How to run Windows 10 from an external hard drive?

Updated on April 24, 2019 by Admin to Portable Windows Creator

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 and 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. But for users accustomed to using Windows, Linux is not easy to use and has some functional limitations, so many Windows users want to be able to install Windows on an external hard drive. Here we'll show you how to install and run Windows 10 from an external hard drive with WinToUSB.


Tutorial to create Windows 10 To Go on an external hard drive and run Windows 10 from the external hard drive.

Step 1. Connect the USB drive to the computer, then run WinToUSB.

Step 2. Click the ISO Icon button, then click the Browse Icon button and select the Windows 10 installation ISO file from the open dialog box.

select windows 10 installation iso

Step 3. WinToUSB scans for and lists installable operating systems in the Windows 10 installation ISO. Please select the edition of Windows you want to install, then click "Next".

select windows 10 edition

Step 4. Select the destination USB drive in the drop-down list. If the USB drive is not correctly recognized by WinToUSB, you need to click the Refresh Icon button for the program to recognize the USB drive.

select USB drive

Step 5. A pop-up will appear asking you if you want to format it to continue, select the partition scheme you want to use and click "Yes" to format it. If you choose "Keep the existing partition scheme", you need to manually prepare the partitions on the USB drive before this step, and here is the user guide on how to manually prepare partitions for Windows To Go. Please note that the "Keep the existing partition scheme" option is valid only for an external disk.

select partition scheme for Windows To Go

Step 6. Select the system partition and boot partition from the partition list, the selected partitions will be marked as red, then click "Next".

Select target partition icon

Step 7. After clicking "Next", WinToUSB begins installing Windows 10 to the USB drive.

installing Windows to USB drive

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

change BIOS to boot from USB

Step 9. Windows 10 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


Follow these simple steps, you can install and run Windows 10 from an external hard drive easily.