Run Windows 7 from a flash drive

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by afawcett, Feb 23, 2010.

  1. afawcett macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2010
    Location:
    San Diego
    #1
    I want to run Windows 7 from a flash drive on my Mac Book. I have a 16 gB flash drive and speed is not a critical factor. More importantly I would rather save the room on my hard drive, and I don't like having multiple partitions.

    I've done many Google searches and all I find are articles about installing Windows 7 from a flash drive. The closest thing I could find was:
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=856812 but that only mentions want I want to do.

    The information I have gathered is conflicting, and most of it revolves around XP (I think W7 gets buried by the 'installing from a flash drive' articles because of the increase of netbooks without optical drives). People also say it's not possible to install XP on a flash drive, but people have made live distributions of XP for flash drives so it defiantly is.

    This is the most tech savy Mac community I have found, and looks to be my best bet.
     
  2. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #2
    Repeat with me. Windows is designed not to be able to run from USB. It is part of the licensing model that it wants to be installed on a fixed, not removable, disk. (EDIT: for those who say it works on their PC, some BIOS can fool Windows into thinking that the USB drive is actually internal/fixed.)

    So you have to consider other options.

    Use Windows PE which is designed to be portable http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Preinstallation_Environment

    Modify Windows following the ngine.de guide for XP. Or the method listed here for Vista http://channel9.msdn.com/forums/Coffeehouse/170347-Vista-external-USB-boot/

    Use VMWare Fusion/Parallels/VirtualBox and keep your VM on the flash drive.


    B
     
  3. afawcett thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2010
    Location:
    San Diego
    #3
    Thank you, but when I install it to an external drive will I see it when I hold the 'alt' key when I boot my MacBook?
     
  4. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #4
    Certainly not if you go the VM route. :p

    I've run Bart's PE from a CD in the past and it shows up in the Alt/Option menu. Have not tried it from a flash drive.

    You might need rEFIt if you even manage to get it to work.

    B
     

Share This Page