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Is it possible to run Windows 7 from an USB stick?

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#1
I know how to install Windows 7 from an USB stick, but a friend of mine was thinking of getting a media center (small PC?), and having a 2Tb drive acting as a "secondary", whilst having Windows 7 installed and running from a USB stick.

Yes, I have googled, but first best answer I got was a bit..strange.. It said I could use a 4-6Gb USB stick. But I found that to be a small amount (could be wrong).

But is this possible otherwise?
 
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#2
If your purpose is to install Windows 7 on a USB stick and then swap that USB stick to another computer and run Windows 7 on multiple computers... well then the answer is no.

EDIT:

It actually is possible installing an OS on a USB and then moving it from computer to computer... This is done with a Virtual OS. However, I am assuming you are talking about a permanent install correct?
 
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#3
If your purpose is to install Windows 7 on a USB stick and then swap that USB stick to another computer and run Windows 7 on multiple computers... well then the answer is no.
No. It will run only on the media center. He wants a 32Gb USB stick to be "sure" all updates, all programs (VLC, Winamp etc.) will fit. The stick will remain in the media center all the time. The local hardware guy suggested Windows 8, but I haven't even tested that as yet. The media center can have harddrives connected to it, perhaps it would fit an SSD, but since he has a 2Tb drive already.. Why get an SSD if it can be run from an USB stick?
 
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#4
I had this video saved on my bookmarks for a long time now, a friend did something like what you want. Boot Windows 7 directly from a USB drive (run Win7...

Although I'm pretty sure windows will be really slow because its reading/writing from/to the usb stick.
 
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#5
Why get an SSD if it can be run from an USB stick?
Unless you have a USB with USB 3.0 and a motherbord that is compatabile with USB 3.0, then the transfer rates for your USB are going to be much slower than an average to good SSD.
 

newtekie1

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#6
Even the halfway decent USB3.0 sticks are slower than even mechanical drives a lot of the time.

I'd just stick a 2.5" laptop drive in the machine and be done with it.
 
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#7
Boot times should be ok as you can get over 100MB/s from a usb 3 drive. But doing any kind of copying or installing will be painfully slow and lock up your computer each time.

Edit - Why wouldn;t you just install the OS on the 2TB drive?
 
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#8
Edit - Why wouldn;t you just install the OS on the 2TB drive?
Seconded. If you delete the hybernation file (useless unless you hibernate) and halve the pagefile (you're not going to multitask) a fresh W8Pro install takes 14GB. Don't know how much would W7 take though.

I have a 32GB SSD on my HTPC and after installing patches, WMC, drivers, and Total media Theater I still have 8.2GB left; the OS would take about 1% of a 2TB drive.
 
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#9
He will mainly use it to watch movies, pay bills and surf the net.
The system is the Intel NUC dc3217iYe- I3-3217U, it doesn't come with an SSD. And the SSD recommended would make the entire thing a bit too expensive for his wallet.

I was recommending him the ZOTAC AD10-PLUS E-350, which has everything he needs, including the harddrive. And since he wanted optical out (S/PDIF Out), the ACER REVO L70.
Which in my eyes was more than perfect, you get memory, HDD, CPU.. Windows 8.

But no, he wanted a smaller one.

Thanks for the replies everyone, been very helpful. If it was up to me, I would get one with the SSD, I have one in my Lenovo and I just love how fast I can get into windows!
Maybe this would change his mind..



EDIT: Forget it, I told him to stick with the Acer Revo L70 instead. Thanks for the help, and have a super saturday!
 
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#10
He will mainly use it to watch movies, pay bills and surf the net.
The system is the Intel NUC dc3217iYe- I3-3217U, it doesn't come with an SSD. And the SSD recommended would make the entire thing a bit too expensive for his wallet.

I was recommending him the ZOTAC AD10-PLUS E-350, which has everything he needs, including the harddrive. And since he wanted optical out (S/PDIF Out), the ACER REVO L70.
Which in my eyes was more than perfect, you get memory, HDD, CPU.. Windows 8.

But no, he wanted a smaller one.

Thanks for the replies everyone, been very helpful. If it was up to me, I would get one with the SSD, I have one in my Lenovo and I just love how fast I can get into windows!
Maybe this would change his mind..
He would be disappointed with a usb drive for a windows install on USB especially since that system is only usb 2.0.

It is really designed to be used with an mSATA drive and would reccommend going with something different if he can't get one and doesn't plan to buy one. I would reccomend something like this: Crucial M4 CT032M4SSD3 Solid State Drive - Newegg...
At $50 it really shouldn't break the bank. (assuming you are talking about the intel system?) That Acer one comes with a HDD.