Bootcamp and external drive


macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 11, 2018
All, I have a 2017 mbp, 16gb, 512gb and want to install windows via bootcamp (I think) just to play a game that is a crappy wine client on the mac side. Can a bootcamp install of windows be on an external ssd? I'm just looking for a small drive, prolly 256gb. Anyone doing this have tips, etc, drive suggestions? Will the mbp complain if the drive isn't connected when I don't need the windows side? Thanks in advance.


macrumors newbie
Jun 27, 2019
Can a bootcamp install of windows be on an external ssd?
If I use the BootCamp app on the first two machines listed in my signature, the response is: "External storage device Attached. Please remove any external storage device attached to this system before continuing." Your MBP should give you the same message.

Whilst you can run Windows on an external drive, you cannot install Windows using Apple's Boot Camp Assistant. From within Boot Camp Assistant, go to 'Action' and 'Download Windows Support Software' which will give you the Windows 10 drivers for your MBP. You can then install Windows using a prepared Windows 10 USB installer and manually install the windows drivers that you downloaded. 9to5mac has published a guide that you might like to follow. You can ignore the VMWare bit if you already have access to a Windows machine. Alternatively, a 2012 Mac mini (maybe others?) can be used to make a Windows 10 USB installer from within Boot Camp Assistant.


macrumors regular
May 22, 2007
Save yourself headache and skip USB external drive.

Get yourself external TB3 drives like Samsung x5 or WD G-Drive Mobile Pro SSD. Amazon has Samsung X5 500 gb for $200 and WD has G-Drive Mobile Pro SSD 500 gb for $229 now.

2017 MBP will allow direct installation of Windows 10 to external TB3 drive using windows installer from MS (UBS drive). Not only you will enjoy transfer rate similar to internal NVMe drive, your MBP/Win 10 will treat TB3 as internal drive (although it shows the drive as ejectable drive).


macrumors regular
Dec 6, 2010
I have a 2019 MBP 15" with 512Gb SSD. I partitioned off 80G for Windows 10. I installed Windows 10 and I believe it took maybe 35Gb. I then purchased a Samsung T5 USB 3.1 external 512Gb SSD for around $80. I store all of my Steam and Origin games on it. Absolutely no noticeable delay in loading anything or playing anything.

This saved me having to purchase the $350 1Tb option on my MBP while only taking away around 40G from my internal 512SSD. I am very happy with this setup as my total expenditure for using Bootcamp and Windows 10 was $80.