this article helpful.


Frequently Asked Questions

Why Choose EaseUS Partition Master?

"I've used Partition Master Professional many times to create, delete, format, move, rename, and resize partitions."PCWorld

"Partitioning tools have come a very long since the days of complicated command line utilities and EASEUS Partition Master is one of the most advanced programs available."TECH ADVISOR

"I love that the changes you make with EaseUS Partition Master Free aren't immediately applied to the disks. It makes it way easier to play out what will happen after you've made all the changes."Lifewire

Will the "Migrate OS" feature transfer the Windows system files only or the whole C drive?

To ensure that the migrated system will boot normally, the Migrate OS feature will transfer all the files in the system and the boot partitions. Generally, the boot partition is the C drive so the transfer will include all the files in C.

Does EaseUS Partition Master license apply to multiple computers?

The license of Partition Master Professional and Server editions can be used on 1 computer only, while that for for the Technician and Unlimited editions can be used on multiple machines.

What is the difference between EaseUS Partition Master Trial version and the Free version?

Free is for home users only, with most basic functions available such as partition resize and clone. While trial can help you understand how this product works and test what a full license can do on a business or server OS machine.

Will it cause any data loss after resizing the partition in EaseUS Partition Master?

Generally, it will not cause any data loss or boot issue by resizing a partition. However, in order to protect your data, we suggest that you backup the partition before resizing, in case of any unexpected situations such as power outages, computer hardware failures, etc. You can use EaseUS Todo Backup to backup the partition and its trial version is fully functioned for 30 days.

What should I prepare before resizing the partition?

On the partition that is going to be operated, there might be some files being occupied by other programs. To ensure a successful operation, we suggest that you close all the unnecessary software before resizing that partition. Otherwise, EaseUS Partition Master will detect the partition being locked by the other software and require a reboot to resize the partition under boot mode.

About EaseUS Partition Master

All-round disk & partition management software for personal and commercial use. Let it manage your storage drive: resize, format, delete, clone, convert, etc.