How to Install Windows 7 on a Mac

BootCamp05

So you picked up your shiny new copy of Microsoft’s latest OS offering – Windows 7 and want to install it on your (cue dramatic music)…….. Intel based Mac. Mac fans will view this as blasphemy and Windows lovers will probably ask; “why didn’t you get a PC if you wanted to run Windows”. Well there are numerous valid reasons for having Windows 7 installed on one’s Mac and today we will guide you through the set up. My personal retort is because I can.

Naturally you don’t want to get rid of OS X when installing Windows, so thankfully Apple created Boot Camp which allows safe installation of a Microsoft Operating System ranging from Windows XP to the newest Windows 7. This is made possible by the fact that underneath all the Mac and Apple branding the components are basically a standard Intel PC.

Boot Camp works by creating a partition that is recognized by the Windows installation media on certain Intel-based Mac. According to the Apple website the following models are not supported:

– iMac (17-inch, Early 2006)
– iMac (17-inch, Late 2006)
– iMac (20-inch, Early 2006)
– iMac (20-inch, Late 2006)
– MacBook Pro (15-inch, Early 2006)
– MacBook Pro (17-inch, Late 2006)
– MacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2006)
– MacBook Pro (17-inch, Early 2006)
– Mac Pro (Mid 2006, Intel Xeon Dual-core 2.66GHz or 3GHz)

To get Windows 7 installed you will need Mac OS X v10.6 Snow Leopard and the Boot Camp 3.1 Update.

Initially when Windows 7 was first released Apple did not update Boot Camp to fully support the new Microsoft OS. You were able to install it and it worked but certain features were not supported. At the beginning of this year Apple released the Boot Camp 3.1 update, which provides support for both 32-bit as well as the 64-bit Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate versions of Windows 7. The software update furthermore includes Magic Mouse and Apple wireless keyboard support, as well addressing some Apple track pad and laptop LED issue

Prior to starting the install process make sure your computer’s Mac OS X operating system, Boot ROM, other firmware and software are up-to-date.

To start the process in OS X open Boot Camp Setup Assistant (located in /Applications/Utilities). You will be greeted by an introduction screen followed by a graphical partition manager from where you can adjust the size of the Boot Camp Windows partition; by default Apple starts at 5 GB but that is way too small for a Windows 7 installation. I would recommend a minimum of 40 GB to be on the safe side.

BootCamp01 BootCamp02 BootCamp03

Once your partition size is selected click the Partition button and OS X will do the rest. After the partitioning occurs you will be asked to insert the Windows 7 install disc and press the Start Installation button which will reboot the Mac.

At this point the installation process will function like the normal Windows 7 install. You should be greeted with the familiar Windows is loading screen followed by the license acceptance dialog. Next choose whether to perform an upgrade or custom installation. For today’s tutorial I’ll be showing how to set up a fresh installation of Windows 7 so select the custom install option.

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The next screen will show a list of partitions on your Mac hard drive. Highlight the one named Boot Camp and then press the drive options button. Click the format button, you’ll be asked to confirm, click yes and this will format the Boot Camp partition making it ready for the Windows 7 installation.

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Now go grab yourself a cup of coffee and relax as Windows 7 will install itself. This process will take about 20 minutes to a half hour and requires no user intervention until the very end. Once Windows 7 reboots a user creation screen will appear.

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Congratulations your Windows 7 is installed on your Mac, now its time to run any Windows 7 updates and then install the Boot Camp drivers so everything works as expected.

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Eject the Windows 7 installation media and insert the Snow Leopard installation disk. The disk should autorun the Boot Camp drivers for Vista which is compatible with Windows 7.

If you are running a MacBook or Mac Mini and are installing a 64-bit version you may get following error: “Boot Camp x64 is unsupported on this computer model”. This is easily resolved by opening the Snow Leopard installation disk folder; locating and right-clicking the “BootCamp64? application and selecting “Troubleshoot compatibility”. Click on “Start the program and the program should run; this works by disabling Boot Camp’s Version Check. Thanks to http://www.techulous.com/hardware/how-to-apple-boot-camp-64-bit-for-windows-7-on-unsupported-macs.html for the fix.

BootCamp16 BootCamp17 BootCamp18

Once the Boot Camp drivers are installed you will be asked to reboot the machine. Go into the Apple software update folder and run it. There should be Boot Camp 3.1 drivers which can be installed from the update; run these and you will be done.

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You should notice a Boot Camp icon in the system tray which runs the Boot Camp Control Panel the user can select the boot partition and control the remote, keyboard and power settings.

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Another way to select the start up system between Windows 7 and OS X is by holding down the Option Key on your keyboard or if you have a Mac remote hold down menu button when booting up your Mac. This will bring up a graphical boot loader to select the OS you wish to boot into.

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Congratulations once all this is done you now have Windows 7 installed on your Mac machine; now go show off your OS X/Windows 7 machine to your Windows loving friends.

  • LOL

    LOL! MAC IS DEAD!!!

    Mac is now nothing more than a PC clone.. well its been since it started using Intel chips.

    Wow, Mac fanboys don’t realize they are just buying a PC with an apple logo, one that costs more than a standard PC!

  • http://visitta.com radikaalz

    definitive worth to bookmark.

    @lol! yeah, i agree with you. I cant understand too, why to pay more just for design?

  • Ferd

    WOW LOL! Thank GOD you said that as it has never been realized once in the history of the world! It’s too bad Apple doesn’t use custom motherboard designs, power supplies, and cases to make themselves a little different than other PC makers. Oh wait…they do. It’s too bad all Apple does is run Windows instead of having their own OS…oh wait, they do.

    If you prefer Windows that’s fine, but don’t pretend that there’s absolutely no difference between a Dell (which makes fine computers as well) and an Apple PC and not be thought of as a moron.

  • http://www.chiefpenguin.com Heather Morgan

    I wish I would have seen this post yesterday. After 12 hours of trying to install the Windows 7 upgrade in Parallels (with a clean install), I gave up. Microsoft said I would need to buy the full license, even though I had a prior license for XP. My old PowerBook crashed, and I couldn’t reinstate Virtual PC with XP like I had it before. So, I decided to skip trying to run Windows 7 on my Mac, and just plunk down $330 (vs $200 for the Win 7 license) and I got a cheap Compaq from Best Buy. At least now I have a fully functioning test station, and I can use Parallels to run other OS versions with different browser versions too. The whole experience does make me even less fond of Microsoft!

  • Jim Vaughan

    The Apple haters always make me smile. You know they haven’t used a Mac for any amount of time because if you are honest about your experience, you will have to admit that Apple has great hardware and a great OS. This is coming from a converted PC person.

  • Chan

    I bought the iMac to run Windows 7. In my opinion, the iMac is the most well designed all-in-one in the market, bar none. As for the OS, it’s nice. Significantly better than windows 7? Not really..so just use it for whichever OS you’re more comfortable with.

  • Rose

    I installed the 32 bit version on my black macbook. When I insert my snow leopard disc, the boot camp installer does now show up. I can’t seem to install the drivers. What do I do?

  • Tom

    @Rose – insert the Snow Leopard disc into your Mac running Windows 7. Then go into the Computer folder on the top left of the screen and you should see the SnowLeopard disc, right click on that DVD drive and go to Open. From there you need to navigate to Boot Camp-> Driver –> Apple and then double click on BootCamp file found in that folder not the BootCamp64 file. Then your driver installation should start.

  • Erik K

    Just wanted to say thanks. I upgraded my black Macbook with a new HD and more memory and did a clean Snow Leopard and Windows 7 64 install and the bootcamp64 thing popped up. Followed the instructions and all is well. Thanks for guide Tom!

  • http://www.imediawerks.com Oral

    Excellent post! Instructions worked like a charm.

  • Ata

    Hi everybody
    A nice tutorial. thanks.

    Still I have a question:
    I just bought a macbook pro, with snow leopard (10.6) and boot camp 3.0 installed on it. I would like to have win 7 64-bit also installed along with it. Boot camp 3.0 says it does not support win 7 nor 64 bit os. I did download the boot camp 3.1 (64-bit) update but I dont know how should i update boot camp in order to start the windows installation?
    when i double click on downloaded boot camp 3.1 update patch in mac, it is opened with text editor?!!!
    I tried unzipping it in another computer and running the content within it in mac but again no luck.

    how should I update boot camp program in my mac os?
    or, should I simply use boot camp 3.0 to install win 7 64 bit, ignore the message that it does not support win7 64bit, and finally update the boot camp only in windows?

    thanks for your reply

  • n0nuf

    Well… I have tried many ways to install 7 Ult on a Mac. You can totally skip the GUID/Bootcamp stuff and use the option key to select your windows disk at boot time by doing this on a MAC PRO …

    1. Turn off system power.
    2. Open the case.
    3. MAC PRO has 4 drive bays. Partially remove the drive(s) (multiple example would be a RAID array) with OS X on them leaving ONLY the blank / NTFS disks inserted. Boot the Windows 7 DVD.
    4. Use the Win 7 installer and pick your disk / partition.
    5. Hold OPTION (alt on PC KB) while booting and when you see the drive list, select the Win 7 disk.
    6. DONE!

    Ok, I have had problems when installing Vista or 7 64 bit using any method. When I boot to the Win 7 DVD, I get the native command-line window with only the text saying select disc 1 or 2: … I have found no way around this. Seems to only happen with 64 bits.

    Solution: Install one of the disks with Vista or 7 – 32bit prior and then boot into that OS and THEN insert the Win 7 – 64bit DVD and install from the old OS. This will of course create the Windows.old directory and create a fresh install. Just save any data files from Windows.old necessary and delete the directory.

    By the way, this procedure works on a first-gen Intel Mac Pro with quad Xeon 3.0GHz processors. This was a quickie so please forgive omissions.

    post spam/flames/comments to this thread and I will reply if necessary.

    Thanks and happy computing!

  • n0nuf

    Also… To install the BootCamp 3.x (Snow Leopard) tools into Win 7 – 64 bit do this:

    1. Insert Snow Leopard disc when 7 install completed.
    2. Use Windows Explorer (flag key + E) on the 7 disc and drill down to the DVD directory I think under Bootcamp/drivers/win64 … You will see a MSI file called BootCamp64.msi.

    3. Open a command prompt (Flag key + R for run and type CMD and press enter)
    4. Copy the path from explorer (or retype it manually). Type the drive letter of your DVD drive, E: or whatever and press enter. You’re now on E: drive. Type CD and a space and then right click after it and choose paste (to paste that path to the command line) and if all looks right (including spaces) press enter.
    You should now be in the right DVD directory.

    5. Type the following command at the command prompt:

    msiexec /i BootCamp64.msi

    This will make the installer work where it failed before. When it is done, your tools are installed.

    Again, have fun!

  • Terry G

    Reading all this, what do i do if my new macbook pro (direct from apple) has no osx install disk? I take it they no longer come with them as everything is pre installed??

  • http://hubpages.com/hub/How-to-Solve-the-Boot-Camp-Disk-Error Boot Camp Error

    After reading some of the peoples comments I must say that Boot Camp and Windows doesn’t match very well. I had major problems myself trying to install XP using Boot Camp. I hope Win 7 makes the process easier..

  • Fausto

    Hi, i have a issue

    When windows 7 is installing on my imac at certain time my screen goes black and it stays that way, i can’t do anything
    When i restart it i have to eject the disc so i can go back on Mac OS X
    i’ve tried this over 3 times could you or someone help me with this please??

    Thnx

  • Bilal

    I had the same black screen problem with Win 7 DVD stuck and could not get back to Mac OSX. Apple support told me to: 1) Turn off iMac, 2) press these 4 keys all at the same time (P, R, Control, Option,) and hold them. The iMac will make its power up sound twice. When you see apple logo then release all the 4 keys. Now you are back to iMac OSX.
    Hope this helps

  • http://Skuli.arnlaugsson.info Skuli

    Thank you, great tutorial!

  • Franco

    This is the clearest explanation I have found – anywhere – on how to install Windows 7 on a Mac, but I still can’t get it to work. The problem I am having is that the DVD drive doesn’t seem able to read the Windows 7 install disc. Is it because my version of Windows 7 is an OEM System Builder Pack?

    I have a Mac Pro 2 x 2.8 Quad-Core Intel Xeon. Mac ID: MacPro 3,1. Boot ROM version, MP31.006C.B05

  • Junrall

    Wow! Great writeup! I may be doing this same Windows 7 set up on my wife’s Mac. She is using Windows XP with Boot Camp
    However, she almost never uses the Mac OS as all her favorite software is on the Windows OS.
    Is it easy to do a complete install of Windows 7 without the Mac OS? She has Mac Book Pro running Leopard 10.5
    I have a lot of experience with PCs, but zero with Macs… Could someone post a step-by-step for a Windows 7 only install?
    And believe me I tried the “If you want widows get a PC, if you want Mac OS keep the Mac, if yo want both then keep Boot Camp”… but, she is having nothing to do with that… ‘sigh’.

    Any help would be appreciated!

    Thanks!!

  • Bob O

    I’m not sure if this is the correct place to ask, but I was wondering if you could explain why this is happening during my install:

    I have four hard drives, three that are 2TB. 2 of which are full of my osx docs – the third I bought specifically for Windows 7 64bit home premium on my MacPro 2009. I formatted the 4th in disc utilities, then again in bootcamp – when it came to the screen where I have to pick the hard drive on which to install windows 7 there was no bootcamp partition label, no bootcamp label on anything, anywhere… and with 4 hard drives, 3 of which are the same size… it was a bit nerve wracking. I restarted osx and reformatted the hard drive again as above, redid the install process for Windows 7 – and the same things happened. So by the process of careful elimination I chose a drive (mainly that the 3rd drive (as windows seems to start numbering drives at 0) was the correct one since it was the only one a formatting error didn’t pop up on) and am now installing… here’s hoping that was the right thing to do. Any ideas on why this happened? I’ve googled around and have yet to find a similar issue.

    Thanks.

  • Craig

    once installed can i change the size of the partition? or do i have to reinstall? thanks, Craig

  • Tyleragan44

    I installed win 7 successfully and now have an issue. How do I eject the install disc? The eject butonon my macbook pro will not work.

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