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How do I make my Hard drive bootable?

I have a blank external hard drive (firewire 400) and I want to make it bootable to OX 10.4. I just want the OS and not all the other files on my computer(so cloning wont work). What's the best way to do this?

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The best way to do this is to boot up from your OS X installation disc. When you go about doing the installation just choose the external HD as your installation path.

You want to make sure of a few things first. If you don't know how to boot to your system disc, when powering up your machine hold down the 'C' key and quickly insert the disc.

Also, you want to make sure your external drive is formatted correctly; When booted to the system disc look in your menu bar for Utilities > Disk Utility.

You will see your external drive in the list. Click on external drive (not the partition of the drive) and what I normally do is just erase it and give it any old name. Make sure you choose Mac OS Extended Journaled. (this is in the erase tab in disk utility).

Quit Disk Utility and go on with the installation.

When the installation is done you will be prompted with the welcome screen and setup. If you want to boot to the external drive in the future, you can do this by holding down the option key on boot. This is called the option manager. You can choose to boot to anything that is connected to your computer that is bootable such as an external drive or optical media.

Hope this helps and good luck!

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Thanks brother

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I just want to point out that actually yes, PowerPC formatted external Firewire discs will boot on Intel machines. It will not work the other way around though. (This only applies to computers running 10.4 & 10.5 This will not work with 10.6)

When a disc is formatted as what's called the Apple Partition Scheme. This is how PowerPC machines read information. Intel machines can also read Apple Partition Scheme drives.

The other format that can only be read by Intel machines is the GUID Partition scheme. When you format a disc in this way it can only be read by Intel machines ONLY. This only applies to making a bootable volume btw. If you plug in a GUID partitioned drive into a PowerPC machine it can still recognize it.

For example, I have 2 external HDDs. 1 used to diagnose PowerPC and Intel machines running OS X 10.4 & 10.5. This disc's partitions are Apple Partition Schemed.

The other external HDD I use is for newer Macs running 10.5 and 10.6. Since Snow Leopard came out stripped of any PowerPC support, this external HDD's partitions are GUID Partition Scheme.

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Now this is important. You don´t write what Mac you want to boot from the drive. I.ex. a PowerPC formatet boot drive will not boot an Intel Mac. So when you format the drive in Disk Utiliy choose "Partition" and how many partitions you want (usually one volume). Then click on "Options" and choose "GUID-partition table" to boot an Intel Mac and "Apple-partition table" to boot a PowerPC Mac.

With an Intel Mac you can also boot from external USB (only Firewire on PowerPC). This is handy and I have a USB stick that is loaded with utilities that I have saved a lot of Intel Macs with.

Here is a tip on creating a minimal boot disk with your own tools: and besides that you could google "create os x boot disk".

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Another good article I found on installing on a USB flash drive. Which would be much the same as a Firewire drive. I expect you want a minimal system?

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