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How I boot Powerbook from USB Flash Drive

Posted on 2004-10-24
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-24
I have a powerbook firewire 2000.

How can I boot using a USB Flash Drive?  
Question by:pdoriley
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Expert Comment

ID: 12396163
I'm sorry but you can't.  You could boot up to a firewire hard drive.  LaCie makes a 20gb DataBank, which is incredibly small for how much space it has.

Author Comment

ID: 12396334
triangleman42, why cannot I?

Accepted Solution

triangleman42 earned 2000 total points
ID: 12396412
Because Apple has not designed their systems to be able to do that.  I don't think it is possible on any PCs either. (windows or linux)  It is a limitation of the hardware, which is not programmed to be able to boot off something connected to a usb port.   I'd be very interested to know if there is a motherboard/bios out there that will allow you to choose usb as a boot option.  If anyone knows please speak up.

The following is not true of all mac systems.  It is true for most macs that came with a firewire port, but not all.  It sounds like you have a powerbook g3 series w/firewire.  Without knowing which one exactly and also what version of firmware you're running you may or may not be able to make use of options 3 and 4 below.  When your powerbook starts up it looks in 4 locations for a bootable, aka "blessed" system folder:

1. The internal hard drive.  If you have two or more good systems there you can boot up to either one.
2. The CD-ROM drive.
3. The network.  If there is an os X server running on your wired network and it is configured to allow you to boot to it then you could by holding down the "n" key while starting your computer.
4.  An external firewire hard drive.  If you install a system, either 9 or X then you could boot up to them.  Again, you could have as many systems running on there as you wanted to.

The way to see which of these options above actually contain a good system, turn your computer on while holding down the "option" key.  It will scan all those places and give you an icon for each system it finds.

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Author Comment

ID: 12396976
I found this on a tech forum see: See: http://www.macintouch.com/usbflash.html#oct15
USB booting

Antonio Tejada
Apple added USB booting capability to the ROM in 1999, at the same time as Firewire booting (which was at the same time as AGP: AGP Macs can boot into Firewire, earlier ones cannot). I can verify that a PowerBook G3 'Pismo' can be booted from a USB flash memory device into Mac OS 9. I don't have a flash memory device large enough to install Mac OS X onto, so I can't test it, but it is my understanding that it does in fact work with recent versions of Mac OS X.

Apple makes post-G5 reference to USB booting in article 25184. The fact that it doesn't exclude G5s could indicate that USB 2.0-enabled Macs still retain USB booting ability. Another option, by the way, could be the recently-announced Firewire flash drives. I don't know if they make them big enough, though.

Finally, why pay for WebStar when Mac OS X includes Apache preinstalled?


Expert Comment

ID: 12397093
I stand corrected!

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