Separate boot partition for live performance

just wondering if anyone here uses a dual partition on their laptop for live performance. the idea being that your live set lives on one partition, frozen in a perfectly functional state - while the second partition is home to your daily needs (email, work, etc) and updates (OS, plugins, etc).

if so, what size did you make your live performance partition? i’m working with a 1TB macbook pro ssd.

any tips or insights are appreciated :slight_smile:


genius! i never thought of that- i have a different laptop on ice for each of my shows. and it really sucks to have to deal with so much hardware. if this actually works, to keep a live set isolated on a partition through system updates, etc., that would be a miracle! but i guess that you can’t have different versions of the same operating system behind partitions can you? forgive my ignorance, i truly never even considered this before, totally blowing my mind!

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oh you certainly can. i’ve kept a windows partition on my mac for years.

i decided to go with a 150 GB partition for the live set, which leaves 850 GB for the other side.

because i’m starting from scratch i was able to set up one partition with fresh osx / ableton / vst / au installs and then use Carbon Copy Cloner to clone that image over to the other partition. no need to run all those installers twice :slight_smile:


i’ve always wanted to do that but then i face the inevitable drift between the two systems.

(for linux users) The dyne:bolic modules concept can be a good way to keep a single system while avoiding frenetic installation of new software, or the ability to revert easily (given apps are in SquashFS files (self contained read-only file system))
(note to self: investigate the feasibility/usefulness of such a thing on a current distro).

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thanks for your response- yes, of course, i should have easily remembered that you can boot windows or osx on a mac for example. for some dumb reason i didn’t apply that concept to different versions of osx itself! but that’s great!!!

ah good to know about ejecting the other partition. i hadn’t thought about crosstalk as a potential vulnerability.

OS drift between partitions is totally fine with me - in fact that’s precisely the point. if the framework for a live set is stable and without glitches i want it to remain frozen in time until i need to build a new set / framework. the second partition allows me to carry on using my computer for other tasks, experimenting with new tools, OS updates & beta plugins without fear. also makes backing up and restoring the live set much easier.

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This is a great idea. I have a work issued laptop that I’m starting to feel uncomfortable using for not work things. Definitely going to use this.

Brilliant. It’s so obvious and right in front of our faces, but still seems radically mine-bending. Thank you for these thoughts :slight_smile:

This would make a dramatic amount of sense for me, since I’m constantly torn between running the “latest greatest” in order to keep up with Xcode versions and iOS SDKs.

Sounds like a great idea, like @rknLA, I’m constantly torn to keep up to date for development purposes, then concerned its going to break my music setup.

of course, the cost is, maintaining 2 OSs … and also you’ll have to watch for number license activations on some software - unless they see it as the same machines?!

I wonder about a couple of other alternatives:

  • External SSD with USB 3.x , should be fast enough for most use cases?! anyone tried?
  • Virtual Machines - have multiple setups running on something like VMWare?

it may not get you 100% the same performance as a native dual boot, but on a modern machine, I suspect performance would be very good… and might make maintenance easier (e.g. cloning) , vm’s also support snapshots, so can try things out, and rollback.