Booting from an external drive

skippymac

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 9, 2010
592
3
Hampshire, UK
Hi,

I have booted my 2010 13" MBP from an external drive a few times whilst cloning and replacing HDs etc. Is it dangerous to run my MBP on a usb drive for extended periods of time? Overheating? What happens if it's accidentally unplugged?

I ask because I've been given a rather rubbish PC at work and would like to use my mac instead. To do this I need to do a lot of encryption and there are restrictions on what software I can have on there.

I figured it'd be easier to replace my HDD and reinstall OS X, so I can preserve my current settings etc.

I'd rather not open up my laptop every time I want to use my old HDD, so can I connect via USB? alternatively is it possible (and cheap) to put a HDD in place of the superdrive and mount one or the other as necessary?

Any recommendations are welcome :)
 

Mrbobb

macrumors 601
Aug 27, 2012
4,989
194
Read 3x and still not sure what ur trying to do.

Running external USB full time is fine. Why would it overheat? did u stuff the HD in a vent-less home made case? If it accidentally unplugs, the Mac will crash and u will lose some data ur working on, just like if you lose power on a desktop. What do u think it's going to happen?
 

skippymac

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 9, 2010
592
3
Hampshire, UK
Read 3x and still not sure what ur trying to do.

Running external USB full time is fine. Why would it overheat? did u stuff the HD in a vent-less home made case? If it accidentally unplugs, the Mac will crash and u will lose some data ur working on, just like if you lose power on a desktop. What do u think it's going to happen?
Essentially I want to have 2 macs, but I only have one so will be using 2 HDDs.
Thought booting from USB would be fine but I just wanted to check, as my sister managed to destroy a hard drive once booting her PC from an external drive.
Just wanted to check if there was any chance of corrupting the whole drive or something awful like that.
 

Freyqq

macrumors 601
Dec 13, 2004
4,022
172
It will work fine. However, USB 2.0 is MUCH MUCH slower than the internal sata II connection, so your computer will feel much slower for many tasks.

For comparison, in realistic transfer speeds based on connection only..not the drive being used:
USB 2.0 = ~25 MB\s
SATA II = ~250 MB\s

However, firewire 800 = ~80-100 MB\s

Most HDs can get between 60-100 MB\s
Most SSDs can get 250 MB\s on SATA II

SUMMARY: it will work, but it will be slow. I recommend getting an external drive that can do firewire 800
 

skippymac

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 9, 2010
592
3
Hampshire, UK
most of what I'll want to do on the USB drive will be downloading/watching movies. I'm not bothered about how fast it'll be downloading as I can leave it for a while, but will watching movies be laggy? (avis on VLC if that makes any difference)
 
Nov 28, 2010
22,670
28
located
most of what I'll want to do on the USB drive will be downloading/watching movies. I'm not bothered about how fast it'll be downloading as I can leave it for a while, but will watching movies be laggy? (avis on VLC if that makes any difference)
Not really. But your other stated approach, as stated here, will prove much faster.
 

skippymac

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 9, 2010
592
3
Hampshire, UK
Not really. But your other stated approach, as stated here, will prove much faster.
Thanks, I hadn't looked at that until this afternoon and thought it would be much harder than it is... BTW is there any reason to shell out for the expensive MCE caddy over any of the other cheap ones that can be had on amazon/ebay?

Could you recommend me one to buy, or tell me specific features I should look for? I'm a bit new to all this :p
 
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