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External HD Windows Setup

By josh ·
I just bought a 80 gig External USB Hard drive, I have allocated 10 gig of space to one NTFS partition and the rest to another for backup. With the first partition I would like to install WinXP Pro SP2 with the hardware patch so that I can hook my USB drive to new computers and boot off it to scan the machine for adware/spyware/viruses locally without having pull out the hard drive and put it in my machine. My question is somewhat of a discussion, I would like to know what would be the best way to go around this. My impression would be that I would load windows XP on the USB hard drive, not install any device drivers (besides NIC for updates) on the load of windows, install my AV, adware/spyware/malware removal programs and then apply my XP SP2 hardware patch that allows you to change motherboard chipsets without the good ol BSOD. Think this will work or a waste of my time?

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by josh In reply to

Statykserver:
This helped me a lot, I have seen the bootable Windows CD's that you create (the CD comes with the OEM software for resellers). The only problem with it is the fact that you can't obviously update it due to the fact that it is on CD! That is what led me to think about doing it on a USB HD. But I have never heard of BartPE! Thanx for the response, and look forward to seeing you around the forumn!

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by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to External HD Windows Setup

OK I'm interested first off if you don't install any drivers every time you boot a different computer you'll need to install the required drivers and to avoid activation problems your only option here would be to use a Volume License copy of XP Pro as that will avoid the activation nightmare that you'll be facing every time you plug the USB Caddy into a different computer.

You'll also need to be able to remove the drivers after the scan as well because they will not match the next computer that you scan and if not removed will eventually mess up Windows Totally with so many different drivers that you'll have to replace the entire OS.

Personally I would be looking at doing this a different way and fit the infected HDD into a USB caddy and scan it with a NB on-site but even that has its dangers as you can corrupt the OS very easily if you are not extremely careful.

If you absolutely want to do it through a USB caddy you'll need a image of the original setup and continually restore it after you have used the caddy a few times and you'll need a Volume License copy of Windows. But even that is no guarantee that scanning the infected drive will not remove some critical Windows files as the copy of Windows that you are scanning will not be running so you will be able to remove critical files just the same as if you where to scan in in a USB Caddy on a different computer.

While at first the idea sounds like an easy option I don't think that it will actually work reliably and may even do more harm than good with you needing to perform reloads on a regular basis as you'll run the risk or removing critical Windows Files that you normally couldn't remove even in Safe Mode.

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by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to

Maybe the answer here would be to use a Live Linux CD and scan from that but even that has no guarantee that you'll not remove something important to Windows the only real answer is to install the required scanners and then after updating them reboot the unit and run it in Safe Mode while you scan it and remove any undesirable code.

Col

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by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to

Well the first problem is being able to install XP without drivers as these are picked up on the install for the hardware present.

Now the next problem will be using an OEM copy every time you plug into a different unit you'll get the reactivation message and will not be able to even open Windows until you activate it. This is not a problem with the Volume License stuff as that is not activated. Better still it doesn't spit the dummy every time you change a few parts in a computer and then try to start it up. I use this stuff all the time and love it to death if only for that reason.

The OEM Install CD that you have heard of is something that comes with a box of OEM Cd's generally 5 and is basically a form of Slipstream version that allows you to actually install Windows and any other software and then when the computer is sold the owner needs to enter the Product Key and accept the EULA. It also allows you to insert your Business Logo or other screen on startup and is used mainly by system builders.

Either way you are going to have to copy the 1386 file to the HDD if only for the driver Data Base but that will be loading Windows effectively onto your USB drive for that Hardware,

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by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to

but at least it should give you access to the data stored on the computers HDD/s. It's been a long time since I've used one of those install Cd's as I now generally only use Volume License stuff and just need to install on one machine and then Ghost or clone the drive for the number of units that I'm making for a company who has bought the Volume License Software so I'm more than a bit rusty with that install CD although I have a few of them here but even when I'm making one off units for staff of companies that I do work for I just use a OEM CD to do the install generally I don't even open the packets of the OEM stuff just peel off the COA and stick it onto the case.
MS has an article for creating a Slipstream image but really that is only good for one series of hardware and not applicable to different hardware configurations but they do have a article on making a Slipstream CD to install Hot Fixes and replace drivers that might be of some use to you it's at

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;814847

I hope that is of some help.

Col

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by josh In reply to

Your posts have been extremely helpfull, thank you for your responses and sharing your resources and information...I will start a new thread when I figure out exactly what I am going to do and put it to the test...Thank you!

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by josh In reply to External HD Windows Setup

Statykserver:
This helped me a lot, I have seen the bootable Windows CD's that you create (the CD comes with the OEM software for resellers). The only problem with it is the fact that you can't obviously update it due to the fact that it is on CD! That is what led me to think about doing it on a USB HD. But I have never heard of BartPE! Thanx for the response, and look forward to seeing you around the forumn!
Hal:
You bring up my biggest point/concern of unknown failure! That is what brings me to creating this question...I know that my hardware patch will at least get me through the activation and change of hardware, and my plan will be to only install the NIC driver everytime i hook it to a machine, JUST to update the software...that should maximize the time until windows gets so F*c*e* up that it finally wont boot anymore...I think what I will try is this: Load XP OS OEM SP2, apply my patch and install my scanning software...install no drivers whatsoever except the NIC drivers to update my stuff. Create an image of it on the drive, and then restore the image after ever 4-5 uses...What do you think hal? I have used ghost before, any other imageing software that you would suggest specific to this project? Thanx for the response HAL

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by Sue T In reply to External HD Windows Setup

I found this on tech republic and there are a lot of other places on the internet with information on making a bootable usb flash drive. the link is http://techrepublic.com.com/5100-1035-5490289.html Bart PE is also a great idea but with a bootable flash drive you will not have to remake the image just go get the newest updates for your software when you boot to it and then you are ready to do your scanning. There are also more programs all the time that you can run without having to install that this is my next project as soon as I can get some free time to play around with it.

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by josh In reply to External HD Windows Setup

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