Saturday, January 24, 2009

Install Windows 7 on a Mac - Walkthrough with pictures

Microsoft is offering a free trial of the Windows 7 beta that will be valid till August 2009 when it will self-destruct (or maybe just expire). You just need an email address. So how do you get the dual-boot goodness onto your Mac machine? Just follow this guide.

This guide uses a DVD-ROM. If you don't have one or just want to have a play with Windows 7 on your Mac, take a look at my guide to installing Windows 7 with VMWare Fusion.

(This guide is mainly for 32bit Windows users. People installing 64bit Windows 7 and having problems should jump to the comments at the end for tips.)

Why do it?

Sometimes you just need to run a Windows program. Installing Windows 7 beta improves on Vista and is free until Aug 2009. Yes free. You can download updates from Microsoft as if you bought it.

Using dual boot every time you boot up, you can choose whether to use the Mac or Windows operating system.

My Mac Brainiac guide makes it easy to install Windows 7 step-by-step.

Difficulty level:
Slighty brainy.

What you need:

  • Macbook (or some other computer. I used the Macbook White first-generation Core Duo 1.83 GHz 1GB RAM)
  • Click to download Windows 7 beta (I used build 7000)
  • DVD-Writer
  • Your Mac OSX Leopard installation DVD
  • *Refit (*optional, if like me your internal DVD reader is busted and your external one isn't recognised on boot up without a little help. This free program creates its own boot menu. Read more below.)

Step 1 - Creating the Windows 7 install DVD
Copy the Windows 7 .iso file into a DVD. Don't just drag it to the disc. The .iso in an image that has to be restored to a DVD. (Check here later for a Mac Brainiac Picture Guide to copying an .iso file into a DVD.)

Step 2 - Installing Refit boot manager
Install Refit if you have trouble having your DVD drive recognised by your Macbook on bootup. Your Mac usually decides what is and isn't acceptable to boot from. Refit lets you decide. You won't need Refit after you install Windows 7, but it's useful to keep.

Step 3 - Partitioning your hard drive
Partition your Mac with the Boot Camp Assistant. Open it with Spotlight (click Apple + spacebar and type in Boot Camp Assistant).

In the Boot Camp Assistant, select Create or remove a Windows Partition > continue

Now select how large you want your Windows 7 partition to be. Microsoft recommends 16GB, but you can get away with 12GB if you don't install anything else.

You'll be prompted for your Windows DVD. Insert it and continue to restart your computer.

Step 4 - Booting the Windows 7 installer DVD
Hold down option as you are booting your Macbook to choose to boot from your Windows 7 install DVD. (If you installed Refit, select Refit and boot from Windows disc.)

In the Windows 7 installer, select the correct partition to install Windows 7. This should have been named BOOTCAMP by the Boot Camp Assistant. Select this partition and click format to make it understandable to Windows.

The Windows 7 installer will guide you through the installation, which takes about 30mins. It restarts during the install and you will need to hold down the option key each time and select to boot from the new Windows partition.

Step 5 - Installing Boot Camp drivers
We're in. Things might not look right yet though. Plus there will be no sound. You can fix this by installing the drivers from the Leopard install DVD. Insert it and let setup.exe run and install all the drivers. This will take a few minutes and all kinds of screens will flash up. Go make a coffee or Red Bull. Come back and you're done!


  1. ok but i couldn't get the drivers to install. I got an error message about access pris and it just stopped.

  2. Do you mean in Step 5? That's happened to me before in Win XP and I just restarted and tried again and it worked. What message do you get exactly?

  3. there were two different error messages... but here's the second alert box

    Service ‘MacHAL’ (MacHALDRIVER) failed to start. Verify that you have sufficient privileges to start system services.


  4. It sounds like you might be trying to install Windows 7 64bit version. Try upgrading the Boot Camp drivers:

    And try this for modified Windows 64bit version drivers for Macs:

  5. I get error 2229 when trying to install bootcamp from the osx installation dvd in win7 - every time I restart my iMac it just boots into win7 and I cannot choose between MacOSX or Windows - any ideas of how to fix it?

  6. Hi MrBom, try these pages. Look for 2229 on the page:

    As for the boot sequence, in Windows 7, once you have Boot Camp installed, see if you can select Mac as the partition to boot from under 'Boot Camp' in the control panel.

    Otherwise you will have to do it manually from the Windows command line.

  7. Hi and thanks!

    I did try LIMO's patched bootcamp and that seemed to install fine:

    I think the solutions might be very similar in fact.

    Anywho, the audio is still not workin so I am downloading the drivers using your resources thankyouverymuch! :)

    I hope all goes well now, thanks again!

  8. Hmm I have rEFIt installed and it sees the Windows 7 Cd but won't boot. You select it and it comes up with a weird prompt the says.

    Select CD-ROM Boot Method:

    Doesn't have any options at the prompt or take any keyboard input.

  9. Hi.

    All I get when I boot up from my DVD is a repeating white dash. The DVD works on my PC.

    Anyone help?


  10. Tout d'Abord merci pour cet excellent travail.
    Malheureusement, je rencontre un problème à l'installation de Window 7. (J'ai lu sur le web que d'autre Ont eu ce problème mais je n'ai pas trouvé de la solution!)
    Après le «» partitionnement, l'installation de Mac OSX, l'installation de radoub, Lors du démarrage sur le CD de Windows 7 (j'ai essayé Plusieurs version) Le message suivant apparait Et le système se bloque:
    Sélectionnez CD-ROM de démarrage Méthode:
    Connaissez-vous ce problème et avez-vous la solution?
    Merci pour votre aide

  11. hi problem is about derivers. i installed xp sp2 on the my new macbook pro. i am trying to install derivers but before finishing i saw this message Service 'Mac HAL (MacHal Driver) failed to start
    Verify that you have sufficient privileges to start system services. and because of it i cant use all drivers. what should i do. please help meeee.

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