MacBooks forum


Running Windows 8 off of External Hard Drive

by Papa_Tom / July 7, 2012 3:19 PM PDT

I have just purchased a Mac for college (13' Macbook Pro with 2.9 Ghz Intel i7, 128GB SSD, 8GB 1600 MHz DDR3 SDRAM) and I didn't have the money to go for the 256GB SSD. For college, I am wanting to go into computer sciences as a minor and am going to need Windows.

Could I purchase an external SSD, maybe 128+GB, put Windows 8 on it, and run it through Thunderbolt without a problem?

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All Answers

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Apple should have that answer handy.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 7, 2012 3:27 PM PDT

But remember since Windows 8 is not released, there is no reason to expect it to work or for drivers to be available. That is, would you be OK with no WiFi, Sound and such?

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What do you mean?
by Papa_Tom / July 7, 2012 3:51 PM PDT

Why would there be no WiFI, sound, or other features available? I would think that if you booted it off of the drive it would let it use your laptop's wifi capabilities and speakers.

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Because there are no drivers.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 8, 2012 12:05 AM PDT
In reply to: What do you mean?

You sound a little new to Windows. That's OK. All those features are only available when there are drivers and since Windows 8 is not released, there is no reason for the drivers to be out.

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No offense
by Jimmy Greystone / July 8, 2012 12:20 AM PDT
In reply to: What do you mean?

No offense, but you remind me of an ex-girlfriend. She had a Masters in computer science, but didn't have the slightest clue how to use virtually any software that wasn't an IDE or she didn't write herself. That, sadly, describes virtually every computer science type I have ever come across.

Based on your two posts so far, you seem like the sort who would be hopelessly lost trying to get Windows running on a Mac, so you're going to need to make a pragmatic choice here: You can either A) just get a Windows based laptop right from the start and use the 2-3 year lifespan of that laptop to beef up your general computing skills so that the next time around you can go the Mac route, or B) you can get a Mac and just use lab computers or get yourself a cheap desktop computer for all your Windows coding projects.

Personally, not being too far removed from college myself, I think the idea of having a laptop/tablet that you take with you to class is a bad idea anyway. You will invariably find yourself screwing around browsing the web, checking facebook, or whatever else, rather than paying attention to the lecture. If you could jump 10 years into the future and get some sense of what it will be like paying off those school loans, your future self would almost certainly agree with me rather enthusiastically that you do NOT want to do ANYTHING that might in any way delay your graduation date. Even one extra semester might be 2-3 years of additional loan payments.

On a side note, anyone else here think college econ classes should have students study the economics of their student loans?

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None Taken
by Papa_Tom / July 8, 2012 2:39 AM PDT
In reply to: No offense

Sorry about the cluelessness. I have used windows before on both my high school computers and computers that I had when I was younger. Unfortunately, my high school didn't have much money, so I am pretty sure that they were running Windows XP.

I have already purchased the Mac, and I just figured that it would be a cheaper route to buy the hard drive and OS, and then run them through parallels, or whatever it is called.

I also figured that drivers would be released relatively quickly, as my first CS class probably wouldn't be until January, giving me time to get the OS, hard drive, and have the drivers being released.

Last point, I didn't pay for the entirety of the computer myself. My parents payed for a good chunk, around 3/4, as my graduation present. It is what they do for all of us children.

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Let me clarify
by Papa_Tom / July 8, 2012 2:42 AM PDT

I know that Windows 8 has not yet been released, and therefore the drivers to run it in parallels have not yet been released either. But would this solution otherwise work so that I could run both the WIndows and Mac programs off of my laptop?

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I may have missed the new requirement.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 8, 2012 6:42 AM PDT
In reply to: Let me clarify
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My opnion. You are getting the wrong machine.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 8, 2012 6:45 AM PDT

Get that machine but with a normal 500 or so GB HDD or else you will look back at this purchase and forever regret it.

The machine you picked is not one a student should get.

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by Papa_Tom / July 8, 2012 8:02 AM PDT

The way that I understand it, Mountain Lion is going to utilize many more I/O actions that SSDs are better at and HDDs are worse at. The difference would have been less, but in the 13' category, only 5200 rpm drives are available. I wanted the speed of an SSD, and as I will be able to connect to a T3 line with ~100 MBs down, and 75 up, I shouldn't have a problem using cloud based storage.

The computer that I am running now, which is a loaner from my father has a 256GB SSD, and after my Steam games are gone, I run with ~20GB of total used memories. And three quarters of that is music and podcasts.

I think that I will be fine with the storage that I have, especially if I get a 256GB HDD external, use half for windows and half for storage

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Given what I see with students today.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 8, 2012 8:11 AM PDT
In reply to: Well...

I had hoped to help you avoid what most students will curse about.

Good luck!

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by Papa_Tom / July 8, 2012 11:40 AM PDT

Thank you for your concern, but with the amount of space that I currently use, and the option to expand my drive size with larger external versions, I hope to be okay.

Still, would this solution work for Windows?

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 8, 2012 3:51 PM PDT
In reply to: Thanks

I thought we covered the issue with Windows 8?

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Not really
by Papa_Tom / July 8, 2012 9:47 PM PDT
In reply to: No.

We covered that without drivers, I could not have osund or wifi, but we did not cover wether or not the installation of the latest Windows OS on an external thunderbolt or USB 3.0 external drive in January would work. Would the transfer speed on the OS and Apps be fast enough?

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"fast enough"?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 9, 2012 12:41 AM PDT
In reply to: Not really

For you? Sorry that's a personal experience issue. It certainly won't be at the speed of a Windows 8 laptop.

Not only that I think you added "Parallels" later.

My final answer is "No, you won't be happy with this."

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Let me clarify
by Papa_Tom / July 9, 2012 2:54 AM PDT
In reply to: "fast enough"?

By fast enough, I mean will it be quick enough to practically use Windows and the applications. And the program that I use will be dictated by my finances is January, be it Boot camp if I have no money, or parallels/something similar if I have some money

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So would it be quick enough?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 9, 2012 2:57 AM PDT
In reply to: Let me clarify

I see no statements to measure this by you. That is, you know this till take big speed hits so let's say it will run. But compared to a similar Windows 8 laptop, my bet is it will be 4 to 10 times slower.

But that may be quick enough for most.

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And with an internal drive
by Papa_Tom / July 9, 2012 4:49 AM PDT

And how would the speed be affected if the OS was installed on the internal SSD?

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No one can answer this TODAY.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 9, 2012 8:38 AM PDT

I see we covered that you can't get support for this so no one knows if the drivers will be there or not. Microsoft already is requiring you to get the Pro versions when you run it in a Virtual Machine. It's not that they enforce that but imagine if they did. How much more is this going to cost you?

I'm unsure why you keep missing the high spots and brick walls you are aiming at.

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Note that Boot Camp will only run
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / July 9, 2012 4:14 AM PDT
In reply to: Let me clarify

on the Internal drive and not from an external.


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I did not know that
by Papa_Tom / July 9, 2012 4:50 AM PDT

I did not know that boot camp was only for internal use. But thank you for that info, as it does impact how I will use this

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