Running Windows 7 from a USB 3.0 Drive

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by erutpar, Nov 16, 2013.

  1. erutpar macrumors newbie

    Nov 16, 2013
    I've read about the success of installing and running Windows 7 on a SSD Thunderbolt drive. Take this guide for example:

    I'm wondering if this might work on a USB Thumb drive. In particular the SanDisk extreme Thumb drive which supposedly has data transfer rates of 190 MB/Sec. That seems plenty enough speed for less-demanding Windows programs.

    Is this possible? Can it work using the same method as quoted above?
  2. fedecape macrumors 6502


    Oct 23, 2011
    Miami, FL
    give it a try and let us know!

    I'm really interested
  3. copa macrumors member


    Nov 8, 2013
    This sounds great, please let us know if it works out!

    Although instead of thunderbolt divers you should probably see to get USB3 drivers since win7 doesn't provide them out of the box and I'm not sure if win7 updates them automatically.
    I think those drivers can be found/downloaded here:

    But I'm not a 100% sure those are the correct drivers, if you know any better than me, please correct me!
  4. krravi macrumors 65816

    Nov 30, 2010
    I think it won't. You can't equate thunderbolt with USB interface. With thunderbolt Windows still thinks your drive is a internal PCI with USB it knows its an external drive or something to that effect.

    I am not sure about this entirely though.
  5. copa macrumors member


    Nov 8, 2013
    while Win7 might be a dead end or not, windows 8 is capable of running as "Windows 8 to go"

    Google that, it seems very promising to me
  6. awair macrumors regular

    Sep 6, 2011
    I have both a USB3 & Thunderbolt dock for the Seagate GoFlex drives.

    The (Seagate) drives themselves are very mediocre with atrocious transfer speeds (sorry can't remember the actual numbers).

    I bought some spare drive caddies (eBay, thank you) and now use a couple of SSD for various Virtual Machines. The performance is exceptional with Thunderbolt & nearly as good with USB3.

    If you get a USB3 SSD, then you will have no problem. If you are considering a USB(3) Flash drive, make sure you check the transfer rates. Also the Mini Drive & 'Nifty Mini' have very slow transfer speeds in comparison.

    I'm getting 250MBps+, the micro SD cards are quoting one tenth of that. The internal SSD (2013 Air) is about twice that.
  7. erutpar thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 16, 2013
    Good things to keep into consideration. Thanks for the thoughts
  8. vtrikoupis macrumors newbie

    Jul 29, 2012
    Belgium, Netherlands

    i'm really interested in this as well
    The only mini SD card at the moment which still can't compete with the OS needs is the sandisk ultra (80read 50write or so)

    I'm hoping that this drive is a solution.
    I'm keeping the OS X side for work and productivity
    and having a small windows section for gaming.
    64GB should be enough for windows and a game or 2 please let us know how it goes down!
  9. jsnb76, Feb 17, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2014

    jsnb76 macrumors newbie

    Feb 17, 2014
    Win 81 VHD Boot Experiences

    Simple to use WIM2VHD (Make the VHD Files at least 22+Gigabytes)

    Prepare USB3 Fast Drive (250r150w)drive use EasyBCD
    Create MBR
    Create BCD

    Drop Your Customized VHD (Windows New Install File) Boot Partition

    Load USB's BCD

    Create Entry for VHD File

    (recently I like to add an entry for a boot.wim local file too)


    Now the fun part: the Windows Updates & Mac Driver Package

    81 32 Enterprise Installed Quicker and did not have any slow Windows Update Installs or Undoing Changes when I tried to install the Mac Driver Package 2nd, guess the package is 64 and the 32 installs are individual but in the ether.

    win 81 64 Did have issues with Installing Updates when I installed the Mac Driver Package 1st.

    About to just cut and past a fresh wim2vhd and run windows update first.


    Ok, so Windows Update is Finicky, if you are tired of it undoing updates try this approach:

    figure out all the updates you need then download their .msu files x64/or x86

    Run DISM GUI to add these updates to a WIM install file off the DVD or iso

    Then Once Windows is installed either by W2Go or a WIM2VHD:
    - tell win updates to not download but check for updates
    -install the largest update first (tried the smallest to largest didnt work as good)
    -then restart
    -do this until most all the larger than 20meg updates are installed
    -then try the bullk update for all the rest

    I prefer Win32 because it is zippier so far on my Patriot Magnum USB3

    I get crazy fast reads and writes are way slow in comparrison.

    Now to find the W32 drivers for this MacBook Air, there seems to be x64 packages that download from bootcamp.

    ???Also any Ideas about the Swap File Window that keeps popping up on 1st boot, is there a way to put it in ram successfully?

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