Thunderbolt Supports Booting From External Disk

Ever since Apple and Intel introduced the Thunderbolt high-speed data connectivity standard back in late February, there has been speculation about whether the standard would support booting from external disks. At that initial release on revamped MacBook Pros, Andy Ihnatko reported that booting was not supported, although Target Disk Mode was supported. But a report from The Mac Observer early last month indicated that booting from disk would be supported over Thunderbolt.

With Apple's Thunderbolt cable and the first third-party drive systems hitting the Apple Store yesterday, Apple posted a few support articles outlining some of the Thunderbolt functionality, but failing to disclose any booting capabilities and thus leaving potential customers still in the dark about compatibility.

anandtech promise raid

AnandTech's 12 TB Promise RAID setup

It now appears, however, that we do have confirmation that booting over Thunderbolt is supported, as we received word yesterday from a reader who had received multiple confirmations from LaCie representatives that the feature will indeed be supported. Meanwhile, AnandTech has already received one of the new 12 TB RAID systems from Promise and confirms that booting over Thunderbolt is supported.

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Top Rated Comments

gmcalpin Avatar
169 months ago
There's really no reason why it shouldn't.
If Apple expects their proprietary cable to become a defacto standard they can't be imposing restrictions just to protect their precious... (OSX).
…Proprietary?

The fact that they are currently the only people making them doesn't mean it's proprietary.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
0815 Avatar
169 months ago
Anything else would have been a big fail.

This is the beauty of MacOS that you can easily clone (a live running) system to external drives and than boot up the same (or complete different Mac) from that image. Would have been sad not to support this.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ratsg Avatar
169 months ago
Its not proprietary, and its not Apple's. It's Intel's.

Didn't we have a story last week where either HP or Sony was adding Thunderbolt technology to their systems, but under a different name?


There's really no reason why it shouldn't.
If Apple expects their proprietary cable to become a defacto standard they can't be imposing restrictions just to protect their precious... (OSX).
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macbwizard Avatar
169 months ago
Um... any modern mac can boot from USB as well as FW, not sure why anyone expected TB to be any different.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
shamino Avatar
169 months ago
I'm sorry, but this alone is worth the "absurd" $50 cable.
I assume that other manufacturers will start shipping TB cables for less money.

Just like an HDMI cable that sells for $75 at a retail store can be purchased for $10 from other suppliers, I expect that in a few months, we'll be able to find TB cables selling in the $5-10 range.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gramirez2012 Avatar
169 months ago
It's 2011, ALL storage buses should be bootable.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)