6 Replies Latest reply: Dec 28, 2008 10:24 AM by R C-R
Sophia Level 1 Level 1 (35 points)
Hello,
I'm looking into getting Windows system software to run on my mac because I have some hardware only supported by Windows. I understand Leopard comes with Bootcamp. I have never used it or wouldn't know where to start really. I don't really want to partition my internal hard drive to accommodate the Windows software so am wondering if I buy an external or 2nd internal drive can I do this to install the software on a different disk rather then use my current internal one ? Also once I have a Windows operating system running on my mac, will need a PC firewall as well ?
If anyone out there can advise on those 2 concerns that would be appreciated.
Regards
Sophia

Mac OS X (10.5.6), Mac Pro 3.2GHZ Dual Quad Core
  • Niel Level 10 Level 10 (281,475 points)
    I don't really want to partition my internal hard drive to accommodate the Windows software so am wondering if I buy an external or 2nd internal drive can I do this to install the software on a different disk rather then use my current internal one ?


    A second internal drive will work, as will an external one with Windows Vista. Booting Windows XP from an external drive has been made to work, but isn't officially supported.

    Also once I have a Windows operating system running on my mac, will need a PC firewall as well ?


    Yes, plus virus and spyware protection.

    (39286)
  • Sophia Level 1 Level 1 (35 points)
    Thanks very much for your prompt reply Niel. Can I use an external drive to install Windows XP 64 Pro ?
    Can you please recommend a good stable external drive ?
  • R C-R Level 6 Level 6 (16,690 points)
    Sophia wrote:
    Can you please recommend a good stable external drive ?


    Besides stability, performance is also important for a startup drive (whether for OS X or for Windows). A slow drive will result in a sluggish (relatively speaking) OS. Pick one with a fast spin speed (5400 rpm isn't as good as 7200 rpm) & a relatively large onboard cache (8 MB isn't as good as 16 MB, 32 MB is excellent).

    However, the interface to the computer is just as important as the drive itself for good performance. The best choice in this respect for a Mac Pro is an additional internal drive. Not only is it cheaper than an external, its direct SATA interface connection will be very fast. Mac Pro's are built for this: with built-in independent 3Gb/s Serial ATA channels & four drive bays, adding a 3GB/s SATA drive is as good as it gets.

    If you must use an external drive, you can approximately duplicate this speed with an eSATA drive & add on eSATA interface card. However, this might be problematic with Windows unless the card maker provides suitable drivers. A simpler solution is to pick a drive with a fast Firewire 800 interface, which offers significantly better performance & less CPU loading than a USB 2.0 interface.

    There are many good, stable drives that meet these requirements. Personally, I would recommend the Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 Series hard drives for internal use because they are purpose-built for this use. For external use, it will be a bit harder to find similarly high performance, prepackaged drives -- these are mostly optimized for backup & additional storage at low cost, but Seagate, Western Digital, & others all offer good values in FW 800 & multi-interface externals.
  • Sophia Level 1 Level 1 (35 points)
    Thanks for that...So by installing a second internal drive I won't have to partition or even touch my current internal one ? I'm trying to avoid using the mac drive just incase something goes wrong.
    What do you think ?
    Sophia
  • Topher Kessler Level 6 Level 6 (9,790 points)
    That's a good policy, and by using an external drive you will definitely minimize the amount of interaction the PC will do with your Mac data. However, being that both drives will be "available" as hardware devices to the computer there is no way to fully separate your Mac data on the internal drive from the PC. One way around this would be to clone your internal drive to an external one, and then run both of your operating systems on external drives, only attaching one when you need it. From here you could format your internal drive as a data storage drive (two partitions--one for each OS--or a single FAT partition that can be read by both OS's).

    This might be overkill, however, since an external drive with NTFS and Windows Vista will not be writable by OS X, so it should be safe from harm. Additionally, the Mac OS "HFS+" partition will not be readable or writable by Windows. The only real risk is if you inadvertently format the "available" mac drive when in windows, or vice-versa when you're in OS X. Doing this, however, requires you to use special utilities and confirm warning messages about data loss before it will occur.
  • R C-R Level 6 Level 6 (16,690 points)
    Sophia wrote:
    Thanks for that...So by installing a second internal drive I won't have to partition or even touch my current internal one ?


    Correct.

    I'm trying to avoid using the mac drive just incase something goes wrong.
    What do you think ?


    I think it depends on whether performance/responsiveness/convenience or absolute isolation of the drives is more important to you. As Topher Kessler mentioned, there is always some small (if remote) chance that with multiple internal drives installed, something could affect both that would not affect an external drive that is not connected to the Mac Pro. (If the external is connected, there is no difference.)

    Personally, if I had a Mac Pro (I can only dream!) it would be a no-brainer for me: I know that I would not be willing to use two externals, one for each OS, & religiously disconnect the one I'm not booting from before each restart. I also know I would never be happy knowing that I was not using this most powerful of all Macs at its full potential.

    But that is just me.