Running windows XP on an external hard disk?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by farqueue, Jul 17, 2006.

  1. farqueue macrumors 6502


    Jun 18, 2006
    Hello i own a macbook. I have a 300gb external hard disk. Just wondering how can i use bootcamp etc to install windows on it, without having to interfere with my macbooks HD.

    And also running Mac OS X games like call of Duty and WoW from the hard disk. Is it possible?

  2. DevilsRejection macrumors regular

    Apr 13, 2006
    you post a good question, in it's current state what you ask is impossible to my knowledge since the bootloader that boot camp uses needs a partition on the boot disk. i don't think it's advanced enough to understand external devices.

    i do have one thing to say however, WWDC is coming up soon, so we should get more details about the final status of boot camp then.

    less than a month so hang tight
  3. tobio macrumors regular


    Sep 5, 2004
    OSX can boot from firewire external disks, but not USB. so you could move your OSX system onto the external drive and have windows on the local one.

    You would be very luck to get windows to boot from an external disk. With out of the box bootcamp it just isn't going to happen. Something like BartPE might worth exploring though.
  4. FragTek macrumors 6502

    May 29, 2006
    Fredericksburg, VA
    Yup you can run WinXP from an external disk, USB or FireWire. It's rather quite simple.

    The first thing you need to do is format your 300gb drive as a FAT32 file systems (if you don't do this beforehand your drives & partitions may not show up correctly in the Windows installer), you can do this in the OS X terminal:

    newfs_msdos -F32 /dev/rdisk#s1

    Make sure to check your partition ID's as rdisk#s1 might differ from your setup.

    Restart your Mac and boot from the Windows CD by holding down the "C" key on startup. Install Windows as usualy on to your external drive. To boot in to Windows after installation hold down CMD+OPTION+SHIFT+DEL @ startup. You can also use a program such as refit as a "bootloader" of sorts which makes it a bit easier to start up in whichever OS you want to use. Just install your Boot Camp drivers from the CD and off you go!

    Cheers mate.
  5. Harryc macrumors member

    Mar 22, 2006
    New York
    I think I've seen you post before claiming to boot XP off of a Firewire drive. Why are you the only person on the Internet who can do this? USB has been done, but not firewire. What's your secret?
  6. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    And getting it to work with USB, requires tweaking the INF files on the install CD so that the USB driver stays loaded throughout the boot process.

    It does depend heavily on the BIOS implementation though, since many PCs can boot off of USB media, by emulating internal devices...

  7. ljump12 macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2006
    Your lying! well i wont accuse you but NOONE else has been able to do it. I tried to follow your isntructions and it diddnt work.... What drive are you using; what computer exactly and what version windows?
  8. FragTek macrumors 6502

    May 29, 2006
    Fredericksburg, VA
    Maxter OneTouch III 300gb FW800
    MacBook Pro 17"
    Windows XP SP2

    Works like a champ!

    I may also add that I'm using reFit.
  9. roland.g macrumors 603


    Apr 11, 2005
    One mile up and soaring
    on a related subject:

    anyone know when loading OS X on an external firewire as a boot, what will give better performance:
    the external firewire on a 7200RPM Western Digital with an 8MB Cache, standard ATA drive vs. the internal 5400 RPM Mac Mini SATA drive.

    Forgive me but I don't know that much about the advantage of SATA versus ATA, or how much you might lose through Firewire rather than the direct connection to the board.

  10. Greebazoid macrumors regular

    Mar 20, 2006
    Cape Town
    I compared read and write speeds of the 2.5inch seagate drive (5400rpm) in my mac mini to the read/write speeds of the 3.5inch 7200 rpm drive in the iMac. Happily, the figures agree with the specs that seagate themselves publish.

    When my mini is out of warranty, I'm going to replace the 80GB 5400rpm drive with a 7200RPM 100GB drive. These newer 2.5inch drives are pretty much the same speed as the larger drives, plus, they have the advantage of NCQ (Native Command Queuing) and the SATA 1.5Gb/s transfer rate.

    Summary: a like-for-like modern drive (that supports NCQ) will be quicker internally over SATA than plugged via *any* firewire connection.

    I'm keen to try a RAID-1 set using SATA and Firewire tho.. my writes will be at the speed of the slowest drive (the firewire), but my reads should fly.
  11. bbrosemer macrumors 6502a


    Jan 28, 2006
    Boo serial interface go SCSI and their parallel interface, 40MB/s not Gb/s... ;)

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