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Massaging an existing Windows installation to boot USB
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I've created a WinToUSB installation of Windows 8.1 on a SSD in a USB enclosure (it didn't like any flash drives) to study the differences, with the intention of modify an existing clone of an SATA UEFI disk to boot USB. Windows won't tolerate 2 disks mounted with the same GUID, but a clone accurate to this degree will certainly replace the original and boot.

I maintain Windows XP & 7 clones by swapping the Drive Letter & Volume Label assignments in MountedDevices between the source & destination drives. In Windows 7 the cloned bootbcd files having been Repaired to include the clone drive Disk Signatures which are then Excluded from update.

I've managed to boot a Windows 7 clone in a USB 2.0 enclosure (MBR disks) by disabling paging and modifying several system services in the clone's registry. While this will run it isn't worthwhile as performance is too poor. But demonstrates the possibility.

I'm reasonably sure since WinToUSB has demonstrated Windows 8.1 will run satisfactorily from USB, that a clone of an existing installation can be modified to boot USB. And these modifications reversed so the same clone will then boot SATA again? But lack the specific boot file & registry knowledge required yet, especially with the new UEFI scheme.

Any input would be appreciated: DES
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Massaging an existing Windows installation to boot USB - des421 - 12-28-2014, 08:09 AM

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