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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Mar 09, 2011
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    Bootcamp and External Hard Drives
    I am new to the Mac Forums and have found the information very helpful. I am curious if anyone has attempted to try this...

    I know it is difficult to install Windows 7 on an external hard drive. However, it is not as difficult installing mac OS to an external hard drive (at least that is what I've read). Would it be possible to install mac OS onto an external hard drive, boot from that external and partition it with bootcamp again, then, boot windows from that partition on the external? Sorry if that was confusing...

    Basically what I am trying to figure out is if i can run mac OS on an external, then bootcamp windows (as a partition) onto that external.

  2. #2

    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2008
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    Moved to correct forum. I guess you didn't read the Sticky post about "Not just anything goes in the "Anything Goes" forum.

    Basically what I am trying to figure out is if i can run mac OS on an external, then bootcamp windows (as a partition) onto that external.
    Mac OS X can be installed on an external drive and the external made bootable. I don't know if you could do the same with Windows. I have to ask though... why would you even want to do that? It would be slow, very slow, if it even worked.

  3. #3


    Member Since
    Mar 09, 2011
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    Sorry about that.

    Well I figure that it would be much slower but occasionally I would like to use a windows computer, without having to use up my internal hard drive. I tried partitioning my internal before and not only was space on the drive lost due to partition, the computer seemed much slower overall anyway. Since the tasks I would need to use windows for wouldn't be too in depth, it doesnt really matter how slow windows runs. I like how fast the mac is and would rather install a slow windows partition on a usb than to slow the overall speed of my mac.

  4. #4


    Member Since
    Mar 09, 2011
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    4
    I attempted to try this. It was very easy to install mac on the external hard drive. When I booted from the external and opened bootcamp I got a message that said something like "bootcamp is not able partition mac OS on an external hard drive. Please boot from the internal hard drive." Anyway, my next step is going to be attempt using vmware fusion to partition the drive. Ill keep an update.

  5. #5

    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2008
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    Late 2013 27" iMac, iPad 3, iPhone 6s+, iPhone 6+, 3 iPods, El Capitan
    I sort of suspected that Boot Camp would refuse to partition an external drive. And to be honest, I'm not sure if Fusion will be able to either. I currently have XP running in a Fusion VM and Windows 7 on a BC partition. Both are fast but Win 7 is the faster of the two.

  6. #6

    harryb2448's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 28, 2007
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    Imac 27" Retina 5K, 512GB Flash Storage, 3.3Ghz, 16GB memory, OS X.11.5.
    As stated no external drive installations for Windows.
    Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!

  7. #7


    Member Since
    Mar 09, 2011
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    As it turns out, I successfully ran windows on the external hard drive.

    First, I installed OS X on the external. I booted from the external into OS and then I used vmware fusion to install windows as a virtual machine. If anyone would like me to go into more depth of how I accomplished this just let me know. This was fairly easy to accomplish actually

  8. #8

    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
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    You really didn't install Windows on the external drive. What you did is install Fusion on the external and then installed Windows as a VM within Fusion. Your Windows installation is virtual; in other words, it's a large file containing Windows.

  9. #9


    Member Since
    Jul 30, 2011
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    1
    Hey you said you would explain how you put fusion and windows on your external hard drive, can you share?

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