Boot externally from existing hard drive?

finster

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 28, 2006
17
0
Hi all,

My new 96GB SSD has arrived as I'm planning to replace the HD in My 2009 Mac Mini. I'm erring towards waiting for Lion to be released and then doing a clean install onto the SSD.

In the meantime, can I swap the units around and boot externally from the existing HD (I've got a USB-SATA cable somewhere).

Thanks.
 
Nov 28, 2010
22,684
27
located
Yes, you can.
Hold down the OPTION/Alt key shortly after you pressed the power button to select to boot from any internal or external boot device.

But know, that USB is abysmally slow and will hamper your experience.
 

dolphin842

macrumors 65816
Jul 14, 2004
1,168
27
Another tip: If you miss the timing with the boot chime, you can also manually select the external drive from System Preferences -> Startup Disk.
 

finster

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 28, 2006
17
0
Yes, you can.
Hold down the OPTION/Alt key shortly after you pressed the power button to select to boot from any internal or external boot device.
Excellent - this is what I was hoping but didn't know the key to press.
But know, that USB is abysmally slow and will hamper your experience.
Good point - hopefully it won't be for long though, just want to get things ready for Lion.

I suppose I could always install SL on the SSD and then do an upgrade, but it seems like good timing to do a clean install.

Thanks.
 

dolphin842

macrumors 65816
Jul 14, 2004
1,168
27
I suppose I could always install SL on the SSD and then do an upgrade, but it seems like good timing to do a clean install.
The 'clean install' we are familiar with won't be an official option for Lion when you download it from the App Store. Of course, if you extract the relevant disk image and burn it on a DVD or other media, you can apparently use that to do a clean install. At any rate, Apple's official path for a clean install is to install Snow Leopard, then upgrade from there, so you wouldn't be far from that approach if you just installed SL on the SSD now and waited it out a week for Lion.
 

finster

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 28, 2006
17
0
The 'clean install' we are familiar with won't be an official option for Lion when you download it from the App Store. Of course, if you extract the relevant disk image and burn it on a DVD or other media, you can apparently use that to do a clean install. At any rate, Apple's official path for a clean install is to install Snow Leopard, then upgrade from there, so you wouldn't be far from that approach if you just installed SL on the SSD now and waited it out a week for Lion.
Yes, I was intending to extract a disk image and burn it to a DVD, but thinking about it, it might make sense for me to: -
  1. Take the HD out, put the SSD in
  2. Boot from the HD via USB
  3. Buy Lion when its out (from my running SL USB instance)
  4. Instead of upgrading the HD, install it to the empty SSD
Does that sound like it would work?

I can't explain why, but I don't like the idea of installing Lion over the top of SL - surely there'll be some files left behind eating up my precious SSD space...
 

MJL

macrumors 6502a
Jun 25, 2011
845
1
Hi all,

My new 96GB SSD has arrived as I'm planning to replace the HD in My 2009 Mac Mini. I'm erring towards waiting for Lion to be released and then doing a clean install onto the SSD.

In the meantime, can I swap the units around and boot externally from the existing HD (I've got a USB-SATA cable somewhere).

Thanks.
I suspect you are thinking about using full erase (IIRC hdparm?) and IIRC then you can use finnix.org 's boot cd for that.
 

dolphin842

macrumors 65816
Jul 14, 2004
1,168
27
Yes, I was intending to extract a disk image and burn it to a DVD, but thinking about it, it might make sense for me to: -
  1. Take the HD out, put the SSD in
  2. Boot from the HD via USB
  3. Buy Lion when its out (from my running SL USB instance)
  4. Instead of upgrading the HD, install it to the empty SSD
Does that sound like it would work?
That's how I would approach it. Again, it all depends on being able to extract the disk image from the official download.
 

finster

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 28, 2006
17
0
Thanks everybody, hard drive and SSD now swapped, and I'm booting from the (now external) hard drive via USB. Works fine (albeit a bit slow). So bring on Lion!
 

Similar threads

Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.