how to boot from external firewire/usb 2 HD ?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by pat_24, Nov 3, 2005.

  1. pat_24 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 20, 2004
    Location:
    Québbec
    #1
    Hello,
    For school, i need to buy an external HD. We will have to boot linux (mandrake) from it (on a windows XP pc first, but after i would like to do it with my powerbook).

    The things is, they want us to buy standard eide drive, cause we cant change the BIOS of the pc to boot from the external HD.

    So im asking, is there a way to make some sort of cd-rom of even floppy disk to tell the pc to boot from an external usb/firewire HD (cuz i would like to buy that kind of drive instead of eide drive, since i have a powerbook).

    Hope you can understand my question.

    thank you in advance
     
  2. grapes911 Moderator emeritus

    grapes911

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2003
    Location:
    Citizens Bank Park
    #2
    For OS X, just hold down the option key during boot. You'll get a list of all available boot devices. Pick one. Firewire is bootable, USB is not.

    On a PC, you'll need a motherboard that supports USB booting. Then you'll probably still need a disk to boot from that will tell the computer to boot from the drive.

    If you install linux for a PC, it will not work on a Mac. You'll have to change many things such as the boot partition, kernel, etc. Assuming you installed programs from source, you'll then need to recompile every thing. If you installed them as pre-compiled programs, you'll need to download PPC compatible ones. It would be a lot easier and quicker to just reinstall it for a Mac.
     
  3. sgmorr macrumors member

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    Nov 13, 2005
    Location:
    DFW area Texas
    #3
    grapes911,

    What's the thought as to peripheral HD booting on the upcoming Intel Macs? Will it be FW or USB 2.0?

    Is there anything inherent about Intel processors that will dictate this?

    Regards,
    Steve M.
     
  4. grapes911 Moderator emeritus

    grapes911

    Joined:
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    #4
    I don't think it has anything to do with the processor. It has do to with the BIOS or firmware of the computer. I'd bet that Apple will continue to support booting from Firewire. I can't say if they'll add booting from USB, but I wouldn't count on it.
     
  5. matticus008 macrumors 68040

    matticus008

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2005
    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    #5
    I don't understand. Why would a school make you buy a hard drive to install Linux and not let you change the BIOS boot order? In order to have most Windows machines boot from CD, you have to change the order in the BIOS since most come from the factory to go straight to the hard drive these days. If you have to boot to CD to install Linux anyway, why can't you just switch your boot order to CD -> USB -> HDD while you're in there?

    If they insist on this strange approach, just buy a regular IDE hard drive like they told you to. It'll be cheaper, and when you're finished, you can buy a $40 enclosure for it that will make it into an external drive for your own use. But like grapes911 said, you can't boot Mandrake from a Mac.

    And when the Intel Macs come out, I would be highly surprised and disappointed if they DIDN'T support USB booting as well as FW.
     
  6. sgmorr macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2005
    Location:
    DFW area Texas
    #6
    Hasn't Apple reduced support of Firewire in the iPod? For better or worse, it seems like FW support is lagging even from Apple itself.

    It has certainly seemed like there have been a lot of issues with FW HDs and Macs. After almost every OS update, there is a new flurry of reports of "connectivity" problems. HDs that previously worked suddenly do not mount. And not all of these difficulties happened due to user error (the dread mistake of leaving your FW device connected during the update to mention one).

    What is it about FW that makes it seem so tenuous sometimes?

    Steve M.
     
  7. grapes911 Moderator emeritus

    grapes911

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    #7
    To make the iPod smaller, Apple had to eithe dump USB or FW. Being that Windows users are a large market, Apple made the correct business choise to use USB only. Other than that, FW is here to stay for a long time.

    No idea what you are talking about. I've never had a problem. I leave my external connected most of the time, even during updates.

    What are you talking about?
     
  8. matticus008 macrumors 68040

    matticus008

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    Bay Area, CA
    #8
    To put it gently, Firewire is a pain in the rear. There's a lot of technical back-and-forth, especially with negotiating transfers.

    To explain one of the bigger problems plaguing FW, I'll put it in a slightly different context. Let's say you're a bank (the PC with FW host controller), and you have three clients. You promise each client that they can take out $400 when they need it. But then all three come in and ask for their $400...except there's only $1000 in the bank. Connectivity problems are the Firewire devices fighting for the bus.

    When there's only one device connected, a common problem is that the device doesn't properly announce itself to the computer (for a variety of reasons), and the computer, by design, doesn't continually look for devices. So the computer acts like nothing's there, because the burden is on the peripheral to report itself.

    USB of course has its own set of problems, but at least the host computer takes charge of most situations, so you know who to blame. Problems with either bus are fairly rare, actually, as things generally work about right, contrary to popular belief.
     
  9. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    #9
    ive never had a problem with my FW drive, and i can't believe that USB would ever be good for booting from as it sends information in bursts rather than at a constant rate like FW

    and FW isn't going anywhere at all, if anything, with that digital camcorder market growing FW is going to expand
     
  10. sgmorr macrumors member

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    Nov 13, 2005
    Location:
    DFW area Texas
    #10
    Thanks, matticus. Those are the kinds of problems I've seen reported in various places. MacFixIt has been extensively covering FW nonrecognition and nonmounting problems recently, many apparently having arisen after the 10.4.3 update.
     
  11. matticus008 macrumors 68040

    matticus008

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    Jan 16, 2005
    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    #11
    Back in the day, the SCSI people said much the same thing about ATA. It should be noted that hard drives send information in bursts most of the time, anyway, and that USB does include the ability to run isochronous transfers (at a slower rate than Firewire, however). USB is no less suitable for booting than anything else.

    Firewire certainly isn't going anywhere and is very important, but it's not as broad-based as USB and Apple needs to embrace USB like it did when it abandoned legacy ports in favor of it, all those years ago.
     

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