Installing and booting Mac OS X on an external HD

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by EmptyG, Jun 22, 2007.

  1. EmptyG macrumors regular

    Feb 16, 2007
    Ok I know this is probably pretty simple, but I wanted to make sure I do it right...

    I have a Macbook Pro. I want to be able to install Mac OS X to an external hard drive and then be able to boot from it sometimes (but keep my standard internal HD installation to fall back on when I want it).

    I do have iPartition because I read a while back it was a good way to get started. Is there a simple guide or tutorial I can use, or can someone post instructions?

  2. eyebeaz macrumors 6502

    Oct 22, 2006
    Get SuperDuper and use it to clone your internal hard drive with the external and then you can boot from it.
  3. EmptyG thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 16, 2007
    Thanks for the tip. I actually want to use another version of OSX, not the exact same one I have on my primary hard drive. Sorry if I didn't specify that :)
  4. heySparky macrumors regular


    Mar 8, 2007
    In that case, you will have to have the OS install disc for the "other" version. Just use that disc and pick the external HD as the target for in install.
  5. EmptyG thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 16, 2007
    Hah - I should have figured it was that easy, it's a Mac :)

    Thanks for the advice! :)
  6. EmptyG thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 16, 2007
    Well I did it and it did install but took over 4 hours via a USB external HD.

    I do have a Firewire 800 drive I can use. It has info I CANNOT lose on it though, so I would have to partition it. Wouldn't that still take quite a while though, and won't I lose all the info on it?

    Can I partition my main MBP hard drive and install it on there? Or is that just asking for trouble?

    Thanks! :)
  7. spinne1 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 12, 2005
    Hermitage, TN USA (near Nashville)
    Without some sort of third-party software (which I wouldn't trust anyway), you cannot partition a Mac's HD AND retain the data on it at the same time.

    I do not know how long it would take, but certainly much less than four hours (it sounds like you had a USB 1.1 connection or something--or it really is that slow on USB 2.0 on a Mac's external HDs)

    You should BACKUP your precious data first before doing anything else. Burn it to DVD. Then feel free to wipe the external firewire drive.

    Again, you generally cannot partition your existing internal HD and also retain the data, although there may be software to allow this (but would you trust it? I wouldn't unless I had a backup of my entire drive and in that case it wouldn't matter if it ruined the contents).
  8. EmptyG thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 16, 2007
    spinee1 - Yeah it looks like there was an issue with that drive. I changed external HDs and this one looks like it will take less than an hour to install.

    Incidentally, I read a tip from another site that mentioned you could partition the primary HD using the BootCamp install helper. I did try to do that, but I kept getting an error that I couldn't install bootcamp (said something like some files could not be moved so it couldn't continue). I have a feeling had that worked that I could have just gone that route to get this installed.

    Right before that, I got another error on my HD about an error that needed to be fixed by rebooting.

    Anyways, long story short, I think I got it working now. Thanks for the help everyone! :)

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