WinXp on External HD with MBP C2D and rEfit

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by RKnight, Feb 18, 2007.

  1. RKnight macrumors newbie

    Feb 17, 2007
    I'll try to make this short... I've been in the process of installing WinXP onto an external USB drive to be used on my MBP C2D without installing ANYTHING on my OSX internal drive or partitioning. I've come a long way with tools from some very slick, resourceful people on the net, the sticky guide from the forum and my own personal obsession with this.

    This is where I am right now:
    - I've made a USB installable WinXP disk with this guide

    - I did install Boot Camp 1.1.2 to burn my driver disk, thats all.

    - I've boot to the XP disc then been able to begin the first phase of installation of XP, but when I reboot I am unable to boot to the windows drive to continue installation. Hitting Option -- or Cmd-Option-Shift-Delete doesn't work, also going into the OSX's Startup Disk option in System prefs. and selected the Windows drive doesn't work, it just sits there on the reboot.

    - So I came across rEFIt - great tool, I decided to install it to a spare USB thumb drive (a suggestion from the site). rEFIt comes up, I select the windows USB drive, the gray windows logo appears then...
    I get this error​

    Booting Legacy OS
    Starting legacy loader
    Using load options 'USB'
    Error: Not Found returned from legacy loader
    Error: Not Found from LocateDevicePath
    [......above error 13 more times.....]
    Error: Load Error while (re)opening our installation volume (Tried rEFIt on a cd and that got rid of this error)

    I know it could be that fact that I'm on an external drive... or it could be that Im running from the thumb drive, but I feel it has to do with the MBP C2D firmware. I've read people with other models have gotten this to work and other people with this model have reported similar problems, plus the firmware was an issue with the MacPros for a while... So... any suggestions? I fear that an update to rEFIt is whats needed here, but I could be wrong.

    Any help would greatly appreciated, like many, I've lost lots of sleep over this!
  2. RKnight thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 17, 2007
    Interestingly enough, I decided to connect the windows drive though firewire to test an idea I had. And it turns out I was correct, rEFIt had no problem again seeing the Windows drive (now on firewire) and when I chose it, it started to load windows, but then I was at a DOS screen telling me it could not find a bootable drive.

    Now that is because its on firewire, and Windows can not boot to firewire, but what that told me is that the drive started to boot, meaning rEFIt did its job. So this just confirms what we already know, that this issue is related to USB, firmware on the MBP C2D and rEFIt. But at least it lessens the chances its something else.

    Just thought I’d share my findings.
  3. MRU macrumors demi-god


    Aug 23, 2005
    The one thing I hope apple do with the final version of bootcamp is allow users to intall to an external HDD.

    If you can do it to an entire drive in a MacPro it doesnt seem unreasonable for Apple to allow you to do the same to an external drive.

    That and Vista support please :)
  4. sotl macrumors member

    Feb 14, 2007
    I took it one step further, on a pc that is. I have a fully installed windows on my usb hdd. I used my desktop computer to get it done by disconnecting its hard drive since I couldn't even start the install with refit. I must have split my MBP open at least 6 times to disconnect the hdd in vain.

    Anyways, on my pc, using Acronis OS selector I can boot up from my usb hdd. I can load parallels desktop, pick bootcamp as my hd, and start the emulation. It, too, will boot from my usb drive.

    But, when I try booting with refit v0.8 it tells me it could not load and to check the firmware. :\
  5. Bill Gates macrumors 68020

    Bill Gates

    Jun 21, 2006
    Frankly, I'm not entirely sure what the boot process is when people successfully load Windows off of a USB disk. I have personally only had limited success booting Linux off of a GPT USB disk. The firmware flat-out refused to boot from the disk when it was formatted as MBR. There has to be some string that the firmware looks for to trigger BIOS emulation, which in turn allows the computer to boot from an MBR disk. That rEFIt firmware error means that the EFI refused to boot from the disk, most likely because of the aforementioned issue. It's not a bug either; rather, it's by design.
  6. RKnight thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 17, 2007
    Not a fix, just more thoughts...

    Actually I must confess, I did a similar thing (but I left it out for fear I would be told this could be the problem when in fact it isn't). My idea was to start the installtion process on a PC. If you think about it, the first part of installing Windows just formats the drive, makes the boot records and copies windows' needed file, it doesn't actually install or configure anything to the hardware so there is no chance of it "tieing" itself to PC. When it restarts just shut the system down, and in theory, plug it into another system (i.e. my MBP) and complete the install. The only reason we are suppose to remove the MBP in the first place is for that portion of the install. The rest shouldn't matter. Just a work around I thought of.....

    From what I have gathered, it seems that rEFIt loads up, you select USB drive, rEFIt initializes the USB through the firmware (I'm techie, but no programer so sorry if this is explained wrong, its just the way I think it is), and the system simply boots from the MBR formated drive.

    From what I have gathered, this is simply an issue that rEFIt (despite being an awesome tool) is not up to date enough to work with the MBP C2D firmware, that is why we are having this problem with it not initializing the USB for boot up. I found a thread on the forums here where someone was having issues with the MacPro firmware and rEFIt, the creator of had to come out with what is now version 0.8 to address the issue. What it looks like to me is we need a version 0.9 that addresses this problem. I sent him a private message from another forum inquiring about this. I'll keep you all posted.

    Any other thoughts?

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