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-   -   Is an MBA wrong for someone who wants to multiboot? (http://forums.macnn.com/69/mac-notebooks/447051/mba-wrong-someone-who-wants-multiboot/)

 
The Godfather Aug 30, 2011 06:39 PM
Is an MBA wrong for someone who wants to multiboot?
Can you have an external HDD with Linux and Windows, for those few times you want to use Gimp and a non-Mac game?
 
CharlesS Aug 30, 2011 07:58 PM
I tried to get Linux to boot from a FireWire drive once. I eventually gave up. Apple's firmware doesn't like operating systems that aren't OS X booting from external drives.

Things might be different with Thunderbolt if you got an eSATA adapter, I suppose. Since such a thing doesn't exist yet, I obviously haven't been able to try it yet to find out.
 
Waragainstsleep Aug 31, 2011 10:28 AM
Sonnet do a Thunderbolt -> Expresscard 34 adaptor which allows you to add eSATA to a new Mac. Not sure if its shipping yet or not.
 
The Godfather Aug 31, 2011 11:47 AM
Will Windows 7 boot from it?
 
Waragainstsleep Aug 31, 2011 01:40 PM
I would guess that as long as the Expresscard you use is a bootable one, it should. Can't find anything specific though.
 
Waragainstsleep Aug 31, 2011 01:43 PM
Sonnet - Tempo Edge SATA 6Gb/s ExpressCard/34: 1-Port 6Gb/s eSATA ExpressCard/34 Adapter
This one supports booting. And specifies Win7.

In theory Thunderbolt is no different to PCI-E so I see no reason it wouldn't boot. You can apparently boot from the Promise Pegasus RAIDs and the Lacie Thunderbolt drives so if thunderbolt is bootable, PCI-E is bootable, and Expresscard 34 is bootable which they all are, you really ought to be able to boot from it.
 
The Godfather Sep 1, 2011 12:31 PM
I just learned that Windows 7 is not USB-bootable like Linux and osx.
It will either be a thunderbolt drive or a non-sdd Mac for me.
 
Waragainstsleep Sep 1, 2011 01:16 PM
Where did you learn that?
 
The Godfather Sep 1, 2011 05:04 PM
My own experience
 
Eug Sep 2, 2011 01:59 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by The Godfather (Post 4107979)
I just learned that Windows 7 is not USB-bootable like Linux and osx.
Do you mean specifically on a Mac?

Because Windows 7 itself is most certainly USB bootable.
 
The Godfather Sep 2, 2011 06:03 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by Eug (Post 4108318)
Do you mean specifically on a Mac?

Because Windows 7 itself is most certainly USB bootable.
I tested it in a D525 atom workstation, with a USB2 250gb drive. The installer refuses to install w7 in the USB drive.
 
Eug Sep 2, 2011 09:08 PM
Well, my Acer 11" laptop boots just fine off both a USB 2 Blu-ray/DVD drive (from an Acer Windows 7 restore disc) and a Windows 7 160 GB USB 2 hard drive. I didn't install Win 7 on the USB 2 hard drive directly though. It was just a cloned Win 7 drive.

I also know that my Atom 330 machine will also boot off a USB 2 DVD drive (Acer Win 7 restore disc). I haven't tried a Win 7 USB 2 hard drive on it though.

Ironically, that 160 GB USB 2 drive is the Apple-branded drive I removed from my MacBook Pro and stuck in a generic USB 2 enclosure. :)
 
The Godfather Sep 2, 2011 09:15 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by Eug (Post 4108412)
Well, my Acer 11" laptop boots just fine off both a USB 2 Blu-ray/DVD drive, and a 160 GB USB 2 hard drive. I didn't install Win 7 there directly though. It was just a cloned Win 7 drive.

I also know that my Atom 330 machine will also boot off a USB 2 DVD drive. I haven't tried a USB hard drive on it though.

Ironically, that 160 GB drive is the Apple-branded drive I removed from my MacBook Pro and stuck in a generic USB 2 enclosure. :)
Hmmm... I will bring my Win7 HDD in a USB enclosure to the Mac Store and plug it to one of the MBAs in there. If it works, that will be my MBA.
 
Eug Sep 2, 2011 09:47 PM
I'm not sure, but assuming it even works properly on Macs… That Win 7 install might have to have been made with the same model MacBook Air in order to work properly. Unlike OS X, you can't consistently just take an install from one machine and expect to work on another machine with different hardware.

That Win 7 install was made on that very Acer… onto the internal drive first, before it was cloned to a USB 2 hard drive.

P.S. I used Acronis' disk cloning software that came with one of my Kingston SSDs.
 
P Sep 3, 2011 08:04 AM
Some googling shows that: the Windows installer will happily boot from USB, but refuses to install TO USB. There are hacks to make it work, but they look like they'd break if you sneezed at them, and Inaccessible Boot Device is a nasty error to come back from.
 
Eug Sep 3, 2011 09:08 AM
What I had tried before was to clone a drive to USB 2 (160 GB platter drive in a 2.5" enclosure). Unless my memory is failing me, I had an error upon first boot but then it worked. However, beyond testing the boot, I never actually used it for real work, and it seems P is absolutely right about the flakiness.

I just did another experiment, just for the sake of our knowledge. :)

My Acer 1810TZ's boot disk is now an SSD.

http://i594.photobucket.com/albums/t...Z/IMG_5568.jpg

I physically removed it and put it in a 3.5" USB 2 enclosure.

http://i594.photobucket.com/albums/t...Z/IMG_5560.jpg

http://i594.photobucket.com/albums/t...Z/IMG_5561.jpg

http://i594.photobucket.com/albums/t...Z/IMG_5562.jpg

This time it did NOT work. Windows started to launch, but then would BSOD and restart.

http://i594.photobucket.com/albums/t...Z/IMG_5565.jpg

http://i594.photobucket.com/albums/t...Z/IMG_5566.jpg

I've gotten this message before after a clone but I would just Start Windows Normally, and it would work. This time it just reboots. I did not try using the Startup Repair utility because I didn't want to mess with the drive at all, as it's my primary internal drive. Whether that would have worked or not, I dunno.

Like P, I also saw that there are other hacks out there to get it to work consistently, and people have had good results with them, but now I personally don't think it's worth the hassle and lack of reliability.
 
The Godfather Sep 3, 2011 03:43 PM
:( from the looks of this thread, I can't run the ocasional W7, Linux with an MBA :(
 
P Sep 5, 2011 05:37 AM
What seems to happen here is that BIOS/EFI loads the appropriate drivers to start booting from USB, but by the time it passes the torch to Windows, it has not yet loaded the USB drivers. This is not the first time that this has happened with Windows - NT4 did not support UATA disks, so you had to add an extra driver to be loaded early in the boot process. This seems to be what the hacks are doing, except they're doing it in a very hacky way. I'm slightly surprised at the result, as I thought that Win 7 had improved this, but the word I can google up is very consistent.

If this is a secondary disk and you want to use it every now and then for something non-critical, then by all means go ahead and give it a spin, but you have to prepared for some hacking and it might fail after an update or a new hardware installation. As I said, Inaccessible Boot Device is nasty error to come back from - I usually gave up and just did a nuke & pave at that point.

Of course, you could dedicate a part of the SSD as the Windows partition and then just use the USB disk for the storage.
 
The Godfather Sep 23, 2011 08:25 PM
I just learned how to triboot Windows, OSX and Linux in a netbook. So, the next step is to wait for the next revision MBA with 512GB in the base (affordable) model.
 
CharlesS Sep 23, 2011 10:30 PM
Given that the cheapest 512 GB SSD on Newegg is currently $755, that might be a long wait.
 
amazing Sep 24, 2011 11:01 AM
There are 2 suggestions in macintouch about multibooting in Lion. Have no idea if they'll prove useful to you, just presenting them as a for-example:

Lion
 
The Godfather Sep 24, 2011 11:37 AM
:) that's similar to the method I used.
Both OSX and Linux are resilient to unusual partition reconfigurations once installed or reimaged, but Windows requires that you leave its partition untouched or it will badly break.
So, is it a good time to get a MBP?
 
CharlesS Sep 24, 2011 01:49 PM
The current MBPs are probably the last ones that will have optical drives in them. So if you want to play or burn CDs/DVDs, get 'em while they're hot.
 
The Godfather Sep 24, 2011 02:49 PM
Actually, you just made me not want to buy the current line of MBPs :)
My external BD is being happily used among several PCs.
 
amazing Sep 25, 2011 01:16 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by The Godfather (Post 4113744)
:) that's similar to the method I used.
Both OSX and Linux are resilient to unusual partition reconfigurations once installed or reimaged, but Windows requires that you leave its partition untouched or it will badly break.
So, is it a good time to get a MBP?
Actually, the following is another of the submissions in macintouch (link above), talking about an an 8-partition MacBook Pro (bit over the top?), for which you'd need a larger drive, 750 GB:

--Found a 200MB EFI System Partition, installed first after formatting the drive.
--Built an 80GB 'OtherOS' partition first, in case an OS requires a low partition number.
--Next built a 65 GB NTFS partition, for Win7, and called it Boot Camp.
(Working how to set FAT32 or NTFS is the only awkwardness in iPartition.)
--Added a 2GB FAT32 partition, for possible future swaps between awkward OSs.
-- Threw in a small 15GB XP Pro FAT32 partition, in case it was needed.
--Then came a big 100G 10.6 partition, as it's likely to be my workhorse until 10.7 settles down
Installed 10.6.7 (as early an OS as my MBP8,2 would accept from my 'all OSs avail' HD
--I next added a 70GB partition, which should see 10.7 right for a while.
Installed 10.7.0
-- Installed the Recovery tool
(Discovered a 619.89 MB Recovery HD, formatted as Apple Boot, immediately following the 10.7 partition.)
--Finally added my generic 300GB partition for (common) apps, and all data.
--In the remaining space built a 30GB 'NextMacOs' space, and left 30-odd GB free.
--Finally, in iPartition I set all the volumes to be invisible to Windows, except the Boot Camp NTFS vol.
Installed Win7 from its install DVD.
 
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