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I have an installation of Windows 8 that I run from an Portable HDD over USB. I use this on campus to allow me to bring my entire OS and files with me. There never anyone using the macs, so I was wondering how to invoke the mac boot menu to boot Windows 8 from my external usb drive?

On PCs it is normally F12 during the BIOS.

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You could try pressing and holding the Option key at boot-up and see if the disk is available. This brings up the boot devices menu and lets you choose external drives.

Although the USB drive may show up, it may not be possible to boot Windows from it. According to Apple:

If you use Boot Camp, you may not be able to boot natively into supported versions of Microsoft Windows XP or Windows Vista operating systems installed on external USB hard drive.

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