I'm trying to get Win7 working from an external FireWire drive (Macbook pro mid 2009, OSX El Capitan). I've tried the two tutorials below; the installation seems smooth either way and mac recognizes the external hard drive as windows drive after restart (holding option key). But after selecting the windows option, I end up with a "No bootable device - insert boot disk…



Would be fantastic if someone has experience with this and could give me a hint!


Edit: I've now also tried the tutorial here: No bootable device USB 2.0 MacBook Pro mid 2014 I've adapted the Disk and partition IDs to match my system. Same result, after reboot of the mac the external hard drive is recognized as windows partition, but remains not bootable.


The answer is NO. I you are reading somewhere else that this is possible, then either you are being lied to or the instructions are for a different model Mac.

2009 Macs need to BIOS boot Windows. No Mac model can BIOS boot from an external drive.

You can try to EFI boot Windows 7, but I do not believe you can EFI boot Window 7 from an internal or external drive on a 2009 Mac.

  • Oh no! thanks David for having g a definite answer. I've also read somewhere else that EFI boot doesn't work for Win7. – Matt Sep 7 '18 at 1:25

While you can boot from external media, Windows itself cannot (in most cases). One way to overcome this is using an up to date version of Windows with Windows-to-Go support and a fast USB-based drive (FireWire booting doesn't work with Windows).

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