Windows 10 on external SSD - switching Macs?

mavis

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Original poster
Jul 30, 2007
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Tokyo, Japan
Having only recently discovered the joy of booting from external SSDs, I'm wondering if it would be possible to install Windows 10 (Bootcamp) on an external drive, and then simply plug that drive into another Mac to use it there, as well.

I have a 13,2 iMac (late-2012, i7 3.4GHz, etc) and am planning on upgrading to a new iMac as soon as Apple refreshes the lineup. It's been years since I messed around with Bootcamp but I'd like to try a couple of Windows-only games and was thinking of going the Samsung T5 route, but I don't really want to mess with it if I won't be able to just plug-and-play that Windows install with a new iMac, whenever they come out.

I hope that makes sense. Has anyone tried using an external Bootcamp install on a different Mac?
 

chscag

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Feb 17, 2008
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Fort Worth, Texas
Having only recently discovered the joy of booting from external SSDs, I'm wondering if it would be possible to install Windows 10 (Bootcamp) on an external drive, and then simply plug that drive into another Mac to use it there, as well.
Microsoft prohibits Windows from being installed on an external drive and Apple does not support it using Boot Camp. There are work arounds that you can search out and give a try. Some folks have been able to do it using virtual machine software.
 

mavis

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Original poster
Jul 30, 2007
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Tokyo, Japan
Microsoft prohibits Windows from being installed on an external drive and Apple does not support it using Boot Camp. There are work arounds that you can search out and give a try. Some folks have been able to do it using virtual machine software.
Yes, I found a nice tutorial here. My question is, would it work on a different Mac without any fooling around, or would I have to go through the entire process again?
 

dimme

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Feb 14, 2007
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SF, CA
I originally had a Windows 10 install from a 2015 iMac, last year I upgraded to a 2019 imac. I have windows 10 installed on a TB2 SSD which I moved from the older iMac to the newer. I spent a hour or so sorting out the drivers but I did get it to work. I think you need a TB drive rather than a USB drive for it to work. But be prepared for some tinkering when you switch.
 
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SaSaSushi

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Aug 8, 2007
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Takamatsu, Japan
I have Windows 10 installed on a 500GB SSD in a Delock Thunderbolt enclosure and it has continued to work on three iMacs I've owned since first purchasing it.

As mentioned above, it is a lot easier to install Windows to a TB drive than USB.
 
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mavis

macrumors 601
Original poster
Jul 30, 2007
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Tokyo, Japan
Wow. Thanks for the replies! I didn't get any notifications for some reason, so I had no idea my question had been answered.

I managed to get Windows 10 Professional installed and activated on an external SSD. I'm using it solely for games; it runs perfectly. So I'm relieved to hear that it should continue to work after I get the new iMac. Messing with drivers sounds like a blast, though - any tips on how to go about that, specifically? If I run the Apple driver update tool from within Windows, would that take care of most of them?