Booting From Firewire "Superdrive"

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by m85476585, Jun 11, 2009.

  1. m85476585 macrumors 65816

    Feb 26, 2008
    I'm thinking about taking the superdrive out of my old MBP and putting in a second hard drive with this adapter:

    I have an old external DVD burner, a Plextor PX-708UF. This thing must be at least 5 years old, and it's from a time when laptop DVD burners were too expensive for me to afford in my laptop, and desktop DVD burners were still relatively expensive. It was one of the first 8X DVD burners ever produced. It's also massive, more than half the size of my MBP and a good two inches thick! The silver colored plastic matches the aluminum of my MBP almost perfectly, though. On the back, there are 4 and 6 pin Firewire ports, a USB port, and audio out jacks. It has it's own power supply because it is too power-hungry to run off USB alone (it takes 12V 3A while a slim drive only takes 5V 1A).

    If I am going to be without an internal CD drive, I will need a way to boot off a CD or DVD for reinstalling the OS or diagnostics or using Linux. First I tested booting with the drive connected by USB, and everything worked except for a slight (5-10 second) delay between the time my hard drive showed up and the CD always labeled Windows showed up. Next, I switched the drive to Firewire mode and hooked it up. When I rebooted, the CD showed up much faster, even before my hard drive. But when I clicked on the CD, I just got a black screen with text saying something like no bootable disk could be found, please insert bootable disk and press any key. I tries pressing any key, nothing happened. I also tried cycling the drive, checking for a loose connection, but it didn't work. I held the power button to restart my MBP. Trying again gave me the same result.

    Is booting from a Firewire CD drive just not supported, or could it be an issue with just this drive? Of course, it's not critical since USB works OK, but I'd rather use FIrewire if I can since it's a bit faster and the port is less likely to be in use than one of my USB ports.

    I know I can get an enclosure for the Superdrive that I take out of the MBP, but I don't see the need to spend any money on that when I have this drive.

    Finally, please don't continue the debate about whether or not Apple should drop the optical drive in this thread. There is already a thread for that, and it is not relevant here.
  2. m85476585 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Feb 26, 2008
  3. ewilson6 macrumors 6502

    Nov 30, 2006
    did you try opening up system preferences and click the Startup Disk control panel and select the FireWire disk.

    restart your mac and it should boot off of firewire cd/dvd drive.

    The computer should now start up from the FireWire drive. If it does not, make sure you are using third-party drivers that support FireWire booting. Also ensure that the FireWire disk mounts to the Finder desktop and that the system software was properly installed. If it still does not mount, contact the vendor of the device to ensure it can be used as a startup disk.
  4. mikes70mustang macrumors 68000


    Nov 14, 2008
    The portable super drives arnt super expensive, id just get one of those and be done with it. Or even better, get an external BluRay
  5. MacModMachine macrumors 68020


    Apr 3, 2009
    agreed, i picked up a lightscribe usb powered samsung slot load external,

    it works wonders and was cheap from new egg 72$ US
  6. m85476585 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Feb 26, 2008
    Like I said, it works by USB, so I'll probably just use it like that and save $70. Only problem is that it doesn't burn dual-layer disks.

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