4 Replies Latest reply: Mar 14, 2011 10:42 AM by JoeyR
starbux48 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
With a MacBook Pro mid-2009 MC226LL/A 17" model, I want to be able to connect an external hard drive that has a bootable image clone of my internal drive and be able to boot from it in event the internal drive should die. Seems like I read somewhere you can do this with a Firewire-connected drive. Is that correct and is Firewire the only way? What about USB 2.0 or even USB 3.0? Or are there other requirements?

Toshiba P505 laptop, Windows Vista
  • 1. Re: Booting from an external hard drive
    Niel Level 10 Level 10 (242,095 points)
    Is that correct


    Yes.

    is Firewire the only way?


    No.

    (57258)
  • 2. Re: Booting from an external hard drive
    JoeyR Level 6 Level 6 (8,275 points)
    Having a bootable external drive is always an excellent idea. It's the fastest way to get up and running if you encounter a drive failure (or data corruption preventing a boot). Performance is much slower when using an external drive, but at least you have something you can use until you can troubleshoot the problem with the internal drive. The two most common (and popular) options for making clones are CarbonCopyCloner and SuperDuper. Both of these are free for making full clones.
  • 3. Re: Booting from an external hard drive
    Michael Black Level 6 Level 6 (17,850 points)
    The firewire limitation used to apply, but has not for a few years now. Firewire 800 will give you the best performance though, and in general, I have found firewire bus-powered drives to be more reliable than USB (I've had USB bus-powered drives that would not powerup reliably on my Macs).

    To make your clone, you can use SuperDuper (shareware) CarbonCopyCloner (donation ware) or even Disk Utility for that matter. Make sure the drive is GUID partitioned to make it bootable.
  • 4. Re: Booting from an external hard drive
    JoeyR Level 6 Level 6 (8,275 points)
    I'll second MB's recommendation on an external firewire drive (or multi-port where at least one is firewire). For some reason, I have seen more issues with USB powered drives on Macs. The power output over firewire is somewhat higher and tends to be more reliable.