MBP i7 17" wont boot from external CD/DVD

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by ebas, Jul 14, 2010.

  1. ebas macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2010
    I have installed a second hardrive in my mbp using the optibay. Since then ive been trying to install windows on the second harddrive, but it wont boot from the windows cd. After some testing, it turns out it wont boot -any- cd from an external cd/dvd drive.

    When i put in a bootable cd and boot with the option key, it does recognize the cd. When i select it, it starts spinning up, stops, and i get a grey screen with an flashing apple/failed sign.

    I have already tried the following:
    - Reset PRAM
    - Use the superdrive i removed as USB cd/dvd drive
    - Use a different USB cd/dvd drive
    - Tried to boot off a bootable USB memory stick
    - Installed rEFIt boot loader.
    - Tried the (USB) superdrive on a previous model 15" MBP, and it boots without problems.

    Im at a loss what else i can try. OS X installed perfectly when the superdrive was still connected to the internal SATA connector, but i dont feel like switching the whole thing back. Not to mention i wont be able to install windows on the secondary drive.

    Maybe i could try an ExpressCard SATA controller? Or would that be a waste of time/money? Im also considering installing through target disk mode, but im afraid ill run into all kinds of trouble.

    I hope you'll have some ideas!
  2. CTrav86 macrumors member

    Jul 13, 2010
    Kalamazoo, MI
    I don't have any experience installing windows on a mac, but FWIW, I've never had any problems installing software (OS X) via target disk mode (i.e. updating an old G4 tower that didn't have a DVD drive via my PowerBook).
  3. ebas thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2010
    Thanks, that gives me some hope. I was about to try this, but then i found out i need a 9-pin firewire cable i dont have... Ill have to find one first
  4. ebas thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2010
    I think can wrap this up.

    The OS X Installer that came with my MBP did work on the external USB superdrive. So it appears the same thing applies for any USB connected device: only OSX installer will boot from it.

    As for my initial booting needs: i have successfully installed Windows using bootcamp, though i used a workaround so i didn't have to boot from cd. For anyone who wanders around here and wants to know:

    • Created a 10GB VMWare disk image for Windows
    • Booted windows install disk inside VMWare
    • Upon first reboot i shut down the virtual machine
    • Connected the 10GB VMWare disk image to a Debian virtual machine
    • Ripped mbr using: dd if=/dev/sdb bs=1 count=446 > mbr
    • Copied it to my mac, and installed it to my drive using: fdisk -u -f mbr /dev/rdisk1
    • Copied over the VMWare disk image to my Bootcamp Assistent created partition using: dd if=/dev/sdb1 | ssh root@mymac "dd of=/dev/disk1s3"
    • Used WinClone to make an image of my Bootcamp partition, and immediately restored it. This fixes some windows issues for the new partition, and resizes it to fit your bootcam partition
    • Reboot into windows and the install will continue!
    Some tweaking of these commands are needed. If you don't know what you're doing: don't.

    Any questions, feel free to contact me.
  5. Tex-Twil macrumors 68020


    May 28, 2008
    does this work with or without rEFIt ? I was told on the apple forum that it's not possible to boot via a USB attached CDROM. :confused:
  6. djasterix macrumors 6502a


    Apr 10, 2010
    Paradise City
  7. Tex-Twil macrumors 68020


    May 28, 2008
    I tried creating a boot USB from my Seven DVD using the Microsoft Tool but when I hit command during the mac book I do not see the usb stick :confused:
  8. jwiddle macrumors newbie

    Jul 28, 2010
    @ebas I installed a second hard drive around the same time as you. I've been trying for a week now to install linux on the second hard drive. i went out to best buy today and 'purchased' a second external optical drive because i thought it was my original optical drive. no dice! my restore CDs and snow leopard dvd did work though! super lame.

    i previously was able to install windows via parallels to the second hard drive, and during the first restart i powered down and copied the physicalmbr.hds from the virtual machine to a USB flash drive and booted into snow leopard dmg image via usb. i was able to copy the virtual machine mbr table and get windows to boot from the second hard drive. i'm sorry if that sounded sloppy. :confused:

    @ebas is there any way i can get linux on the second hard drive using virtual machine tools? i've installed linux to a partition on the second hard drive via parallels, but obviously i can't SIMPLY boot to that OS on that partition. this is such a pain. i did try to take the linux physicalmbr.hds file and replace it with my machine's mbr. no dice.

    @others :
    -you can't boot any NON-OS X operating system via USB. apple has verified this.
    -i've not been able to get a NON-OS X operating system to boot via external optical drive. i tried two difference drives

    also, i've been using refit as a boot loader.

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