Using External Storage to Simplify Windows Installation

I have been searching for hours on how to use a SD card as a hard drive to install win10. The laptop I am trying to upgrade gives a message you need to add at least 9GB to continue.  Can I use the SD card to finish the install or will it not work?

I have gotten this question, and several like it, a lot recently.  Here is my simple answer:

I have several questions for you:

1) I assume, but want to confirm, that you are upgrading a Windows 8 laptop?

2) Are you installing from an ISO, and if so what device is that stored on?

3) How much RAM do you have, and how big is your swap file?

My first answer is NO, you cannot extend the size of the C drive using another drive, SD card or not. The %systemdrive% has to all be on a single device.

With that said:

1) If your hard drive is not big enough to install Windows 10 onto (I assume this is not the case) then you have other issues. If the drive IS big enough, and there is just extra stuff on the drive, you should use the SD Card to clean it off. Things like ISO files, and anything in c:\Users\<User>\Downloads are a big one.

2) If you are installing from an ISO, and that ISO is on your C drive, STOP THAT J

3) If you have a large swap file, reducing it for the duration of the install will help.

The Windows installer has to copy a lot of stuff to your C drive. When it is done you will have a folder on it called c:\Windows.old. You can delete that at your leisure, but remember that during the installation, the hard drive hosts:

· The original installation of Windows, plus all of the apps and software

· The installation files required to install

· The new installation of Windows 10.

On a smaller hard drive that is quite the burden! While you cannot actually install it to your SD card, or use it to store any of those, you can use it to store the things we forget we accumulate over time – documents, videos, downloads, and more.

Good luck, and let me know how it goes!


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