How to install and run Windows 10/11 from an external hard drive?

Updated on June 16, 2023 by Admin to Windows 10 To Go

I'm a Windows 10 and Linux user. I'm familiar with installing and running Linux operating system from an external hard drive, which is very useful to me. I know the advantages of the portable operating system, so I've always wanted to be able to create a portable Windows 10 operating system. Is there any way to install and run Windows 10 from an external hard drive?

As we all know, Linux can be easily installed to and then run from an external hard drive as portable Linux OS. The portable Linux OS is very useful, because we can take it anywhere and use it on different computers. However, for users accustomed to using Windows, Linux is not easy to use and has some functional limitations, such as not being able to play some popular Windows games and use the office software provided by Microsoft, so many Windows users want to be able to install Windows on an external hard drive.

Is it possible to install Windows to an external hard drive and then boot Windows from it? The answer is yes, if you've heard of Windows To Go (WTG), then you've already headed in the right direction. Windows To Go is a technology that Microsoft provides for Windows users to create portable Windows, although it only exists in the Windows Enterprise operating systems, but some third-party tools can help us create Windows To Go using non-enterprise editions of the Windows operating system, such as Hasleo WinToUSB. Here we'll show you how to install and run Windows 10 from an external hard drive with Hasleo WinToUSB.


Tutorial to install Windows 10/11 To Go to an external hard drive and run Windows 10 from it.

Step 1. Connect the external hard drive to the computer, download, install and run Hasleo WinToUSB and then click "Windows To Go USB".

Click Windows To Go creator

Step 2. Click "Select installation source", then click "Browse image file" and select the Windows installation ISO file from the open dialog box as installation source, or choose a CD/DVD drive with a Windows installation DVD inserted as the installation source.

Select installation source for Windows To Go

* Tips: If you don't have a Windows 10 installation ISO, please download Windows 10 installation ISO first.

Step 3. Hasleo WinToUSB scans for and lists installable operating systems, select the edition of Windows you want to install.

Select Windows edition

Step 4. Click "Select destination drive" and select the destination drive from the pop-up drive list. If the drive is not correctly recognized by Hasleo WinToUSB, you can click the refresh drive list button for the program to recognize the drive.

Select destination drive

Step 5. Choose the partition scheme and installation mode you want to use, and you can specify additional drivers or enable BitLocker to encrypt the Windows To Go external hard drive according to your needs, then click "Proceed".

Select partition scheme and installation mode

* Tips:

  1. For more detailed information about "Partition scheme", "Installation mode" and "Enable BitLocker", please refer to: How to create portable Windows 11/10/8/7 from an ISO, WIM, ESD, SWM or VHD(X) file?
  2. If you choose "Keep the existing partition scheme", you need to manually prepare the partitions on the external hard drive before this step, and here is the user guide on how to manually prepare partitions for Windows To Go.

Step 6. After clicking "Proceed", a pop-up will appear asking you if you want to format it to continue, click "Yes" if you are sure.

The drive needs to be formatted prompt

Step 7. After clicking "Yes", WinToUSB begins installing Windows to the destination drive.

installing Windows to USB

Step 8. It takes some time to install. After installation restart the computer and change BIOS to boot from your external hard drive.

change BIOS to boot from USB

Step 9. Windows normal installation starts up and you have to complete all the installation steps. After that, you can install programs, copy files, etc.

Windows normal installation



This tutorial explains in detail how to install and run Windows 10/11 from an external hard drive by using Hasleo WinToUSB, then you can use your own portable Windows 10/11 wherever you go.

As a professional Windows To Go creation software, you can also use Hasleo WinToUSB to clone Windows 10/11 to an external drive as a portable Windows.