Hello and thank you in advance for your help...

I just purchased an external 120 Gig drive (USB 2 & FireWire). Ideally I am looking for instructions on how to set up the drive as a boot drive for BOTH my Mac and XP machine.

Is this possible?

If it is not, I would settle for setting up one partition as a bootable OS X partition and another partition as a read/write partition for a windows machine so I can have utils on the drive for BOTH mac and PC.

Thank you,


Its not possible to boot windows or OSX off of a usb drive

What about with a Firewire Drive?

How can I set up the partitions as mentioned above?

>Its not possible to boot windows or OSX off of a usb drive
I don't know about Windows, but I know that OS X can be booted from a USB drive...

Regarding a dual-boot, I'm not completely sure, but I would imagine some difficulty would arise regarding the partition tables. Macs use the GUID Partition Table (GPT), whereas Windows uses the Master Boot Record (MBR). You'd have to create a GPT/MBR hybrid table in order to make both bootable.

I didnt think it was possible because macs use EFI?

>Here is what I found, I will post the results once I have some...
Good job on finding that! Hopefully you can get everything working.

>I didnt think it was possible because macs use EFI?
...and why would that make it not possible?

XP doesnt like EFI - thats why there is a special one for Itanium based systems (which use EFI)

>XP doesnt like EFI
Your first post implied that it's impossible to boot OS X from a USB drive, as well as being impossible to boot Windows from a USB drive. I'm not sure whether it's possible to boot both from the same USB drive, but I know you can boot OS X from a USB drive -- even from an iPod.

It seems to have worked, I have a drive that has 2 partitions one FAT32, one EFI and my MacBook recgnized the EFI as a boot device.

I installed the OS that shipped with my MacBook on that Drive as a test.

I have not yet installed XP on the other partition, but I will continue to update...

I am also going to try booting PPC Mac off another OS tomorrow (a client's machine) which is why I needed to do this anyway...

Thank you for all your help and discussion!