Windows 7 Running Windows without hard drive


New Member
Feb 9, 2013
Hi I don't know if this the right place to post this, so sorry if it is not.

Well on to my problem, I have a dead hard drive in my Laptop and was wondering could i run Windows 7 or other Windows from a CD like you can with Linux, Linux is great for going on the web, but a little bit hard to run games from the CD.

So if anyone could answer this for me?


Windows Forum Admin
Staff member
Premium Supporter
Jul 22, 2005
New York, NY, United States
Here is some useful information for installing and running Windows 7 on a USB flash drive:

Because it is very unpractical, although USB3 is now available and matches the bandwidth of a hard drive, it is not used often. There may also be issues with the hardware abstraction layer in the kernel that prevent you from running the same USB stick on a different system, as well as licensing restrictions.

What do people do, like you, who want to use it like Linux, and boot and run from CD/DVD? Well, there are toolkits using Windows PE loader. Windows PE is the preinstallation environment, and many backup and restore programs use it to launch their software even when no operating system is available. Most famously, Hiren's Boot CD is often cited as a combination of tools that can be used in this type of environment. The Windows Preinstallation Environment is used when first installing Windows and also to troubleshoot the OS. It is actually a lightweight version of the Windows kernel: Windows Preinstallation Environment - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Best of luck.
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