Mac-bootable XP flash drive?
October 26, 2010 8:38 PM   Subscribe

Leaving Friday for a monthlong stint out of town; how to maintain access to essential software on a different computer running a different OS?

I'm taking my MacBook Pro with me to a recording-engineering intensive in OH. However, I'm already undergoing a working-memory training program (CogMed) which requires a daily thirty-minute set of computerized exercises—software that only runs on the alternative Windows machine at home. For the next month, I'll be remote from the machine, but I still need a way to access the training software. Is there any way for me to quickly transfer the entire partition to a flash drive and boot from it while away on my laptop? Or can you think of any other clever workarounds—technical or not? Or rather, is this a lost cause, given I leave Friday?
posted by alexandermatheson to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Use Remote Desktop to connect to the computer at home and you should be fine.
posted by ripley_ at 8:56 PM on October 26, 2010

Best answer: I use Wine to run a couple Windows apps under OS X; Parallels and VMware will do the same thing but they cost money and also require you to install a copy of Windows (which also costs money). If your MacBook has an Intel processor then you could also use Bootcamp to install Windows along with OS X (instead of inside of it), but that would require a reboot to switch between operating systems.
posted by bizwank at 9:00 PM on October 26, 2010

Best answer: Looks like the free VirtualBox might have you covered. For step 3 CloneZilla looks good, and I think you could clone it to an external USB drive if a flash drive does not have enough room.

I've no direct experience with VirtualBox, (I use VMWare fusion) but have heard good things.
posted by cftarnas at 11:43 PM on October 26, 2010

Quick follow up, if you don't mind just re-installing your app, the easiest solution is to create a fresh XP VM with VirtualBox and then install the working-memory training program there. If the program tracks your progress then you will loose that saved data with this method.
posted by cftarnas at 11:45 PM on October 26, 2010

Best answer: You could buy VMWare. They have a machine migration tool that will effectively image your XP machine and give you a ready-to-run VM on your mac. It's called the Migration Assistant.
posted by chairface at 6:36 AM on October 27, 2010

Response by poster: Wonderful—thank you for your help! Actually, the only reason I'd not already installed a Boot Camp XP partition on my laptop is that, strangely enough, there were immoveable system files preventing even the smallest of partitions from being formatted. So…anyone know how to move immoveable files? :)

Peace be, and be well.
posted by alexandermatheson at 11:05 AM on October 28, 2010

Response by poster: Couldn't manage to get VM's Migration Assistant to work, but had success in creating a XP virtual machine and reinstalling. Time-consuming, but worked.
posted by alexandermatheson at 3:47 PM on October 28, 2010

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