Nobody actually ANSWERS the question: Can Del Laptop boot from External USB Drive?

jtowle2001

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All the suggestions I've seen so far ignore the original issue: Can a Dell Laptop boot from an external USB drive ? I have N5110 Latitude, with 3 USB ports, I've set the boot order to boot from USB, but it won't do it.

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My conclusion is that the Dell N5110 I have (and perhaps others) will NOT boot to a bootable Cloned, active copy of the internal drive. I've used Actonis True Image 2015 and Paragon Hard Disk manager "Clone" operations. The resulting target drive (in my case, a Solid State Drive) have the identical structure, sizes, and attributes of the internal drive. I've tried all the USB ports on the N5110, and different methods to boot (F10 to select boot device, setting Boot order using F2 in BIOS settings). Nothing works on the external bootable clone.

So the answer is: NO, the Dell N5110 will NOT boot to a cloned drive, but it will boot to some other USB devices according to other answers given here.

Thanks to those who tried to help.

Jeff
 

mbarnes86

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Hi

What size is the old hard drive?
And is it advanced format with 4k sectors? Or older 512 sectors?
Almost all modern hard disks and ssd are advanced format 4k sectors

If the original Dell operating system is win 7 the cloning program needs to be told to align the partitions correctly or an additional utility run after the cloning process
If you have not done so yet make a windows recovery dvd set using the Dell utility

Download the Dell service manual for advice on howto replace the hard drive

If i remember correctly it involves removing the keyboard , which requires removing a number of screws on the underside of the laptop

Regards
Mike Barnes
 
Yes, it will certainly boot from a USB device, like a thumb drive or a USB optical drive (assuming the media is formatted properly).

It will likely not boot from a USB hard drive though.

As USAFRet asked, what, specifically, are you trying to do?
 

jtowle2001

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I have created an image of my WIndows System before exchanging the internal drive with this new SSD drive. It will not boot from the SSD drive. On my MacBook, I've created an image of that drive with software for the MAC, and disks boot just fine. I've used this program to help a neighbor replace a drive, and her system boots onto the external USB drive just fine.

It seems that this Dell N5110 laptop will NOT do what the MacBook does, or what a Toshiba laptop will do. Perhaps it's just a limitation of the Dell Laptop.
 

USAFRet

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"created an image..."
With what software, specifically?

What is currently on the SSD?
 

jtowle2001

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I am trying to boot to an external USB drive that is a full image of the internal drive. (all partitions identical to the internal drive)

Acronis can make sector by sector identical copies of an internal drive to an external drive.
I also have tried paragon Hard Disk manager, a program that ALSO makes images of internal drives.

The whole purpose of the process is to either (1) replace the internal drive, or (2) increase the size of the drive by imaging to a larger external drive, then replacing the internal drive with the duplicate.

The problem is that the N5110 drive replacement is tedious, and complex, unlike the drive changeout on a MacBook, or a Toshiba laptop, In fact, the latest Dell laptops have easy access to the internal drive, so the need to boot to an external image is not critical. And when making an image of the drive (same software) it boots just fine even on the Dell. But my N5110 apparently will NOT boot to a 2.5" external bootable drive.

 

jtowle2001

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What: Replace the internal spinning 2.5" drive with a new 2.5" SSD drive.
 

jtowle2001

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Acronis True Image 2015. And Paragon Hardk Disk Manager. Both can create bootable copies of the internal drive. But the drive won't boot on the Dell USB port.
 

USAFRet

Splendid
Moderator


OK then...

Windows will NOT easily boot from an external drive. No matter how you do it.
To install the OS, yes. To boot and run Windows, no.

You will need to actually swap out the drive, no matter how difficult it is.

So....obtain a cable like this:


Assuming the system still boots correctly from the original HDD...
Install Macrium Reflect. Or Samsung Data Migration if a Samsung drive.
Connect the new SSD via USB and that cable. Or whatever you already have.
Run the whole cloning thing...either Macrium or Samsung
When it is done...power off.
Take the laptop apart and swap drives.
Power up, and it should boot from the new SSD.
 

jtowle2001

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Thanks for your help. I think what I'm using makes the same sort of "CLONE" image you are describing. I've used it on other systems, just not this particular model of Dell, the Latitude N5110. The only reason I haven't actually taken apart the Laptop is that it looks like it's overly complex, or should I say, not easy.

My other Laptop experiences have hard disks that are easily accessible, so I've even take OUT a drive, and cloned it to a new drive while BOTH drives are out of the system.

I've used Sector by Sector copying (a real CLONE of everything) and a "clone" operation that images all the essential elements, but might rearrange the sectors during the process (and it's often faster since it ignores empty partitions or those marked as deleted).

Looking at the layouts of internal and clone, using diskpart and hard disk manager, both show identical layoouts including the "active" nature of both "C" drive partitions (one boot, and one just active).

Sooo, I guess next step is to take the system apart and try booting to the 1tb SSD drive. I like the SSD drives, I'm using 3 of them on different MacBook systems I have, and want to put one into my N5110.

Again, thanks for the suggestions.

Jeff


 

mbarnes86

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Hi

What size is the old hard drive?
And is it advanced format with 4k sectors? Or older 512 sectors?
Almost all modern hard disks and ssd are advanced format 4k sectors

If the original Dell operating system is win 7 the cloning program needs to be told to align the partitions correctly or an additional utility run after the cloning process
If you have not done so yet make a windows recovery dvd set using the Dell utility

Download the Dell service manual for advice on howto replace the hard drive

If i remember correctly it involves removing the keyboard , which requires removing a number of screws on the underside of the laptop

Regards
Mike Barnes
 
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