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Thread: Can I use a USB 2.5 hard drive for OS?

  1. #1
    Low Bitrate GFridrich3's Avatar
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    Can I use a USB 2.5 hard drive for OS?

    Heres my situation:

    I finally have all the main components needed to get my CarPC up and running and have navigation in the car (main goal of pc)

    I already have a 40Gb 2.5" hard drive that i have in an external 2.5" USB enclosure.

    I did buy the adaptor cable to mount the drive internally if i have to, but i am curious if anyone knows that I can boot from the drive if I mount it externally? Ive had plenty of experience building PC's over the years, but have never had firsthand experience with what id like to do this time.

    Essentially, I would like to do this as a sort of security/convenience precaution, since i could simply unplug the drive and take it with me when i go someplace public, or to bring the drive in the house to move movies and music onto it instead of running the entire pc from the car and needing to buy a wireless adaptor.

    I dont even have a clue where to start searching for this answer since its probably so simple i feel stupid not knowing. Without flaming or yelling at me to search, can someone that knows the answer to this be kind enough to point me in the right direction? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Neither darque nor pervert DarquePervert's Avatar
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    You might be able to, but I wouldn't recommend it. USB is meant to be a temporary connection for devices. For a hard drive, I'd want a more permanent connection, which is the IDE channel.
    Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
    How about the Wiki?



    Under normal circumstances, a signature would go here.

  3. #3
    Low Bitrate GFridrich3's Avatar
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    Ok, I guess internal it is then. Now all thats left is to wait for the parts to start arriving and get on with the build phase of the project.

  4. #4
    FLAC Nomader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GFridrich3 View Post
    Heres my situation:

    I finally have all the main components needed to get my CarPC up and running and have navigation in the car (main goal of pc)

    I already have a 40Gb 2.5" hard drive that i have in an external 2.5" USB enclosure.

    I did buy the adaptor cable to mount the drive internally if i have to, but i am curious if anyone knows that I can boot from the drive if I mount it externally? Ive had plenty of experience building PC's over the years, but have never had firsthand experience with what id like to do this time.

    Essentially, I would like to do this as a sort of security/convenience precaution, since i could simply unplug the drive and take it with me when i go someplace public, or to bring the drive in the house to move movies and music onto it instead of running the entire pc from the car and needing to buy a wireless adaptor.

    I dont even have a clue where to start searching for this answer since its probably so simple i feel stupid not knowing. Without flaming or yelling at me to search, can someone that knows the answer to this be kind enough to point me in the right direction? Thanks.
    yeah you can do that..if the bios supports USB booting..but i would not recommend it. usb is way slower than IDE or SATA.. windows always use the boot volume to write temp files and even for swap files.. doing that over USB 1.0 or even 2.0 is a bad idea it will slow down your PC

  5. #5
    FLAC SFiorito's Avatar
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    USB 2 supports up to 480Mbps (60MBps). It can be very fast. I've used high-end USB flash drives to boot XP and it's really fast. Same thing can be done with any other USB device as long as your BIOS supports USB booting (hi-speed USB preferably since some BIOS's only use 1.1 which is much slower). Check here for some tutorials: http://www.winusb.de/index_en.html. Be aware that in some cases it's not a very easy process, but it can be done.

  6. #6
    Low Bitrate GFridrich3's Avatar
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    Yea, i know the USB can handle the speed. Im only using a 4200 rpm drive at this point since i already have it and dont need to spend the money for a new drive until later. I guess it cant hurt to try it out both ways and see if the USB way is too slow for my preferences. There should be no reason i can see that I wouldnt be able to mount it with the IDE until i have everything installed, then swap it back into the external enclosure and boot from there. My whole original point of this thread was to ask if it was a possibility or not. Seems that it is possible, but could be less than ideal for the situation. Just seemed like i nice idea to save buying a wireless router and adaptor just to connect my CarPC to my home PC for file transfers. I dont mind bringing the system in the house from time to time to use my wired network for OS updates and software installs.

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