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Two hard drives two OS?


New Member
Hiya, I have an old laptop that just keeps miraculously working. The biggest problem I have with it is that it is running Microsoft ME, which is no longer being updated and also is incompatible with many new products. I actually have a legal copy of XP but I don't want to upgrade at the moment as there are some programs installed on it (that I no longer have the discs for) that I still need and don't want to lose.

I was thinking about getting an external hard drive and trying to install the XP on that. I've seen it done before where a hard drive (internal) was partitioned and had two different OS installed on it. When you boot up you could choose which to boot. Has anyone had any experience with doing this? Is possible to do with an external hard drive? (I don't really have a big enough internal hard drive to partition it...)

Any advise about this would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks!


Registered Member
It has been a while since I looked into this idea, since I'm mainly a Mac user (Macs can boot from external drives, but generally only firewire ones).

The problem lies with the fact that Windows is actually what loads the USB drivers (assuming the external drive would be USB), so it's a chicken/egg thing, you can't boot from something that you don't have drivers for.

I think there are some BIOS chips that support USB, and allow you to boot from a USB drive. You could look in your BIOS settings at bootup and see if you have that option. But if it is an old laptop, my guess would be that it wouldn't support it.

Good luck!