How do I boot from external firewire harddrive?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by hikeNM, Jan 14, 2005.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 29, 2004
    Somewhere close to a dairy in East Texas
    So I went out and bought an external harddrive to backup my stuff? I've read on other threads that you can boot directly from the ext. harddrive. How is this done? I assume I need to copy my home folder, but doesn't OS X have to be on the harddrive too? I'm completely new to this.
  2. macrumors 68020


    Jun 18, 2003
    If you haven't installed an OS, you can't boot off it. As far as a backup of your current drive, you can use Carbon Copy Cloner (free) with the "make bootable" option to clone your current boot disk. When CCC is done, you select the FW drive in "Startup Disk" under "System Preferences" and reboot.

  3. macrumors regular

    Jan 26, 2004
    Alos, once you have a bootable system on the FW drive, you can hold down the "option" key at power-on and that will take you into a screen where you can choose what device (internal HD, optical drive, network, ext FW drive) you want to boot from.

    It doesn't always work (thanks I think to a bug in 10.3.7) so sometimes you have to select it in "Startup Disk" pref pane to get it to boot.

    Remember that the OS X install CD had the Startup Disk app on it, so you can use that to choose your bootup device, if your internal drive isn't booting properly and the FW drive isn't being seen in the aforementioned boot select screen.
  4. macrumors 68020


    Mar 14, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    Wait it's a bug in 10.3.7 that causes the option thing not to work? I though that was not even part of the OS.
  5. macrumors regular

    Jan 26, 2004
    This comment from MacFixits troubleshooting 10.3.7

    There does seem to be a problem of some sort.

    yesterday I cloned a 10.3.7 onto an ext FW drive. The drive couldn't be seen using the "option" key boot, but could be selected using "startup disk" (which is how I got it to boot).

    all a bit strange
  6. macrumors 68000

    Jan 6, 2004
    I can't get anything to boot on my external FW drive. I tried to boot 10.3.3 installed off of my Panther Disks, and that failed. Holding Option down at startup brought up nothing. Selecting it as my startup drive in System Preferences which seems to have worked for some people, did not work for me. Am I missing something here? My OS is 10.3.7 on my computer... I also tried CarbonCopyCloning that to my FW drive, but still no go on all fronts.

    This sucks.

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