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I have a 4GB SD card on which I'd like to use like a Linux "LiveCD" (except of course it's not a CD) for my MacBook Pro. Any idea how I could do that? I'd prefer to not use rEFIt.

To boot Mac OS from an SD card it needs to have a GUID Partition Table and the OS must be installed on a HFS+ filesystem. I suppose I'd have to mimic a similar setup for Linux.

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this is always my standard "go-to" answer, but why not try virtualbox? Then you can use the livecd from within MacOS and not worry about booting. – Robert S Ciaccio Aug 3 '10 at 4:31
@calavera: Because VirtualBox won't run in a situation where I can't make it to the login screen. :) – zneak Aug 3 '10 at 4:40
hmmm... so your os x installation is screwed up? is that why you're trying to boot linux, to repair your installation? Or are you trying to boot OS X from the sd card? – Robert S Ciaccio Aug 3 '10 at 5:22
@calavera: no, it's currently not broken, but it could eventually be. I'm also going to use what space is left to bring on a few more programs, and I will probably use it to help other friends with SD slots in case of hardware failure. It's also in part for the kicks. – zneak Aug 3 '10 at 12:10
Ok, so you're trying to make an sd card OS X "live cd"? Sounds cool. – Robert S Ciaccio Aug 3 '10 at 19:53
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Turns out the computer only wants an blessed EFI boot program, so installing rEFIt on the SD card is a viable option. I simply downloaded rEFIt, transferred the efi folder to the root of a small (15MB) HFS+ partition, and run /efi/refit/ Boom! SD card bootable, and rEFIt should know how to handle the OSes on it.

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sounds like you solved it? can you accept your own answer? :) – Robert S Ciaccio Aug 3 '10 at 22:34
@calavera: It tells me I can't accept it for 19 hours, so I'll just wait that. – zneak Aug 4 '10 at 2:14
Can you describe more detailed how you did it? – Lenar Hoyt Oct 12 '11 at 14:30
@mcb, on which step do you need help? The steps I've listed (create a small HFS+ partition, put rEFIt on it, run the script) all seem rather sraightforward to me. – zneak Oct 12 '11 at 23:28
@zneak: How to I create this partition, with the Disk Utility app? I couldn't find an option for HFS+. – Lenar Hoyt Oct 12 '11 at 23:29

This looks like it has been answered at

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Yeah, the question is quite similar to mine. Though, it's not been answered. – zneak Aug 3 '10 at 4:16
.. close but it's not quite the same. Booting from the usb port with a flash drive and booting from the sd card slot with an sd card might be different scenarios. However, @zneak, I'd encourage you to just try using the same technique as you would use for booting from a flash drive. you can try setting the sd card as the startup disk in system preferences. – Robert S Ciaccio Aug 3 '10 at 4:25
@calavera: no, can't. It won't list it. – zneak Aug 3 '10 at 4:32

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