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I have a small Windows 7 Boot Camp partition on a MacBook (computer A).

I have to give this computer away, but want to keep the Windows installation and the software and data on it.

I have a USB stick with enough space to contain the Windows partition.

If I used dd to copy the Windows 7 installation onto the USB stick, would it be bootable on a different Intel Mac (computer B)?

Is there a better way to achieve this with minimal disruption?

Corollary: I've read Windows won't even boot from a USB stick. Is this the case? What are the conditions for a Windows partition to be bootable on a Mac?

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Your asking several questions here, I'll try to answer them all.

To backup a bootable partition, try Paragons Backup & Recovery for a BootCamp Windows backup. (according to fortuny here

Wether or not you can boot Windows from a USB stick is determined by the kind of motherboard your using. Check your manual if you're unsure. (Installing windows 7 from a USB stick although possible, is rather difficult. This may be what you're referring to, but I'm not sure).

This site contains instructions for making a bootable USB stick (in Windows).

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Macs can boot OS X from a USB key no problem. I want to boot a fully working copy of Windows 7 from a USB key. Preferably I want it to be the copy i already have from the computer that will be going away. – jackslash Feb 18 '12 at 9:23
@jackslash depending on your motherboard, this should be easy. Just go to the Boot Menu and select the USB drive. – wizlog Feb 19 '12 at 0:07
Booting from a USB stick isn't my issue. The startup manager on a Mac will show all bootable devices. The trick will be making a bootable Windows 7 USB stick. Im not sure that Paragons software can achieve that – jackslash Feb 19 '12 at 0:17
up vote 0 down vote accepted

It turns out that you can install windows onto a USB device using VMware or similar, then edit the registry to make the USB drivers load on boot. I got it working using the instructions at this website which took me a long time to find.

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