How can I make my external drive bootable

Discussion in 'Computer Support' started by DaveF, Dec 9, 2006.

  1. DaveF

    DaveF Guest

    I bought an external drive yesterday and copied C to E (its self-
    assigned letter).

    My C drive is failing - the spindle sometimes sticks - so I would like
    to enter E in the BIOS as the alternate disk to boot from. The
    computer store sales fellow said this was possible but the M/S
    knowledge base only gives information on how to make a floppy
    bootable.

    Can anyone help? Thank you.

    Dave F
    DaveF, Dec 9, 2006
    #1
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  2. DaveF

    Alan Guest

    DaveF wrote:
    > I bought an external drive yesterday and copied C to E (its self-
    > assigned letter).
    >
    > My C drive is failing - the spindle sometimes sticks - so I would like
    > to enter E in the BIOS as the alternate disk to boot from. The
    > computer store sales fellow said this was possible but the M/S
    > knowledge base only gives information on how to make a floppy
    > bootable.
    >
    > Can anyone help? Thank you.
    >
    > Dave F


    The BIOS on you motherboard would have to support 'Boot from USB'. Not
    sure if they've advanced to 'Boot from Firewire' yet...

    How did you copy? Windows wont let you copy files that are in use, so
    even if you do get it to boot, the OS may be incomplete.
    Alan, Dec 9, 2006
    #2
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  3. DaveF

    Whiskers Guest

    On 2006-12-09, DaveF <> wrote:
    > I bought an external drive yesterday and copied C to E (its self-
    > assigned letter).
    >
    > My C drive is failing - the spindle sometimes sticks - so I would like
    > to enter E in the BIOS as the alternate disk to boot from. The
    > computer store sales fellow said this was possible but the M/S
    > knowledge base only gives information on how to make a floppy
    > bootable.
    >
    > Can anyone help? Thank you.
    >
    > Dave F


    You need to make sure that your BIOS allows for booting from a USB device
    - some don't. In any case, a better long-term solution is of course to
    replace the failing internal HD.

    --
    -- ^^^^^^^^^^
    -- Whiskers
    -- ~~~~~~~~~~
    Whiskers, Dec 9, 2006
    #3
  4. DaveF

    Vanguard Guest

    "DaveF" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >I bought an external drive yesterday and copied C to E (its self-
    > assigned letter).
    >
    > My C drive is failing - the spindle sometimes sticks - so I would
    > like
    > to enter E in the BIOS as the alternate disk to boot from. The
    > computer store sales fellow said this was possible but the M/S
    > knowledge base only gives information on how to make a floppy
    > bootable.
    >
    > Can anyone help? Thank you.
    >
    > Dave F



    If your BIOS doesn't support external hard drives (via whatever
    UNNAMED interface you happen to use for the external hard drive), you
    will need a boot manager, like:

    https://sourceforge.net/projects/gag/
    http://gag.sourceforge.net/

    However, what that does is replace the boot program in the MBR (master
    boot record), the first 446 bytes in the first sector, on the first
    physically detected hard drive by your BIOS. If your hard drive is
    failing then the boot program in its MBR will also become unavailable
    when your hard drive dies.

    So why can't you install a new hard - something which you already are
    planning to do - inside the box so you boot from it, install an OS on
    it, and then copy or clone over the failing hard drive? Even if it is
    an external hard drive, you might be able to take it apart and use it
    on the internal IDE or SATA ports. Or tell the store that their
    "sales fellow" fucked up in his advice to get you to buy a far more
    expensive external hard drive when what you really need is a much
    cheaper internal hard drive to supplant your failing one and an
    internal hard drive that you will need anyway despite having an
    external hard drive.
    Vanguard, Dec 9, 2006
    #4
  5. DaveF

    DaveF Guest

    On Sat, 9 Dec 2006 11:46:03 -0600, "Vanguard"
    <> wrote:

    >"DaveF" <> wrote in message
    >news:...
    >>I bought an external drive yesterday and copied C to E (its self-
    >> assigned letter).
    >>
    >> My C drive is failing - the spindle sometimes sticks - so I would
    >> like
    >> to enter E in the BIOS as the alternate disk to boot from. The
    >> computer store sales fellow said this was possible but the M/S
    >> knowledge base only gives information on how to make a floppy
    >> bootable.
    >>
    >> Can anyone help? Thank you.
    >>
    >> Dave F

    >
    >
    >If your BIOS doesn't support external hard drives (via whatever
    >UNNAMED interface you happen to use for the external hard drive), you
    >will need a boot manager, like:
    >
    >https://sourceforge.net/projects/gag/
    >http://gag.sourceforge.net/
    >
    >However, what that does is replace the boot program in the MBR (master
    >boot record), the first 446 bytes in the first sector, on the first
    >physically detected hard drive by your BIOS. If your hard drive is
    >failing then the boot program in its MBR will also become unavailable
    >when your hard drive dies.
    >
    >So why can't you install a new hard - something which you already are
    >planning to do - inside the box so you boot from it, install an OS on
    >it, and then copy or clone over the failing hard drive? Even if it is
    >an external hard drive, you might be able to take it apart and use it
    >on the internal IDE or SATA ports. Or tell the store that their
    >"sales fellow" fucked up in his advice to get you to buy a far more
    >expensive external hard drive when what you really need is a much
    >cheaper internal hard drive to supplant your failing one and an
    >internal hard drive that you will need anyway despite having an
    >external hard drive.



    Thanks Vanguard, and also Alan and Whiskers.

    I decided not to replace the ailing HD because I have given up on the
    computer overall. I bought it (made to order) in June 2004. Within 6
    months th HD failed and was replaced by the dealer. Then a year
    later that drive failed too. So the current drive is the third. I
    now don't think my drive problems lie elsewhere in the computer, maybe
    the motherboard.

    I'm going to replace the whole unit but want to wait until Vista is
    available and start fresh then, and with 2 drives, one as backup. So
    the external is a temporary solution -- I wouldn't dare put a new HD
    in my existing "computer box of death" !!

    The external wasn't terribly expensive. It is 250 gig and cost,
    including all taxes, Can$ 146.89 -- about US$ 128. It can always be
    an accessory such as a file transferor. It came pre-formatted and
    with necessary drivers built in -- truly plug and play.


    I'm a bit thin technically so can I ask you another question? Assuming
    my BIOS is capable of recognizing a USB drive, in order to make it
    bootable, do I just have to issue the command 'format E' and then sit
    back??

    Thanks, Dave F
    DaveF, Dec 9, 2006
    #5
  6. DaveF

    Vanguard Guest

    "DaveF" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > I decided not to replace the ailing HD because I have given up on
    > the
    > computer overall. I bought it (made to order) in June 2004. Within
    > 6
    > months th HD failed and was replaced by the dealer. Then a year
    > later that drive failed too. So the current drive is the third.
    > I
    > now don't think my drive problems lie elsewhere in the computer,
    > maybe
    > the motherboard.
    >

    <snip>
    >
    > I'm a bit thin technically so can I ask you another question?
    > Assuming
    > my BIOS is capable of recognizing a USB drive, in order to make it
    > bootable, do I just have to issue the command 'format E' and then
    > sit
    > back??


    Ever check the power supply? Maybe you put too much into the box for
    the power supply to handle (i.e., it is an underpowered power supply)
    or it is failing (and doesn't provide the required voltages). Could
    be regulation sucks and there is too much ripple in the output
    (something you would need an oscilloscope to see). Did you ever do a
    fresh install of the OS? Even if you did, could be you kept
    reinstalling some software that caused the problem. If it works with
    just the fresh install of the OS then you installed software that
    makes the drive "die", not a very descriptive analysis so we don't
    know what "die" really means (except in the last case of sticking).
    Do the drives run hot to start with? If so, provide adequate
    ventilation, like leaving the bays open around the hard drive (or just
    the drive above it unused).

    To format your drive doesn't require BIOS. It requires the OS to
    recognize the drive, the OS from which you will be running its
    'format' command.
    Vanguard, Dec 10, 2006
    #6
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