21.5" iMac SSD Upgrade - Boot external USB DVD Drive?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by All Taken, Dec 28, 2009.

  1. All Taken macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 28, 2009
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    UK
    #1
    Hi Guys and Gals,

    I am anxiously waiting for my Intel X-25m G2 SSD to arrive for my 21.5" iMac . I have plans to change the superdrive to a optical caddy (12.7mm SATA)

    http://newmodeus.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2_27&products_id=260

    I am well aware of the 27" iMac SSD - important tip! thread (great thread) but I am referring to a 21.5" iMac SSD optical bay project and have a few questions.

    I have also ordered a Slimline SATA to SATA adaptor just incase the optical caddy does not have the slimline connector. My plan is to use the Intel G2 SSD as my boot drive for a Snow Leopard and Windows 7 bootcamp install and my internal Mechanical Drive for Media etc.

    Now my question to the community is this: Can I boot my intel based iMac from a external USB (NON-SUPERDRIVE) DVD drive for purposes of installing snow leopard?

    I ask as I obviously won't have a internal superdrive to boot from. I plan to install Windows from a USB thumb drive (bootcamp) but as many know I will need rEFIt in place to do so, hence the question.

    I also have a Macbook Pro 13" (still has it's superdrive :rolleyes:) would it be possible to use the Macbook Superdrive via firewire to install Snow Leopard on the iMac?

    If anyone is interested in some upgrade photos/tips/part list after I have finished my endeavour then I would be happy to share my experience.

    Thanks in advance
    Matt
     
  2. knewsom macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 9, 2005
    #2
    The MacBook superdrive to install the OS? No. The SuperDrive that came in your iMac, but in an external caddy via USB? I haven't done it myself, but in theory it should work just fine. The installer disk that came with the iMac will not work in any other drive or in any other machine. I do know though that you can boot a Mac from an external device, USB included (unless something has changed recently), so you should be good to go.
     
  3. All Taken thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    Thanks for the reply - booting from a USB device in my experience has required a modification via means of rEFIt - I used rEFIt to boot from my usb thumb drive - I need to know if an untouched EFI will allow detection and booting from a USB DVD Drive (non-apple).

    As far as I know the G5 Macs required firewire DVD drives to boot externally. Do intel based macs require the same methodology or has Apple locked out all but the macbook air superdrive as it's booting option?
     
  4. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #4
    I've booted from an 8 gb USB thumb drive lots of times on my Intel Macs.
     
  5. All Taken thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    Interesting - is it possible to copy the snow leopard installation DVD to a USB thumb drive and have it booted, without modifying the EFI? It's just that if I want to install windows on my iMac I have always had to install rEFIt to boot from the USB Drive.
     
  6. Badger^2 macrumors 68000

    Badger^2

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  7. All Taken thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 28, 2009
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    #7
  8. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #8
    Yes, it installs just fine. You have to use Carbon Copy Cloner (or other app) to make a copy of the Installer DVD onto the device. But so long as it's an Intel Mac it will boot by USB.
     
  9. All Taken thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    Thank you, so I can use carbon copy cloner to copy the shipped snow leopard recovery disc and boot from usb drive without mods and install?
     
  10. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #10
    I don't know what you mean by "recovery" disc. Is it a SL retail disk, or one that came with your computer? If the latter, I'd try it first before doing any mods. You can also just install it onto the SSD, then connect the SSD by USB and if it boots you're in business.
     
  11. knewsom macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    Yeah, you have to use the disc that came with the new iMacs - using a retail Snow Leopard disk won't work.
     
  12. All Taken thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 28, 2009
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    #12
    I do not have a external USB enclosure and I did indeed mean the disc that shipped with the iMac (non-retail).

    "Yeah, you have to use the disc that came with the new iMacs - using a retail Snow Leopard disk won't work."

    What is prohibiting a Snow Leopard retail disc from being used as a USB bootable image?
     
  13. knewsom macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2005
    #13
    Frankly, I don't know specifically what. I've read that Apple has specifically said NOT to install from the retail disc. I suspect it has something to do with drivers and maybe firmware.
     
  14. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #14
    Yes that should work fine.

    It has to be the retail disk that includes the OS when the new iMac was shipped because it contains drivers specific for the 21.5" and 27" iMacs. I don't know what that version was, but it's likely stamped on your disc that came with the iMac (e.g., 10.6.2).
     
  15. remonster macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2010
    #15
    Actually...it is possible. At least it was with the old G4/G5 processor Apples. I successfully installed the OS in my iMac G5 through a G4 Powerbook's SuperDrive. I booted the Powerbook in Target Disk Mode with the OS DVD inside while it was hooked via Firewire to the iMac. The iMac recognized both the Powerbook's HD and the OS Install DVD. It was a painfully long install but worked out in the end.
     

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