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Will a Thunderbolt external hard drive be able to boot the Thunderbolt MBP?

2420 Views 12 Replies Latest reply: May 9, 2013 4:26 PM by Lian Mengzhuo RSS
joeflibitz Calculating status...
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May 7, 2011 8:46 PM

Are there Thunderbolt external hard drives available and will they be able to boot the Thunderbolt MBP?


iMac, Mac OS X (10.6.7)
  • MadisonP Level 5 Level 5 (4,485 points)

    joeflibitz wrote:


    Are there Thunderbolt external hard drives available

    -- LaCie, Western Digital, and Seagate have all announced drives but none are available yet.

    and will they be able to boot the Thunderbolt MBP?


    -- Can't speak for those drives as they don't exist yet, but the Thunderbolt port is just like USB and Firewire in that you can boot a Mac OS X system from it.


  • Smphoto74 Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)



    Did you get a Thunderbolt HD yet and are you using it to boot your MBP?  I am trying to find out if a Thunderbolt HD with lion installed runs faster than Lion installed on the internal HD



  • GoldMiner Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hello Madison.

    Is there a way I can contact you? There is an older post that you gave the right answer, suggested something. I have a similar problem and would like to do what you suggested but it doesn't work for me.

    (Sorry for "intruding" didn't find any other way)...


  • Candu321 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I am having a similar issue . I have legacy software ( Power PC compatible ) which I wish to run on a MacBook Pro Retina with Thunderbolt . I installed OSX 10.6.8 on an external Firewire HDD which boots on my iMac , and an older MBPro , but when I selected that drive as the startup drive ( via the Apple Thunderbolt to Firewire adapter )  , it gets to the Apple logo and hangs . Worse , when it hangs , the on/off button doesn't respond . On my old MBPro at this point I would remove the battery to force a shutdown . Can't do that on the MBPro Retina with internal battery . 

    After shutting down the external drive , and holding the shutdown button for a loooooong time , it finally shut down .

    Does anyone have a suggestion on how to use an external boot drive running Snow Leopard with the Thunderbolt MBPro Retina ?

  • Rob-Taylor Calculating status...

    Cadu 321


    MMMM Why would you want to boot from a slow external drive instead of the on board SSD (Retina MBP) is the question.


    My Tbolt externals WDs 8TB Duos only give roughly 1/4 (25% performance) compared to internal SSD, Externals are normally for backup operations and too slow for the amount of read/writes required for a BIg OS such as OS10.8, Max write speeds are determined by the donor disk, even when in 2x2 stripe in Raid 0 only clock about 500GB per hour ( any one getting over this please send screen shots for verifiaction and number of disks used in the array), bursts in smaller file are quicker.


    Power PC if I remember correctly is not x86 compliant and running Snow leopard on a MBP retina is like running MS 3.11 on a gamers platform.


    Various forums say that OS 10.8 WILL NOT boot from Tbolt running any Raid (0 1 5 6 or 10)


    There is a backward and forward compatbitly issue with which way you are firing the data, put simply a tbolt drive with Firewire to Tbolt adapter cable is only as quick as the firewire and may not justify the cost. Also 2 machines = 2 boot partions to accomodate the different hardware inside each case.


    You may be better of installing Paralells (Apple Store $100 including USB 3.0 Cable which is backward compat with USB 2.0) and running VM (Virtual Machines) using OS 10.8 on the Retina and using the older machines as displays. It boots windows linux ubuntu and more into VM without rebooting the machine and works seamlessly in the named OS's


    Hope this helps


  • markwmsn Level 4 Level 4 (3,945 points)

    Candu321 wrote:



    Does anyone have a suggestion on how to use an external boot drive running Snow Leopard with the Thunderbolt MBPro Retina ?


    I'm pretty sure that you cannot make Snow Leopard boot any 2012 MacBook Pro. It just isn't coded to drive the new hardware. (The general rule is that almost no version of the operating system includes code for hardware that doesn't exist when it was writtem.)


    Some users have reported success in getting Snow Leopard to run inside a virtual machine (under Parallels, VMWare Fusion, or a similar product). Opinions vary on whether this violates the Snow Leopard license; the virtual machine vendors take the conservative approach and try to disallow it, but some users have found workarounds.

  • kkay2006 Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    It should.  My external LaCie Thunderbolt with Mountain Lion boots iMac fine.

  • kkay2006 Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Yes, external bootable Thunderbolt with Mountain Lion boots faster than internal Apple drive (SATA).

  • kkay2006 Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    I learned something about external booting off a RAID drive.   Before upgrading to Mountain Lion, I was booting off a RAID 0 LaCie external with two internal 1T drives and using its FireWire 800 connection.   It was fast but since upgrading to ML it wouldn't anymore.   It seems like ML does not support external RAID 0 booting.  ;-(


    Well, that's life.   So, now, I got this nice LaCie Thunderbolt external and it's even faster than previous RAID 0 boot.

  • Lian Mengzhuo Calculating status...

    I have the same question


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