How to make my laptop hard drive inside an enclosure, bootable on other computers

Dusty Graphics Card

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Feb 19, 2016
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Hey guys,
So I have a question, I took my laptop hard drive which has Windows 8.1, I put it in a HDD enclosure and connected it to a laptop, and when I try to boot it up, I would either get a Windows 8 troubleshooting screen or the laptop would just boot up normally to the hard drive already inside, I read somewhere that I would have to format my laptop hard drive and do a bunch of stuff, but the thing is that I do not want the stuff I have on the hard drive to go away, can someone tell me a way to make my laptop hard drive bootable on other computers without losing all my data on my hard drive?
 
Can't with Windows, due to licensing issues and the fact that it only loads the drivers needed for the computer it's installed on. You can fix the latter, but fixing the former requires an Enterprise license for each PC.

Easy with Linux, though.
 

hst101rox

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Might work with eSATA with no modifications. Licensing is the easiest obstacle to say 'be gone!'

Give it a whirl on USB after making a full disk image backup of the drive, I think I tried it once and Windows goes into USB mode!! But I could be wrong.
 

Dusty Graphics Card

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Thank you kind people for answering my thread. I should've selected the discussion option when making this thread but it is too late.

Back to the point, so essentially what I am trying to do, is to create a "plug and play" type of thing here. Where I can go up to any computer, plug my hard drive in, boot up to it, and play the games or use applications that I need to. But you all are saying that I need a licence for every computer I would boot it up on? Okay, let's say I don't want to do that, but is it possible to make my external hard drive bootable if I did have to delete all the stuff on it?
 

USAFRet

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Oh if it were that easy. We'd ALL like to be able to do that.

Windows, OTOH, does not like that.
 

hst101rox

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Clone your system drive to the external drive and it should be bootable. You can use windows with some functionality without it being activated, I think. It may boot right up with a USB enclosure. Activating is easy with no cost involved, can run a script at startup to do it automatically.

If you had to delete all your stuff on it... reinstall windows on that external drive by unplugging your internal drives (so no funny business occurs), booting to the DVD and tell it to install to the USB enclosure drive may work.
 

USAFRet

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And you've done this? Personal experience?
What tools did you use? What 'startup script'?
 

hst101rox

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I think you can boot a bootable Windows 8 drive/image that was used internally, from USB, it has built in support I believe. I could be wrong though, you'd have to check that out and I'm curious if it's true. I remember I did it once a few years ago and it amazed me that Windows has native support for booting from USB now (they are with the times).
Tools I use, for the latter of what I talked about? I cannot discuss it here. That is also for you to check out yourself.
 

hst101rox

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You being a moderator, I assume are very computer literate, so you should know exactly what I'm talking about in regards to activation.
Booting to USB I am not sure about, it's a simple as giving it a whirl. Activation I am sure of.
 

USAFRet

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Yes, I am 100% aware of what you are speaking of. And it is not valid or legal.

There is a way to run Windows from a USB, moving between PC's.
Windows To Go. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_To_Go
Which requires Win 8.1 Enterprise or Win 10 Enterprise.
 

Dusty Graphics Card

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So I decided not to listen to you guys, and now I put in the USB, it brings me to the troubleshooting screen, and I click do repairs, now I think I realize I messed up because, when I do this, what does it do to the computer?
 

USAFRet

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It won't break anything, except maybe the actual OS. But no hardware issues.
 

hst101rox

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Make a backup first using a full disk imaging tool if you can before you risk hosing your operating system install. Ask a friend for you to borrow their storage drive if you need to
 

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