How to Make a Portable Hard Drive Bootable

By Regina Edwards

The operating system on some computers can crash, requiring an external source for the operating system to be used to recover data and repair the internal hard drive. Creating a bootable portable drive using an external hard drive or USB thumb drive is a solution to maintain a convenient recovery system. A bootable portable drive can also be used to run a different operating system on a computer.

Things You'll Need

  • Windows OS system disks
  • HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool installed
  • HP Drive Key Boot Utility installed
  • USB drive (at least 2 GB of memory)

Step 1

Plug the USB drive into your computer's USB port.Download and install the HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool program (see Resources section below for link). Then launch the program, select your USB drive and format the USB drive in NTFS format.If desired, type the name of your USB device in the "Name" field.Exit the utility program when formatting is complete.

Step 2

Download and install the HP USB Key Utility program (see Resources section below for link). Open a window for your USB drive by selecting the drive under "My Computer" located in your Start menu.

Step 3

Insert the Windows installation disk into your CD/DVD drive.Launch the HP USB Key Utility program and click the "Next" button to begin the wizard.Select the drive letter from the drop-down menu for your CD/DVD drive.Click the "Next" button.

Step 4

Select the radio button next to the option "Create New or Replace Existing Configuration" and click the "Next" button.Select the option "Create New Filesystem" and click the "Next" button.Select the option "With Partition" and click the "Next" button.Select the option "HP Firmware Flash Package" and click the "Next" button.Click the "Finish" button when the Completion screen is displayed to exit the utility.

Step 5

Launch your Internet Explorer application and type "c:" in the address bar.Select "Folder Options" under "Tools" in the top menu bar. Select the "View" tab and click the option for "Show Hidden Files and Folders" in the left frame.Deselect (i.e., uncheck) the boxes next to "Hide Extensions for Known File Types" and "Hide Protected Operating System Files."Click the "OK" button.

Step 6

Select the following files in the window by holding down the "Control" (CTRL) key while clicking:boot.inintldrntdetectDrag these files to the open window for your USB drive (they will copy to the drive).

Step 7

Safely eject your USB drive and remove your Windows installation disk from your CD/DVD drive.