Installing mac os x on external firewire drive

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by lettersofman, Feb 19, 2007.

  1. lettersofman macrumors newbie

    Feb 19, 2007
    The internal 30gb hard drive on my titanium 667 apparently is giving out on me. I hear clicking sounds and upon powering up, the screen stays on the apple logo and never boots up. Diagnosis?

    I was wondering if it were possible for me to install the mac os on an external firewire drive and boot up and operate my powerbook from there. is this even possible? How do i get the os copied on that external drive anyway? when i tried it from my friends mac, the firewire drive never appeared on the list of destination drives to install the os on. any clues?

    how can i retrieve my data from my internal drive? when i started up on target disk mode i was able to see my hard drive on my friends' mac. when i opened it the spiining pizza kept coming on, i was able to save 2 files to her drive but every time i attempt it again, the pizza carousel comes on to brighten my day.

    please help.

  2. psychofreak Retired


    May 16, 2006
    Connect the drive. Copy from your internal drive to the external with SuperDuper. Hold the option key on start up (on some keyoards this is shown as alt) and choose the external drive.
  3. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Jan 6, 2004
    well since the drive is just about dead, not that easy. :rolleyes:

    you can see if you can get the files copied over, but they may be lost at this point. if you couldn't get the copied over in Target mode.

    if you can get it copied over, its just a matter of making the FW drive the boot drive.

    if you cannot and need to do a fresh install of OS X onto the external.

    1. connect drive
    2. insert install disc and boot up from that. hold 'c' down while booting i believe
    3. go through installation, but select the FW drive as your install target.

    should work.

    good luck
  4. lettersofman thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 19, 2007
    my firewire drive doesn't appear in the list of destination disks to install os on. why is this?
  5. lag1090 macrumors 6502

    Jan 28, 2007
    What make/model drive do you have? Certain drives have older FireWire chipsets which have trouble with booting from the drives connected to them. Worse comes to worse, you could always put another drive in an external enclosure with a compatible FW chipset.
  6. aarchitect macrumors member

    Feb 5, 2005
    Los Angeles
    firewire boot drives are great

    I'm running my Powerbook G4 from an external firewire boot drive. It's a lot faster and much larger than the internal drive. I keep a subset of my data on the internal and synchronize the important folders for when I'm away from my desk setup. If I set the boot preference to the external drive, I never have to even hold down the option key when booting. It will find the external and boot when connected or revert to the internal when traveling.

    Boot from the OS X cd or DVD and then set up the external. You should then be able to assign that as the regular boot drive. You may need to recover your files from the internal using a non-destructive utility such as FileSalvage or Data Rescue II.
  7. zorba199 macrumors newbie

    Dec 3, 2006
    I've been starting up my iBook G4 from an external hd for almost 2 months(my hd had failed, occasionaly later came back and I was even able to easily copy some stuff to the ext hd). The ext hd i bought is acomdata ondago(for about 80$). My iBook failed because of a logicboard failure recently, but I am very happy with the ondago and am now using it on my dell notebook(not as a startup drive). Installing osx was very easy. Of course to use it as ext hd you have to format it for mac first.
    One great thing about the ondago is that since it is bus powered you can use it without extra powersupply.

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