2 Macs. Bootable external HDD pros and cons?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by eladnova, Jan 7, 2014.

  1. eladnova macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2012
    #1
    Hi guys

    I've a new iMac on the way which will be my main machine and taking over from a MacBook Pro.

    Having 2 machines now gives me the dilemma of either

    1. Moving all my files / apps etc over to the iMac internal drive
    2. Creating a bootable external drive and using that on whichever Mac i'm using

    I'm wondering if anyone had any long term experience with number 2 or any suggestions in general.

    I love the idea of just having a single bootable drive and not having to sync files etc regularly between the 2 Macs.

    On the other hand, part of me is thinking that the iMac is going to be my main machine so just port everything over to its internal drive anyway!

    Any practical advice greatly accepted.
     
  2. Supermacguy macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2008
    #2
    Though I have not done this, I am wondering if the performance of an external drive will be good enough for either computer. FW800 or Thunderbolt might be fast enough.
    Is using DropBox or a similar service a realistic possibility?
    Instead of an actual "bootable" drive, how about just a roving/removable disk with your user folder/profile? You'd always have to plug it in before startup, but the actual system would run off the internal disk, but things like Mail, Contacts, etc would be in your removable disk.
     
  3. eladnova thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2012
    #3
    Thanks Chris.

    I suppose that is an issue but with USB 3, I should have more than enough speed. I'm a web deesigner so thankfully most of my files and images are relatively small. A small % would be high res EPS files but tha's ok.

    I think I'll give it a shot. At least it's not permanent. I can always roll back to using a dedicated internal drive if I experience probs.
     
  4. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #4
    [[ On the other hand, part of me is thinking that the iMac is going to be my main machine so just port everything over to its internal drive anyway! ]]

    This is probably the best option.

    I use an external drive (SSD in a USB3/SATA dock) to run my Mac Mini as it's "main drive", but I don't move the drive around. I also have two other Macs (iMac and MacBook Pro). They each have their own systems and their own purposes.

    If you have 2 Macs, my suggestion is to "let each Mac be its own Mac", so to speak. That is to say, you'll probably find that with two Macs, each of them will develop its own purpose, insofar as how you use it.

    It's not really necessary to maintain "exact copies of everything" on both Macs since the iMac destined to become your "main machine", leaving the MacBook to evolve into a "secondary, but portable" device.

    The only issue you may face is with email.

    If you use IMAP (I don't), you're probably "set to go" already.

    I prefer POP for my email. My "main" Mac is set to remove messages from the server when I read them. My other two Macs are set to leave mail on the server indefinitely. Thus, I can read "new" mail on any Mac, but once I "fetch it" on my MAIN Mac, it's removed from the server. Works fine for me.
     
  5. eladnova thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2012
    #5
    Thanks Fishrrman.

    I see what you mean about letting each Mac find it's evolve its own purpose. Will have a think about it.

    On the mail front, I moved to Gmail and its IMAP setup years ago and never looked back. After so many nightmares with Outlook PSTs and moving mail and massive mailboxes, I have to say it's a joy to use.

    I have it configured so that outgoing email to my clients appears as from my corporate domain so it's looks a bit more professional on that end.
     

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