Booting off external drives and suchlike

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Lion (10.7)' started by hakr100, Dec 21, 2011.

  1. hakr100 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 1, 2011
    East Coast
    I hope this is the right subforum.

    I have a four year old Macbook Pro that basically is used only when I have to travel. It's in good shape and for what I use it for, mainly word processing, email, web surfing, watching movies I've loaded onto it, et cetera, it seems to serve its purpose well. It only has a 200 gig hard drive, though, and there are some activities I'd like to use it for that will eat up most of the remaining hard drive space.

    So, I'm thinking of either opening it up and replacing the hard drive in there with a 500 or 750 gig hard drive or leaving the machine alone and buying a portable hard drive.


    1. Will the OS and hardware allow the laptop to be booted off the external hard drive if I want it to be? I'm thinking of BootCamp

    2. I'm thinking I might install VMWare Fusion on that external drive, if not BootCamp. Would I install BootCamp on the main drive inside the laptop or install it on the external drive?

    3. Does it matter if the external drive is hooked up via USB2 or Firewire in terms of anything but speed?

    These seemed like OS questions to me.

    Thanks for the advice.
  2. rkaufmann87 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2009
    Folsom, CA
    1. You can install OS X on any drive it will fit on internal or external. However FWIU MS Windows will only boot from an internal HD, so you may have a challenge. If you're going to Boot Camp Windows then it may work though, you should try it.

    2. Don't know.

    3. If you use a USB drive it will be very slow but it will work. I'd recommend using a FW 800 drive or Thunderbolt drive if your boot up time and overall performance are of any value you to you at all.
  3. hakr100 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 1, 2011
    East Coast
    Thanks. I'd really like to get a solid answer for whether I can Windoze 7 on the external drive via either VMWare Fusion or Bootcamp. My wife travels with me sometimes and her office requires all sorts of Windows-specific security and such to log in to her servers if she wants more than emails. Right now, everything works via the laptop through Fusion, but I'd like to move that off the laptop's HD. I'd prefer not to spend more money on a four year old laptop by taking out the existing HD...that's why I wanted the external.

    Good advice on the Firewire 800...I forgot the laptop had that port.

  4. greenchiliman macrumors 6502

    Jul 29, 2010
    I would opt to upgrade the existing internal hard drive. If you are traveling, why do you want to bring another piece of equipment that can be lost or die. Realistically, what is the difference in price for internal vs. external hard drives ? Can't be that much. I understand not wanting to spend $$ to upgrade an old machine, but you're putting money into either way.
  5. Dhelsdon macrumors 65816


    Feb 5, 2010
    Canadian Eh!
    VMware Fusion must be installed onto the internal drive, but you can run a virtual machine from a external hard drive.

    Currently I am running windows XP SP3 from an external drive using VMware Fusion. I have had no serious issues to date, if you go this route make sure the drive is formatted in HFS otherwise it will give you many headaches!!

    PM me if you have any other questions, I probably will forget about this thread otherwise!

    Good-luck, hope this helps!!

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