I'm confused about the difference between storage and hard drives

I thought that only hard drives could have Windows installed. For instance the My Passport drives. Can you install an Operating System on any them even if it says Portable Storage? I thought a hard drive had to have speeds except for SSD drives in order to transfer the data.

You can install Windows on thumb drives, the small memory sticks that plug into a USB port. There are no moving parts. There is a special procedure for doing it which you can find on the Net. Then you have to tell your BIOS what kind of device you want to boot from.

You can get a Linux distribution to load from a CD-ROM or DVD.

Windows doesn’t care where it’s installed as long as the format of the storage device resembles a hard drive. That’s because Windows was based initially on DOS and DOS requires the first sector on the first track of a hard to have a special set of data called boot code.

The boot code starts an initialization processes that prepares memory to accept the Windows operating system. If that boot code is loaded on a thumb drive so it appears to be on a hard drive, Windows doesn’t care.

Windows will load quite happily on a virtual machine where all the hardware is represented by software code. Of course, a virtual hard drive is stored on a hard drive but it does not resemble a traditional hard drive physically. It emulates a hard drive using software. Same with the processor.