How can I install an operating system on an external hard drive

Operating systems offer a large number of useful tools necessary for the effective operation and use of a computer. The most common operating systems are usually Microsoft, Linux, and MAC.

In most cases, when acquiring a computer, it usually has the operating system integrated, so that it can later be used by the user. However, there is the possibility of installing these operating systems on external hard drives.

Installing an operating system on an external hard drive can be very useful to lighten the load on your PC, it is also a good alternative in case your computer has memory problems or overheating.

It can be very convenient; however, a series of previous procedures must be carried out, since most existing operating systems are not designed to work on an external hard drive.

In the following article we will explain what you must do to be able to install an operating system on a hard drive easily and simply.

What you should know before installing an operating system on an external hard drive
There are several operating systems that are designed to function properly on external hard drives; however, Windows has its exceptions but there are certain ways to achieve this.

Although Windows is not designed to be able to run on an external hard drive, with a couple of applications that will have to be downloaded, it can run perfectly as a portable version or a full version if you wish.

Programs to install Windows on an external hard drive

As we mentioned earlier, it is essential to have certain files that will have to be downloaded beforehand in order to install Windows on an external hard drive. Between them we have:


It is a free program and very important to be able to install the Operating System. It is very intuitive and easy to use. WinToUSB will show the options that you can install

Official Windows 10 ISO

It is also necessary to be able to install the operating system on the hard disk. On the official MIcrosoft website you can get both the version for Windows Home and the version for Windows Pro.

In the same way, you need to have an external hard drive greater than 32 GB  so that the operating system can run effectively. In the same way, it is recommended to have a USB 3.0 to improve the experience when having a mobile operating system.

Install Windows on an external hard drive

The first thing you should do is connect your external hard drive to your PC. You will need to connect both the interface card and the power cable, as it requires a battery during the process.

Once we have all these programs downloaded, the first step we will have to do is install WinToUSB. Installing it is very simple and works like any other program which you must give the corresponding permissions.

hard disk connected with a cable to the computer

After installing it, you must run it and you will see that the main menu has three options: Create portable version of Windows 10, Create version from an original disk, Clone the current version of Windows

You will have to select the first alternative to be able to use the Windows ISO. Once you choose this option you will see that a box appears that says image file where we will have to select the folder icon located on the right.

You will have to select the ISO file and then the program will analyze it. This process does not take long. Later, all the options that can be installed on the hard disk will appear.

If you downloaded the ISO from the official Microsoft site, you can choose between the Home version or the Pro version. You will have to choose and click next. At this point you will have to select the disk drive where to install the operating system. Obviously we will have to select our external hard drive.

Settings menu

The installation will probably ask to format the hard disk, so you will have to make a backup if you do not want to lose all your information.

The system will ask you where you want the boot partition of the operating system and you must select the external hard drive and click next. You will have to wait a few minutes while the installation is done and after this time, you will already have Windows 10 installed on your external hard drive.

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