Cloning a windows 10 installation on external hdd


  1. Posts : 3
    OS1
       #1

    Cloning a windows 10 installation on external hdd


    I want to clone my existing windows 10 installation onto an external hdd and be able to boot from there. Then I want a clean windows 10 installation on internal hdd and be able to use both installations. The license key is OEM. Will I have any issues with licensing? Is this possible? The hardware stays the same for both installations except the storage.
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  2. idgat's Avatar
    Posts : 1,189
    Windows 10 Pro
       #2

    Don't clone. Image then restore image. Extra steps, a little extra time, but much more reliable.

    License is tied to the device, not the drive it's installed on. It will work.

    Why not take the opportunity to swap out the internal HDD for an SSD?
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  3. Posts : 3
    OS1
    Thread Starter
       #3

    idgat said:
    Don't clone. Image then restore image. Extra steps, a little extra time, but much more reliable.

    License is tied to the device, not the drive it's installed on. It will work.

    Why not take the opportunity to swap out the internal HDD for an SSD?
    Thank you, that is what I meant, take an image of the entire installation then restore it and also be able to boot the old installation through an external hdd. So since it is tied to the device, someone could "octa-boot" windows and it wouldnt complain about licensing?
    External is HDD and internal will be SSD.
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  4. MaloK's Avatar
    Posts : 594
    Windows 7
       #4

    Hi,

    Windows will only run in normal mode from an internal disk. You cannot boot it up from a USB disk. The only time you can boot from a USB is to install a bootable copy to an internal HDD or SSD
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  5. Posts : 3
    OS1
    Thread Starter
       #5

    MaloK said:
    Hi,

    Windows will only run in normal mode from an internal disk. You cannot boot it up from a USB disk. The only time you can boot from a USB is to install a bootable copy to an internal HDD or SSD
    Is there any way to run a clone on external hdd? I think win2usb only works for new installations.
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  6. MaloK's Avatar
    Posts : 594
    Windows 7
       #6

    I found this guide to Boot Windows VHD from USB in UEFI and Legacy BIOS mode.

    Boot Windows VHD from USB in UEFI and Legacy BIOS mode

    But I have never tried it

    Also you can take a look at this.
    https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/win...d--native-boot
    You might be able to get away with it.
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  7. idgat's Avatar
    Posts : 1,189
    Windows 10 Pro
       #7

    MaloK said:
    Hi,

    Windows will only run in normal mode from an internal disk. You cannot boot it up from a USB disk. The only time you can boot from a USB is to install a bootable copy to an internal HDD or SSD
    Ummm, Errrr, no. Windows 10 will boot from an external USB. To do this the user needs to connect/install a blank drive in a computer and install win 10 in the normal way (from boot USB). That drive can then be removed and placed in an external USB enclosure and used to boot from on any computer.

    Additionally, if the subsequent external USB version is activated at the initial installation, that activation will remain no matter which hardware it's subsequently connected to.

    Additionally No. 2, if the internet is connected to the new booted computer, Windows will auto update the drivers for the target device (actually, it just adds the new drivers). After a while the Device Manager can become a bit messy, so if there are drivers in there that will never be used again, they can be deleted (they are the ones displayed in a bit lighter text).

    EDIT : Consequently, I see no reason why a restored image on an external USB drive cannot be run by booting from it. Where's the harm in trying, anyway ....

    However, if that's what the OP wants, then better off installing the 2nd version in a virtual environment so the computer doesn't have to be rebooted every time a switch between systems is wanted.

    BUT .... however, a virtual install of Win 10 within a host Win 10 is considered by MS to require a separate license.
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  8. MaloK's Avatar
    Posts : 594
    Windows 7
       #8

    Bet ya 50 it won't boot
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  9. NavyLCDR's Avatar
    Posts : 16,209
    Windows 10 Pro
       #9

    idgat said:
    Additionally, if the subsequent external USB version is activated at the initial installation, that activation will remain no matter which hardware it's subsequently connected to.
    Ummm., Errrr, Not always.. If the USB drive is moved to a new computer that has never had that edition of Windows 10 activated on it before, it will NOT remain activated. The Windows 10 on the USB drive will assume the previous activation status of whatever computer it is connected to.
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  10. cereberus's Avatar
    Posts : 12,479
    Windows10
       #10

    NavyLCDR said:
    Ummm., Errrr, Not always.. If the USB drive is moved to a new computer that has never had that edition of Windows 10 activated on it before, it will NOT remain activated. The Windows 10 on the USB drive will assume the previous activation status of whatever computer it is connected to.

    This reply is 100% correct
    for normal (not volume licence) keys.
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