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Installing Snow Leopard on External Drive

My Hard Drive recently failed. I purchased a replacement, which i assume was blank. I formatted it to Mac OSX Extended (Journaled) using my other MBP via External Hard Drive fitting.

The 17 MBP i am trying to install the Hard Drive on has a broken SuperDrive.

I tried to boot using the Mac OSX disk and holding C but it didnt work, a folder with a question mark appeared.

I then tried to install Mac OSX using Installer on my working MBP (via a USB drive fitting) but at about 35 mins it crashed and rebooted, then the multiple language instruction "Shut Down System) appeared.

How do i install Mac OSX on an External Drive? is USB fast enough? Do i need to partition the drive first?

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Are both machines MBPs?


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since i never had this issues, i only can recommend my standard procedure.

one thing to avoid possible "kernel panics" (the multiple language screen) is deselecting crap that you don't need - kick out the unneeded printer drivers and languages..

i've made many installs with external usb drives, but you can also use CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper. i prefer CCC to clone my working osx to a new drive. made this many times on my g5 iMacs and also with my "hackintoshes"


since jethro showed me a problem in my posting i will give you a different solution that should work with your MacBook too

(forget this about the version, the title says it all)

since you didn't wroth what osx version you use, i take the snow kitty for that: short version is -> put the setup dvd on an usb drive (should be a fast one) and install osx from this usb drive.

a good guide can be found on (click)

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Standard procedures for a kernel panic shouldn't be removing excess crap and printers. The first thing you should look at is the kernel panic log to find out what the computer is crashing on.

Also, you might want to be careful with the computers you are imaging because if you image a new computer with an image from an older computer you will have problem. For example, the mid 2009 MacBooks wouldn't have audio if they were imaged with an older computer image with all the updates.


your right with the log file, but if it's already crashed - it#s to late for that.

deselecting unneded stuff saves time/space and could prevent problems with older system discs (sometimes scratched - i had one that always failed - only because of the languages that i never use - so deselecting reduces the errors. and yes you're right - cloning from an old to a new system might be problematic - thats why i will edit my post and add a different solution


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Well since you have ran Disk Utility to format it, you'll be fine.

Just try to use the external DVD drive again. Make sure its compatible with DVD-DL however.

If it fails again, its because the DVD is damaged so you can try it one more time or find another DVD.

You can also use remote disk and heres another link with information

EDIT: The remote disk will NOT work to install OS X but it will work after you install OS X by following these instructions

Another thing you can do is connect your MacBook Pro with the working DVD drive to your other MacBook Pro via FireWire and start the mbp with the working DVD drive in Target Disk Mode (Cmd+T) and the mbp's DVD drive will be an external drive now for the MacBook Pro with the broken drive.

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Do the Target mode install if they are both MBPs.


You can use target disk mode on any computer which has a firewire port, it doesn't have to be only MacBook Pros. Also, remote disk will work after an install for disk sharing but you can't use it as a boot device because it is not built into the firmware of any other computer besides the MacBook Air.


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Don't try to install it remotely, it is won't work on your computer. Remote install is only for MacBook Air.

USB is fast enough for you to install Mac OS X on it. I would partition the disk and try to install it again. Make sure when it starts to hit the "command + L" to turn on logging so you can see what it fails on if it fails.

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