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Booting OS from Flash Drive


Micah C
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Hey everyone,

I was wondering if it was possible to boot an Intel based mac from a flash drive. I heard that it might be possible but i wasn't sure, and if it was possible where can I get the files to do so. Also I was wondering how i could boot vista or xp from a flash drive. Any ideas or advice?

Micah C

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maybe its a air

LOL if it was an air why would you want to boot mac?? LOL jk does apple even support booting like off of a flash drive? Maybe it's a netbook. I mean come on who wants to carry around a bunchof cd's when you canhave all your data on one small device.

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Hey everyone,

I was wondering if it was possible to boot an Intel based mac from a flash drive. I heard that it might be possible but i wasn't sure, and if it was possible where can I get the files to do so. Also I was wondering how i could boot vista or xp from a flash drive. Any ideas or advice?

Micah C

LOL if it was an air why would you want to boot mac?? LOL jk does apple even support booting like off of a flash drive? Maybe it's a netbook. I mean come on who wants to carry around a bunchof cd's when you canhave all your data on one small device.

Well the fact that you call it an "Intel based mac" generally implies your working with an Apple computer, like a MacBook or MacBook Pro.

At whatever rate, I really can't be arsed any more to help you, if you can't be bothered to write a decent question with lots of information your going to get crap answers.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Im not sure if you are kidding or what. However, yes macs do support usb boots, look at the appletv. Just depends on what you want to boot. Im not a mac guy, and dont care enough about it to learn but im sure google will help.

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Vista = no can do

XP = it's possible, but it's a headache and relatively pointles

There's an alternative, though I don't know how easily it can be done on a Mac, you can use WinPE environments to run certain Windows apps from a USB stick. It's been featured on the show and I posted some info on a Vista based WinPE stick on here somewhere, searching for "WinPE 2.0" should give you some useful hints. Be aware that it's not a full Windows install, though, and some apps (and most drivers, other than storage and network) won't work.

Really though, if you want to boot Windows on an Intel Mac I'd recommend either using virtual machines or Boot Camp. You can install Windows Vista from a USB stick easily (format with HP's USB Format Tool and copy the Vista DVD files to the stick) and Windows XP can be installed using a BartPE stick.

Edit: Probably irrelevant, but it's possible to boot OSX from a USB stick - just install it to a USB stick as you normally would.

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Btw, to answer the original question:

Hold down the Option (alt) key while starting and it will display the bootable devices in a menu. If it's gonna be able to boot from it, it'll be displayed there. (this is also the way to get into a Boot Camp partition, etc.)

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You can boot Vista *install* from a USB stick if its formatted with FAT32 and the partition is active. YOU DO NOT NEED TO USE THE HP USB TOOL IF THE PARTITION IS ACTIVE. This is due to windows PE2, which can also be used for XP installs in conjunction with the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit

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