Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have the following "setup:"

iMac (no internal drive/dead) --------- (Firewire) ------- [[MAC OS X]]

I routinely use the firewire drive to boot MAC OS X.

However, I would like to boot from the linux partition of the USB drive. This linux partition had linux installed on it from a live cd, and during that process, I told the installer to install GRUB on the usb drive (which happened to be /dev/sdd).

My question is, how do I get this disk to show up during the iMac option-boot? Currently, only the firewire MAC OS X option shows up. I have read about rEFIT, but that appears to install it to the Mac OS X disk (would that still work?)...

Also mentioned was installing rEFIT to the internal EFI system partition, but I don't know if that is wise.

share|improve this question

This is the most useful link I have found for Ubuntu on an iMac using USB.

I just swapped Karmic for Lucid. You boot holding down the Option key. I used a 16 GB SanDisk stick for Ubuntu and never had to touch my iMac's hard drive.

Installation of Ubuntu Karmic Koala for a MacBook Pro 3,1 on a USB stick | Linux on your Apple Mac

share|improve this answer

I don't think there's any good way to install Linux on Mac using Boot Camp, but you can tell Boot Camp to create a Windows entry and then install Linux to it.

I don't think you can rescue it at this point, so you might need to redo the process.


If you install it using Boot Camp as a Windows partition, then you should be good. This isn't exactly a direct answer to your question, but I don't know what else you can do at this point... you have to trick the Mac to do anything not officially supported, that's kinda how it is.

share|improve this answer
The problem is that boot camp think it needs an internal drive to make a "windows" partition. There is absolutely no problem with booting Mac OSX from the firewire drive, this is how I routinely use my computer since the internal drive died. – cemulate Apr 3 '11 at 21:57
My issue is, that if the option-boot lets me choose a firewire drive containing Mac OS X, why wouldn't it let me choose a a USB drive that contains Linux? I think it is probably something to do with there being multiple partitions on the disk containing linux. – cemulate Apr 3 '11 at 22:00

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.