Question Can I remove internal laptop SSD and have it boot as external hard drive?

Aug 29, 2019
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I have a personal Dell XPS 9370 laptop that sits at my workplace more often than at home. A bit paranoid with security and so hate leaving my personal laptop overnight at work but don’t want to have to carry it back and forth every day. I know there’s encryption, etc for this but my question is slightly different.

The laptop has an internal 1TB SSD hard drive. Would it be possible to remove the SSD from inside the laptop, place it into an external enclosure, then connect the enclosure to the laptop via Thunderbolt 3 and have windows boot normally? This way, all I have to do is just disconnect the enclosure at the end of the day, put it in my pocket (easier than carrying whole laptop with me) and bring it back with me next day....like an external hard drive....then connect the external SSD enclosure to the laptop and boot normally as if SSD would be inside.

If someone let’s say gets hold of my laptop overnight whilst im not in the office and wants to steal my information or clone my hard drive over, they would find a laptop with no hard drive, hence they would get nothing.

I know it’s a wacky idea but is it possible?
 
Aug 29, 2019
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Windows does not allow booting OS externally.

Don't you have a locked cabinet at work?
Guys, this is more of a theoretical question as I’ll probably use Bitlocker. Just curious to know if my idea works in practice.

How does windows know whether the SSD is inside or outside the laptop....This is NOT a new blank SSD, this is the same SSD as when it’s inside the laptop. Only difference is I connect it externally and will connect to the same laptop as before . All drives should still works as it’s same laptop not a new one.
 

Gam3r01

Titan
Moderator
A USB drive is substantially different to windows than an internal one. Windows knows its not internal and wont boot from it, additionally you would risk substantial data corruption if that drive ever disconnected during use as a windows drive.
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Mar 16, 2013
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Guys, this is more of a theoretical question as I’ll probably use Bitlocker. Just curious to know if my idea works in practice.

How does windows know whether the SSD is inside or outside the laptop....This is NOT a new blank SSD, this is the same SSD as when it’s inside the laptop. Only difference is I connect it externally and will connect to the same laptop as before . All drives should still works as it’s same laptop not a new one.
Because it knows the difference between an internal SATA or NVMe port, and a USB port.

There are methods of doing an install on a external drive (Win2Go), but you can't just move an internal drive to external, and have it work.
 

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