I am doing self study for the MCSE Certification using Microsoft study guides. The study guides came with an xp pro cd and a windows 2003 server cd to use for studying and practicing. I had a desktop (dell dimension 8200)running Windows XP pro and I recently purchased a laptop (dell inspiron 6000) running XP media center. I now have a home network setup. My original plan was to partiton a drive on the laptop using partition manager and install the study versions of xp pro then server 2003 on it. However, I noticed that the laptop already has three primary partitions and once I formatted an NTFS partition, I was unable to create another FAT partition for the Boot Magic application. A dell technician suggested that I purchase an external hard drive and install the study versions of xp pro and server 2003 on it as needed. Can an OS be installed and run smoothly on a external hard drive? Is that my best option? Please advise. Thanks.