When developing software for PCs, multiple versions of an OS are needed for testing. In such cases, there is a way to install the OS on a virtual PC using VMware Workstation or other software. However, programs that use the GPU directly may require a physical machine. This article explains how to install Windows 10 or Windows 11 on an external disk.
To install Windows 10 or Windows 11 on a USB external disk in a bootable state, you can use an app called Rufus, available at the following site.
Rufus is OSS and licensed under the GPL. The code is available on GitHub.
The version used at the time of this writing is
3.2.1. After downloading, save it in a directory of your choice to complete the installation.
Install Windows using Rufus. Connect the external disk where you wish to install Windows. Next, download the Windows ISO image. In my case, I used the ISO image provided with my Visual Studio subscription because I use it for software development and debugging.
Launch Rufus and follow the steps below to install.
Boot from an external disk
To boot from an OS installed on an external disk, adjust the BIOS or UEFI settings to give boot priority to the external disk over the internal one. Changing this setting depends on your machine, so please refer to the machine’s documentation.
Besides the boot disk priority, some machines also allow changing the priority of the UEFI boot manager. If your machine has this capability, adjust the boot manager’s priority to favor the external disk.