Windows Refuses Installation on Storage Expansion Card

Has anyone successfully installed Windows 10 on one of the storage expansion cards? I ordered my machine with two 250GB cards with the intent of putting Windows on one and Linux on the other and using the M.2 internal drive for larger, always-available storage. That way I could swap which drive was installed to change what OS to boot. Things were going smoothly until I went to install Win10 on the external card and got this error:

Windows cannot be installed on this disk. Setup does not support configuration of or installation to disks connected through a USB or IEEE 1394 port.

Since the drive connects through a USB3 port the machine interprets it as a flash drive. If this were a regular external I would just pop the drive out of the enclosure and plug it directly into the SATA port on a desktop to get around Windows being clever. That doesn’t seem to be an option with the storage expansion cards though. Thoughts/advice appreciated, thanks!


Unfortunately, Microsoft discontinued Windows To Go in 2019, so there is no longer a Microsoft-supported way of doing this.

I haven’t attempted this on any computer, but I imagine that you may be able to clone a regular Windows installation to a USB drive and boot from that. I found a brief discussion about this:

… but I wouldn’t bet on it working too great.

I predict that booting Windows off of the internal drive will be a somewhat better experience. Any NVMe drive likely have better read/write speeds than the 250GB storage expansion card.

Glad I bought a second m.2 drive. Maybe Windows 10 will just be my travel OS.

Thanks @Jacob_Padgett, I agree that cloning a boot drive is probably not going to be the best path.

For now my solution is to install Windows on a partition on the M.2 and put Linux on my expansion card. Then configuring the machine to boot from the Linux expansion card if it is installed. If it’s not present it will fall back on the Windows installation on the internal drive. Not quite what I was hoping for, but functionally close enough for now.

I’m not able to test this until my batch 2 order arrives but this looks like it will work.


This worked for me: Decrypting Technology: Install Windows 10 on USB External Hard Disk on MAC/PC. Currently dual booting pop os off of the internal drive and windows from an expansion card. Setting up refind for a nicer boot menu.


@Tyler_S, were you able to test this out?

@Raph I believe I used the Rufus method described in that article and it has been working flawlessly for me.

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I remember getting this to work a few years ago with a tool called Hasleo WintoUSB (the free version worked fine for me. I don’t know if this would still work with the latest version of Windows but it might be worth a shot?

I have used WintoUSB (free version) on the 1TB module on the It was an older install (using an older version of win10). I don’t remember which ver. it was, but approx one year ago. I had it on a USB3.1 NVMe caddy, and it works on that, then I dd’d the image to the 1TB module and it worked well on that as well. I think the biggest issue with the 256GB module would be speed. I haven’t seen the speed difference, but i know using a slower connection for my drive still works fine, you just need more patience when loading programs, and everything on first boot (populating menus, startup tasks, etc.) Just know, that method has some strangeness with updates sometimes. So read up on that if you want to be sure to have the latest patches. I’ve played games and used rendering/graphics/audio programs on the NVMe version. All worked fine for me.