Can't convince my 2011 i7 MBP to boot from USB?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by zerodb, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. zerodb macrumors member

    Feb 22, 2008
    Currently using an SSD and HD combo so I have no optical drive, obviously.

    My SSD is split into 2 partitions - one has Windows 7 on it, but I need to upgrade it to Win7-64.

    I've made a GUID USB drive and restored the W7 install image onto it but can't get it to boot from this drive no matter what I do! Have tried using rEFIt as well as regular boot device selection on startup, no luck.

    Anyone else dealt with this?
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    Windows can't be booted from an external HDD, though Windows 8 shall include that feature, finally.
  3. zerodb thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 22, 2008
    Not trying to RUN windows off the USB drive, just install it onto my Boot Camp partition FROM a USB drive.
  4. Bill Gates macrumors 68020

    Bill Gates

    Jun 21, 2006
  5. zerodb thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 22, 2008
  6. zerodb thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 22, 2008
    This seems to have done the trick to create the boot media, but when I actually attempt to boot from the USB stick generated this way, it just sits at a black screen with a flashing cursor in the upper left corner indefinitely.

  7. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    MBP's will utterly refuse to boot windows from USB, only the MBA can do it.
  8. MonkeyBrainz macrumors regular


    Feb 18, 2012
    What version of OS X are you using? Older versions of Boot Camp didn't let me install 64-bit Windows 7, only 32-bit. Which is utterly annoying.
  9. Bkraft macrumors newbie

    Apr 15, 2011
    Charlotte, NC
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

    Is your hardware setup running OSX split across both hard drives (OS on one drive, user files and storage on second drive, etc.)? If so your bootcamp install probl isn't going to work, unfortunately.

    If that's the case then both your drives are most likely formatted as OSX Journaled (Extended) on a GUID partion scheme. Your Windows installer is on a drive formatted in FAT or NTFS with an MBR partition scheme, and the installer only recognizes and can install onto the same type of volume.
    If you're booting and running storage on your mac install you won't be able to reformat either drive to accomodate the windows-friendly volume requirements (even if you make a separate partition on one of the drives, it's still going to be GUID partition scheme even if you write to it in FAT/NTFS). However, if you have a completely unused internal drive you can format it to MBR using FAT/NTFS and you should be able to rock and roll.

    If this is incorrect or someone knows something I dont, feel free to advise.
  10. zerodb thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 22, 2008
    Well that would certainly explain my problem! Ridiculous of course, but at least I can stop banging my head into it.

    Guess I need to pop the bottom off and temporarily put the optical drive back into service.


    Interesting info. I had already been running boot camp, with Lion on one partition of my SSD and Win7-32 on the other partition, AND the second HD split into storage partitions for OSX and Windows. But now that I think about it, I set up both Lion and Windows with the 2nd drive disconnected (optical still in) and then added the other drive for storage when my optibay arrived.

    Sounds like I've got a fight ahead of me.
  11. SimonUK5 macrumors 6502

    Nov 26, 2010
    Lies. I booted a Live Linux Distro off a USB Key moments ago...

    Just Hold option at boot and select the USB key
  12. zerodb thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 22, 2008
    I could always do it on my previous MBP but on this one it fights me every step of the way (2011 I7-quad core)

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