12 Replies Latest reply: Dec 8, 2009 3:30 PM by spyhunter
spyhunter Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
I believe Boot Camp is restricted to installing Windows from a DVD, but there should be a way to install it from a USB device no?

I formatted my USB device with GUID, but how would I go about making it bootable, it doesn't show up in Startup Disk or when holding down Alt at bootup...

Thanks!

SH

Mac Mini 2.53GHz, Mac OS X (10.6.2)
  • Pedro Level 2 Level 2 (455 points)
    Every form of Windows must be installed on an internal hard disk. Boot Camp is quite restrictive as it will only use the official disks (or bootable copies). Whatever sort of Windows installation you are attempting, the installer source must be bootable.

    GUID is the format scheme for a bootable MacOSX. MBR (or Master Boot Record) is the starting point for preparing a bootable Windows installation but you would not normally need to get involved with this. Windows of any flavour can do its own formatting prior to installation.

    The Mac's boot loader only recognises completely installed bootable MacOSX and Windows partitions and bootable DVDs.
  • spyhunter Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Just to be clear, I'm not trying to install Windows to a USB device, I'm trying to install it FROM a bootable USB stick that works perfectly and quickly in a PC, and I want to also use this stick to install Windows on my Macs, but you're saying this is not yet possible?

    Thanks!

    SH
  • Pedro Level 2 Level 2 (455 points)
    spyhunter, your needs get more confusing each time you post.

    If you say that on your PC you can install Windows from the stick into the PC, then the same thing MAY be possible on the Mac. So what's the problem? You would use the same USB drive on the Mac. It doesn't work? Or you want to create a new copy on a USB drive for Mac use? Why? Sure, under MacOSX format the stick for FAT32. That's easy. Why do you need to create a fresh Win DVD USB stick if you already have one?

    I suppose you are not doing anything illegal like trying to create multiple copies of one legit Windows purchase on several Macs. Is your Windows copy hacked? What you are attempting does have the smell of that. You should do like the rest of us who own and manage Intel Macs and who use Windows. Buy a fresh copy of Windows for each of them and install from the Superdrive. It's really easy when you think about it. I apologise if I have misinterpreted what you are trying to do.

    What is the aim of all this? The Mac Mini has an optical disk drive. Is it broken? Why can't you use the internal optical drive in the Mini? It's the things you are not telling this support group that make your needs very confusing. And suspicious. Please explain in detail.

    It's a Mac Mini, right? So you are forced to use Boot Camp Assistant. Boot Camp Assistant expects to use an optical disk drive, either internal or external; and NOT a USB drive. Boot Camp will not even bother looking at what is loaded on a USB drive — it is only interested in your optical drive. That's it really. End of discussion. You're on your own with that one. Boot Camp Assistant is very choosy about the specification of our Windows installation sources. You don't say whether your Windows on a stick meets Apple's strict criteria. Have you read BCA's instructions as to what versions of Windows are permitted and what kind of drives they are sourced from?

    You mentioned "my Macs" (plural). You list only the Mac Mini. What are the other Macs? You don't need Boot Camp if you have a Mac Pro but you will still need a Windows DVD in the optical drive to install Windows.

    Btw, formatting the USB drive as GUID is a preliminary step to installing MacOSX on it and has nothing to do with copying a Windows DVD to it and making it Windows-bootable. If you want to copy a Windows installer DVD to the USB drive, it would NOT need to be formatted for the MacOS. Start with FAT32.

    You can avoid using Boot Camp Assistant if you don't want MacOSX on the Mini and only Windows. But that's for another discussion. You still need to use the optical drive though.
  • Pedro Level 2 Level 2 (455 points)
    How are you making a USB flashdrive bootable with a Windows DVD installer on it? Is it a new Windows licence unused elsewhere? What happened when you tested your PC's present USB flashdrive which you made for your PC, on your Mac? It should work. Or did you just hear or read of someone doing this on their PC and you lied to us?

    I think it might be possible if your flashdrive has a boot loader on it and a Windows Install DVD on it,

    But the first thing you must ensure is that the drive can start up the Mac just as if it IS a real DVD. If it does not show when the Option key is held down when booting the Mac, or in the Startup Disk Preference application, it is not bootable. I guess you have figured that out.

    I suspect that the only people who are savvy on such things are Windows hacker geeks and a solution is less likely to be found in these forums. Google is your best friend.

    Having tried to be of assistance, I think you are a cheater and copyright infringer. I do not propose to be of any further help. If you are an honest person, you will explain fully why you are doing this. No explanation? Then you are a creep, a liar and a thief.

    How is it I remember your spyhunter alias from other posts on here when I noticed other folk labelling you a cheat and a troll? Or was that another spyhunter?
  • spyhunter Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Wow! I've never encountered somebody as abrasive as you on these discussions before, you are a very rude person! You took my simple question and turned it into an interrogation...

    If my question was how to circumvent the Windows activation process then I would understand, but you have no right to treat me like this.

    I simply want to speed up the process of installing Windows by using a USB stick, and Yes it does not work from the same stick that works in my PC or I wouldn't have bothered coming on here...

    You go from saying that what I'm trying to do should work, to no it won't work, to maybe, I would not trust anything you have to tell me. You sound as shady as someone doing something illegal.

    Wow...

    SH
  • mohaas05 Level 1 Level 1 (120 points)
    I think you can use Disk Utility to create an image of your install DVD, and then restore it to your USB drive. I've done it numerous times with Linux and Mac OS X install discs without a hitch.

    Inherently, it isn't illegal if you clone a valid install disc that you own, since what you really pay for is the license to install it on that computer, which you still must obtain.
  • Pedro Level 2 Level 2 (455 points)
    The question is "how do I make my Windows clone on a USB stick bootable?" Will a cloned DVD do it? I doubt it. First the USB device would have to be formatted for FAT32 at least. Can the MacOS clone the formatting and the hidden boot files too? Would Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper be useful here? Perhaps you need a PC to prepare the USB stick. Or a Mac with Windows already installed and booted.

    I don't know why I would want to do this but it would be a challenge to try it, if only to be able to boast that yes it can be done or no it can't.

    And would this approach be acceptable to Boot Camp Assistant? Perhaps after creating the BC partition, that's when you opt out of the installation and reboot, starting the USB stick from the Mac's Boot Loader. But SH has already said that didn't work or something of that sort didn't work. I guess it depends on what you actually have on your stick.

    Lot's of ifs.

    As I already asked, why would you if you can insert the DVD in the Superdrive and begin installing? Is it purely so that you can put away your original DVD to protect it from damage? That, I will go along with. There's another reason too. You could have an enterprise licence to install on say ten computers. Installing from a USB drive would be handy. Why a USB stick? Why not a regular external HDD which might be faster? Probably not Firewire as that would need a Windows driver before attempting an installation. Maybe the problem all along is a Windows clone properly created won't boot if it is on a USB stick or any other external storage device.

    My original hangup still stands: why would you bother when Boot Camp Assistant and SuperDrive can manage the whole exercise?
  • spyhunter Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thank you mohaas05 for some useful information, I will give it a whirl...

    Pedro, when somebody needs help, you don't ask them a million questions, maybe you think you are helping, but you need to concern yourself more with an answer instead of more questions... Sometimes people like to try something just for the sake of trying it. I've already told you why I want to use the USB stick (speed) and you even added another one, which is to protect the original disc, the point here is to help people that post on here, not to confuse and interrogate them...

    SH
  • Pedro Level 2 Level 2 (455 points)
    Understanding what the person with the problem is trying to do is what helps us to provide useful responses because often the OP does not provide sufficient information. You shouldn't think you are being interrogated. As has happened in this case, the responder has made accusations because the OP made limited information available and appeared to be evasive and confused, even contradicting himself. I question everyone posting a problem because for whatever reason there's never enough background to what they have tried, &c.
  • spyhunter Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    You are the confuser, I am the confusee...

    Anyway, I've tried what mohaas05 suggested, and created an image of my Windows install DVD, but upon restoring the image to my USB stick I get the error: Could not validate source - error 254...

    So it's not really possible at this point in time, maybe in the future...

    SH
  • mohaas05 Level 1 Level 1 (120 points)
    I was afraid that would happen. Disk Utility is awfully picky when it comes to restoring images.

    You could try and manually create a Windows 7 usb install stick using this:

    http://www.intowindows.com/how-to-install-windows-7vista-from-usb-drive-detailed -100-working-guide/
  • spyhunter Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks, but I've already followed a similar procedure to this and am able to get the stick to boot and install perfectly in a PC, but the Mac is where I'm failing. I'm afraid it's going to be a few years before Apple sort of adds this functionality into it's machines, for now I'll have to stick with the good ol' reliable DVD-ROM...

    SH