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I have an old macbookpro:

Model Name: MacBook Pro
Model Identifier:   MacBookPro6,2
Processor Name: Intel Core i5
Processor Speed:    2.53 GHz
Boot ROM Version:   MBP61.0057.B0F

I created a windows usb with bootcamp assistant, "Create a Windows 7 or later version install disk" with a windows 7 ISO image.

I went through bootcamp's "Install or remove Windows 7" option and partitioned 21GB from my harddisk for my windows partition (it's named "BOOTCAMP", MS-DOS (FAT)).

I plugged in my usb and restarted my laptop. I pressed option during boot to go into the boot menu. Somehow, my usb stick doesn't show up in the boot menu. I only see my normal boot partition and a recover partition. I tried removing the USB stick while I am still in that menu and plugging it back to see if that will fix the problem. It did not.

Strangely, I noticed that my USB stick does not light up when I unplugged it and reinserted it when my mac is in the boot menu. Normally the usb stick will light up when inserted into this usb port.

I thought my ISO is not bootable so I tried another windows 7 ISO and the results remain the same.

Is it possible that my model is too old such that it doesn't allow booting from USB during boot time? Is it possible that older ROMS do not check for USB drives during boot time (hence explaining why my usb doesn't light up)?

I can assure you that my usb port is functioning correctly (at least during Mac OS X run time).

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USB Boot is available since the switching to Intel processors so your MBP is not to old. –  Matthieu Riegler May 3 '13 at 13:26
    
FYI my MBP used to have a superdrive and I took it out for another harddisk –  disappearedng May 3 '13 at 19:30
    
you may check if the Active Flag for the Partition on the USB Stick has been set properly, somehow one mine it wasn't set. (without that, the boot loader just doesn't know on which partition the OS is) –  konqui Feb 6 at 6:40
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2 Answers 2

rEFIt is a useful utility for selecting boot partitions that don't necessarily show up normally (Linux bootloaders, incomplete installs for example, or if there is something out of sync with the boot sectors).

You could use it here to see if it can recognise your USB stick, you could also use it to boot Windows from FireWire if that's at all useful.

You'll need a second usb stick to run it in 'live boot' mode, if you don't want to have it installed on your system, but it's pretty small so even 20MB is enough. Download the disk image and use Disk Utility to clone it onto your second usb stick, then boot with option held and it will appear.

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All macs boot from USB. You'll need to troubleshoot further why the images you have are not blessed properly. It's rare to find a USB drive that isn't bootable, but that too might be worth investigating.

I'd try installing OS X onto that USB drive to test whether it's a hardware issue or due to the software steps you are performing. There's not a good way to boot to single user mode and then select another volume to boot, so you pretty much use the system preference to set a boot volume or use the option key to use the Boot Selector GUI that's in each Mac's firmware to bless and set the startup boot list in NVRAM.

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