External drive enclosures are a dime a dozen. I just bought one from micro center not long ago for like $13. But you said "it would just be a server?". Did you mean it would contain the operating system? If so your laptops motherboard would have to support booting from a usb devise and you might have to configure your bios to do so. Like moving your usb port to the top of your boot priority list for example. Also I personally don't know if Windows will run in this (portable) fashion. I'm pretty sure there is a version of Lennox that does.
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Lennox? Do you perhaps mean Linux? Or is that a disto that I'm unfamiliar with?
haha. yep that's what i meant. I've been having furnace troubles recently. Maybe that's why I spelled that variation.
The keywords are:external+hard+drive+case+enclosure L
The easy way it to get an external case that turns it into a usb drive. It has it's own power supply so it's not draining the laptop. You can get firewire versions.