In theory, is it possible to run Windows OS off a flash drive, so that on starting up the machine, if the stick was in the USB slot, it would startup on that 'hard disk' and run windows programs off it?

I'm basically asking because I'm having nightmarish issues trying to get Bootcamp to partition my drive and run Windows on the partition. I've been searching the problem and it seems to be an ongoing problem going back to 2014, which amazes me.

  • 1
    Can you please restructure your question to focus on what you're actually trying to do and the error(s) you're receiving? You risk having this question closed because you ask if something is possible 'in theory' and then don't provide any info about your system or the errors you're seeing. - From Review – fsb Feb 7 '17 at 22:12
  • afaik, it would have to be an Intel based Mac. To do so you would want a "persistent" USB, not just a "live" version of the OS see: michael.anastasiou.me/create-windows-7-8-bootable-usb-drive-mac – Mr. Kennedy Feb 7 '17 at 22:13

In theory, yes, but in practice it would be quite slow and cumbersome doing so from a flash drive.

My suggestion would be to search here for an answer to whatever your Bootcamp issue is (or ask a question about it).

However, if you really want to bypass the internal drive, then I would recommend using an external hard drive (instead of a flash drive) to run Windows from. Be aware though that the process for doing this is quite involved. For example, read this question for one way to achieve what you want.

  • I have found the great deal of answers on here and elsewhere a great deal more technically advanced than I am currently capable of understanding. It would be a great help if, when people offer solutions involving console and terminal, that they explained the processes used a bit better so that ludites such as I can keep up. – Tommothy Bevs Feb 7 '17 at 22:08
  • Yes, I appreciate what you're saying. I know the Terminal in particular is frightening for a lot of people. If you decide to go ahead, read through the answers to the question I linked to so you get a sense for what's involved. It does appear long, but at least they've outlined each step one by one. – Monomeeth Feb 7 '17 at 22:13

Yes, is the short answer. Here's a guide for 8.1 but the same remains true for W10. The only difference here is that you would need to partition the USB drive s it's bootable on startup.


  • While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes. – Tetsujin Feb 8 '17 at 6:25

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