How to use an external SSD as a boot drive

If you’re considering upgrading to a Crucial X8 portable SSD, you may wonder, “Can I use an external SSD as a boot drive?” We have good news. Yes, you can boot from an external SSD on a PC or Mac computer.

Depending on the model, Macs in particular can be difficult to upgrade. Older iMacs or Mac Mini systems likely came with a hard disk drive — which are much slower than SSDs — or a low-capacity SSD. External SSDs, including the Crucial X8, offer a way to increase speed and capacity without replacing internal parts. Portable SSDs connect via USB cables. It’s that easy.

After learning how to install your external SSD, you’ll find that using a Crucial X8 as a boot drive is a simple and reliable way to upgrade your system without using a screwdriver.

Note: Just in case you accidentally delete some files or select the wrong drive, Crucial recommends backing up your files in a secondary location before setting up your Crucial X8 as a boot drive.

Here’s how to use your X8 external SSD as a boot drive for Mac computers.

Step 1: Wipe your internal drive

To wipe your internal drive and to begin the process of saving MacOS to your Crucial X8, go to this Apple.com article, “How to reinstall MacOS from MacOS Recovery".

Step 2: Open Disk Utility

After following instructions for opening MacOS Recovery, open “Disk Utility.”

Step 3: Erase existing data

Select “Crucial X8” from the list of storage disks on the left-hand column.

Step 4: Erase existing data

Select “Erase” to remove all existing data from the X8.

Step 5: Name the SSD

When prompted for the new volume name, call it “macOs X8” with either APFS or X Extended (Journaled). Select either APFS or X Extended (Journaled), depending on your disk format. Leave the scheme set as GUID partition map.

Step 6: Close Disk Utility

Close Disk Utility, then select “Reinstall macOS.”

Step 7: Reinstall macOS

Follow the macOS installer prompts, selecting the “macOS X8” volume as the destination for where to install the new operating system.

Crucial SSD resources

Crucial.com contains a wealth of information on how SSDs work and about how to get the most out of your SSD. Here’s a few popular resources to check out:

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