Install Windows 7 (BootCamp) externally on rMBP, is it possible?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by striker33, Jun 24, 2012.

  1. macrumors 65816

    striker33

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2010
    #1
    To save precious SSD space on my rMBP, I'd love to be able to install Windows externally for all my gaming needs, on a USB 3.0 drive. Is it possible to do it that way at all? I've seen various workarounds, but all the guides are really outdated and rely on Windows XP.

    I've also read that a straight install via BootCamp isnt an option as OSX doesnt let you install to external partitions directly. Other workarounds involve removing the hard drive or installing OSX to the external drive first and booting from there.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2004
    #2
    I would also like to know. Now with USB3 most of the bottleneck would be just the harddrive speed. I would love to just have my whole windows partition on an external drive.
     
  3. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Location:
    Eugene
    #3
    Yeah, I'd like to install Windows 7 on an external HD and run it from USB3.0. Anyone know? if this works?
     
  4. thread starter macrumors 65816

    striker33

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2010
    #4
    I'd love to be able to try it myself, even with an old USB2.0 HDD, but sadly until I get my rMBP all I have is an iBook G4 :(
     
  5. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Location:
    Eugene
    #5
    All the research I've found says Boot Camp forces you to install on an internal drive.
     
  6. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2004
    #6
    I guess the issue is with Windows 7 Bootloader. I found this video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvWGV9YJxfQ

    But it seems like it's a huge PITA...I'll give it shot once I get my rMBP.
    I have a Lacie USB3 Drive I put a 750GB WD Black drive in.

    I'll report back and report my findings.
     
  7. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Location:
    Eugene
    #7
    Please do! I'm getting a 1TB Seagate Backup Plus drive. I hope you can figure out how to make it work.
     
  8. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    #8
    My experience with Linux is that Apple's CSM-BIOS isn't supporting USB. I can EFI boot Linux via USB, but cannot CSM-BIOS boot Linux via USB on either MBP 4,1 or 8,2.
     
  9. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2005
    #9
    +1

    That's what I'd love to do. I'd use Windows in Bootcamp mostly for games, which means probably on a desk and plugged in, so an external drive would not be any hassle. With USB 3.0 it should hopefully be as fast as SATA.

    I definitely don't want to sacrifice the precious 256GB of SSD space on the rMBP, and I can't justify an extra $650 for an additional 256GB when I can get two thunderbolt drives for that price.

    I'll try it with my MacBook Air and report my findings soon.
     
  10. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2011
    #10
    I would be really interested to see if anyone can get this working!
     
  11. macrumors regular

    mfvisuals

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Location:
    SacTown, CA
    #11
    Um... I think you missed the boost in processor speed that you also get for that extra $650 (2.3ghz to 2.6ghz) along with the doubling of your SSD capacity.

    Would that make it worth it?
     
  12. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Location:
    Eugene
    #12
    I settled giving Windows 60gbs on my 256 SSD. I hope I can install games to my external USB3.0 Seagate Backup Plus. The drive is fast AND quiet compared to my old, clunky 320gb Maxtor desktop external drive. :)
     
  13. thread starter macrumors 65816

    striker33

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2010
    #13
    A bump of 0.3ghz over 4 cores for $650? Definitely not worth it.

    Apple specced the base and upgraded models that way on purpose, to try and force people into paying a ridiculous amount extra for a bit more ssd space.

    Only the extreme power users would get any benefit out of it.
     
  14. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2005
    #14
    I've been trying PWBoot on my MacBook Air and no luck so far, it boots but it seems to need the Bootcamp partition, doesn't boot without it.

    http://reboot.pro/6851/

    I tried it on my PC and it also boots, but I don't know if it's reading something from a Windows partition or something, and also the account is messed up, I couldn't seem to run any apps.

    Maybe I'll try again with the default settings (I changed some during install) and maybe try converting an existing install to USB boot instead of a new one. If people can boot this on their PC, I don't see why it shouldn't work on our Macs with Bootcamp...
     
  15. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2005
    #15
    I found out that Windows 7 doesn't have native USB 3.0 drivers, so when I get my USB 3.0 external hard drive, I will not be able to boot it over USB anyhow. Windows 7 also needs patching to boot over USB and a service pack can undo the patch and render the system not bootable until patched again. This is too much hassle for me.

    The good news is that Windows 8 supports USB booting natively and supports USB 3.0 natively also. So I followed the instructions here: http://www.rmprepusb.com/tutorials/win8togo

    And they worked on my PC, but wouldn't work on my Mac. It would say it can't find a bootable disk if I don't have any Windows partitions on my internal drive. It would say "Missing Operating System" if I had an empty FAT32 partition, and it would boot the Windows installation if I had one on the internal drive, not the external drive. I tried holding down option and selecting the external drive, and even reEFIt - same result every time.

    It booted fine on my PC, though, so I am guessing it's something to do with the Mac that it can't boot Windows over USB. So I think I'll give up trying to boot Windows on an external drive, and create a 30GB Bootcamp partition on the internal SSD and learn to deal with the decreased disk space. I'll use the external drive to hold large programs and data on Windows and OS X. Maybe I should use Windows XP to save space, but it will not take advantage of all my RAM with the 32-bit version. And if I go with 64-bit I think Windows 7 would be better, more compatible. I don't even know if XP has Bootcamp drivers...
     
  16. thread starter macrumors 65816

    striker33

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2010
    #16
    If you want 64bit XP, there are plenty of er... 'other' sources available to acquire such a version. ;)

    Tis a shame that it cant boot from USB though. I'm still looking into booting from an SDXC card but its also doubtful.
     
  17. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2004
    #17
    rMBP is kinda weird. I have a 2011 cMBP with thunderbolt.

    I bought the seagate goflex thunderbolt case. I got Windows 7 working 100% on my cMBP using thunderbolt sled....figured it would work with the rMBP fine.

    I use winclone to clone my bootcamp partition.

    But even with a clean install it wouldn't boot. It's just stuck in a black screen with a blinking cursor.
     
  18. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2005
    #18
    Can you confirm that you got Windows 7 to boot straight off the thunderbolt drive without any internal Bootcamp partition on your cMBP? (What does 'c' stand for?)

    Then maybe there is hope for the rMBP! If Apple updates their firmware to support booting, it might work. I haven't even tried booting OS X externally yet, maybe that has problems?
     
  19. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2011
    Location:
    South Korea
    #19
    I am also waiting for a rMBP and would love to boot windows through the external. I hope more people will add there expertise to this thread.
     
  20. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2004
    #20
    cMBP - Classic Macbook pro. I have a 2011 version 2.2ghz i7 Thunderbolt variant.

    YES - A Classic Macbook pro with TB can boot directly into windows 7 with all drivers loaded perfectly fine.
    YES - You can delete the bootcamp partition on the cMBP and it will still work.

    NO - Fresh bootcamp install on a Retina Macbook pro. Even imaged the bootcamp partition after the driver install and still a no go
     
  21. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2005
    #21
    Looks like rMBP might have some missing features... that hopefully will get fixed in later.

    I figured out how I will survive on 256 GB. I got a 1.5 GB external USB 3.0 drive and divided it into 2 partitions, one for OS X and one for Windows. I will keep the most needed Apps on the internal drive, and any large apps such as Music production or Video editing stuff can be on the external as I'll probably be hooked up to other external devices, so portability won't be a big issues. Sometimes I might have to move apps between the two drives if I need portability on a certain project. Music will be kept on the iPod and synchronized with my library on the NAS at home over WiFi or Ethernet.

    The Bootcamp partition will be 30 GB on the internal drive, enough for whatever game I am playing at the time and the apps I'll be using. Hopefully Parallels can boot the partition just fine without creating another virtual machine to use inside OS X. Any other games or files that are big will be on the external drive. I might create a third partition if Time Machine ends up taking too much space.
     
  22. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2012
    #22
    Yay... first post on MacRumors!

    Hi everyone...

    I'm very intrested in this thread as my MBPr will arrive shortly :D

    Has anyone tried the following steps (as they are indentical to the steps required to get Windows 7 booted from USB, connected to a PC):

    1.) Install Windows 7 (32 or 64 bit) with bootcamp on a bootcamp partition on the native SSD
    2.) Boot into Windows and Install all Updates, Drivers etc.
    3.) Clone this Partition to your connected USB 3.0 Drive
    4.) Run "Regedit"
    5.) Edit some Registry files, to enable USB Boot (the "how to" that I have available is only in german and I did not translate it yet, if someone is interested: http://www.pcwelt.de/ratgeber/Windows-auf-dem-USB-Stick-Schritt-6-bis-7-5938120.html)
    6.) Boot with USB3.0 Drive and after log-on run: http://www.pcwelt.de/downloads/USB-Bootfix-4200690.html

    I couldn't try this yet because of the missing MBPr :d

    Best Regards
    Chris

    *PS: Sorry for my bad english ;-)
     
  23. macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2008
    Location:
    Sagittarius A*
    #23
    For shared OS support between 7 and OS X use FAT64, use windows 7 to perform the initial formatting. XP and vista pre sp2 require a MS update to support FAT64. No 4gb file limit!
     
  24. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2005
    #24
    Hi Chris, welcome to MacRumors! Hope you'll enjoy it here! :D

    I haven't tried your exact steps per se, but I installed Windows on the internal drive and used that to install it onto the external drive with a utility that applies those registry changes for you. I even tried Windows 8 which doesn't need those registry fixes as it supports USB booting natively. It worked on my PC but will not work on my rMBP. I've heard of success with cMBPs though.

    ----------

    You mean exFAT? It's faster than FAT32, but why would I use that when there is NTFS? I hardly need write access to the Windows disk from OS X, and if I do, my drive came with the driver to do so.

    You probably mean so that I won't need two partitions, right? You could be right, if I run out of space on one, I'll need to resize the partitions somehow. But does Time Machine work with exFAT? What is the performance for a 1.5TB drive and exFAT? What cluster size should I use for a drive of this size? Do all Windows programs/games support exFAT? NTFS just sounds safer.
     
  25. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2012
    #25
    I just prepared my USB 3.0 drive with help of this How-To:
    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/6991.windows-to-go-step-by-step.aspx

    Just need my ordered MacBook Pro to arrive, so I can test it...

    This seems to work very well on a MacBook Air:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lUC4rtSfP4
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zqv9Ybm5kP0
     

Share This Page