Comments on: How Not to Install Windows on your Mac’s External Disk /rants/how-not-to-install-windows-on-your-macs-external-disk/ sealed abstract class drew {} Sun, 27 Mar 2016 22:51:38 +0000 hourly 1 By: WaveMechanic /rants/how-not-to-install-windows-on-your-macs-external-disk/comment-page-1/#comment-11629 Sat, 04 Jan 2014 23:12:16 +0000 /?p=1613#comment-11629 Drew, your well-written and highly informative piece was a walk down memory lane for me. In the good old days you just set your front panel switches on your PDP8, loaded your paper tape and away you went. Ah well, times have changed, as have we all.

FWIW I’ve had some success booting a Mac Pro 4.1 (early 2009, OSX 10.8.4) into W7 SP1 Ult on an external RAID0 array (2xM4 64GB SSD’s) connected to a Marvell 88SE9230-based PCIe X2 4-port SATAIII controller card, Syba’s SI-PEX40057 (cheap-cheap).

The array was created with Marvell’s MSU app in Win7 booted from an internal bootcamp drive, with the SATA card in slot 4. After a reboot to OSX, Disk Utility was used to partition the RAID0 drive as GUID/HSFJ. iPartition was then used to shrink that partition to a minimum size (214.6 MB for me, YMMV) and partition the rest for MS Data w/NTFS format, “Visible to Windows” and “Active”. Finally a previously-saved W7 SP1 Ult winclone image made from the internal boot camp partition was restored to the MS partition on the external RAID0 disk. Reboot, wait for the chkdsk in Win7 (invisible, just a loooong blank screen, then restart) and voila, bootcamp on an external disk – a RAID0 array, even.

But not all is well. I have a problem, a problem of greed and stupidity. I have a second Syba card, an SI-PEX40058. Same Marvell chip but 2 SATA + 2 eSATA ports. And I have another RAID0 array I want to use.

Obviously I’m criminally oblivious to the risk of RAID0 configurations on consumer SSD’s, but I confess, I may have experimented with “drugs” at MIT back in the 70’s, so that’s the least of my flaws.

Anyway, if I have both cards installed (no matter which slots I pick) the W7 boot process reaches a blank screen and stays there, forever, or at least as long (45 minutes) as I’ve tried waiting.

It wasn’t always like this. Once I had everything working, if you call a 5+ minute boot delay (blank screen for 2 1/2 min, brief card bios displays, blinking cursor screen for another 2 1/2 min, a weird green Microsoft loading bar and finally login) “working.”

But, silly me, after numerous efforts (too many to list here) to mitigate this galling delay, I finally took the drastic step of updating the BIOS and firmware on the cards, from a binary image found on “”, a French website, as Syba and Marvell offer nada. And now darkness lies over the land.

Syba, sadly, disavows any knowledge of firmware flashing and cannot provide an image of the original firmware – if that is indeed at the root of my current problem. Because it could be any one of so many other things.

There’s the slot the cards are plugged into: same as before but still a question because only Slot 4 for boot and Slot 2 for the other array worked then. Or the ports that the array’s drives are plugged into: also restored as before but always confusing, as the port numbers don’t match the physical location of the sockets. There’s the partition map on the boot drive array: the firmware flash necessitated recreating the array and the partitioning process described above. And the winclone image, taken from the same drive array when working but shrunk to fit on the infinitesmally smaller partition created after flashing.

Oh, I could go on but the miracle of factorial growth in the number of possible combinations (compound interest, cry your heart out) makes this all quite academic. I’m stuck at a blank screen.

Gee though, it was fun while it lasted, if you don’t count that 5+ minute boot delay. And I can still run my Mac Pro in W7 SP1 Ult on an external RAID0 array. But I’m greedy and want another, and I’m too stupid to get it back.

Now let me be clear about one thing: I understand that those faults of greed and stupidity are my own. They are not the fault of Syba, or Marvell, or the cards’ BIOS and firmware, or of OSX. They’re not even Windows’ fault, and think how rare that is.

For that tiny tithe of understanding I am grateful. And if you, Drew, or any other readers can help further, I’d be ever so much more so.

By: jmg /rants/how-not-to-install-windows-on-your-macs-external-disk/comment-page-1/#comment-10591 Fri, 16 Aug 2013 11:11:07 +0000 /?p=1613#comment-10591 Thank you very much for this hilarious post. I’ve had 20 very amusing minutes, after spending two hours to find a way to boot a bootcamp installed windows from a formerly internal, now external disk, on my girlfriends computer. … and all that just to submit your taxes

By: Jenny /rants/how-not-to-install-windows-on-your-macs-external-disk/comment-page-1/#comment-9110 Sat, 20 Jul 2013 08:43:32 +0000 /?p=1613#comment-9110 I’m not sure whether this helps but I just found this (apparently successful) procedure on a forum: In external HD install Mac OS X, and then install windows to same drive via bootcamp.
Delete Mac OS X partition, Resize Windows partition to size you want.

By: Jenny /rants/how-not-to-install-windows-on-your-macs-external-disk/comment-page-1/#comment-9109 Sat, 20 Jul 2013 08:40:04 +0000 /?p=1613#comment-9109 I understood perhaps half of the words in the article but still found it informative and very entertaining.

As I have a mac which is refusing to even install windows via bootcamp (white screen of death, yey) I am quite out of options… and apparently this one is another I should cross of the list!

Good to know though :)

By: db /rants/how-not-to-install-windows-on-your-macs-external-disk/comment-page-1/#comment-8732 Sun, 14 Jul 2013 03:46:30 +0000 /?p=1613#comment-8732 4 things:
– Either you are a lot older than I am guessing you are or you spent way too much time learning some very arcane computer history.
– You may have too much time on your hands.
– I assume you actually need to boot Windows on the hardware or you would just install it as a VM (with Parallels) then move the VM file over to your external drive.
– As someone who was around on “the first day” I really enjoyed your recap of the history. I also read and enjoyed and found useful several of your other articles.