Which USB Format to Use to Dual-Boot OSX and Windows?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by NathL, Nov 30, 2014.

  1. NathL macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2014
    Location:
    Lincoln, UK
    #1
    I'm getting a Mac Mini (2012), later this year, and I'm hoping that I can make it dual-boot OSX and Windows 8. This involves me getting a bootable USB stick to install Windows on, but which format should I format the USB stick with so that I can install it through Bootcamp?

    Also, would you be able to keep OSX on one drive (the default 500GB) and Windows on an external hard drive?

    Thanks.
     
  2. GGJstudios, Nov 30, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2014

    GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #2
    You don't need to boot from a USB drive to have dual boot. With Boot Camp, you can have Windows and OS X both installed on your internal drive, then boot into either one. You can't have a bootable Windows drive in the same format as a bootable OS X drive. You can run Windows in a virtual environment, such as Parallels, but if you want both Windows and OS X to boot from a drive, you'll need to partition the drive, with one partition in NTFS format for Windows booting, and another in HFS+ format for OS X booting.

    Format A Hard Drive Using Disk Utility (which is in your /Applications/Utilities folder)
    Choose the appropriate format:
    HFS+ (Hierarchical File System, a.k.a. Mac OS Extended (Journaled) Don't use case-sensitive) NTFS (Windows NT File System)
    • Read/Write NTFS from native Windows.
    • Read only NTFS from native Mac OS X [*]To Read/Write/Format NTFS from Mac OS X, here are some alternatives:
      • For Mac OS X 10.4 or later (32 or 64-bit), install Paragon (approx $20) (Best Choice for Lion and later)
      • For 32-bit Mac OS X, install NTFS-3G for Mac OS X (free) (does not work in 64-bit mode)
      • For 64-bit Snow Leopard, read this: MacFUSE for 64-bit Snow Leopard
      • Some have reported problems using Tuxera (approx $36).
      • Native NTFS support can be enabled in Snow Leopard and Lion, but is not advisable, due to instability.
    • AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule do not support NTFS
    • Maximum file size: 16 TB
    • Maximum volume size: 256TB
    • You can use this format if you routinely share a drive with multiple Windows systems.
    exFAT (FAT64)
    • Supported in Mac OS X only in 10.6.5 or later.
    • Not all Windows versions support exFAT. See disadvantages.
    • exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table)
    • AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule do not support exFAT
    • Maximum file size: 16 EiB
    • Maximum volume size: 64 ZiB
    • You can use this format if it is supported by all computers with which you intend to share the drive. See "disadvantages" for details.
    FAT32 (File Allocation Table)
    • Read/Write FAT32 from both native Windows and native Mac OS X. [*]Maximum file size: 4GB.
    • Maximum volume size: 2TB
    • You can use this format if you share the drive between Mac OS X and Windows computers and have no files larger than 4GB.
     
  3. NathL thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2014
    Location:
    Lincoln, UK
    #3
    I'll see when I get it, but I don't really want Mac and Windows off the same drive, as 250GBs isn't much really. I've got a two terabyte External HDD, and I was going to partition it so I had an extra terabyte for Mac storage and a terabyte for Windows, but If I can't do that, then it'll have to be two terabytes of just extra mac storage.

    Hopefully, it should work.

    You can Install OS X on an external hard drive, so in theory it should work.
     
  4. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #4
    You can certainly partition the external drive with a partition each for Windows and OS X.
    Yes, you can, if you want.
     
  5. NathL thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2014
    Location:
    Lincoln, UK
    #5
    Thanks, I'm looking forward to seeing whether it works or not.
     
  6. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    #6
    Although my Windows days are behind me, it is my understanding that due to EFI issues you will not be able to boot Windows from USB. I think there are some hacks around to try and make this work but they are not trivial.

    A.
     

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