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Startup Manager: How to select a startup volume

The Startup Manager allows you to choose the startup volume available to your Mac.

A "startup volume" is a disk or partition of a disk that contains a usable operating system. Startup Manager allows you to choose the startup volume on the fly, by simply holding down the Option key while the computer is starting up.

How to choose the startup volume

Follow these steps:

  1. Turn on, or restart, your Mac.
  2. Immediately press and hold the Option key. After a few seconds, the Startup Manager should appear. The Startup Manager scans for available volumes.
  3. Use the left and right arrow keys on the keyboard to select the volume you would like to use.
  4. Press the Return key on your keyboard to start up the computer from the volume you selected.

Additional Information

You can press the Eject key on the keyboard to eject DVD media.  Inserting a startup DVD will add that DVD to the list of startup volumes (as in the image above).  You can also attach FireWire or USB external hard drives to add to the list of startup volumes.

This startup volume selection is temporary.  To set the default startup volume for your Mac after your computer is running, open System Preferences and choose Startup Disk from the View menu (in Mac OS X) or open the Boot Camp control panel (in Windows).

Last Modified: Feb 18, 2014
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  • Last Modified: Feb 18, 2014
  • Article: HT1310
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