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Intel OS X drives not bootable on PPC Macs

Dan Pourhadi

Here's something no one seemed to consider about Apple's move to Intel: Can you use an external drive to boot OS X on both Intel- and PPC-based Macs? Jon "Wolf" Rentzsch says nooo, sir. According to Rentzsch, if you have a bootable drive with a copy of Intel OS X, you cannot use that drive to boot PPC-based Macs -- and vice-versa. Why? Because Apple changed the boot partition scheme used on newer Macs: "GPT [Intel's boot scheme] replaces Apple Partition Map (APM) as the boot partition scheme for Intel-based Macs. And therein lies the rub," writes Rentzsch. "Intel-based Macs can't boot from older APM drives, and PowerPC-based Macs can't boot from newer GPT drives."

Rats. This could certainly complicate things for tech supporters who rely on bootable drives to troubleshoot machines, as well as average folks who own both Intel- and PPC-based Macs.

Rentzsch outlines the grim details in his article for TidBITs -- definitely worth a read if you're curious.


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