Installing and running windows from a USB3 SSD on an iMac

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by masotime, Dec 24, 2014.

  1. masotime, Dec 24, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2014

    masotime macrumors 68000

    masotime

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2012
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    #1
    I just thought I'd share my experiences.

    I initially looked into using Thunderbolt to run Windows off an external SSD on my retina iMac, but the prices were really expensive just for the enclosure, and sometimes it didn't come with a Thunderbolt cable making it a separate purchase.

    Searching the forums brings up the DeLock enclosure. I considered it, but reviews on Amazon were mixed, and it was difficult to find (I tried MemoryDepot which was cheaper but after 10 weeks I got nothing and asked for a refund).

    So I went back to considering USB3 which, with UASP provided really fast speeds. Tried out the Inateck UASP enclosure recommended here as well, and combined with the instructions at this site - http://www.michaeljjensen.com/tech/ (also somewhere from these forums) and I was able to successfully install and boot Windows on an old Samsung 830 Pro 256GB. Pretty nice, and it didn't cost me a bomb.

    The only troublesome part was using Windows to run WinToUSB to "install" on my USB3 enclosure. I ended up creating a partition on my iMac just to install Windows (via a USB3 thumb drive) to run WinToUSB so that I could install Windows on the USB3 SSD enclosure :rolleyes:.

    Here's a pic of Windows running off the Inateck on USB3. The only bad part is that TRIM is not enabled via USB3, which can be troublesome. fsutil reports otherwise, but running TRIMCHECK (I waited about 2 minutes) shows that TRIM is not enabled.

    [​IMG]

    Bootcamp provides drivers in a folder in the USB3 thumb drive that you'll want to install after you follow the instructions in the site above to maximize your Windows experience.

    Also recently snagged a M500 950GB for $329 on OWC (it's now $335, still a great deal with free shipping and no apparent sales tax). Grabbed a newer model Inateck FE2005 (http://www.amazon.com/Optimized-Tool-Free-Inateck-External-Enclosure/dp/B00KYF1LLI) and got some pretty good Black Magic Speed test results:

    [​IMG]
     
  2. UniDoubleU macrumors regular

    UniDoubleU

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2014
    Location:
    Thailand
    #2
    Looks like a great performer! I probably won't be using this as I already have a spare LaCie Rugged TB lying around that I'm planning to put Samsung EVO 850 in. Did you have to plug in the power brick or was it working purely with bus power?
     
  3. masotime thread starter macrumors 68000

    masotime

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2012
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    #3
    It was running purely from Bus Power. If you're not looking into running Windows, I've found that using the "Erase Free Space" option in OSX Disk Utility is equivalent to running TRIM manually. Googled a quick guide here: http://osxdaily.com/2013/08/21/erase-free-space-hard-drive-mac-os-x/
     
  4. sjinsjca macrumors 68000

    sjinsjca

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2008
    #4
    Got a very nice SSD with Thunderbolt from Monoprice.com and installed a Boot Camp'd Windows 8.1 on it. (I need it sometimes for my work in certain USB-intensive situations in which running Windows in a virtual machine, as I do daily, won't do.)

    Great price, and it works well.
     
  5. Yakibomb macrumors 6502

    Yakibomb

    Joined:
    May 13, 2014
    Location:
    Cape Town
  6. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #6
    I used another method of my own, which installs Windows in an UEFI environment on both USB or Thunderbolt.

    Here's my steps:
    Connect external drive to Windows VM. You must have a Windows VM in VMware/Parallels.

    What you need:
    install.wim file (obtain this from your Windows ISO)

    Open elevated cmd.exe

    Note: All commands aren't case sensitive, including pathway to files.

    Type diskpart
    Type list disk
    Take note of the disk you want to select
    Type select disk 1 (if your disk is Disk 1)
    Type clean
    Type convert gpt
    Type create partition EFI size=100
    Type format quick fs=fat32 label=EFI
    Type assign letter=S
    Type create partition primary
    Type format fs=ntfs quick label=W2G (or any other name you wish for label)
    Type assign letter=E
    Type exit

    Open up File Explorer. In your C drive, create a new folder named WIN2GO.
    Put the install.wim file in this folder

    Back in cmd.exe:
    Type dism /apply-image /imagefile:C:\WIN2GO\install.wim /index:1 /applydir:E:\ (this process will take quite a while)
    Type E:\Windows\System32\bcdboot E:\Windows /s S: /f UEFI

    Restart your entire Mac. After the chime, hold down Option and when prompted to select your boot drive, select EFI Boot.

    Proceed installation normally.

    After installation, install Boot Camp drivers.
     
  7. UniDoubleU macrumors regular

    UniDoubleU

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2014
    Location:
    Thailand
    #7
    A few weeks ago I've gotten the Transcend JetDrive 725 1TB for my rMBP '12 and has been putting off setting up the included enclosure with a fresh install of Windows 8.1 on the Apple's 512GB PCIE SSD. Until today, I was stubborn and tried using both Winclone and Win2Go to clone the Bootcamp partition from my iMac 5K which won't boot properly due to driver problems. Now, I've used Win2Go to fresh install Windows 8.1. Booting up was faster than I've remembered Bootcamping rMBP '12 must be faster processors.

    What can I say, the setup works great so far with speeds exceeding 2.5" SSDs. Games load like a dream! Now booting Windows for gaming won't feel like a chore anymore. Tomorrow I'll figure out if BootChamp would work with this setup. This must be one of the most economical external PCIE SSD solutions available!
     
  8. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #8
    Uh, it isn't PCIe. It's only mSATA.

    PCIe SSDs in Apple Macs are only available in late-2013 and later rMBPs.

    PCIe speeds are around 700 MB/s, far higher than the maximum 625 MB/s theoretically supported over USB 3.
     
  9. UniDoubleU macrumors regular

    UniDoubleU

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2014
    Location:
    Thailand
    #9
    My bad. Yep, Apple's SSD from 2013 onwards are really fast indeed.
     
  10. daweeze02 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2015
    #10
    masotime

    I am trying the same thing with a 64gb USB 3.0 sandisk usb drive but mine never gets past the windows 8.1 screen with the spinning circle. I use dmy spare windows machine to dump the iso with wintousb. DId you do anything else? I am on a 2014 macbook air
     
  11. daweeze02 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2015
    #11
    Okay went through your instructions with zero issues after the dummydisk driver but after reboot the drive doesn't appear in the boot menu. Here is what my 2 partitions look like.
     

    Attached Files:

  12. Alesc macrumors 6502

    Alesc

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2014
    Location:
    France
    #12
  13. daweeze02 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2015
    #13
    drive or flash drive? I got it to see my drives now under refit but they failed to load, so now I am very puzzled
     
  14. Alesc macrumors 6502

    Alesc

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2014
    Location:
    France
    #14
    A 500GB Seagate drive :)
    I've failed twice: one time because the drive was attached to the USB3hub, and one time because I've tried with Windows 7. With Windows 8.1, it works perfectly.

    And another piece of advice: when you prepare your key with a Windows installation or a virtual machine, it must be a 64bits version of Windows running, or your installation will fail...
     

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