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Member
salzbf
Posts: 5

Using a USB drive for backup & restore

Hi.  I am new to the forum, having just purchased a Satellite A665-S6086 - I3 core, 4GB, 500GB HDD, Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit.  I would like to be able to boot from a HDD connected via a USB port.  My primary backup software is Casper from Future Software Systems.  I use this sftw extensively for my desktop systems, since it does an excellent job of cloning my primary/boot drive to any other HDD.  On the A665, when I go into the BIOS I see the first boot device is HDD/SDD.  Does anyone know what SDD means?  Is this just another designation for an HDD that is SATA rather than EIDE?  The BIOS does not seem to allow boot from a USB device - just HDD/SDD, CD/DVD, FDD (floppy in this day and age?) and LAN.  I have an older IBM R51 laptop that allows much more variety of boot options.  Am I missing anything here with Toshiba?  Sorry for this long intro to the Forum.  Any help would be appreciated.  TIA.

Ace Advisor
Jerry_Lippey
Posts: 39,518

Re: Using a USB drive for backup & restore

 

Satellite A665-S6086 

 

I don't know whether an HDD connected to a USB port would be bootable, but certainly an optical or flash drive should be. If USB doesn't show in the BIOS, then my best guess is that something needs to be plugged in before it appears. Test that.

 

Seems like maybe SDD should say SSD (solid state drive). Maybe a misprint?

 

Let us know what you learn.

-Jerry
Member
salzbf
Posts: 5

Re: Using a USB drive for backup & restore

Jerry, thanks for the reply; I'll check if plugging in a USB drive first does make a difference.  As for SDD vs SSD, that was my misread of what the BIOS said - it is HDD/SSD.

Ace Advisor
Jerry_Lippey
Posts: 39,518

Re: Using a USB drive for backup & restore

Please let us know what you learn.

-Jerry
Member
salzbf
Posts: 5

Re: Using a USB drive for backup & restore

Jerry, long story short, it worked!  Per your suggestion I connected an external sata drive to the laptop and during boot-up checked the BIOS. The BIOS now had an additional entry which allowed booting from an external device. I had previously connected the external drive and cloned the laptop's internal drive to it.  I use Casper from Future Systems Solutions as my cloning sftwr. I changed the boot sequence in the BIOS during boot time and successfully booted from the external drive.  I ran some simple checks to make sure the external drive was acually funcioning as the primary HDD. Again, thanks for thesuggestion.

Ace Advisor
Jerry_Lippey
Posts: 39,518

Re: Using a USB drive for backup & restore

 

Happy to learn of your successful boot!

 


..to make sure the external drive was acually funcioning as the primary HDD. 

You don't mean that Windows runs from a USB-connected external drive. Right?

-Jerry
Member
salzbf
Posts: 5

Re: Using a USB drive for backup & restore

I DO mean that Windows runs from the external drive.  I did not remove the internal HDD to guarantee I was running from the external drive. What I did do was run a number of programs that were cloned to the external HDD and let the results write to the default location of the programs e.g. Word docs, Excel spreadsheets, photo editing programs (not just Microsoft stuff but programs like Adobe Photoshop and Nikon's NX2).  I looked on drive C: and did not find the files- they were on drive E:  I then shut down, removed the external drive and rebooted - internal HDD only.  Again the files I had written were not to be found on drive C:. Without rebooting I connected the external HDD. The iles I had created were on the external drive E:  I believe that means Windows was running from the external drive when I booted from it.

Ace Advisor
Jerry_Lippey
Posts: 39,518

Re: Using a USB drive for backup & restore

Forget the non-Windows files. You are saying that all the Windows-related files, which includes the registry hives, reside on the external USB-connected drive. Color me doubtful.

 

It can be done. But you need to jump through all sorts of hoops. These instructions are for Windows NT 5.1 (WinXP). It shouldn't be much different for Windows NT 6.1 (Win7).

 

   How to install and run a FULL Windows XP from a USB drive

-Jerry
Member
salzbf
Posts: 5

Re: Using a USB drive for backup & restore

Jerry, re color me doubtful, you are correct.  Sorry for delayed response, but I had to be out-of-town for a while.  When I disconnected the internal HDD and tried to boot from the external HDD via USB, the system would not boot.  The good news (for me) is that the same eternal drive case could instead be connected via esata. I needed to get a 'Y' cable with a powered esata connector at one end and esata and USB (for power only) connecters at the other end (plus a USB - mini-USB adapter). When connected via this configuration (the A665 has a powered esata port) the external drive was recognized as an esata HDD.  My final test was to remove the internal HDD and run only with the esata configuration.  Boot was successful and system ran very well indeed.   Also, using Casper to clone the internal HDD to the esata HDD is much faster.  So, long story short - you can boot and run from an esata drive as your only HDD, but not from a USB HDD as the only hard drive.  On the A665, this is a very useful and usable way to provide a complete backup solution, with an on-hand HDD replacement if necessary.  As long as the internal HDD has not gone physically bad (head crash, frozen drive) you can boot from the external drive and completely restore the internal HDD.  I did get a set of recovery CD's, but for the (relatively) few extra $$$ I much prefer this solution to backup & restore, particularly if the laptop is your primary or only computer.

Ace Advisor
Jerry_Lippey
Posts: 39,518

Re: Using a USB drive for backup & restore

Yes, I should have mentioned that.

 

An eSATA drive is an internal drive - except that it's located outside the case.

 

The major difference is that an external (USB-connected drive) requires a USB driver, which is supplied by Windows.

-Jerry