Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Setting Up an External Boot Drive for a Mac

Usually I keep a bootable CD for my computers, to help out when there is a problem. Sometimes there is a glitch and just booting from a clean system will let you do some simple repairs. For something more useful you can head over to LiveCD which have disk images you can create boot CDs from with all kinds of utilities.

I have a small external hard drive that wasn't been used for anything so I decided to make it a bootable disk that I can play with.

The first step is to have a OS install disk and a external hard drive.
Plug in the external drive and copy off anything you still want and reformat it to clean it off. You can do that with Disk Utility, click on the drive, go to the partition tab and make sure that under the Options... button it is set to GUID so it can boot an Intel Mac. Give it a good name,  then hit Apply.

Once that is done restart while holding down the C key to boot from the Install disk. Make sure to select the external disk and start the install. Eventually it will finish and boot into the external drive. Make sure to run Software Update and get all the updates.

You'll then have a nice, clean fast system. The nice thing is that on an external disk I can add whatever application I need without compromising main real machine.