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You are here: MacNN Forums > Software - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Alternative Operating Systems > Bootcamp on External HDD

Bootcamp on External HDD
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May 27, 2006, 12:41 PM
 
I don't know if you guys touched on this subject yet, but does anyone know if you can run bootcamp and XP/Vista on an external hard drive. I asked at an Apple store yesterday, they said you probably could. What do they know, that's why I'm asking you guys.
     
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May 27, 2006, 05:06 PM
 
All I know is that Boot Camp wants to a) start with a single, XFS+ partition, b) create one and only one non-XFS+ partition for XP, and c) it sets up the boot manager to select which OS to boot to.

From a bit of Linux experience, you may run into trouble if the boot manager isn't built to handle booting from an external drive, simply because it may not be built to even see an external drive.

I formally solicit ANY AND ALL experience in this regard. If anyone has actually used Boot Camp to set up booting the secondary OS from an external drive, please (pretty please!) post here!

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
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May 29, 2006, 09:58 AM
 
Windows reinitializes the ports (usb/firewire) on boot which would cause the drive to drop off. So no, you technically cant boot windows from an external drive, but I know there are people out there trying. I posted a link to their efforts in a previous thread on this subject.
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May 29, 2006, 12:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by sieb
Windows reinitializes the ports (usb/firewire) on boot which would cause the drive to drop off. So no, you technically cant boot windows from an external drive, but I know there are people out there trying. I posted a link to their efforts in a previous thread on this subject.
Your point is good, but a little too general. Some PCs DO allow boot from a USB drive, but it's the BIOS that allows this, not Windows. If the BIOS does not support booting from a USB device, then you just can't do it. I do not know how the EFI firmware works through Boot Camp, so I can't say whether or not this is feasible on an Intel Mac.

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May 29, 2006, 02:05 PM
 
The bios yes, will let you boot a usb device. This occures at a different level from windows though because once Windows starts initializing, it initializes the USB driver (ever notice your infrared usb mouse or keyboard blink on and off during windows startup?) and will momentarily break the usb connection to the drive, preventing Windows from finishing.

The only possible workaround is to have the MBR partition on the internal drive for the system to boot from, then switch to external. Here is the link I provided in a previous thread: http://forum.onmac.net/showthread.php?t=1015
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May 29, 2006, 03:03 PM
 
Great point, and one I'd missed. MS is dragging their heels over the "floppy drive replacement" issue, so, to qoute their site's page on booting (for maintenance and deployment) from a USB CD drive, "Windows is not optimized to run from a USB drive."

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May 29, 2006, 06:21 PM
 
Personally, the fact that I can boot my mac from an external firewire drive or boot my mac in target disk mode are two of the biggest selling points for me over any windows laptop.
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Aug 17, 2006, 12:02 AM
 
I recently whent looking for A external HD for my intel IMAc so i can run bootcamp. i wanted an external HD because i didn't want to fool around with my MACs HD.
I did some reasurch and well, here:

Can your run boot camp on an External HD? YES YOU CAN!
How do I know? called a lot of electronic stores.
What HD would work the Best: LaCie Brick 250 GB or something with 2.0 USB/ firewall
HOW DO YOU DO IT: easy, plug in your HD.
go to strt up disk and it should be there.
click on it to see if it will work properly
exit
download bootcamp
patrition your external HD
Run Windows XP.... no i'm not joking, you can run Xp on an external devise.
instal drivers
instal Half Life 2
voiLa!
i will get more info as i possable can.
OR you could just phone futureshop, or Bestbuy, or London Drugs, or MyMacDealer, or whatever.
     
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Aug 17, 2006, 03:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by stroggified
I recently whent looking for A external HD for my intel IMAc so i can run bootcamp. i wanted an external HD because i didn't want to fool around with my MACs HD.
I did some reasurch and well, here:

Can your run boot camp on an External HD? YES YOU CAN!
How do I know? called a lot of electronic stores.
I'm sorry but I don't buy that. Windows does not handle firewire very well, and it's well established that USB handling is taken over by Windows during the boot process, completely losing the context of the devices it started with at the begining of the boot. While you CAN put everything BUT the OS on an external drive, you can't put everything there and get it to boot.

Further, I do not trust "retail store experts" to know jack about computers. Most are hired because they clean up halfway decent and can be depended on to show up on time-NOT because they have real technical qualifications. If you find one with such qualifications, he's quite the exception.

If you find reliable, documented evidence from dependable sources that what you say is true, go ahead and post it. Otherwise, let's try to keep to reality, ok?

Otherwise, Welcome to the MacNN Forums!

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
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Aug 18, 2006, 05:10 AM
 
Actually, I reported the post as spam. 1 inaccurate post and referrals to stores.. hmm Unless he somehow posts this "more info" to prove his claim.
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Aug 21, 2006, 12:20 AM
 
you should know some things about what i posted:

i got this info from A guy that is supposedly a PC/MAC expert, but after what you guys said, i think he should shove his info where the sun don't shine.

secondly i found a site, you may allready know about: http://www.dualbootguru.com/bc%20-%2...al%20hdd.shtml

it requires some hacking.

so i am back to square one: will boot camp alow you to partition onto an external HD? HOW?
is it possable to have it pre-installed onto the HD or super compatable?

I feel like such an IDIOT i should have asked you guys before that guy
     
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Aug 21, 2006, 09:59 AM
 
Yes, I noted this in a previous thread. This basically sets up the boot partition for XP on your internal drive and everything else is stored on the external. It's been noted many times by Microsoft that XP will not boot off an external drive alone.
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Aug 21, 2006, 11:06 AM
 
I don't think Boot Camp can even SEE an external drive. What you CAN do is set up the most minimal partition that Windows will install in (about 2GB) and then put all the other stuff (most notably the default Program Folders and Documents and Settings folders) on the external drive. This typically requires a customized installation-you can do it quite nicely by setting up the installation using nlite. (Gee, I wish they paid me for talking about their product... ) What this does is put the bootable part of the system on the fixed drive, and then everything else (which is what tends to get bloated more than the OS itself) on the external drive.

Strog, just stay away from your "friend." He may mean well, but he isn't well informed. I've been at this sort of thing since almost the begining of the 'personal computer revolution,' and frankly I am only just starting to pick up the finer points. That's with a computer science degree and years and years of hands-on technical experience too. Unless your friend is smug about his "knowledge," just smile and nod. If he's smug, avoid him like the plague!

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
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Aug 21, 2006, 02:41 PM
 
thank you so much for answering my question(s). you answered them better than that so called firend of mine .

i have some more questions i would like answered:
do you NEED windows XP SP2 or can you use just Windows XP?

all i want boot camp to do is run some PC games ( HL2 G-mod...) and some office utilities like word and exel and Power Point, and yes i do have microsoft office for mac. which external HD would best suit my needs? all i know is that LaCie has a good HD for 129.99, i think.

as for the part about windows isn't friendly with an external HD, i have a funny feeling that there is one EHD (external HD) that is friendly enough to work, but i havent found IT YET.

oh, ya, i almost forgot: i heard someone talking about when they install Windows XP, thier mouse and keybord get all messed up, well that hasn't happend to my computers.
mabye it depends on the type of computer or HD? i have no clue.
     
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Aug 21, 2006, 03:16 PM
 
MUST be SP2 for Boot Camp to work-SP2 uses different drivers, so you MUST have SP2 for the Boot Camp drivers to work.

Best external drive is the biggest one you can afford that performs acceptibly. In other words, an external drive from "Bob's Storm Door and Computer Accessory Co." may NOT be what you want, even if his price is great. Check out the Peripherals forum for comments on a variety of external drives. Note that Windows firewire drivers tend to underperform Mac firewire drivers, but the opposite is true of USB drivers-you may be better off with a USB 2.0 external drive than a firewire drive.

Windows sees USB external drives as part of the file system, at least once it mounts them. No sweat, no bother. I haven't tried any firewire externals on Windows, so I can't say anything about that.

Obviously your mileage DID vary. Not everybody has the problems that some poeple post about-get used to seeing almost entirely BAD stuff posted. After all, this is a technical forum for PROBLEMS! It's a machine by machine thing as far as I can tell.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
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Aug 21, 2006, 05:12 PM
 
I found a HD: LaCie brick, 250 G memory, firewire/Usb combo.... blah, blah.
looks like the one that will suit my needs

as for th windows/boot camp part of the equasion

does your external HD show up in the: app/utilities/start up disk file?
or does it show up on the side of the screen as a white file thing?

I know that you CAN'T load windows from an external HD, but if you don't have connection problems where your USb devise gets dislocated then can't you load it... besides the fact that you need BIOS and junk?
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Aug 21, 2006, 05:51 PM
 
I have only seen external drives show up in the Finder on a Mac-all by itself, too. On Windows they show up in Explorer and anything that has a file choosing dialog box.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
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Aug 22, 2006, 12:32 PM
 
I bought a HD... Maxtor 300 GB HD... Very NICE
I have some questions:

apperantly this HD is very fast and compatanble i didn't have to use finder to find it, it just poped up on the desktop. is this a good thing?
Can i use Windows Xp and then once i get it running, install the SP2 update download?

it looks like windows will run off of it because i remeber reading the guid used on that dual boot guru-to make a USB enabled windows disk type thing- that if you go to install windows and your computer reconizes the HD it will atuomaticly work with no problems. it this true? does the size of the HD count?
214G internal, 278G external.
( Last edited by stroggified; Aug 22, 2006 at 10:55 PM. )
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Aug 24, 2006, 03:52 PM
 
I have made a MAJOR dicovery:
on macrumors this guy used firmware instead of boot camp. supposadly the firmware update allows BIOS. he even said it works, not just work but run real good. he also said that you dont need windows XP, you could use vista or 2000 or whatever. he said this all works on the external HD if it is formated into a FAT32 format.

i tested it and well, it was successful. i had minor issus with the HD, but that was about all.
keep boot camp for downloading the drivers, it will save alot of worries and stuff.

if you don't believe me go to www.macrumors.com or just try it yourself.
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Aug 25, 2006, 12:58 AM
 
How about a direct link to the info? Thx
     
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Aug 25, 2006, 11:16 AM
 
Read the post by diamondsw in this thread. It explains the mechanisms used to boot the different OSs and what Boot Camp does and what it requires.

PLEASE try searching before you post questions, even in an existing thread. Really, this gets to be pretty repetitive, and you'll save yourself time and effort by using the (quite functional) search feature.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
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Aug 25, 2006, 12:17 PM
 
the link: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=191777
i think it is the post that is 6 or 7 down.
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