How to Turn a Hard Drive into a Bootable Drive

I have a 250GB external hard drive that I would like to make bootable, but I need to figure out how. I tried to boot from USB external storage first, copy the iso to the HDD, and modify the bios boot order to boot from Windows iso files using the diskpart, but it always shows missing mgr. What should I do? How to turn a hard disk into a bootable drive?

Best Answered by

Jerry· Answered on Dec 20, 2023

Since the boot order can change and sometimes you may not have the external drive, I would advise disabling your primary drive or selecting disabled in the BIOS before installing Windows generally to the external drive. This is because you can install it entirely on the external drive (not just live).

The ISO image cannot be copied to an HDD. Instead, ISOs must be written on a CD or DVD (Windows 7 does it natively - right-click and choose burn disc.)  Afterward, boot from the DVD and select your external HDD during the installation. You will be guided through partitioning it by the setup, making it bootable. It may be possible to burn an ISO to the HDD by tricking the device into thinking it is a DVD player, but that would be much more difficult than simply burning a DVD.

As far as I know, there are three ways to make a drive bootable:

  • Run commands through the Command Prompt. If you are comfortable running CMD, you can apply this method. When attempting this procedure, the Windows installation drive is required.
  • Use the Windows To Go feature. This is available in Windows 10 Enterprise, Education, Professional, or Windows 8/8.1 Enterprise. If your system satisfies this condition, consider proceeding in this manner.
  • Apply EaseUS Todo Backup. EaseUS Todo Backup is a practical and easy-to-use backup and restore utility. It allows you to create WinPE emergency bootable disk in Windows and clone a bootable USB drive. It can make your hard drive bootable by copying your operating system to a target drive. With its help, you can run your system whenever you want.

You can try any of the methods above to make a hard drive bootable. However, if you want a more intelligent and easy-to-use method, EaseUS Todo Backup should be your first choice.

Related article: How to Make External Hard Drive Bootable in Windows 10/Windows 11

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