Installing MacOSX 10.5 (Leopard) on an external harddisk

install macosx 10.5 leopardI need to support both MacOSX 10.4 (Tiger) and 10.5 (Leopard) for the latest release of PerfectTablePlan. I could have created a new partition on the current harddisk for 10.5, but apparently you can’t do that without erasing the whole disk. I really didn’t want to mess with my existing 10.4 setup, so I purchased a 320GB WD MyBook USB/Firewire external harddisk to install 10.5 on to. 320GB for £75, bargain! But I had quite a bit of trouble installing Leopard on to it. After about the tenth time looking at a “Mac OS X could not be installed on your computer. The installer cannot prepare the volume for installation.” message I finally got it working. In case anyone else gets stuck, here are some hints:

  • When you set up the new harddisk partitions using Disk Utility make sure you choose Apple Partition Map using the Options button (it may be set to Master Boot Record if the disk is shipped set-up for Windows).
  • Disconnect the harddisk USB cable. Just use the Firewire cable.

I hope this saves someone else a few hours. Thanks to Jeff B for a hint that got me moving in the right direction.

3 thoughts on “Installing MacOSX 10.5 (Leopard) on an external harddisk

  1. Jason

    For the record, using the USB cable for the entire insall will work fine too. I’ve installed Leopard on an external USB drive this way a number of times.

  2. Andy Brice Post author

    Jason,

    I could only get it to install by removing the USB cable. I didn’t change anything else. Maybe it is because I had both USB and Firewire cables attached (which works fine normally)?

  3. Brent

    My partition map is Apple Partition Map and I have all external devices removed. Still I get “Mac OS X could not be installed on your computer. The installer cannot prepare the volume for installation.”

    I’m stuck in Limbo

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