Boot XP from an external drive on a Macbook Pro?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by anth, Mar 14, 2008.

  1. anth macrumors member

    Jul 19, 2005
    Hello everyone,

    I will be buying a shiny new Macbook Pro soon, and I have a few questions. I want to have Mac OS on my internal hard drive and will likely use Mac OS >95% of the time.

    The things is, I occasionally use software that is only available for Windows (ArcGIS being one example). I would like to avoid going Bootcamp or parallels route and be able to boot and run XP from an external drive. I'll either put together or buy a large-ish 2.5" firewire or USB external hard drive, using which ever interface would be preferable.

    In other words, my ideal situation is: live in Mac OS most of the time. When I need to go over to the dark side, I shut down my Macbook Pro, plug in my external drive with XP on it, press the power button, and watch the computer boot XP.

    So, can this be done? I've searched the forum and haven't found a decisive answer with accompanying instructions.


  2. Sean7512 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 8, 2005
    I also would love to know this answer. Can anyone shed some light?
  3. anth thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 19, 2005

    Has anyone tried made any attempt at this?

    I guess my dream situation isn't possible, as indicated by the lack of replies.

    Does Boot Camp allow the installation of XP to an external drive? Could I plug in my external drive, boot up and hold the option key, and then selection a partion on an external firewire drive in the boot selector?


  4. JnDRader macrumors regular

    Mar 18, 2008
    Hmm, unless boot camp magically does something with the USB then no. I tried this with XP a couple years ago and it never worked due to the USB getting re-initiallized during start-up. I believe that firewire acts the same. What I never got around to trying was using a Sata cardbus and using an external sata drive.

    Does the macbook pro support add-on cards of any format? Does it have an eSata port? If not, I'm afraid you may be out of luck.

    Ok, went and looked at the tech specs and it apparently has an ExpressCard/34 slot. Newegg looks to have a bunch of sata2 cards available. If you give it a shot, please let us know how it works.


    Note that I haven't tried this, only that this is the only way I can see you being successfull.
  5. steveza macrumors 68000


    Feb 20, 2008

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