Running Windows 7 on a Mac (Using Boot Camp)

For more information about the Windows Springboard Series visit http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=8418918.

<MDG NOTE: I wrote this article several months ago, when I bought my MacBook Pro.  I have since sold that machine but not because I was anything but satisfied with it… I just found it to be an expensive laptop to run Windows on!>

If you are reading this article on your Mac, this is an important article for you. Before you start though, I suggest you read my previous article outlining how I got to the point where I, the Mitch you all know and love as a PC running Windows 7, have a MacBook Pro laptop.

Now that you are back from that article, and probably took the opportunity while on my blog to read voraciously all of my articles on the benefits of Windows 7, you are probably ready to jump into Windows 7 head-first. Because of so many of the issues I encountered it is a good thing you are reading this article. Print it out and use it as a kind of ‘how to’ article so that you have an easier time of it than I did.

Before we start I should mention that there are actually three completely technologies that allow you to run Windows on a Mac: Boot Camp, Passport, and VMware Fusion. I selected Boot Camp for three reasons: It is delivered with the operating system and it is free, but more importantly to me it allows Windows to use the complete resources of the hardware, unlike the other two methods which share resources with the Mac OS.

1. Boot into Mac OS X. In the Utilities Folder (under Applications) there is an item called Boot Camp Assistant. Click there!

According to Boot Camp Assistant it will help you install Microsoft Windows XP or Windows Vista operating systems. Fortunately for us it will work just as well (or better!) with Windows 7, now that the proper update has been released.

2. On the next screen you are given the option to create a Windows partition on your hard drive. By default it is 32 GB, but I chose to split the drive in two so that I would have enough room.

3. Once you have created your partition you can click Start the Windows Installer in the Select Task window.

When you are asked to insert the Windows media and reboot do so, and let Windows install as normal.

4. Once Windows 7 is installed your Mac will default to booting into Windows 7. This, I found, is the natural behaviour of a dual-boot Mac. In order to boot into OS X you actually have to hold down the option key when you boot up.

5. Because Boot Camp had an update that included Windows 7 compatibility you have to download the new version from apple.com (http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/apple/application_updates/bootcampsoftwareupdate31forwindows32bit.html). However what they don’t tell you is that:

a. You have to download it in Windows rather than in OS X;

b. It is a 380 MB download; and

c. You still have to install the Boot Camp from the DVD that came with your computer before then applying this update.

6. So now you are in Windows 7. Some of your drivers work, some of them don’t. Insert the disc that came with your Mac; it will recognize that it is running under Windows (despite saying it is a Mac disk… it works J), and start installing the Boot Camp drivers and services.

7. Once this is all done you can then download and install the Windows 7 Update to Boot Camp and then apply it.

BONUS: What happens if I try to skip the original disc steps and just download and install the Boot Camp update?

I’m glad you asked. If you do that then the Windows 7 drivers for the Nvidia video card will install, and you will have a very functional system… but you will not have Boot Camp installed. If you are like the author then you might not know any better, and think that’s the way it is supposed to be until one of your friends asks you about a particular feature which you were ignorant of.

For more information about the Windows Springboard Series visit http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=8418918.

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One thought on “Running Windows 7 on a Mac (Using Boot Camp)

  1. Pingback: Apple Dongles… Dangling functionality in front of you! « The World According to Mitch

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