Question Booting Windows Recovery Drive from External SSD

May 29, 2020
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I just got a new laptop and want to swap out the hard drive inside for a bigger one. I don’t have a flash USB on hand but I do have an empty formatted 128GB external SSD that I was thinking of using as the windows recovery drive. Would that be okay? Anything I should know before I do it?

Also, can I do it via USB-C or must I use the USB3.0 cable?
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
Not sure what you mean about the recovery drive, do you mean to use it as a boot drive to install Windows from? Should work, just keep in mind that it will be wiped when you make the boot drive. You can also just use a cloning program like Macrium Reflect to clone the old disk to the new one.
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
His asking about USB leads me to believe its not a boot drive he wants to use ssd for, but instead a recovery drive... as he said.

Although the instructions seem to show you can use any drive attached via USB, I suspect it is restricted to USB flash drives or DVD like the installer is. https://support.microsoft.com/en-au/help/4026852/windows-create-a-recovery-drive
A recovery drive stores a copy of your Windows 10 environment on another source, such as a DVD or USB drive. Then if Windows 10 goes kerflooey, you can restore it from that drive. The downside is that neither your personal files nor your desktop applications come along for the ride.
https://au.pcmag.com/how-to/57463/how-to-revive-windows-10-with-a-recovery-drive

You need a 16gb USB if file size is anything like the installer.
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Mar 16, 2013
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I just got a new laptop and want to swap out the hard drive inside for a bigger one. I don’t have a flash USB on hand but I do have an empty formatted 128GB external SSD that I was thinking of using as the windows recovery drive. Would that be okay? Anything I should know before I do it?

Also, can I do it via USB-C or must I use the USB3.0 cable?
Not "Recovery drive", but you can use Macrium Reflect and an Image for exactly this.

Assuming you have a small flash drive you can boot from, and the external drive (of any type), and the new SATA SSD or HDD ready, this:

  1. Download and install Macrium Reflect
  2. Run that, and create a Rescue CD or USB (you'll use this later). "Other Tasks"
  3. In the Macrium client, create an Image to some other drive. External USB HDD, maybe. Select all partitions. This results in a file of xxxx.mrimage. It does NOT wipe out anything else on that external drive, it is just a single file.
  4. When done, power OFF.
  5. Swap the 2 drives
  6. Boot up from the Rescue USB you created earlier.
  7. Recover, and tell it where the Image is that you created in step 3, and which drive to apply it to...the new drive
  8. Go, and wait until it finishes.
  9. That's all...this should work.
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
I don't think he wants backup off the entire drive, he said
I just got a new laptop and want to swap out the hard drive inside for a bigger one
and I would hope the bigger drive is bigger than his 120gb ssd he wanted to use

I could be wrong, but 120 (as we all know) isn't big enough for a win 10 boot drive anymore.
 

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