Bootcamp using desktop PC HDD to Macbook Air?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by Vinda-lou, Nov 19, 2011.

  1. Vinda-lou macrumors member

    Mar 10, 2011
    I had just bought Win 7 64-bit (home premium) and installed it on my desktop PC. Due to unrelated problems, my motherboard fried. Now I only have my Macbook Air 11" (late 2010).

    I know there are dozens of places online with explanations, but I cannot find one specific to my question:

    Is there a way to hook my desktop hard-drive to my Mac and somehow get Bootcamp going on it without losing the data from my dead PC? Or would I need to basically wipe the drive and start from scratch? Either way, where are simplest instructions for doing so? I have my Win 7 dvd and a back up copy on another external hdd to use if needed, but no current dvd drive for the MBA.

    (Incidentally, can I hook my PC's dvd drive somehow to the macbook air? :) )

  2. johnhurley macrumors 6502a


    Aug 29, 2011
    Easiest way to get the "data" from that drive is to get a usb hard drive dock. Lots of options there for 30 bucks on up. Basically they let you stick in any 2.5 or 3.5 SATA drive and connect it by USB into a laptop or desktop machine.

    You macbook should be able to read from that drive even without using bootcamp ... it won't have write access unless you do something tricky with an NTFS driver install into mac os x.

    Lots of choices about bootcamp on a macbook air and potentially using an external drive but none of them are exactly un complicated.

    How much do you use your macbook and for what tasks versus windows 7 on your old desktop?

    Some darn in-expensive new windows desktops in the 400 dollar range and under. If you bought something like that probably relatively easy to stick your old drive into one of those machines.

    Good luck!
  3. Vinda-lou thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 10, 2011
    Thank you John. I use my macbook for work, internet, garageband, music - basic computer uses. I used my PC for pretty much the same, but also games.

    We've had to spend a lot of money recently on sick pets, downed trees, etc., so my wife (who does the finances... I do the heavy lifting...) said we cannot afford to spend anything on a new computer. Hopefully after the new year we will get a new desktop.

    So my intentions are to be able to use Bootcamp on my (now external) hdd from my old PC to be able to use Win 7 programs, including some games. I know the MBA 11" is no powerhouse, but now it's my only computer so I'd like to try to have the best of both worlds by also having Win 7 on the hdd.

    I do have an enclosure and cables to hook the drive up, I'm just in the process of locating them.

    Would I be able to just get bootcamp going using the already installed Win 7 drive? Is there a way to use this hdd besides just storage w/o losing my data?
  4. Vinda-lou thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 10, 2011
    Ok, I was able to hook my dvd drive to the macbook! So I can install Windows from the dvd.

    But when I hooked up my PC hard drive, the mac is unable to recognize many folders and programs. I've hooked up PC hard drives before to the mac, and if memory serves me correctly, the mac at least listed the files and programs. I'm hoping I didn't lose these files - but I can't see how.

    So now the question is, how can I install bootcamp to this hdd (or another one) using the dvd drive with windows disk and the external hard drive? And can I use my PC hard drive for bootcamp w/o losing my data?
  5. DanielCoffey macrumors 65816


    Nov 15, 2010
    Edinburgh, UK
    Bootcamp does not support Windows on external HDDs - have a look at the Bootcamp FAQ and it will explain these issues.

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