Set up Windows on an External Drive?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by I'm a Mac, Jan 27, 2009.

  1. I'm a Mac macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2007
    Okay, I know this sounds idiotic but would it be possible to set up a boot camp partition on an external drive- I know that it would kinda defeat the purpose of boot camp, but how would I be able to install Windows on an external drive? Boot from a DVD and then click install to that destination- I know it's that simple with Mac OS X but I've never tried it with windows.

    And also is this a bad idea? Would it be sluggish to run Windows (Probably Windows 7) on an external- I mean I always hated the idea of partitioning my hard drive because my computer is already running slow (I still don't know why, I've ruled out hardware issues) but anyway, I was thinking of an external drive solution.

    And lastly, would USB 2 be too slow or am I better off shelling out (or not, just going back to regular partitioning) for a firewire 800 drive.

    Thanks for your help.
  2. dkeninitz macrumors regular

    Feb 16, 2003
    Germantown, MD
    I haven't tried it, but it's my understanding that Windows won't allow itself to be installed on an external drive. Maybe someone else has tried it. IIRC, most applications won't run from an external drive - Win or Mac - with the exception of a few that allow use of a Firewire drive. I want to emphasize that I may well be wrong, I'm simply going from memory of what I've read rather than personal experience (though one reason I've never tried it is because of what I've read).
  3. aki macrumors 6502a

    Mar 2, 2004
    theres lots of info on this in other posts but basically...

    yes you can install windows on an external BUT its difficult and lots of messing with dont try it unless its your hobby or something ;)

    yes you can certainly install apps to an external drive thats no problem

    a lot of people and me too have a small bootcamp partition for the OS and then most or all apps on external/s and that works well

    as for speeds, fw400 v 800 vs usb2 etc etc etc there are lots of factors....i can say most regular software runs fine even over usb2 or fw400....there arent so many apps that need steady stream of data (video editing or whatever)

    on another topic if your mac is slow and not hardware you should probably just reinstall your OS.... altho osx is much much cleaner than xp etc the os can get sticky sometimes if you mess around with lots of things
  4. FX120 macrumors 65816


    May 18, 2007
    When I moved to 7 on my laptop I just took my old hard drive out, put it in an exernal enclosure. Windows and Ubuntu both still boot off of this drive perfectly, as far as the OS knows the hard drive is internal, all it sees is a disk.

    What you can't do is put Windows on a portable disk, installed and configured for one machine, and move it to another without prepping the OS and wiping the driver configuration.
  5. I'm a Mac thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2007
    Yes that's actually what I heard- do I just pop in the disk and do an upgrade? Or can I do archive and install? Are you sure it won't interfere with any of my applications?

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