I think I got windows booting off thunderbolt (seagate goflex adapter)

Discussion in 'iMac' started by omvs, Mar 31, 2012.

  1. omvs macrumors 6502

    May 15, 2011
    In case others are interesting in having windows on an external drive...

    You can't use bootcamp assistant to install to the drive directly, but I used Winclone to transfer over my bootcamp partition to a SSD using the GoFlex adapter. The drive now does show up as a bootable drive, and I have gotten windows running off it versus the internal.

    The only thing I'm not sure of is if the system is if it works without a bootcamp partition on the internal drive. Earlier in the week I removed the internal partition with bootcamp assistant and then both partition disappeared. However, it wasn't exactly a well controlled experiment, and I may not repeat for a while since it takes too dang long to restore everything.

    Even with a minimal bootcamp install on the internal drive, its a win for me having my C drive on the SSD and not having to crack the iMac open (again). Though at $99 for the adapter + $50 for the cable, its not exactly a cheap solution either....
  2. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    I get it to run with vmWare fusion on any external thunderbolt gear. all my testing has been done on mac minis base and server.

    the seagate thread


    the lacie little big disk thread



    has done extensive windows work send him a pm he can tell you a lot about bootcamp and t-bolt.

    I could not get bootcamp to work back in sept so I grabbed vmWare fusion.

    It works and I have not bothered with bootcamp since.
  3. omvs thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 15, 2011
    Further testing showed I definitely don't need the bootcamp on the internal drive. So here's the procedure that I did if anyone cares.

    1> Install a bootcamp partition to internal drive
    2> I'd boot into windows with the thunderbolt hooked up, let it install all the drivers
    3> Transfer the partition to the thunderbolt drive (using Winclone or maybe something else)
    4> Remove bootcamp partition from internal drive.
  4. shortcut3d macrumors 65816

    Aug 24, 2011
    I followed these same steps, except my bootcamp partition was on a separate internal drive with the AHCI hack. I also did not delete the original bootcamp partition after cloning it. Windows always failed to boot to the Seagate Thunderbolt GoFlex 2.5" Adapter. I gues a simple Windows 7 install is what it took.

    Please confirm the cloing tool you used.
  5. omvs thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 15, 2011
    I'm definitely using Winclone - successful with both the old 2.2 and the new 3.x (though the image file format has changed)

    One thing I discovered is its very easy to damage the boot somehow - when I tried making a new bootcamp partition on the internal drive, it screwed up the boot off the external drive (got to the initial low-res screen with the progress bar, then blue screen after about 1 second). I had to re-restore the SSD to repair it. Might also be possible to recover with bootrec, but I hadn't tried.

    During boot do you see a bios-screen flash by when the thunderbolt is hooked up? I believe this is the boot rom, and when I initially saw its existence it gave me hope that I actually could boot off of it. Maybe not all the seagate adapters have this...?

    How far do you get in the boot process off the thunderbolt?

    You could also try using bootrec to add the SSD to the boot info on the internal drive. I was running like that for a little while.


    Sorry, one other stupid question - you definitely did step 2, right? I'm not confident you can boot if the original partition hadn't already added device drivers for the thunderbolt device. I think it added some PCI-PCI bridges, a generic SATA port, and maybe a handful of other.s..
  6. shortcut3d macrumors 65816

    Aug 24, 2011
    I think the Windows 7 boot loader is getting damaged. I'll try Winclone vs Norton Ghost.

    Yes, I'm using a Windows 7 image that has all the bootcamp and Thunderbolt drivers.
  7. ysaykin macrumors newbie

    Jul 5, 2012
    Check up

    Hello, just wondering if the windows 7 installation has been smooth sailing for the op since he did it. I am considering getting the lacie little big disk thunderbolt set up and getting two ssd's in there to use as a drive for the windows installation. Please tell me if it's working fine or if you've been having any problems. I'm going to be using this on my macbook air.
  8. DeF46 macrumors regular

    May 9, 2012
    I think someone said in a related thread that there are sleep issues with Windows 7 on an external drive, though that's probably not a big issue.
  9. omvs thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 15, 2011
    Yep, smooth sailing. No sleep (as mentioned), but that's a thunderbolt/windows issue -- apparently if you have ANY thunderbolt devices hooked up this is true.

    I did have an odd problem where my SSD erased itself twice, but I think it was a firmware problem -- saw some mention in the OCZ firmware release notes. Also, it happened when I woke up the system from sleep in OSX, not Win7.

    One other discovery - if you have do it the way I did (Install to internal, win clone to SSD), windows can get a bit confused because the 'ID' on the SSD & internal partitions match. It should be okay booting off the SSD, but you may have trouble booting the internal windows partition if the ID's match.

    I think I still recommend this over cracking the system open, but I do wish sleep would work with Win7 & thunderbolt. %!#@$!@ Microsoft...

    NOTE: I don't know if the Lacie has the firmware to boot windows or not. I'd hope it would, but not sure anybody has actually tested it.
  10. jason3w macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2009
    Just wondering if the speed is much different with the SSD eternal, vs the IDE internal.
    Pretty keen to give this a go. Don't fancy opening up the iMac either. Looks pretty time consuming and warranty voiding.
  11. plucky duck macrumors 6502a

    Jan 5, 2012
    Ssd performance is fast enough on the thunderbolt adapter that you probably won't notice any difference in real life. Samsung 830 benches 350mb/s read versus 500 mb/s read in black magic speed test.
  12. joudbren macrumors regular

    Apr 13, 2007
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    I just installed a new SSD OSX boot drive via Seagate Thunderbolt desktop adapter on my 2011 iMac. Works perfectly! I need Windows once in a while but didn't want to waste any SSD space with Bootcamp. Happy to say Win7 via Bootcamp is running and booting perfectly from a partition on my internal 1TB hard drive.

    And to make it absolutely perfect, VMware Fusion still runs from my SSD and is able to use the Bootcamp partition as a virtual OS even though it's on a different drive. Whoot!! :D
  13. jason3w macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2009
    Sorry, are you saying it would be as fast as fitting the SSD internally in the iMac? I was hoping to not open the iMac to achieve the spped gains of running the OS on a SSD.
  14. omvs thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 15, 2011
    If you use the adapter I did, it will limit out to ~250MB/sec (SATA2). Some adapters do seem to be SATA3 (seagate desktop?), and should have almost no slowdown compared to internal.

    You might see some degradation on sustained transfers, but its still going to feel a heck of a lot faster than the internal drive even limited to SATA2- the access times are where you feel most of the speed.

    Turns out even running FW800 (limits to ~80MB/sec) is pretty good. I had to pack up my machine to take into the Genius bar today, and I booted my old Macbook pro off the SSD using Seagate's FW800 interface so I could get at my data. It was more responsive than I expected - felt only a tad slower than when it was on the iMac w/ thunderbolt.

    I'd strongly discourage cracking open the machine open unless you're quite skilled & patient -- its much more difficult than working on a laptop IMAO. There's been other threads where people have done some damage and I sure don't want to do it again - may even spend the extra $ on a built in one whenever Retina iMac gets released.
  15. shortcut3d macrumors 65816

    Aug 24, 2011

    I have successfully used the Seagate Thunderbolt GoFlex 2.5" adapter, Elgato Thunderbolt cable and 256GB Samsung 830 in a 2.5" Seagate GoFlex enclosure to run Windows 7 Professional x64 via boot camp.

    Step 1: Use boot camp to install Windows 7 x64 on your internal drive.

    Step 2 (optional): Apply AHCI hack from OCZ forums.

    Step 3: Complete installing boot camp drivers and apply software updates. Ensure Thunderbolt is functional.

    Step 4: Install and use Norton Ghost included with the Samsung 830 to clone Windows and select copy MBR to the Samsung 830 in external Thunderbolt enclosure. DO NOT REBOOT until disconnecting the external Thunderbolt drive.

    Step 5: Restart after disconnecting the destination drive from step 4.

    Step 6: CAUTION! This step will destroy your Windows boot camp installation. Use the boot camp utility to delete the Windows partition and reclaim the space.

    Step 7: Connect the external Thunderbolt drive and restart holding option. Select Windows 7 boot camp.
  16. StuMcBill macrumors 6502a

    Jul 11, 2011
    Aberdeen, Scotland
    So this only runs via ThunderBolt, not USB?

    Is there any adapter I could use to convert USB to ThunderBolt or does it not work like that?

    Sorry for the n00bish question!
  17. omvs thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 15, 2011
    Yeah, AFAIK, you can't run windows off a USB drive or even a firewire drive.

    The reason you can boot off thunderbolt is not because windows understands the thunderbolt adapter as a separate kind of boot device, but because it looks like a SATA port on a PCI bus, which is pretty standard.

    Thankfully OSX will boot off any type of interface without problems.
  18. Outrigger macrumors 68000


    Dec 22, 2008
    There is no conversion from usb to thunderbolt. different tech and not related at all.

    Didn't even realize this is an old thread.
  19. TraumaDoc macrumors newbie

    Jan 23, 2013
    LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt SSD windows 7 working!

    I copied this from another thread I just posted in

    I can confirm the listed configuration works without flaws on 2012 27inch iMac, no CD rom needed.

    What you'll need:
    LaCie Rugged SSD (comes with thunderbolt cable)
    Copy of windows 7
    Winclone 3

    How I got it to work, on 27 inch 2012 iMac without CD rom use.
    1. Make a Windows 7 ISO bootable thumb drive via bootcamp assistant
    2. Format the LaCie Rugged as fat 32 via disk utility. Make sure it's bootable under advanced option.
    3. Partition internal drive for bootcamp
    4. Using bootcamp assistant instal windows 7 on the internal partition
    5. While working in the new windows 7 partition install the LaCie thunderbolt drivers from their website.
    6 . Update windows 7
    7. Boot back into Mac OS X Mountain Lion
    8. Use Winclone to copy the internal partition to the SSD. leave the original bootcamp on the internal drive for now.
    9. Reboot holding down option. You will now see Mac OS X and 2 windows partitions. The second one is the external SSD. Select it.
    10. On first boot windows crashes and asks for repair, allow it to repair. Then it will boot into Windows 7 on external Lacie Rugged SSD without problems.
    11. Restart back into Mac OS X and using the bootcamp assistant delete the bootcamp partition.

    In the end you'll have your internal fusion drive (in my case) all for the Mac and an external thunderbolt SSD for Windows 7 that functions just like a regular bootcamp does. This has been a stable set up for me for about a month, without problems.
  20. cyberjunkie, May 20, 2013
    Last edited: May 20, 2013

    cyberjunkie macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2010
    I found this thread while searching for a solution for my installation problems.
    In the meantime i solved them with a "personal" solution, made up with different bits of documentation i found online.
    If somebody else will find this thread in the future, here is what i found:

    First, here is my configuration - MBP early 2011, with 8Gb RAM, 128Gb Apple SSD, and a 500GB 7200rpm drive mounted in place of the original SuperDrive (which now resides in an external USB enclosure). When i purchased the computer second hand, i erased the original installation, and reinstalled Mountain Lion 10.8.3, merging the two disks in a Fusion volume.
    Unfortunately the performance of USB 2.0 disks is good only for Time Machine and movies/music backups, as there is no USB 3.0.
    That's why i bought a Seagate GoFlex 1Tb Thunderbolt drive (which has the added advantage of being easily used as a Thunderbolt interface for multiple 2.5" HDs).
    The idea was to use it for a separate Windows installation.

    Here is a short resume of the hurdles i found in the process.
    BootCamp utility creates a new partition at the end of the tradition (spinning) HD, but i had to edit the plist to get the option of preparing a USB thumb drive for Windows 7 or 8 installation.
    Mountain Lion and Lion plist's are different, be aware! You'll find the instruction for Mountain Lion on the Web, with some patience.
    I found that both Windows 7 and Windows 8 don't allow you to install the OS on the BOOTCAMP partition, no matter how hard you try (formatting, as per instruction; erasing and re-creating the partition; etc).
    Of course i could not install directly to the Thunderbolt drive, either.
    No matter how the drive was partitioned (GPT, MBR; FAT32, NTFS).
    The only option left was to prepare the Thunderbolt drive using "imagex.exe" Microsoft utility, and the "install.wim" available on the installation Windows DVD or ISO image, using either a real Windows PC, or a Windows x64 virtual machine.
    You'll find the guide on the Web with a simple search.
    Unfortunately i have Vmware Fusion, which does NOT allow you to connect a Thunderbolt drive to the virtual machine! So i had to prepare a slow USB 2.0 drive...
    I had in mind to do the installation using the USB 2.0 disk, and clone the resulting installation to the Thunderbolt drive using WinClone.
    No success! :-(
    I tried with Windows 7 and Windows 8, in both instances the screen went black after some time, and the installation couldn't be completed.
    I thought i had found a dead end...
    Then i realized that there could be some problem related to the nature (and slow-ness) of the USB drive.
    So i prepared the USB drive once more, and did a "sector-by-sector" transfer from the "prepared" disk to the Thunderbolt one, using the "dd" utility from Terminal.
    After that, i rebooted using the Thunderbolt drive, and the installation started... but the screen didn't do black after some time, and everything went fine (rebooting twice with "option" to proceed with the installation).
    Now i have a working Windows 7 copy on my Thunderbolt drive. The only peculiarity is that, using the virtual machine method, the destination disk is partitioned with a small FAT32 boot partition (mine is 350Mb), and a larger NTFS partition with the Windows installation.
    A side note: as i "mirrored" the USB 500Gb 2.0 disk to the 1Tb Thunderbolt using dd, with no advanced arguments, the resulting partitions occupied only 50% of the 1Tb disk...
    No problem, it's possible to resize the NTFS partition with the Windows files, to use all the available space.
    I even dare to do it while booted in Windows 7, using Computer Management > Disk Management.
    Everything was fine when i booted in OSX, and booted again in Windows 7!

    After all my efforts, and many hours of experiments with Win 7 and Win 8 installations (dd took many hours, cause i used /dev/disk instead of /dev/rdisk, my bad!), i found WHY the installation from WINSTALL usb drive didn't allow to choose the BOOTCAMP partition.
    A friend tried the same default procedure recommended by Apple (BootCamp .pdf guide), and found the same rodblock: the BOOTCAMP partition could not be used for installation!
    It was evident that the problem was not related to the peculiarities of Fusion drives.
    We had the same idea: maybe it's Tuxera NTFS!
    After disabling Tuxera (in System Preferences), before partitioning the disk with BootCamp utility, we gave a go to the Win 7 installation, once more.
    No failure, everything works as it should!
    You have just to format the BOOTCAMP partition, as per Apple instructions.

    Sorry for the verbosity, but i hope i have been clear enough, so that the uninitiated could find the missing bits of infos with Google, using the right words in their searches.

    i posted an enquiry on the MBP sub-forum, but i had no reply.
    Then i found this thread.
    I thought that it was more meaningful to post a follow-up on the iMac sub-forum (because it has to do with Fusion drives... in my MBP it's a post-sale hacking), to add my experience to other informations that were already given.


  21. Radiating macrumors 65816

    Dec 29, 2011
    Can anyone confirm if you can boot off of multiple macs like this? Does it break the activation?

    I'd like to use a thunderbolt buffalo ministation to boot windows from multiple computers so I can take my work with me without taking my computer with me.
  22. cyberjunkie macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2010
    It would break the activation for sure.
    If the hardware is different enough it would break the installation as well.

    If you have many computers of the same type, you could use an (illegal) activation hack on your (legal) Windows installation, which should be quite impervious to differences in hardware (different disk serials and different MAC address of your network interfaces).
    I have MANY doubts that this solution would comply with Microsoft EULA, though.



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