OS X on an External Hard Drive?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by daverage, Jul 30, 2008.

  1. daverage macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    #1
    Hello,

    I was wondering if it was possible to install OS X on an external hard drive. My internal drive w/ my 2006 iMac Duo is completely shot, and I'd like to still use my computer before I install another drive.

    Currently I have a 500 GB Firewire external hard drive available (empty currently). I tried to install OS X on it from the install CD, but it stated I can not install OS on that drive.

    Is there a way around this, or must I wait until I install an new internal drive?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Apple Ink macrumors 68000

    Apple Ink

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2008
    #2
    What do you mean... is your iMac dead? If not then....

    Connect your xHDD, insert the install disk, reboot and press c as soon as the white screen appears! Choose your xHDD as the location and install!

    The install disk will only work on a Mac!
     
  3. Kashchei macrumors 65816

    Kashchei

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2002
    Location:
    Meat Space
    #3
    It is indeed possible to install OS X on an external drive. I currently have Leopard installed on an external drive since the 80 GB in my mini is too small for my needs. If your external drive is currently empty, you might try reformatting it and then try the installation process again. Good luck!
     
  4. daverage thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    #4
    No, everything esle on the Mac works fine except the hard drive, which recently failed. I'm still having trouble install OS on the external drive though, I held C at boot up and it went straight to the installation process and again said OS could not be installed on the drive.

    Do I need to reformat the drive? If so, how? Additionaly, am I making data recovery matters worse on my failed internal drive by continuing to use the computer?

    Thanks!
     
  5. Jiff Lemon macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2008
    #5
    Whats the exact error you get?

    was the drive previously formated in a windows enviroment? Had an issue recently where I upgraded the drive in my old mac and used an old PC drive. Formatting it repeatedly under the installer was no good - I had to go into the advanced bit and change the partition type options.

    I think the latest Macs have to be in GPT format to boot, but I'm fairly certain the installer tells you which you need.
     
  6. Apple Ink macrumors 68000

    Apple Ink

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2008
    #6
    You can manually format it by choosing Disk Utility from 'utilities' from the Installer Disk. Format in HFS+

    By default... the Installer disk will automatically format it for you if you choose the 'Clean Install" option (there are 3 options... upgrade and archive are two that will NOT format but will automatically be disabled by default as your xHDD doesnt have a previous copy of Mac OS)

    But its recommended that you format it manually using DU

    P.S.: Can you see the internal drive in the DUtility from Installer Disk? If you cant then your internal drive is kaput and you'll need to look at pro data recovery solutions!
     
  7. daverage thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    #7
    The exact error message I get is, "You cannot install Mac OS X on this volume. Mac OS X cannot start up from this volume".
     
  8. aquajet macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2005
    Location:
    VA
    #8
    From disk utility, select your external hard drive from the list. Then click the partition tab at the top, select however many partitions you want (1 if you don't care or don't know what this means), click the options button, select GUID, click ok and then proceed with the partition. Try that and see if it works.
     
  9. daverage thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    #9

    Awesome, it looks like that did the trick, OS is installing now. Thanks, I would have never figured that out!!
     
  10. Apple Ink macrumors 68000

    Apple Ink

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2008
    #10
    Did you check this? Or am I getting it wrong?:confused:
     
  11. daverage thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    #11

    Yeah, I checked and the internal drive can not be seen. On top of that, the Apple Store verified it had failed. That said, I'm currently looking into the best solution for recovery.

    In the meantime, is it ok to use my Imac with OS running on an external drive, or will continuing to use the Imac with the failed drive inside, somehow further damage the drive making recovery even harder?
     
  12. Apple Ink macrumors 68000

    Apple Ink

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2008
    #12
    Nope....it'll work absolutely fine! And, not meaning to be rude or something but, dont be lazy and start backing up. To compare.... a 500gig USB xHDD comes for 100bucks and data recovery will probably cost you way more than this!
     
  13. daverage thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    #13
    Oh, I know I know, I'll start immediately. This is the first time I've have to do data recovery, would you recommend going to a local shop, or is there a great nationwide service you'd recommend thats at a fair price?
     
  14. Neil321 macrumors 68040

    Neil321

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2007
    Location:
    Britain, Avatar Created By Bartelby
    #14
    If you want your wallet to feel like it's been raped then by all means try a shop if not try disk warrior 4
     
  15. Latro macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    #15

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