Boot from USB flash drive or iPod Nano?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by zoran, Dec 10, 2013.

  1. zoran, Dec 10, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2013

    zoran macrumors 68040

    Jun 30, 2005
    My MacPro's (1.1 Aug2006) dvd drive is gone faulty and i cant use it to boot from my SL dvd in order to install it.
    Is it possible to take my bootable SL disk, put it on a USB flash drive or an iPOD NANO and boot from there?
  2. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    So many bees
    On a USB flash drive: yes.
    On an iPod nano: no.

    You're basically asking whether you can make an external bootable disk. The answer to that question is basically, "Yes".

    The reason an iPod nano can't be made bootable is because you can't usually make it look like an external disk to the Mac's firmware. Anything that does look like an external disk, whether it's USB or Firewire, whether it's flash memory or spinning circles of aluminum, can be made bootable if it has sufficient storage capacity and is the correct partition-map format.

    Since you already have a bootable disk, the simplest is to clone that to an external disk. Two commonly used tools for that are Carbon Copy Cloner and SuperDuper. You can google their names to find downloads for them.

    You must also partition the external disk correctly, and create a volume with the correct file-system format.
    See here:
    That article is about installing a virgin copy of OS X to an external drive. So do the steps under the heading Erase and reformat the storage device, but then stop when it discusses using the App Store to re-download the OS installer. That's the point where you'd switch to using Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper to make an exact replica of whatever bootable drive you have.

    I have several external disks I connect with Firewire. I rotate bootable copies of my internal disk between them. I use SuperDuper at this time, but I've also used Carbon Copy Cloner, and other tools.

    I've also used an SD-card inserted into the MacBook's SD-card slot, and that also boots. It's not speedy, but it works.

    The key thing is to have the correct partition type (GUID Partition Table for Intel-based CPUs), and to have a large enough partition for the copying to succeed.

    Finally, you should test that the resulting duplicate is actually bootable by booting from it at least twice before doing anything that might alter or damage the internal disk drive it's copied from.
  3. zoran, Apr 26, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2014

    zoran thread starter macrumors 68040

    Jun 30, 2005
    Is it possible to have 2 or more MacOS installation files on one flash drive so when one would boot from that flash drive, he would be able to select either Leopard or SnowL for installation?
    Perhaps making 2 partitions on that flash drive and place in one partition each of the OS would work?
  4. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    So many bees
    Yes, if the flash drive is big enough.

    What capacity flash drive are you going to use?

    To make extra bootable OSes, you partition the drive in Disk Utility. If you make the partitions too small, then the OS won't fit. Other than that, the instructions in the previously linked article will work.

    There is nothing special about using a flash drive for this, compared to an external spinning disk drive. I have one external Firewire disk with 5 bootable partitions on it. Of course, it has enough total capacity to do this.
  5. zoran thread starter macrumors 68040

    Jun 30, 2005
    all ok, i partitioned an external HD to 3 partitions and placed Mavericks, Leopard and SnowLeopard and works like a charm! :)
  6. adam9c1 macrumors 68000


    May 2, 2012
    You need to partition the flash drive.
    Use app called lion disc maker for easy install media creation. It will ask you do wipe volume or entire drive.

    I have a external HD with lion, my lion, mavericks installers as well as installs of each.
  7. Intell macrumors P6


    Jan 24, 2010
    You can use an iPod Nano. You just need to put it into disk mode by press the correct buttons when restarting it.

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