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"External" formatting/operating system installation?


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#1 1940LaSalle

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 02:54 PM

To the moderators: please delete a similar topic under Windows 7.  I just saw this sub-forum and the following post is far more relevant here than in the Windows 7 area.  Thanks.

 

 

From casual conversations I believe it's entirely possible, once a hard drive is removed from a laptop, to format it (wipe it entirely clean) externally from that laptop by hooking it up (say, via the correct USB adapter hardware) to another machine and then (re-)install the chosen operating system.

 

Extracting the hard drive physically is not a big deal.  I believe Diablotek has the cables and so on to make the USB connection.  I also believe that once connected to a working machine I could be presented with the options of what to do to/with this drive--including a comprehensive format.  It's that last / major step--installing the operating system of choice--that has me stopped: I'm totally unclear as to how to proceed there.

 

Could someone please:

  1. Confirm or correct those assumptions/suppositions above;
  2. If indeed it's possible to install an operating system in this manner, tell me how in some detail so I don't screw up

Thanks very much.


 



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#2 Platypus

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 08:31 PM

You can perform the functions you mention, but you can't pre-install the Windows for another computer this way, as the Windows installer looks for the hardware to set up during the installation. You can however put an image of the correct Windows installation onto the drive if you already have such an image.


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#3 1940LaSalle

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 08:38 PM

That seems to leave me with two options, in theory:

 

  1. Carry out the format process I mentioned, and then re-install the now-completely-wiped hard drive in the laptop.  That would apparently be followed by installing the operating system once the hard drive is back in place.
  2. The imaging option you mention...but I have no idea how to carry that out, nor do I know how to generate such an image.

Seems to me option 1 is my best bet (?).  Thanks.



#4 Platypus

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 08:46 PM

You could do as you say with Option 1, but since the Windows installation gives you the option of reformatting the drive anyway, you won't really gain anything unless you wanted to run diagnostics on the drive.

 

To install an image, you would need to have created an image of the initial Windows installation on the drive when the computer was new, or in a sound state at some prior time.


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#5 1940LaSalle

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 10:05 PM

One thing I forgot to mention: at the moment that particular hard drive is giving me nothing but a dreaded blue screen on boot-up such that an attempt at a Windows installation goes nowhere fast.  That's behind the idea of yanking the drive, formatting externally, and reinstalling both drive and operating system.  Sorry I forgot that; guess I've gotten too close to the topic. Now: in that event, that seems to lend some weight to choosing option 1 since it'll clean up the drive and actually permit me (I think!) to put the operating system back cleanly.



#6 Platypus

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 02:30 AM

An actual BSOD is only generated while Windows is running, so if you mean that following a re-installation, once Windows boots up again the blue screens recommence, then most likely the drive has a hardware fault. You could certainly use the USB adapter to test the drive using diagnostic software installed on the host computer. But if you have chosen to do a full drive format at the commencement of the installation process, any fault affecting the data integrity of the drive should show up.


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#7 1940LaSalle

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 09:23 AM

Not quite the situation.  Let me back up:

 

  • Right now, the offending hard drive is still in the laptop showing the BSOD.  I have yet to remove it and try the comprehensive format I spoke of.
  • Assuming I remove that hard drive, and re-format it externally, it's up for grabs as to whether or not I could get Windows to re-install.  But let's assume for discussion that the drive is working normally and nothing at all is wrong with it.  If this is indeed the case-that is, a hard drive that has been formatted comprehensively and is in good working order-I believe that once re-installed in the laptop, I should be able to install Windows normally once the machine is fired up.

Apologies for not being clear.  Thanks.



#8 Platypus

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 05:27 PM

What you say is correct, but you can do just as comprehensive a format from the Windows installation DVD without removing the drive at all. Unless you want to zero-fill the drive as well, in which case you can also do this without removing the drive by using a bootable diagnostic CD, but if you don't want to chase up one of them, the USB adapter simplifies the process.

 

I'm still not quite clear on your meaning when you said "a dreaded blue screen on boot-up such that an attempt at a Windows installation goes nowhere fast" - if you mean you still get some kind of boot error when you boot from the Windows installation DVD, then that's something different, and may not involve the hard drive at all.


Edited by Platypus, 05 April 2013 - 05:36 PM.

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#9 1940LaSalle

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 08:00 AM

Concerning the second paragraph: the boot starts normally (apparently) but then goes into a BSOD within seconds, informing me that a memory dump is about to transpire.  It doesn't recognize the presence of a Windows disc: hence my thinking about removing the drive, using another computer to format, and then treating the situation as if it were a brand-new (so to speak) hard drive getting installed.



#10 Platypus

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 10:07 AM

Unless your DVD drive is faulty, all you should need to do is set the optical drive as the first boot device in the boot order. Normally you can make this change once-off during boot with a keypress as indicated onscreen, sometimes you need to enter the BIOS setup screen but that's less common with laptops. Alternatively, is there a system restore partition on the hard drive that can be accessed with a function key, e.g. F11 or F12 during boot?


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