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Install Windows 7 on external drive using Boot Camp (Lion) Install
Having purchased a Segate GoFlex Desktop Thunderbolt Adapter made me wonder if it's possible to install a Bootcamp-Partition on an external Drive. Well it works; sort of.
  1. Launch Boot Camp Assistant.
  2. Select the local Drive for installation (not the external Drive) it will take about 20 GB of disk space.
  3. Boot Camp Assistant will now repartition your local drive.
  4. Wait a while for Boot Camp Assistant to finish preparing the drive.
  5. When the Windows 7 Installer comes up simply choose the external drive as target, not the local one.
  6. Proceed with the installation.
When booting your Mac (holding the Option key) you'll now see that there is a local Windows 7 boot volume. Unfortunately, you will have wasted 20 GB creating a partition on your main drive.

[kirkmc adds: I haven't tested this. I don't know if Disk Utility can delete that partition; live partitioning is possible, but in some cases certain partitions can't be deleted.]
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Install Windows 7 on external drive using Boot Camp (Lion) | 10 comments | Create New Account
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Install Windows 7 on external drive using Boot Camp (Lion)
Authored by: dfass on Feb 14, '13 07:45:25AM

Actually, I believe BootCamp Installer can and will remove a BootCamp partition -- and/or grow or shrink it.

It has been a while, but, I had a copy of WinXP go buggy on me and I seem to remember there being an option that removed the BootCamp partition.



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Install Windows 7 on external drive using Boot Camp (Lion)
Authored by: awado on Feb 14, '13 10:10:58AM

If I recall correctly: run the Boot Camp Assistant again and it will be asking if you want to delete the internal partition.



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Why Boot Camp at all?
Authored by: gabester on Feb 14, '13 11:31:26AM

If you put your Windows disc into your optical drive and hold down option at startup, once the Windows installer loads up it sounds like you should be able to install to the external drive this way without any bootcamp mumbo jumbo.

Not having a Thunderbolt to SATA converter I cannot test this myself... but I know you can boot directly to a Windows installer so the only real limitation's going to be what devices it can access. I don't think Boot Camp in this scenario loads any drivers anywhere useful to installation... What Boot Camp DOES do is put the MBR wrapper around your GUID formatted internal drive so that an OS that doesn't have proper GUID installation support can see the MBR partition that Boot Camp then creates.



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Why Boot Camp at all?
Authored by: aGr[j5(6WU on Feb 14, '13 11:39:39AM

Agreed. It looks to me as though this is simply a hint advising users that the Seagate GoFlex Desktop Thunderbolt Adapter causes connected drives to be recognised by OSes as non-removable, presumably because Thunderbolt is based on PCIe technology.

So, this isn't really a hint, per se, just advice from someone who doesn't understand the technology he's using.



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Install Windows 7 on external drive using Boot Camp (Lion)
Authored by: sault on Feb 15, '13 07:13:32AM

The external drive must be Mac OS plus with Guid?



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Install Windows 7 on external drive using Boot Camp (Lion)
Authored by: hynek on Feb 27, '13 11:45:00PM

I have installed Win7 on a external Thunderbolt GoFlex Drive using BootCamp as described, it works, but you may not delete the minimal 20GB Bootcamp partition.

@gabester: Technically you are right, but if I start the Win7 installer directly without using Bootcamp, I am not allowed to install it on any partition (independent of partition map, why? I do not know)

As further info, I was not able to install Win7 onto a GUID partitioned disc, only by deleting the small 200MB Efi Partition you can produce a new Win7 installable partition, but this becomes then Masterblock partition.


@awado: true, but once you delete the internal Bootcamp partition the external Win7 is not bootable, even if you can and do select it from the startup menu it does not boot anymore.

furthermore, repartitioning the internal drive with bootcamp does not make the external drive accessible again, I suspect there is an entry in the EFI partition which is configured by the Bootcamp Assistant. I suppose this external Win7 partition will not work on another Thunderbolt Mac without doing the complete mumbo jumbo (not tested yet).

Loosing 20GB does not sound as much, but on my MacBookAir SSD every GB is valuable, maybe somebody has a good idea to save this inert partition, without loosing the access to the external Win7 partition.



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Install Windows 7 on external drive using Boot Camp (Lion)
Authored by: pslambe on Feb 28, '13 10:52:09PM

This is very interesting. My iMac 27in was delivered just before Thunderbolt (the name of a bushranger in OZ!). I have researched ways of installing Windows 7 on an external drive to no avail.
I will watch this development with interest.

---
phillat5dock



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Install Windows 7 on external drive using Boot Camp (Lion)
Authored by: TotalImpactDJ on May 08, '13 08:39:50AM

If i bootcamp my main drive to run Windows 7, while running windows will it read my Mac formatted external hard drive or do I need to use a NTFS formatted drive?



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Install Win7 on external hard drive
Authored by: CFinley97 on May 16, '13 09:48:49PM

I currently have a 20gb bootcamp partition on my 2012 MBA but am looking to move it to an external hard drive. I have yet to try this method, but perhaps it might be of help to one of you.

http://www.intowindows.com/how-to-install-windows-7-to-usb-external-hard-drive-must-read/

Tell me if anyone tries this with any success.



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Install Windows 7 on external drive using Boot Camp (Lion)
Authored by: Morshu9001 on Aug 12, '13 03:25:13PM

What if my internal "hard drive" is a striped RAID set? It won't let me use Boot Camp Assistant on that. In fact, at this point, it just freezes when I try to open it.



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