EDIT: I got it to work! Now a "how to run Windows 8 from a USB flash or SD card!"

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by lokiju, Oct 30, 2012.

  1. lokiju, Oct 30, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2012

    lokiju macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2008
    After MUCH searching and trial and error I have FINALLY found a way to accomplish what I wanted.

    I hope this helps someone else as well.

    I followed parts from this guide

    Note this must all be done from within Windows.


    Here are the exact steps I did that finally worked for me.

    1: Download RMPrepUSB, install and open.
    Under 0 at top make sure you have the USB Flash Drive/SD/Micro SD device you wish to use selected!!
    Select the following options.
    -Under 3-Bootloader Options: WinPEv2/WinPEv3/Vista/Win7 bootable [BOOTMGR] (CC4)
    -Under 4-Filesystem and Overrides: NTFS radio button and check "Boot as HDD (C:2PTNS)"
    -Click on bottom left "6 Prepare Drive"
    2: Download GetWaikTools and open (no install required)
    Uncheck "Waik Tools for Windows 7"
    Check "Waik Tools for Windows 8"
    Verify "Download to AppDir\Waik_*" is checked
    Click "Download"
    This will create a new folder in the directory you launched GetWaikTools.exe from.
    Open a command prompt with administrator rights and navigate to the newly created folder and then into the correct architect type (32bit or 64bit) that matches the Windows 8 installer you'll be using.

    Assuming that your Windows 8 ISO is mounted at E: and the USB drive has the drive letter of F:, type the command:

    "imagex.exe /apply E:\sources\install.wim 1 F:" (Without quotes)

    Hit Enter

    This will take a very long time (1 hour or more) depending on the interface and speed of the media.

    Once it completes, type:

    "BCDBOOT.exe F:\Windows /s F: /v" (Without quotes)

    Hit Enter

    If that fails it may be because you have an EFI Windows system, in which case try the following command:

    "BCDBOOT.exe F:\Windows /s F: /f ALL /v" (Without quotes)

    Hit Enter

    Reboot your Mac and hold the alt/option key, you will now see the device as a bootable option. Arrow over to it and hit enter.

    It will run through a device/hardware detection process that can take a long time initially but after that completes you have a fully functional version of Windows 8 running from a USB or SD slot attached flash device!

    Original Post:
    I can install OS X to a SD card in the SD slot and boot it without issue.

    I want to do this for Windows 7 or 8 if there is any way possible.

    I can dual boot my 13" 2011 MBA using Bootcamp and the internal SSD of course and I even used Disk Utility to clone the Windows volume to the SD card but I cannot select it as a boot device by holding down the ALT/Option key on start up, it just does not list the SD "drive" as an option to select to boot from when it has Windows on it, but does show it as a valid option when it has OS X on it.

    When I run the Windows install on the MBA, again I cannot see the SD "drive" as an option and am wondering if there is any driver I can load to enable support of the SD card for Windows at that point?

    Is there any creative way whatsoever to boot this MBA from a SD "drive" using Windows?

    I don't use Windows much and hate wasting the space on my SSD to keep the Bootcamp partition there for the limited use. The results in a regular chore of blowing away the Windows Bootcamp volume in order to free up space in a pinch only to have to reinstall Windows via Bootcamp down the road for a need that comes up.

    I would LOVE to be able to use this 64GB Micro SDXC Class 10 card I have and stick it into the SD slot and boot up into Windows for the limited usage that comes up for my job and then remove it and store it away when not in use.

    I'm wondering if there's a way to accomplish what I want using some of the methods Hackintosh folks use to make non-Apple drives bootable. Maybe somehow making the FAT formatted SD card usable by the EFI?
  2. kryten2 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2012
    I think you need a Globally Unique Identifier (GUID) Partition Table (GPT) disk for this. No guarantee for this to work.

    Info : http://www.osx86.net/guides-tutorials/13659-how-install-windows-pure-guid-partition-table-pure-gpt-easy-way.html

    Be sure you're messing with the SD card. In Terminal :

    diskutil list
    to see which disk is your SD card eg /dev/diskX.

    Disclaimer : I'm not responsible for anything you do with this info to your system. Use at your own risk.
  3. sviato macrumors 68020


    Oct 27, 2010
    HR 9038 A
    From what I've read it would be very very slow
  4. xxcysxx macrumors 6502

    Oct 12, 2011
    well, the fastest sd card is about equivalent to a 5400rpm drive. so it's not bad really. now i'm talking about a an sd card, not a micro sd.
    but that slow speed will ruined your experience.
  5. lokiju thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2008
    Thanks! Just saw this. Didn't get a notification for some reason about any of the replies.

    I'll be testing this out today and I'll report back the results.
  6. WesCole macrumors 6502a

    Jul 1, 2010
    In addition to it being really slow, it would probably kill the SD card in short order with all the reads and writes. SD cards weren't really designed to run an operating system. Depending on software and version requirements, you could put a slimmed down Win XP install on your Air and only use 5-10GB...that number will increase with the amount of software you need, though.
  7. asting macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2012
    Over the course of a few years? maybe. But in the mean time it seems like it would be an incredibly cost effective addition without much added bulk. Pop the sd card in when you need it.

    Also, maybe try Refit to boot into the windows partition. I installed it when i set up my ubuntu partition (and uninstalled after it was set up).
  8. lokiju thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2008
    I followed the guide and gpart showed as the guide said it should after but the "drive" in the SD slot is never a bootable option or a install Windows to option.

    Has anyone ever accomplished booting Windows from the SD slot on a MacBook? Please do share what you did, if so.
  9. lokiju thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2008
    Anyone out there that has been able to boot Windows on their Macbook from a SD card or hell even a USB Flash drive?
  10. asting macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2012
    If you can't select the drive try refit. I use an sd card for my OS on my raspberry pi, and i often boot into my ubuntu drive with the debian sd card in the computer. It is an option for me then (obviously not bootable because it's an arm architecture for a completely different machine).
  11. AzN1337c0d3r macrumors 6502

    Sep 13, 2010
    Windows 7 doesn't support booting from removable devices without heavy modifications, so basically no.
  12. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2010
    Since performance is obviously not that important, why not use virtualization and store the virtual disk on the SD Card? I've never done this from SD, but I have from a USB thumb drive. Don't see any reason that it wouldn't work, it's just a volume to the Virtualization software.

    I personally prefer VMWare Fusion, but you might try the free VirtualBox instead.
  13. lokiju thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2008
  14. AppleMacFinder macrumors 6502a


    Dec 7, 2009
    Yes, I just hold "Option" key during startup and then select the drive. Just works.
  15. lokiju thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2008
    Someone didn't read the question fully...
  16. jansoucek, Feb 27, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013

    jansoucek macrumors newbie

    Feb 27, 2013
    Dear lokiju,
    could you help me with the process?

    I am trying to install Windows 8 onto SD card on Retina Macbook Pro.

    I followed your guide 3 times step by step, received no errors in the process, but macbook does not allow me to select the SD card as a boot device neither in OS X nor while booting with Alt key.

    Are you sure it is possible to boot Windows from SD? I am starting to thing that this guide would only work with USB flash drive.

    Thank you in advance,

  17. lokiju thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2008
    Well I can't say it'll work on every model the same and actually had a hell of a time booting from either USB or SD on my 2012 Mac Mini that I bought after this thread.

    In that situation I used rEFIt boot manager and was able to select the device manually each time.

    You have to set which partition is your default and can modify which one is default but it won't "remember" automatically like it does using Bootcamp.

    Not claiming this will work 100% for you as we'll but might be worth a shot. http://refit.sourceforge.net/
  18. jansoucek macrumors newbie

    Feb 27, 2013
    Thank you SO MUCH for your prompt reply.

    Will let you know if it worked. Thanks again.
  19. jansoucek macrumors newbie

    Feb 27, 2013
    Ok so what I tried now was setting the startup disk via Terminal and I finally succeeded in a way that Terminal didn't throw any error at me.

    I used: sudo bless --device /dev/disk2s1 --setBoot --legacy --nextonly

    The problem is that when I reboot the Mac, I receive the "No boot device detected" error message and I have to force-shut the Macbook.
  20. msephton macrumors 6502


    Jan 6, 2004
    Cornwall, UK
    I'm also getting "No boot device detected" on my iMac (mid-2011)

    In the past I've been able to boot a Kali Linux SD card only by having a bootable CD version of Kali Linux in my optical drive. With that setup the iMac senses the CD is bootable but actually loads the files from the SD card (I can eject the disc after booting starts).

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