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How to install Mac OS X onto USB HDD + Your Personal Files


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Hi guys,


I probably am not the first to discover this, but I thought I'd make a guide on how to install Mac OS X onto a Portable HD, AND have your personal files on it at the same time!


Firstly, you need to have a good Portable HD. I recommend SATA, but it worked for me on a Maxtor IDE ATA drive. SATAs are better as they are faster and secure, but if you don't have one, just pick up a notebook ATA drive and stick it in a Portable HDD case. If an old ATA works, I'm sure a SATA works :(


You will also need a computer with Windows XP/Vista. I don't know if it works on other versions, but this is what I used.


Anyway, what we are going to do is make 2 partitions. The first one is for the system, the second one is to store Mac OS X's documents and files on it. However, the trick is NOT to use up all the Hard Drive space, as that will be the space for your personal files.


Ok, here we go. First, you must have a Mac OS X DVD. I used a 10.4.9 DVD, and it worked fine. I read the Installation Guide on the wiki, and it used JaS 10.4.8. Previous versions might work. I tried Kalyway 10.5.1, but the installation failed, and will try again this afternoon ;)


Put the DVD in your computer, and boot it from startup. Usually you press a key like F12, F2, DEL, or ESC. When you boot up your computer, usually it says at the bottom in writing.


Anyway, when the DVD boots up, go to Utilities > Disk Utility. At this stage, make sure your Portable HDD is plugged in. On the left-hand side, choose your Disk Drive. Of course, this is going to be the Portable HDD. Click on the disk and then up in the middle where the tabs are, click Partition. This is the tricky bit.


Once you have done that, click the drop-down box and choose 3 partitions. Technically, we aren't using three, and I'll tell you more about that later.


When you have selected 3 partitions, click on the first partition. Call this partition 'Mac System'. Next, change the size to 6-10GB, depending on the size you want. Try and make it minimum, so it leaves more space for your files. This partition is what we are going to install Mac on. I tried 6GB using Kalyway 10.5.1, and after the installation, I had 384MB free. So maybe 7GB is what you might want to put in. Then choose Mac OS X Extended (Journaled) (Don't mind the spelling.. :P ) for the File System Format.


After that, click on the 2nd partition, and call it 'Mac Files'. This partition is what you are going to save your Mac Documents and files on. Change the size to about 10-20GB, depending on what size your HDD is. I chose 12GB, as I have a 100GB ATA. For the file system format, choose MS-DOS. Now you may be wondering, MS-DOS is windows, right? Well, yes you are right, but this is a FAT32 Format, so Windows and other OS will pick it up as FAT32.


For the 3rd partition, leave the name, you can change it later. Change the file system format to Free Space. This is where your personal files will be. The Installer will automatically change the size to the maximum it can be. If not, you may have to do some maths with the other partition sizes, and add them up and take it away from the maximum capacity. Then at the bottom right-hand corner, click Partition or Format.


Once it has finished formatting, you are ready to install. Make sure you select Mac System as the installation destination!


If you are running Mac 10.5, choose 'Customize' to customize the installation type. If you are running Mac 10.4, tick all the boxes to install, but drop-down the Drivers menu and go to System. Do not install IntelSpeedsetup (Or whatever it is called). This will enable CPU Throttling! You do not want this, as some computers cannot handle this! Besides that, and maybe Verbose Mode (Found in Patches or Drivers > System I think..) install EVERYTHING. This is so that it can run on any computer you boot it from :) Of course, if you are only going to run it on one computer, just change the installation settings to your computer's needs.


Once you have done that, click 'Install'. Go grab a cup of coffee, and come back, as it will take a while. It took me 10-20 minutes for me, but depending on your computer specs, might take longer or shorter.


Hopefully soon, it would have finished. Turn off your computer. Just to make sure it worked, boot it up again, and boot from the Portable HD. To do this, you need to change your BIOS settings. Boot up into your BIOS, by pressing either F10, F2, F12, ESC, or DEL. Once again, it may be a different key. Navigate to where you can change the boot order. Note you must have your Portable HD plugged in! Once you have found it, make sure the Hard Disk is first, and it should have a + next to it. Press Enter on it, and it should drop down (Note the word SHOULD). Your Portable HD should be there (Note the word again), as well as your Hard Drive in the computer. Find your Portable, and press Space, or look down the bottom where it shows what keys press what, and press a key that changes the value or order to primary or top. Once you have done that, Save and Quit. Reboot your computer, and enter Boot Setup. Click the Hard Disk boot option, and hopefully, it should boot from your Portable. If you see the Mac Logo on the screen, or it boots up, you know you have done it correctly.


Once you have done it right, turn off your computer, and unplug your Portable HD. Then plug it into a Computer with Windows, and boot WINDOWS up. Once it is loaded, go Start and right click on My Computer, and go Manage. Then on the left-hand side, click Storage > Disk Management. At the bottom, it should have Disk 0, and Disk 1. Your Portable HD should be Disk 1. You can tell if it has 3 sections, and one of them Labelled MAC FILES. If so, right click the partition on the end that is empty, and click Format. A Wizard should come up guiding you through to Partition. Here's what you do.


Format it as NTFS, change the drive letter (Optional), and Label it. Once you have done that, let Windows format it. Once it is done, you can go Start > My Computer. You should see your drive that you labelled. If you see it, then you are done! Go ahead and put any files you want, like you put on a normal USB or Portable Hard Drive.


Hope it works out right :)



NOTE: Someone may want to confirm this. :) It worked for me, so I'm just posting what I did.

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