Question Can I install and run Windows on an external SSD, so that it is completely isolated from the rest of the PC?

flo.walther90

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Jan 24, 2019
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I would like to run Windows 10 in a way that it acts like a completely separate computer. My other drives, files, settings etc. should be completely invisible for the instance of Windows that runs on the external SSD. I just want it to use my PC's system resources (RAM, CPU etc.)

The reason for this is that I do screen recordings full time. And the fact that my private stuff is on the same computer always makes me a bit anxious. I would like to have something that works like a completely separate PC, where nothing could possibly leak into the work PC, but I can't afford a new one .
I could achieve what I want with a virtual machine but they never run quite like a real computer.
 
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Vms don't have that much performance loss nowadays, FYI.

You can, using something called "Windows to-go". I've never done it myself, but you can read up on it and how to do it. Though i do remember you can only make one of those if you have win10 PRO
 

flo.walther90

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Thank you for the tips! I tried a VM and it works better than I expected but some things are just laggy that work perfectly fine on my real PC. Right now this VM is running on an HDD. Will putting it on an SSD make it snappy? If yes, is it fine to use an external SSD via USB 3 or should I install the SSD into my PC?

Edit: I just installed another internal SSD and I will see how it goes 👍
 
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flo.walther90

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So I tried the VM on my new SSD but it just can't handle the same workload as my normal PC. Is it possible to use my new internal SSD for an isolated Windows user?
 

flo.walther90

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An internal drive and OS is going to see all the other currently connected internal drives.
Thank you, that makes sense. So I guess I still have the option to completely unplug the other drives to create an isolated environment? Of course this would be quite a hassle to do everytime but I'm considering it. So that I always either have my primary SSD + HDD plugged in or only my 2nd SSD.
 
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flo.walther90

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I can't eject drives by default like described in this article. But I was able to do it using a 3rd party tool called "hotswap". Now I only have to figure out how I can do it automatically on startup so I don't have to remember it everytime.
 

flo.walther90

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Ok, I was able to just disable these drives in the device manager. Now everything seems to be working as I want it and the 2nd Windows looks completely isolated to me.
Thank you, everyone, for your help. If there are any caveats that come to mind please let me know!
 

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