Skip navigation
This discussion is archived

External boot disc for MAc Mini

1938 Views 9 Replies Latest reply: May 12, 2007 10:13 AM by Matt Sampson RSS
Matt Sampson Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Apr 24, 2007 7:17 AM
Please forgive the naivety of this question but if some one could confirm this once and for all in simple terms I would be grateful.

I want to have an external hardrive on which I can place OSX so that I can boot from it, rather than the Mini's built in drive, not least so that I can run the disc utility on the built in hardrive. My question is does this external hardrive have to be USB or Firewire or does it not matter? My Mini is an Intel Duo with 2GB RAM running 10.4.9.

Thanks for any suggestions

Matt.



Mac Mini intel dual 2GB RAM OS10.4.9   Mac OS X (10.4.9)  
Mac Min, Mac OS X (10.4.9)
  • Boece Level 5 Level 5 (6,245 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 24, 2007 7:32 AM (in response to Matt Sampson)
    An Intel Mac can boot from either a firewire or usb drive; a PPC Mac can only boot from firewire.

    The external boot drive of an Intel Mac must be partitioned with the GUID partition scheme to be bootable. You can do this via DiskUtility, which comes with the Mac.

    I would urge you to choose a Firewire external for your task, because the performance will be much better. This is because Firewire has a dedicated controller for the bus, whereas USB uses the CPU.

    To give you an example, I recently cloned my hard drive using a Maxtor Onetouch III external, which has both firewire and usb. I started to do it with the USB interface but then started over with the firewire interface. The throughput on the firewire was 3 times greater, even though both specs are nominally about the same speed. Get firewire; it makes a difference.
    MacIntel Mini 1.83, 2 Gig, OSX 10.4.9; iBook G4 800, 640 Meg, OSX 10.3.9, Dell 1704-FPV monitor, NeoOffice, Camino, Thunderbird, Parallels, Compositor
  • AndyO Level 6 Level 6 (17,045 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 25, 2007 9:48 AM (in response to Matt Sampson)
    GUID is easy to set up. Once the drive is connected, open Disk Utility (Applications>Utilities) and click the first entry for the drive itself (not the volume name if a second entry appears). Then click the 'Partition' tab, then the 'Options' button. Click 'GUID Partition Table' then OK. Set the partition size, then click the 'Partition' button. That creates a GUID partitioned drive from which an Intel Mac can then be booted.
    G5 DP/2.0, Mini/1.25, Mini/1.50, G4/450, TiBook/800, iBook G4/800, Mac OS X (10.4.9)
  • AndyO Level 6 Level 6 (17,045 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 25, 2007 11:16 AM (in response to Matt Sampson)
    Presumably this GUID thing also explains why my
    current Lacie 500Gb mini hub won't let me load OSX
    onto it as it isn't GUID partitioned just HFS+
    formatted straight out of the box?


    That's exactly right, yes. Since it's not a bootable volume as far as your mini is concerned, it won't give it as an option to install MacOS on it.

    Incidentally, once GUID partitioned, you don't have to actually INSTALL MacOS if you want to use it in place of your internal drive. You can use CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper! to clone the internal to the external as a complete single operation, which will leave you with a bootable external that is an exact duplicate of the internal drive. After that, once the external has been tested out, you can then remove whatever you wish from the internal drive, or use it as a backup for the external.

    Either/both CCC and SuperDuper! can be downloaded from www.versiontracker.com.
    G5 DP/2.0, Mini/1.25, Mini/1.50, G4/450, TiBook/800, iBook G4/800, Mac OS X (10.4.9)
  • Locutus01 Level 1 Level 1 (70 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 26, 2007 10:12 AM (in response to Boece)
    Boece,

    Thanks for the info on making a USB drive bootable on my Intel Mini. I know had to able to boot from a USB drive. The machine I had before I got the Mini was a Quicksilver (giganet) with a USB 2.0 PCI card. I was able to boot from the USB drive all the time. It didn't matter if it was Mac OS 9 or Mac OS X.

    So I am glad that I can still do that. I understand about USB being slower then Firewire. But I can't afford to buy a case that has Firewire on it. (Yes I know youj can get Firewire drive cases for $35 (US). I just don't have the cash at the moment.)

    This will alow me to make a bigger bootcamp partion on the interal drive now.

    Again thanks!!!

    -Locutus
    Intel Mini 1.5 Core Solo 1gig 100mb, DL SuperDrive, Mac OS X (10.4.8)
  • AndyO Level 6 Level 6 (17,045 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 26, 2007 1:25 PM (in response to Locutus01)
    As you rightly indicate, PPC Macs may actually be able to boot from USB drives - it's not supported by Apple and not consistent, but many have had success in doing it. However, while it's rather hit and miss for PPC systems, USB is a supported boot medium for Intel Macs.
    G5 DP/2.0, Mini/1.25, Mini/1.50, G4/450, TiBook/800, iBook G4/800, Mac OS X (10.4.9)
  • Dan Parks Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 27, 2007 8:41 PM (in response to AndyO)
    As you rightly indicate, PPC Macs may actually be
    able to boot from USB drives - it's not supported by
    Apple and not consistent, but many have had success
    in doing it. However, while it's rather hit and miss
    for PPC systems, USB is a supported boot medium for
    Intel Macs.


    Actually Apple does support booting some PPC machines from USB drives

    http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=58430

    Beginning with the Power Mac G4 (AGP Graphics) and the iMac (Slot-Loading), two new features to USB are most apparent: support for USB audio devices and booting from USB drives.
    B&W G3 Tower 400 MHz, Mac OS X (10.4.9)

Actions

More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...

Bookmarked By (0)

Legend

  • This solved my question - 10 points
  • This helped me - 5 points
This site contains user submitted content, comments and opinions and is for informational purposes only. Apple disclaims any and all liability for the acts, omissions and conduct of any third parties in connection with or related to your use of the site. All postings and use of the content on this site are subject to the Apple Support Communities Terms of Use.