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How to Make an External Hardisk Bootable in Windows 10

How to Make an External Hardisk Bootable in Windows10 To install Windows 10 could essentially be made by using various storage media such as flashdisk

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How to Make an External Hardisk Bootable in Windows 10 - To install Windows 10 could essentially be made by using various storage media such as flashdisk, DVD, and external hardisk.

You can choose according to which device you have. If you have an external hard drive with enough free space then we can convert it into bootable media.

In this tutorial we will provide a step-by-step guide to create an external hard drive that you have as a Windows 10 bootable media for reinstallation. There are two ways that can be used, namely without software or using software.


Before starting, prepare the following things:
  • External hard drive with at least 8GB free space.
  • Windows 10 ISO file that matches your laptop architecture (32 bit or 64 bits).
  • File archiver applications such as 7zip or WinRAR.
  • Check the BIOS mode on your computer, whether it is still using Legacy BIOS or already using UEFI.
  • See how here: Check BIOS or UEFI

How to make an external hardisk bootable Windows 10

1. Create a new partition on the external hardisk

The first step is to create a new partition to make Windows 10 bootable. Skip this step if you are using an empty hardisk. However, if the hardisk is already filled with a lot of data, it is advisable to create a separate partition.

The new partition capacity that must be created is 8GB-10GB.

See how here: How to create a new partition on an external hardisk

2. Change the newly created partition to the active partition

After creating a new partition on the external hardisk, the next step is to convert it to an active partition.

Open Command Prompt with administrator access.

Then type the command:

diskpart => press enter

list disk => press enter


At the Command Prompt screen, a list of hardisks will appear on the computer. Find the external hard drive what number disk is, for example 1.

Then type the command: select disk 1 => press enter.

Remember, number 1 must be replaced with the disk number on your external hardisk.

Then type the command again: list partition => press enter.


A list of partitions on the external hardisk will be displayed, find the partition that will be made bootable (the partition that was just created) at what number. For example number 2.

Next type the command:

Select partition 2 => press enter.

Active => press enter.

If successful, a description of DiskPart will appear marked the current partition as active.


3. Extract the Windows 10 ISO file to a bootable partition

The next step is to move the installer file to a bootable hardisk.

Right click on the ISO file => select 7zip / WinRAR > select Extract files => select the external hardisk bootable partition.


Make sure you choose the correct partition location. After that, wait until the extraction process is complete.

4. Rename the bootmgr file to ntldr

When finished, then you open the bootable external hardisk partition and find the file called bootmgr.

Right click on the file=> select Rename => rename it to ntldr.


5. Use the hardisk to boot the Windows 10 installer

Trash at this stage the bootable external hardisk is ready and usable. To test it, you can restart the computer and then enter BIOS mode.

In BIOS => change the boot device to an external hardisk.

Note : this method can be used for laptops and PCs that still use Legacy BIOS. For those who are already using UEFI please follow the second method below.

How to make an external hardisk bootable Windows 10 for a UEFI system

1. Backup existing data on the hardisk to another place

The first step is to backup all the data on your external hdd. If possible, use an external hardisk that is still empty. Performing this backup is mandatory because later the hardisk will be formatted and the data on it will be erased.

2. Download the Rufus application

Rufus is one of the best applications for creating bootable media for Windows 10. In this tutorial we will use it. Please download the application from here:

3. Run the Rufus application

After downloading the Rufus application, then you install and run it. If you are using the portable version, just double-click the program file to run it, you don't need to install it.

4. Check the List USB Hardisk option

Click on the Show advanced drive properties menu, then check the List USB Hard Drive.


5. Enter the Windows 10 ISO

In the Boot selection section, click the SELECT button, then select the Windows 10 ISO file.


6. Select GPT UEFI

In the Partition scheme section, select GPT => Target system UEFI (non CSM).


7. Set the Format Options

Next, in the Format Options section.

You can fill in the volume label with any name, for example HDD_Win10.

File system selects NTFS. Cluster size let it default.

Click on the Show advanced format options menu, then make sure the Quick format and Create extended label and icon files options are checked.


8. Start the process of creating a bootable external hardisk

After making sure all the settings are correct, click on the START button => OK to start the bootable hdd creation process.

Wait until it is 100% complete, at the bottom of the Rufus application you will see a green bar indicator bar to find out which process is running.

Done, the bootable Windows 10 external hardisk is ready and can be used to reinstall. Good luck, good luck.