8 Replies Latest reply: Nov 19, 2008 2:02 PM by XJ-linux
Satanux Level 1 Level 1

I've the next question: Can I use any external drive to boot with my macbook air?

This is because here in Chile the superdrive is very expensive (the diference between the superdrive and other external drive is like 75 usd)

MacBook Air, Mac OS X (10.5.5)
  • Niel Level 10 Level 10
    Can I use any external drive to boot with my macbook air?


  • JimTaylor61 Level 1 Level 1
    How did you get Leopard (which will boot the MacBook Air (MBA)) onto an external drive? I was able to install Leopard (generic) on an external drive (after creating the GUID Partition Table), but it won't boot the MBA. And, the Leopard Mac OSX disk that came with the MBA won't recognize the external drive as a location to install the OS.

    Thanks for any guidance you can provide.

    Jim Taylor
  • Glorfindeal Level 6 Level 6
    If you update the external drive with the latest update 10.5.5, it should be able to boot the MBA.

  • JimTaylor61 Level 1 Level 1
    Thanks so much for the reply. Initially I installed Leopard on the external drive, then booted from that external drive and used Software Update (twice) to bring the external drive OS up-to-date. I then plugged the external drive into the MBA, turned the MBA on with the Option key depressed, but the MBA booted up rather than the external drive. Thus, my assumption that what I had done wouldn't work.

    Do you suppose I should reinstall 10.5.5 using the Combo version rather than having used Software Update? Or, perhaps, other tweaks?


    Jim Taylor
  • Glorfindeal Level 6 Level 6
    I haven't tried booting my mba with an external usb drive before. When you go into the startup disk system prefernece, does it list the external drive as a startup option?

    You did say you partitioned it using the GUID option?

  • JimTaylor61 Level 1 Level 1
    Lo and behold - I can now boot my MBA from my external USB drive. In fact, I didn't make any changes from earlier, but this time it works.
    To answer your question, if I select Startup Disk under System Preferences, the external USB drive can be selected, and the MBA will boot from it. Also, if I boot the MBA with the Option key depressed, the external USB drive is selectable; and if selected, the MBA will then boot from that external drive.
    And, yes, I did partition the USB drive with 'GUID Partition Table' prior to installing Mac OS X 10.5.

    Thanks for your patience.

    Jim Taylor
  • Soft Reset Level 4 Level 4
    What I did...

    Insert Disc One and startup Disk Utility. With Disk Utility open I made an image file of the contents of Disc One. It took about 3 hours via the SuperDrive and I saved it to my desktop. I then made a new partition on my external HD (10GB) and restored the newly created image of the Disk One to my "boot" volume on the external hard drive. As previously mentioned... GUID Partition Table with OS X Extended (Journaled) selected.

    This created a partition that I could easily reinstall just the base operating system in a pinch, cutting my reinstallation time from 1 hour to about 25-30 minutes.

    You could do the same thing and create three partitions (theoretically):

    - Bootable OS
    - Bootable Installer
    - Storage for Time Machine
  • XJ-linux Level 1 Level 1
    Awesome idea. Good show!