Looking for a way to install and run OS X on an external hard drive? This can be useful for a couple of different reasons. Firstly, it allows you to run another copy of OS X without needing any additional Mac computer.
Also, since you can run a full copy of OS X on the external drive, it can be used for troubleshooting purposes on other Macs or it can be as a kind of virtual OS X. I’ve already written about how you can install OS X in VMware Fusion, but that takes up space on your Mac. Using an external drive, you can save space on your Mac, though it might be a bit slower if you are using USB 2.0.
Nov 23, 2016 Installing a program in Windows (I don't do Mac) makes many entries in the system registry file. As well as putting hidden registration files on the system drive so the programs know they are legal and may be used. Moving an external drive to another computer will A break the system registry and B not allow the programs to know they are legal. One of the great things about Mac OS applications is that they are packages. Application.app is a folder. You can right/CTRL click any app and select “show contents” to view all the program files. This means when you move an app, all t. Now you have the installer on the external drive you can use that to install multiple copies of macOS. Plug the external drive into the Mac that you want to install the macOS on. Mac Software. The final product will be Windows running natively on your mac from an external drive. Preparing the USB HDD/SSD Windows 10 Drive. Install Boot Camp Support Software. The external drive that you’ll install Windows on needs to be prepared by erasing and formatting the drive for use with Windows. Warning: The erase, format, and partitioning process will delete all data currently contained on the external drive. 1) Ensure the external drive is connected to your Mac.
In this article, I’ll walk you through the requirements and steps to install OS X onto an external hard drive.
Format External Hard Disk
The first thing you’re going to need to do is format the external hard drive properly. The file format has to be Mac OS X Journaled and you have to use the GUID partition map. To do this, open Disk Utility and connect the drive to your Mac.
Under External in the left hand menu, click on your external hard drive and then click on the Erase button. Make sure you backup any data before you erase the drive. When you click Erase, a dialog will pop up where you can configure some options.
Give your drive a name, choose OS X Extended (Journaled) for Format and GUID Partition Map for Scheme. It should only take a minute or two for the drive to be erased and reformatted. Now your drive is ready for OS X.
Install OS X
There are two ways you can install OS X on to your external hard disk: by reinstalling OS X from the OS X Utilities repair screen or by downloading OS X from the App Store and running the installer. I’ll show you both methods in case one isn’t working for you.
The easiest way is to download OS X from the App Store. Once you open the App Store, you’ll see a link on the right for the latest version of OS X (El Capitan as of this writing).
Go ahead and click the Download button to start downloading the installer. Note that if you already have that version of OS X installed, you’ll see a popup message appear asking if you still want to continue or not. Just click Continue. Att free antivirus.
Once it has been downloaded, just double-click the installer, which will be located in the Applications folder.
Keep clicking past the license agreement, etc., until you get to the screen that asks you which disk to install OS X on. By default, it is set to MacBook.
Click on the Show All Disks button and you’ll see an icon for the different disks and partitions on the Mac. I named my external hard drive OS X and that shows up in the middle.
You can also tell it’s an external hard disk because it uses the icon with the orange hard drive. Click Continue and then follow the instructions to complete the installation. Note that your computer may restart during the install and you don’t have to do anything. OS X will automatically continue installing onto the external hard drive rather than booting up to your internal version of OS X.
At the end of this article, I’ll show you how to boot up to the external hard drive, so skip down if you ended up using the App Store method. Note that by default, the Mac will start booting up directly to the external hard drive until you change it.
The second method to install OS X is to restart the Mac and press and hold the COMMAND + R keys. This will load up OS X Recovery.
The OS X Utilities screen will appear and here you want to click on Reinstall OS X. Again, you’ll go through some basic screens, but when you get to the hard disk screen, click on Show All Disks again.
Using this method, you’ll have to login using your Apple ID and password so that the entire OS X installer can be downloaded off of Apple’s servers. Whichever method you choose, it will take anywhere from 15 to 30+ minutes to install OS X onto your external hard drive.
While OS X is installing, your computer will restart a couple of times. Note that when it finally boots into OS X, that is the version running off your external drive. To switch back and forth between the internal and external drive, you have to restart your computer and hold down the OPTION key.
When you do that, you should see at least four icons. In my case, I have five because I have Windows installed using Boot Camp. Anyway, the grey MacBook and Recovery 10.11.2 icons are for my internal OS X and the orange OS X and Recovery 10.11.3 are for the version installed on my external drive.
Use the arrow keys to select which drive to boot from and then simply press Enter. If you have a newer Mac and a USB drive that supports USB 3.0, everything should run fairly fast. Overall, it’s a fairly straight-forward process and took me less than an hour to get everything working. If you have any questions, feel free to comment. Enjoy!
These advanced steps are primarily for system administrators and others who are familiar with the command line. You don't need a bootable installer to upgrade macOS or reinstall macOS, but it can be useful when you want to install on multiple computers without downloading the installer each time.
Find the appropriate download link in the upgrade instructions for each macOS version:
macOS Catalina, macOS Mojave, ormacOS High Sierra
Installers for each of these macOS versions download directly to your Applications folder as an app named Install macOS Catalina, Install macOS Mojave, or Install macOS High Sierra. If the installer opens after downloading, quit it without continuing installation. Important: To get the correct installer, download from a Mac that is using macOS Sierra 10.12.5 or later, or El Capitan 10.11.6. Enterprise administrators, please download from Apple, not a locally hosted software-update server.
OS X El Capitan
El Capitan downloads as a disk image. On a Mac that is compatible with El Capitan, open the disk image and run the installer within, named InstallMacOSX.pkg. It installs an app named Install OS X El Capitan into your Applications folder. You will create the bootable installer from this app, not from the disk image or .pkg installer.
Use the 'createinstallmedia' command in Terminal
- Connect the USB flash drive or other volume that you're using for the bootable installer. Make sure that it has at least 12GB of available storage and is formatted as Mac OS Extended.
- Open Terminal, which is in the Utilities folder of your Applications folder.
- Type or paste one of the following commands in Terminal. These assume that the installer is still in your Applications folder, and MyVolume is the name of the USB flash drive or other volume you're using. If it has a different name, replace
MyVolumein these commands with the name of your volume.
- Press Return after typing the command.
- When prompted, type your administrator password and press Return again. Terminal doesn't show any characters as you type your password.
- When prompted, type
Yto confirm that you want to erase the volume, then press Return. Terminal shows the progress as the bootable installer is created.
- When Terminal says that it's done, the volume will have the same name as the installer you downloaded, such as Install macOS Catalina. You can now quit Terminal and eject the volume.
* If your Mac is using macOS Sierra or earlier, include the
--applicationpath argument, similar to the way this argument is used in the command for El Capitan.
Use the bootable installer
After creating the bootable installer, follow these steps to use it:
- Plug the bootable installer into a compatible Mac.
- Use Startup Manager or Startup Disk preferences to select the bootable installer as the startup disk, then start up from it. Your Mac will start up to macOS Recovery.
Learn about selecting a startup disk, including what to do if your Mac doesn't start up from it.
- Choose your language, if prompted.
- A bootable installer doesn't download macOS from the Internet, but it does require the Internet to get information specific to your Mac model, such as firmware updates. If you need to connect to a Wi-Fi network, use the Wi-Fi menu in the menu bar.
- Select Install macOS (or Install OS X) from the Utilities window, then click Continue and follow the onscreen instructions.
Install Macos On External Drive
For more information about the
createinstallmedia command and the arguments that you can use with it, make sure that the macOS installer is in your Applications folder, then enter this path in Terminal:
Run Windows On Mac From External Drive