How to Boot from An External Hard Drive?

donemax editorLucien updated on 2022-11-22 to Disk Clone

Booting from an external hard drive is a useful skill to have in case you need to reorder the devices on your computer. Picking a local disk to use as boot media is the same thing. You can't boot from every drive. However, any disk may be bootable by correctly modifying the boot process.

For What Purposes Should A Bootable External Hard Drive Be Made?

As the number of users who want a bootable external hard drive grows, more and more people are turning to this method. The following are the three most common causes.

  • Restarting your computer is simple and fast with a bootable external hard drive, which may be made in the event of a calamity such as a system corruption, hard drive failure, or virus assault, which can help you avoid computer downtime.
  • Data is safeguarded by establishing a disk backup on a separate, bootable external hard drive, which may then be used for data restoration in the event of a computer failure.
  • Get the most out of your system anytime, anywhere. If you make your external hard drive bootable, you can use your system even if you don't have your laptop.

Using BIOS Menu To Boot An External Hard Drive

Every operating system has its own needs for booting the external hard drive and subsequently booting the OS from that external media. The same goes for Windows. Here you'll learn how to use an external hard drive to start Windows 10. Here's what you need to do:

Connect the external hard drive properly to the device to begin the procedure. Check that your device recognizes the external hard drive.

Boot from An External Hard Drive

Choose "Power" from the Windows main menu to restart your computer.

Keep pressing the BIOS key while the device is restarting.

Repeat this process until you see the BIOS setup screen.

Boot from An External Hard Drive

Choose the boot order from the drop-down menu.

Select your hard disk from the boot order menu in the next window. There are situations when the system will only identify USB-associated devices during the boot process. Make sure your storage device is USB-only.

Drag the position of your external hard drive in the boot order list to the top. Then, you may save your modifications and exit BIOS.

Follow the on-screen instructions to launch, install, or configure the app on the external hard drive. Upon completion of the BIOS configuration, the external hard drive's operating system will launch if one has been previously installed.

Using Cloner To Boot An External Hard Drive

In order to make an external hard disk bootable, reputable software must be used. You should go with DMclone. It's simple to clone your operating system disk to an external hard drive and then use that drive to start your computer.

DMclone - NO.1 disk cloning software

As a result, you won't have to do a lot of laborious procedures to acquire an external hard disk that can boot.

Make sure your computer can read the external hard drive by plugging it in. Launch DMclone and choose Disk Clone to make a copy of your whole OS hard drive.

Step 1. Open DMclone and then choose disk cloning mode - Disk Clone. Select the local disk as the source disk and select the external hard drive as the destination disk.

select target disk

Step 2. Click on Next button to securely clone all data from the system disk to the external hard drive. Preview the layout and click Clone button.

Start disk cloning

Step 3. Once the process gets finished, you can use the external hard drive as a bootable drive.

How to set the external hard drive as boot disk on Windows >>
How to set the external hard drive as boot disk on Mac >>

Using Command Prompt To Boot An External Hard Drive

You may create a bootable external hard drive using Command Prompt (CMD) just as easily as with Media Creation Tool or even other third-party applications. However, this approach has the benefit of being straightforward and free of any associated software.

Start Command Prompt in Administrator mode.

Attach the external hard disk to your computer.

Follow the on-screen instructions in the image in order.

Boot from An External Hard Drive

Afterward, you may extract the Windows ISO image file to the bootable hard drive and use it anytime you like.


This article has provided several options for enabling your external hard disk to boot. Alternatively, if you're comfortable with the command line, you may make a bootable external drive from scratch using the Command Prompt.

Clone your operating system disk to an external hard drive using DMclone, a dependable disk cloning program. In the wake of successful cloning, the cloned disk may be used as the primary boot device.

donemax editor


Contributing Writer

Lucien is a writer and a chief programmer of Donemax software who has worked in the company for 5+ years. He has written much of the content on the site and devotes to providing troubleshooting and solution for Windows and Mac users including disk cloning, data recovery, migration, eraser, error fixes.