I read several articles and watched several YouTube videos about how to make a bootable Windows 10 on an external SSD using Bootcamp. However, all of the tutorials are using either an iMac or older MacBook Pro. I haven't seen one with new MacBook Pro yet. for example this guide.

Why do all of these tutorials not work on my new MacBook? These ways are expired? see this question from the Apple Support Communities.


This is based on my own experience of installing Windows 10 on an external drive:

Step 1: Download a virtual machine to run Windows on. I used VMWare Fusion and used a 30-day trial. You do not need to do this if you already have a computer with Windows 10

Step 2: Search "windows 10 iso image" and click the first link from Microsoft. Download it.

Step 3: Open the VMWare application and upload the Windows 10 iso image onto it, and run Windows. You do not need to do this if you already have a computer with Windows 10

Step 4: Go on your virtual Windows and download WinToUSB from this: https://www.easyuefi.com/wintousb/.

Step 5: Open the WinToUSB tool and upload the same Windows 10 .iso image onto it, and choose which version to install. Connect your external drive to your Mac, make sure it connects to VMWare, and select it once it shows up on WinToUSB.

Step 6: Wait until the tool installs Windows 10 onto the external drive. While this is running, go to the Bootcamp app and ONLY download the Windows Support Software.

Step 7: Once the WinToUSB tool finishes installing, you can close out of VMWare by shutting down from the virtual Windows. The connected external drive should show up on your mac again, and drag the Windows Support Software folder into the drive.

You should now have an external drive with Windows 10 on it, and the Windows Support Software on it as well. You can boot from it by restarting and holding option and choosing the external drive. Use the Windows Support Software to install the correct Apple Drivers in the external drive when inside the Windows 10 boot.

This was the method that worked for me on an Early 2014 MacBook Air on High Sierra and should work on yours unless something in Bootcamp Assistant changed.

  • It works. I think my problem comes from the bootable partition. it should be FAT 32. WinToUSB automatically changes it to that. – D.JCode Jun 14 '19 at 7:41
  • You can download just the Windows Support Software by using the Action menu item on the Boot Camp Assistant app. – deed02392 Sep 1 '19 at 21:13
  • The only thing that didn't work was that the drivers didn't install automatically, so I had to use a USB mouse to complete the setup and install them manually. – deed02392 Sep 1 '19 at 22:52
  • fyi: Some versions of Windows do not boot from an external drive. – historystamp Feb 1 '20 at 20:11

WintoUSB is great and a lot of folks recommend this app because it has a free version. However, it seems something wrong when running it on a Windows 7 machine. After selecting the USB drive, it comes to an error "Failed to run system API (0x0005001501B200000)".

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Tried multiple times and still the same result.

Then I did a test on another two Windows To Go creator software and managed to install Windows 10 to external SSD via UUByte WintoUSB Pro tool.

The first step is to get a working PC or create a new virtual machine on Mac.

Then download UUByte WintoUSB Pro (https://www.uubyte.com/win-to-usb-pro.html) and open the software. Follow the screen prompt to import Windows 10 ISO and choose the booting mode. For Mac, it is GPT+ UEFI. Wait for about 10 minutes, and a portable Windows to Go drive is ready.

Now, connect the drive to Mac and press Power + Option key to boot Mac from external USB. You will see Windows 10 setup screen when everything is fine. Follow the steps to install Windows 10 on that external drive.

Finally, activate Windows 10 and download missing drivers to make it working properly on Mac.

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