External Hard Drive

Himrod, NY(Zone 6a)

My DH has a question. He has an external hard drive and wants to install Window's 7 on the external hard drive. He has copied all files to the external hard drive. When he hits install will it install on the external or the machine he is working off from?

He is aiming to then transfer it to an older machine which the external hard drive will go into.

I hope someone with puter knowledge can help us.


Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

I do not believe you can install an operating system on an external drive.
I think it has to be on a drive that is on the computer.

Does he want to have a dual boot, or was he going to change the boot order to have it boot directly from the ext drive?

Himrod, NY(Zone 6a)

He wants to have it boot directly from the ext drive.

thanks for being so quick in responding.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

I googled it, and found this..

Himrod, NY(Zone 6a)

Thanks tcs, DH has decided that this way is not an option for him. Sure appreciate your help.

Washington, MO(Zone 6a)

Quote from Joyous :
He is aiming to then transfer it to an older machine which the external hard drive will go into.

I don't understand this at all. Why not just install it directly on the other machine? It sure seems like a klunky way to do things. He'll run into all kinds of hardware issues when he tries to swap machines (which I'm pretty sure is an impossibility, anyway).

Himrod, NY(Zone 6a)

The other machine crashed and does not recognize the cd drive or the usb port so he is trying this to be able to reestablish the hard drive.

I think he has moved on to other things, so thanks again.

Fremont, CA(Zone 9a)

Check out http://www.ubuntu.com/
A free operating system that can boot directly from CD or other device

Juneau, AK(Zone 5a)

Your DH may just find out it is much, much better to scratch the old machine and buy or build a new one. There are times that I had to sadly face that reality for some of my machines. If he is lucky and gets it running, he may well spend more that it would have cost to just build or buy a new one.

( Talking from past personal frustrating experience )
For example he may find that their are problems in the MB. Or there may be problems in the RAM memory. When you fix one problem on an old machine it is quite possible to find another problem pop up in another area. A frequent problem for me anyway has been the power supplies. They act up. If the MB does not recognize the CD or DVD you need to borrow or buy a new one to see if it can find that?

I assume that the old machine boots? You can get into the bios? If so has someone messed the with bios to shut down the CD or the USB? If you cannot boot it up at all, you may have big problems. Maybe the MB is fried. Did the CPU fan quit and fry it?

I cannot tell you how many useless hours I have spent trying to save what turned out to be a hopeless old computer.

I cannot tell you how poor the decision was for me to save old machines, even when it "worked" to get it going again, when you can buy a bare bones new machine so cheaply and you have new very fast technology.

One guys opinion.

Himrod, NY(Zone 6a)

Rick, I don't think it is the NEED to get this one fixed as it is the challenge, "I am going to get this fixed and conquer it". LOL....... the computer is giving a "hard time" to his personality.

What can I say, it is winter it is colder than cold these last few weeks and no outdoor projects able to be conquered!! Well, other than the clutch on a F150 pickup truck. A whole other can of worms that keeps him out of the house.

DH wants to know what the price of a bare bones system would be.

the go between DW.

edited to say I didn't realize you are from Alaska!! guess you know all about long cold days. Sorry!

This message was edited Jan 11, 2010 7:30 AM

Salem, IL(Zone 5b)

When I was working as an IT tech, mostly hardware, we were issued a thumb drive with
a disk image to upgrade or rebuild computers normally used to replace our older main
frame terminals. We had a large staff of computer engineers who had all the pc's locked
out so only they could make changes. They set up the thumb drives to be bootable and
all we needed to do was select them as the boot source in the boot sequence menu and
set up the computer names and MAC addresses after they had uploaded the image.

Himrod, NY(Zone 6a)

DH says that the problem is that the computer does not recognize anything. CD drive, thumb drive.....nothing. So there is no where to boot from but it will let him into setup, where he is trying to change his boot sequence. Boot sequence says no CD or no USB installed.

As I said this is a "challenge........". Need I also say he loves challenges!! still LOL. Most days I feel good that I can get my computer turned on and make it to DG, my addiction!

thanks again

Washington, MO(Zone 6a)

Quote from PotEmUp :
Check out http://www.ubuntu.com/
A free operating system that can boot directly from CD or other device[/quote]

What good would that possibly do, if the CD drive isn't recognized in the BIOS?

[quote="Joyous"]DH says that the problem is that the computer does not recognize anything. CD drive, thumb drive...nothing. So there is no where to boot from but it will let him into setup, where he is trying to change his boot sequence. Boot sequence says no CD or no USB installed.

If the BIOS (Setup) isn't seeing the drive, it can only be one of a couple things...

1. The connectors at either the drive or the mainboard are not secure.
2. The mainboard drivers need to be reinstalled.
3. The mainboard is failing/has failed.

Did this just suddenly happen?

Had he made any hardware changes (or do any deep cleaning of the case) prior to this happening?

Can you give us the hardware specs on that machine?
If it's a brand-name machine... what make and model?
If it's not a brand-name machine... what mainboard is in it?

If you're not sure how to get the mainboard numbers, or can't read them on the installed board, can you access the internet on that machine? If so, then please go to http://www.gtopala.com/ and download SIW. It will tell you everything about your machine, both hardware and software. It's freeware, and one of the most useful tools I've ever used on a computer. At that site, ignore the "buy now" button, and the ads for Lansweeper. There's two versions of SIW, one installs and the other is a stand-alone version. The standalone version will tell you what you need to know, and it's a smaller download. (unless you need the multi-language feature) =)

Juneau, AK(Zone 5a)

Price of a bare bones system. Of course it depends upon how bare you want it and what level of technology.

Here are some links to get a feel for what you can get for how much.



Read this link too:

Juneau, AK(Zone 5a)

BTW - the last old computer I tried to resurrect from the dead, I was determined and did get it going. I finally ended up replacing everything but the case. So I had a "new" computer with an old case. I did not save a penny, in fact I would be better off going to Costco and buying a new HP computer from them that included the software operating system and the monitor.

Himrod, NY(Zone 6a)

I installed Win Vista about 2 months ago and have the problem scene,the motherboard was had a broken video port I installed a video card and it has been working OK Vista did not like the motherboard and I have been trying to sort out the bugs everything was working fine I just couldn't read the motherboard to read the cd rom or usb ports I could use the cd rom to install programs and the usb worked as well bot wouldn't show up in the set-up. I shut down the puter and it never restarted.LOL Crash...Tried to boot from cd rom but its not installed according to setup.LOL also no USB installed. I removed HD and accessed from another puter and the is Fine could see all files reinstalled HD and ran internal diaogistic and its telling me I have a weak booting system...LOL (no kidding what was the first clue) If I had the folder with a good booting system in it I could replace it ???
What an Idea?????
Are you as confused as I'm LOL

Thanks for all the replys
Joyous other half

Dell 4600
120gig HD
1.5gig men
2 cd burners

Just checked on E--ay
and a n2828 motherboard shipped id $59 bucks...!!

Don't tell wife

Washington, MO(Zone 6a)

The install of Vista has nothing to do with the drives not being seen in the BIOS. Are the jumpers on the CD drives set correctly?

When trying to simply boot the machine from the HDD, do you get an error message? Does the machine beep when powered-on? If so, it may be a combination of long and short beeps, and if that's the case, what is the beep sequence?

ran internal diaogistic and its telling me I have a weak booting system.

By "internal diagnostic", do you mean the Dell Diagnostics?
Can you duplicate that and give the exact message? I've never seen one say "weak booting system". =)

Himrod, NY(Zone 6a)

jumpers on the CD drives set correctly?

When trying to simply boot the machine from the HDD, do you get an error message?

No just tries to start and black screen mouse showes

it may be a combination of long and short beeps, and if that's the case, what is the beep sequence?
No beep
Dell Diagnostics
I think it was in restore Diagnostics??

Washington, MO(Zone 6a)

Does the machine POST and then the screen goes black when Windows starts loading?

Will it boot to Safe Mode? Can you get to a boot menu?

Himrod, NY(Zone 6a)

machine POST

Safe Mode

Washington, MO(Zone 6a)

Boot menu?

Himrod, NY(Zone 6a)


Washington, MO(Zone 6a)

Did you try "Last known good configuration"?

edited to ask:

Do you get the black screen before or after the logon screen?

This message was edited Jan 11, 2010 8:53 PM

Himrod, NY(Zone 6a)

It is the wife back, who knows nothing computery! Hubby has gone to bed and will not be back to respond till after 4pm tomorrow.

Have a good night.

Washington, MO(Zone 6a)

Have him google "vista ksod"

Salem, IL(Zone 5b)

Don't want to get into the way of some good tech support but, until you can hit
F2 and see the drives having been initiated, you are beating a dead horse.
There are a lot of possible issues with multiple drives not being connected
properly. (Been there, done that many times).

Google 'dell 4600 setup menu' and go over the menu carefully.

The 4600 has a CDR drive and a CDRW drive. One of them may not be

Washington, MO(Zone 6a)

Apparently, there's a bug in Vista, known as the Black Screen of Death, where after the login window the screen goes black with only a cursor showing. There are a couple fixes out there for it, some entailing editing the registry.

Personally, I still think it's a hardware issue, but what I read last night about Vista makes it quite possible that it's OS-related.

It's strange, whatever it is. =)

Salem, IL(Zone 5b)

I have a flaky video issue similar to the bsod. My pc has a video card capable of
1080p HD output connected to a 32" Visio full HD tv thru a HDMI port. My tv is a
Dish Network satellite connected to another HDMI port. I had an internet connection
thru a local catv cable. I had to give up the catv internet since the company required
at least 2 services. I obtained dsl from AT&T and my video problem occurred.
The pc will not open the video to the tv at bootup. When I switch the tv to regular
satellite by selecting inputs and then back to the port the pc is connected to there
is an error message about Internet Explorer cannot load this page, or words to
that effect. AT&T uses Yahoo as a browser so I think it hosed up my IE. Every-
thing works as far as surfing or connecting to DG otherwise. It is just a nusiance
issue at bootup. Very similar to the bsod described. I get the microsoft progress
bar but the screen stays black after the windows sounds.

The reason for saying he should check the setup menu instead of the boot menu
is there are some quirks with that particular Dell concerning whether a PCI or an
AGP card is installed and how the onboard video/auto is selected.

Just a leap but, without having hands on the problem, it is a place to start coupled
with the failure of the pc to install the drives.

BTW: My pc recognizes the tv as a monitor down to the exact model number.

Himrod, NY(Zone 6a)

Thanks for all the Help I think I will go with the new motherboard and start fresh with win7

Ive been told win7 is better than vista I hope


Juneau, AK(Zone 5a)

My son does servers etc for the State of Alaska. They never allowed Vista on any of their computers. They now are changing Windows 7 for all of their clients. Windows 7 he says, is much better.

Washington, MO(Zone 6a)

Disclaimer: The steps in this post involve editing the registry. If you're not comfortable doing so, then DO NOT do it.

Before dropping the coin for the new mobo, Give this a try (can't hurt):

After logging in, and the screen goes black, do:

Ctrl - Alt - Esc to bring up the Task Manager

In the Task Manager Window, do:

File ---> New Task
In the box, type: explorer.exe
Click: OK

If you get your desktop:

Bring up the Task Manager again.
File ---> New Task
Type: regedit
Click OK

Migrate to:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionWinlogon

Click on this key string one folder at a time until you get to Winlogon, then locate the “shell” string in the right pane. Double click it & replace the contents with just:

”explorer.exe” (Note: Do not use the quotes!)

Reboot, cross fingers, and see if Windows comes back up. =)

If you don't even get as far as the login screen (I asked about this, but didn't get a reply), then this fix will be of no use, and the Vista DVD (which brings up another question (below)) is the only way to repair it.

2 cd burners

Are those CD burners, or DVD drives? (If they're CD's then that would explain why you can't boot from the Vista disc.) ;)

HTH and good luck!

Salem, IL(Zone 5b)

The OEM manual refers to them as being a CDR and CDRW. That model is circa 2004
which probably did not include dual CD/DVD--could be wrong. My Dell OEM Vista is on
a DVD which I had never noticed before. I think you found his first major problem with
the installation.

One issue not considered is if the copy of Vista is installed on his present pc, it probably
cannot be activated by MS on a second pc since it would normally be a single license.
A lot of tail chasing but educational for all of us.

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