How to Install Windows 10 Boot Camp External SSD Thunderbolt (updated 4.2016)

30 Apr 2016 Posted by: Comments: 0 In: Uncategorized

Ok, so you got a brand new MacPro. And you want to install Windows on it. But wait.. you have only 250GB on your MacPro Flash drive.. how can you install Windows (and work with all your wonderful, essential, indispensable graphic-designer softwares) on it? External SSD is the answer (and a couple of other things).

Disclaimer: This absolutely does not want to be an exhaustive guide to all the possible problems that may arise during the installation of Windows 10 on a MacPro late 2013. If you have the same configuration as my MacPro, if you have my same external hd, there is a good chance that everything works. Otherwise, there is still a good chance that you will accomplish the mission tweaking everything a bit, in all other cases… complain to Apple, Microsoft, AMD or whoever you want.

What do you need:

  • MacPro Late 2013 (graphic card: 2 X D300 FirePro) with OSX 10.11
  • External SSD (this is mine)
  • WinClone
  • At least 35 GB of free space on your MacPro flash drive (it will be erased after the end of this tutorial, but you still need it for the first part).
  • Patience

My first attempt to install Windows 10 on an external SSD was to follow this tutorial. The tutorial is very well done, and at the end everything went well, except that Windows showed what I learned to be one of the most common bug in Windows 10: a continuous flashing after the login screen, which does not allow you to do (almost) anything. On youtube there are a few suggested ways to solve the problem, from uninstall iCloud to the elimination of certain system services, but none of them worked for me. It seems that flickering may be due to incompatible storage drivers. Windows will have drivers that communicate with the internal bus but the controller inside the Mac is different from the controller on the external drive. This incompatibility can lead to unstable behavior like flickering, crashing etc.

Let’s start:

  1. Use DiskUtility to create a partition on your MacPro flash drive (at least 35GB – MS-DOS/FAT).
  2. Start Bootcamp Assistant and start install Windows (from OSX ElCapitain, you don’t need no more an external USB key for the Bootcamp drivers) on your  new partition.
  3. When MacPro automatically restarts, it begins the first part of the Windows installation. Don’t leave the desk during the installation process: after it will finish to copy all the files, it will restart automatically. You have to go into action as soon as it restarts. Read the next step.
  4. If you don’t do anything, the system will reboot under Windows, installing all the drivers. Instead, as soon as you listen to the Boot Chime, force the system to boot in OSX mode, selecting the Macintosh HD icon.
  5. Once in OSX, connect the SSD external drive. Using Disk utility, erase the external SSD (Format: MS-DOS/FAT Scheme: GUID Partition Map).
  6. Use WinClone to clone From “MacPro BOOTCAMP partition” to “external SSD”.
  7. At the end of the process, if you got the error: “Expanding file system failed. See the system log for more information”, select the external SSD from the sources column and choose “Expand Windows NTFS Filesystem…” from the gear icon at the bottom left.
  8. Then select the external SSD from the sources column, option-click the gear icon at the bottom left, and select “Make EFI Bootable”.
  9. Restart the system, and choose the external SSD as boot device. Now Windows starts and begin to install the drivers.
  10. When it is finished, Windows is running without flashing issues. The only drawback is that now we don’t have bootcamp drivers installed.
  11. Download the last Bootcamp drivers from Apple official support website.
  12. The official bootcamp drivers from Apple doesn’t install the ATI graphic drivers correctly, and it seems that AMD Catalyst drivers for Bootcamp doesn’t work well. To install correctly the graphic drivers for the dual MacPro AMD Firepro, use the app “Apple Software Update” a couple of times, since it detects the update “Update graphic card for Bootcamp” and “Bootcamp 6 update for Windows 10”. At the end of this update, you can already check under “Manage Devices” that the Display driver correctly says “D300 Firepro”. Wow.
  13. Reboot in OSX and run Bootcamp Assistant to erase MacPro Windows partition.

Congratulations! Now Windows 10 with all MacPro drivers is correctly installed on the external SSD drive.

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