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How to Install Windows 10 on External Hard Drive

Updated on Feb 01, 2019 by Jean to Partition Master

Summary:
Here you can find the complete solution about how to install Windows 10 on external hard drive. And this guide is also available for other Windows versions.

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.