Running out of space and would like to move my bootcamp to an SD card... Possible?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Obioban, Feb 21, 2013.

  1. Obioban macrumors regular

    Oct 19, 2011
    I got the 128gb MacBook air and it's getting tight. I occasionally need to boot into windows for car programming, but I certainly don't need full SSD speed. The 30gb windows partition is just killing me.

    Is there any way to move it to an SD card and be able to boot from it as I am now on the SSD partition?
  2. BeeJee macrumors 6502

    Nov 27, 2011
    Long Island/North Jersey
    It would probably be better to set up a virtual machine rather than an SD card. I use VAG-COM on Windows 7 through Parallels and it works great.
  3. Obioban thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 19, 2011
    Eh, virtual machines get pretty painful pretty quickly with 4gb of ram, in my experience.

    Is it possible to boot it into windows from an SD card?
  4. Pharmscott macrumors 6502a


    Dec 13, 2011
    Sacramento, CA
  5. Obioban thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 19, 2011
    All the threads I found, including that one which I read before I made this, are about storing virtual machines on an SD. I'm looking to boot from an SD card using boot camp.
  6. wolfpuppies3 macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2012
    Virginia, USA
    +1 to Parallels, much easier to use and much less of a space hog. Give really really strong consideration to upgrading your very small SSD size while you are at it.
  7. Pharmscott macrumors 6502a


    Dec 13, 2011
    Sacramento, CA
    Gotcha. Sorry I wasn't really that helpful then.
  8. oneMadRssn macrumors 601


    Sep 8, 2011
    Boston, MA
    I would also be interested to hear of people's experience with this. I cannot think of why it shouldn't work.
  9. 2IS macrumors 68030

    Jan 9, 2011
    Windows initilizes the USB bus on boot up and I'm willing to bet the SD reader is running on the USB bus which typically translates to a BSOD during the boot up process. At least that was my experience when installing windows on a USB stick some years ago.
  10. Obioban thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 19, 2011
    So... how might one go about doing something like this?
  11. 2IS macrumors 68030

    Jan 9, 2011
    No idea, it wasn't something I wanted to do bad enough to find a solution (if there even is one)
  12. firmansolutions macrumors member


    May 31, 2010
    Bootcamp on external media

    I have a new MBA (i7 2ghz, 8gb RAM, 512GB SSD) arriving soon, having decided to downgrade (cpu speed, disk storage & RAM) from my MBP (15", 16gb RAM, 256gb SSD main drive & 750gb HD in DVD Bay).

    I use a lot of Windows Fusion VM's and after doing some testing I have discovered that I get faster read and write speeds when the VM is on an external drive connected via USB 3. Thats on a Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex 320gb drive and a G-Tech Gdrive Mini 1tb 7200rpm. I currently have the VM's on the internal 750gb HD, so clearly the SATA2 pipe to the DVD bay is the problem. Obviously the VM's would be best located on the main SSD drive, but most of them are too big to be resident there for long. So anyway, soon I will just have the internal 512gb SSD on the MBA.

    I have two types of Windows usage.

    - Windows VM's for testing SQL Server stuff, usually 75gb plus in size
    - Production VM's configured for client corporate domain work - these tend to be smaller in size as SQL databases are held on the corporate servers

    I will probably locate the smaller production VM's on the main SSD drive.

    The testing VM's could now reside permanently on the external USB 3 drive as I have established this is faster than my current deployment. There are now some reasonably priced USB 3 & Thunderbolt disks and I am very tempted by the Lacie Rugged 256gb SSD USB 3 ( The SSD would eliminate any performance concerns.

    However, as you want, it might be useful to be able to boot the MBA into Windows but I dont want to have the Bootcamp partition wasting space on the MBA. I appreciate you want to use the SD slot and avoid the need for an external drive, but many of them are very small fomr factor and bus powered these days.

    My idea for that would be to

    - from factory condition OS X minimally configure the system
    - apply bootcamp with a very large partition (minimal for OS X)
    - create a Windows environment
    - clone this to an external USB3 or Thunderbolt drive (using CCC)
    - boot the MBP from the external drive clone and load the Windows Bootcamp system
    - alter settings for the clone so that it boots into Windows by default

    I think from reading up on this a bit and having a go at creating bootcamp on an external drive directly (which failed), I think this might be your best option as I dont think you will get Bootcamp happening on your SD card. However, you might like to try this process onto the SD card rather than an external disk.

    As you already have your setup fully configured, you could try cloning the system onto the SD card, ensuring that you uncheck most of the OS X stuff for the clone process.
  13. DisplacedMic macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2009
    this is an interesting thread. i hate to be a selfish threadjacker but if you could do it over would this issue inspire you to upgrade the HD if you could do it over?

    it's an extra $200 to go to 256 and $500 to 512

    as for your question - a few months ago i was having trouble even mounting an sdcard reader using vmware winxp.

    as for bootcamp, I don't think you can setup bootcamp on any external drive. as in BC assistant won't even give you the option. i suspect they bult that in as a handicap for piracy prevention reasons. The irony there is you can install lion+ on a sd card and run THAT without the hd but that's obviously not what you're looking to do given the amount of time it sounds like you spend in a VM/win environment
  14. JohnnyComeLatly macrumors member

    Nov 12, 2010
    I'm working my way around to Windows, but I have just recently started playing with Ubuntu booting from a micro USB memory stick (32GB). So far, it's working great installing IRC, TorBrowsers, TrueCrypt, and a slew of CPU/resource intensive things.

    So, the way you do it is to create a bootable image on the thumbstick. There's a few websites out there than can help you. Then, as you boot your MBA, hold the "Option Key." You'll see your normal boot partition, the recovery partition, and then your bootable USB. Use the arrow (my trackpad wasn't working at this point) to move over to USB, and then press enter key. You'll boot from the USB. With Ubuntu, I'm wanting to say I've got about 20 of the 36 gig available. I bought a second USB to try Windows later.

    No bootcamp needed. No VM, and not only does everything work, I can also mount my internal SSD drive. The trackpad works as well once it's booted, which I mention because some websites I researched said they had to use an external mouse. I didn't need to, nor have I tried it yet.
  15. digitalhen macrumors regular

    Jan 10, 2006
    Do you actually need OS X? I run just Windows 7 on my 2011 MBA 11", and it runs fantastically - the battery life is actually better as well.
  16. DisplacedMic macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2009
    whoa - that's the opposite of a hackintosh.
    what should we call that?



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