Macbook Air – Install Windows 7 with Boot Camp without an External DVD Drive

Using a windows 7 dvd, windows 7 pc and a usb drive, you can install Windows 7 on your Macbook Air.  Boot camp typically requires the use of an external usb cd/dvd drive because the EFI does not allow booting to a USB drive. However, we show how to work around this issue. Keep reading for the full guide on how to get Windows 7 installed and running on your Macbook Air.

Required Software/Tools:

-Windows 7 PC (to make usb drive bootabl

-Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool (free, download here)

-Copy of Windows 7 Installation DVD in ISO format

-rEFIt 0.14 (free, DMG file, download here)

-USB Thumbdrive

-Macbook Air (11″ or 13″)

Guide:

ALWAYS DO A Time Machine BACKUP BEFORE TRYING ANYTHING WITH BOOT CAMP!

rEFIt Installation

1. First thing you will want to do is to download and install the rEFIt utility on your Macbook Air in OS X Snow Leopard. Download the DMG and open it and then run the rEFIt.mpkg to install it.

2. Once installed, be sure to reboot your Macbook Air twice; the menu will not show up until after the second reboot (trust me, i noticed this first hand and after one more reboot could boot to my usb drive).

Boot Camp and Prepping

1. Next, we will boot back into OS X Snow Leopard and run the Boot Camp Assistant. We will be doing two things here, partitioning our harddrive and also downloading the dmg file of our Boot Camp Windows files.  Notice how Boot Camp warns that you need an external cd/dvd drive; not us!

Next, it will ask us if we want to download the Windows support software, be sure to check it since we will need these files later for getting our mac hardware working in Windows 7 and click Continue and it will download the files.

Once the files are downloaded, we will be at the partitioning screen. I personally only used 30GB for my Windows 7 installation since I will only be using it for VPN and some remote apps that have Windows only clients.  Again, remember we limited and need about 10GB for Windows 7 itself.  Once your ready, click on the Partition button.

Once it finishes partitioning (probably will take about 5 minutes), it will ask you if you want to start Windows Installation or Quit and Install Later. Click on the Quit and Install Later.

We now have our Macbook Air and OS X Boot Camp prepped for our Windows 7 install.

Making our USB Drive a bootable Windows 7 installation drive

1. On your Windows 7 PC or virtual machine of Windows 7. Download and install the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool.  This will eliminate the need to do any command prompt work to make the USB Drive bootable.

2. Open the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool app.  It will guide you through creating the Bootable Windows 7 USB Drive.  You will need an ISO of Windows 7.  You can either make one from your physical disc or find a download of it online (I used MagicDisc to make an ISO of my Win7 Install DVD).  Once you have the ISO, click on Browse and select it and click Next.

3.  On Step 2, choose USB device.

4.  Step 3 will have you select your USB drive from the available drives.  Choose the proper drive and click on Begin Copying. It will warn you that ALL contents will be erased, click on Erase USB Device and let it run.

5. Once it completes, we will have our Bootable Windows 7 USB Drive installer.

Installing Windows 7 to our Boot Camp partition

1. Reboot your Macbook Air and hold the Option button right as it powers on.  This will bring up our new rEFIt boot menu (see video below).

Booting to rEFIt on Macbook Air

2. Choose our Windows USB drive and let your Macbook Air reboot into the installation CD/DVD (like you would normally see when installing Windows 7 from DVD). This will take about 4-5 minutes to load (depending on usb drive speed)

3. Once the Windows 7 installation wizard starts, choose Custom Installation.

4. On the next screen, be sure to choose the Partition called:  Disk x Partition x: BOOTCAMP (mine was Disk 0, Partition 3) and then click on Drive options (advanced) link.  Click on Format (this will format our drive to NTFS) and then click Next.

5. Installation should take about 7-9 minutes.  When Windows 7 reboots, you will be brought to a rEFIt boot screen.  Click on our “Boot Windows from Partition 3″ selection.  Installation of Windows 7 will continue.
(if you don’t boot to rEFIt menu, just reboot from os x and hold Option right as it reboots and choose Windows.)

6. Once you finish the Windows 7 installation, let it reboot and boot back into OS X Snow Leopard.  We now need to get our Boot Camp Windows files.

Extracting Windows Support Files / Installing in Windows 7

1.Open Disk Utility and Erase the Windows 7 Installation USB Drive we used to install Windows with.  Be sure to format it as MS-DOS (FAT).

2. Next, go to this location in your Finder.

Your Mac > LIbrary > Application Support > BootCamp

There will be a WindowsSupport.dmg file in here.  Open it and copy all of its contents to our just formatted USB Drive.

3. Reboot and hold down the Option button to bring up our boot menu.  You will now have both a rEFIt item and a Windows item. Choose Windows to boot back into Windows 7.

4. Once Windows 7 loads to your desktop, open the USB Drive and go into the Boot Camp folder and run the setup.exe

This will install the necessary drivers and Boot Camp Control Panel for Windows.  Once it finishes install, you can now use Windows 7 just like you a normal boot camp installation!

You now should have a OS X Snow Leopard / Windows 7 dual boot setup on your Macbook Air! This guide can be used on any intel based Macbook model regardless if you have a CD Drive or not.

NOTES:

-you can remove rEFIt if you like after windows is installed.  This will revert back to the normal EFI boot menus (and remove usb boot support). You can do this by:

Boot into OS X, Go to System Preferences > Startup Disk > Select MAC OS X as the operating system to boot.  After doing this, reboot and then remove or rename the “efi” folder on the root of your mac harddrive/partition and reboot one more time.

-you can utilize your Windows 7 Boot camp partition in VMWare Fusion. This lets you use it as a virtual machine and yet still be able to Boot Camp to it too. :)

 

About Jimmy Selix

Jimmy Selix is an early adopter that loves to be one of the first on the block to have the latest and greatest in technology and gadgets. Another love of his is being able to share his knowledge to others seeking it. Feel free to drop any comments or questions that you may have.
View more articles by Jimmy Selix

The Conversation

Follow the reactions below and share your own thoughts.

  • Anonymous

    Wicked tutorial, seamonk. Very nice.

    • Simonlee

      If I have a window 7 with an external DVD ROM can I cut out all the creating a thumb drive process? Do you have a step by step version with using an external drive?

      • http://blogs.tech-recipes.com/jimmyselix jimmyselix

        yup, you would actually keep going through the boot camp wizard since you have the install dvd and drive :)

        • Lisa

          > I used my pc to make a copy of windows 7 iso. Then, I sent it to the external super driver for mac air 2011. there was a error massage said ” Couldn’t find BootMGR” during the installation process. What should I do.

          Thank you very much,

          Lisa

          • http://blogs.tech-recipes.com/jimmyselix Jimmy Selix

            hmm.. is this on the mac when you boot up to the boot camp partition? if so, you may need to repair the bootloader on the boot camp partition. also, you can try to format the bootcamp partition. be careful doing this though so you don’t delete the mac partition and the data on it!. >

  • Qubert

    After booting up my Mac into refit I choose to boot from USB drive (prepared as above) and the screen goes black – im waiting 10min and nothing happens

    • http://blogs.tech-recipes.com/jimmyselix jimmyselix

      I would try running a chkdsk on the usb flash drive in windows 7. i’ve seen this happen before. also, are you able to boot from that usb drive on any other computers?

      thanks

      • Qubert

        I manage to get to the stage where after choosing USB Boot it says “No bootable device — insert boot disk and press any key” where the USB thumb seems to be fine. I saw other Mac users had this kind of messages. Also I found that the BootCamp partition does not show for me in rEFIt (like in the video) I only have Apple and USB stick.

        • http://blogs.tech-recipes.com/jimmyselix jimmyselix

          hmm. i assume you made the USB drive bootable w/the Win7 DVD / USB utility?

          my Boot Camp partition showed up after i booted to usb and installed windows7 on it. what macbook air model do you have?

          i’m using an 11″ 1.6Ghz w/4GB DDR3

          • Qubert

            The same MBA here. In rEFIt I see the Apple and USB drive. On the video I saw Apple BootCamp and USB drives so thought that this might be it. I’m getting this error after choosing USB. Tomorrow I’ll try different USB stick.

          • http://blogs.tech-recipes.com/jimmyselix jimmyselix

            hmm, i wonder if it is your usb drive/stick. i am using a Transcend SDHC memory card reader w/16GB SDHC and it always works fine booting from on any windows pc and now mac.

            let me know if the new usb stick/drive fixes it! :)

  • Qubert

    Same problem again. I tried this USB on iMac27″ and I was able to install windows 7 successfully – worked like a charm using steps from this article. I don’t know what is wrong. I even have a feeling that this would happend if I use MBA-SD and burn the ISO on DVD-DL

    • http://www.facebook.com/collner Per Collner

      i have the same problem and also get the message” no bootable device insert boot disk and press any key” after i choose the USB-device in the refit meny.

      i got the problem the first time when i was going to install from a DVD. after that my DVD broke. i spit out all disks i put in efter two seconds. thats why i´m now trying whit refit and USB. but the same problem any way:(

      I have a mbp from 2008

    • http://blogs.tech-recipes.com/jimmyselix jimmyselix

      i wonder if its related to the EFI on the macbook air and perhaps is more picky in the USB controllers that the drive has. you could try manually making the usb drive bootable by using DISKPART and the command line on a Windows 7 machine. let me know if your interested in commands and i’ll post them

      WAIT A SEC: have you tried the other usb port on the macbook air? never hurts to try but i seem to remember having a problem w/one of the usbs not booting to the usb thumbdrive.

  • http://moderndaythoreau.com Joshua Wilcox

    I get a legacy loader error after trying to boot from the usb, does it matter if its a stick or HD drive?

    • http://blogs.tech-recipes.com/jimmyselix jimmyselix

      i don’t think so, but i do believe the usb drive’s controller has to support booting (not all do but most these days should).

      i used a 16GB SDHC Transcend memory card in a Transcend Memory Card Reader and it booted from usb from every pc i’ve tried. :)

  • Jarda

    I am having the same error as Qubert. Is there any update or any resolution to this issue seamonkey420?

    • http://blogs.tech-recipes.com/jimmyselix jimmyselix

      which problem are you having? i can redo my setup again to try to duplicate issue. let me know! :)

    • http://blogs.tech-recipes.com/jimmyselix jimmyselix

      you may want to restore your mac partition vi the boot camp asisstant in mac os x. reboot and then re-run your boot camp assistant to resetup your partition.

      then boot to your usb drive w/refit and be sure when you get to disks to click Advanced and then format the boot camp partition labeled boot camp and install win7 to it :)

      hope that helps ya

      • Bharath

        > What format should the USB stcik or SD card be ? Should it be in MS DOS – FAT 32 or MAC Journel ?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000402258776 Harley Klym

    Hi im getting the error no bootable device i have all the files on the usb what should i do

    • http://blogs.tech-recipes.com/jimmyselix jimmyselix

      at what point do you get this? is this trying to boot from your usb drive? thanks

  • Danellebreo

    i get legacy errors when trying to boot from refit usb.

  • Bajsbajs

    Seamonkey – THANKS!! You saved my day.I just followed your tutorial and succeded. I bumped into a problem when making my USB Drive a bootable Windows 7 installation drive. I had to put a file called bootsect.exe where I installed the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool on my USB (e.g. C:UsersusernameAppDataLocalAppsWindows 7 USB DVD Download Tool). The bootsect.exe-file I found here: http://www.everettsporting.com/bootsect.zipHope this helps you others who are about to do the same.And…….F you Apple making it so bloody difficult to use bootcamp without having to buy an optical drive!!

    • http://twitter.com/kyoshokev kevin

      Hey Bajsbajs, you put the bootsec on the following location C:UsersusernameAppDataLocalAppsWindows 7 USB DVD Download Tool

      OR

      on the root of the USB after creating the USB drive?

  • MarV

    if i install refit and reboot 2 times. then i cant see an menu and my snow leopard dont boot anymore. Please help me, and forgive my bad english but im german.

    • http://blogs.tech-recipes.com/jimmyselix jimmyselix

      are you using macbook air to boot rEFIT with? you should get the REFIT boot menu when you boot w/the usb drive connected. Does holding Ctrl when booting with REFIT installed bring up any menues?

  • http://twitter.com/kyoshokev kevin

    I am up to this step

    “Booting to rEFIt on Macbook Air
    2. Choose our Windows USB drive and let your Macbook Air reboot into the installation CD/DVD (like you would normally see when installing Windows 7 from DVD). This will take about 4-5 minutes to load (depending on usb drive speed)”

    i get stuck on “cant find bootable disk” any help? this happens after the grey screen at 0:31 in your youtube video

    i can boot fine with the usb stick on a pc laptop

    • http://twitter.com/oafasting Ole A. S. Fasting

      same problem:(
      works flawlessly on my PC laptop, but my Mac Pro cant boot from this or the HD partitions I make, w install files on them…

  • http://twitter.com/kyoshokev kevin

    i gave into apple and bought a damm super drive…. :(

    but i’m gonna return it after i use it to install my win7. LOL thanks steve!

  • Jeon

    wiw

  • Todd D

    This worked great for me, thank you! I have Windows 7 Ultimate running on my new Macbook Air 13″, installed with a 8G PNY USB drive

  • Genelau2004

    Nice guide!! Bravo!!

  • JimmyZhu1977

    Guys,
    I have two problems, and I have spent whole afternoon, couldn’t solve it.
    1) My bootcamp assistance doesn’t have the option of let me download windows drivers. Anyone knows why? I can only see partition option.
    2) after I install refit twice, i see the refit menu, then I choose install windows 7, it said something like the apple firmware doesn’t support this legacy OS.

    Please help me.

    • http://blogs.tech-recipes.com/jimmyselix jimmyselix

      1. have you checked Software update to make sure you have latest boot camp installed? is this a macbook air your using too?

      2. hmm, does that usb drive boot on any other machine? as for the rEFIT; you need to only install it once and then be sure to reboot twice.

      hope that gives you a start.

      • JimmyZhu1977

        My boot camp is 3.0.5 and the rEFIt is working, because every I start my mac air now I see the menu of it.

        The USB works on my windows 7 machine.

        I have search on the web, it seems many others did have the same issues.

        I just don’t know why my boot camp doesn’t have the windows driver download option.

  • trumanbaltar

    I have one question seamonkey420:
    If EFI doesn’t support booting from a USB port why does Apple ship the restore disc in a USB key??

    • http://blogs.tech-recipes.com/jimmyselix jimmyselix

      it should support booting but the factory EFI only supports the apple USB key; it must be formatted differently to allow EFI to see it. I have tried several different USB drives on my macbook air 11″ (1.6ghz) and all have worked fine for me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dennis.boelt Dennis Boelt

    I’ve followed the guide until I reached “WindowsXP installation menu” when I had to choose partion I wondered why there was suddenly a partition of 131 gb only.
    I canceled the installation and return to make a Time Machine, but in vain – my Mac OS is dead, partition no longer exists …

    THEREFORE, TAKE BACK UP BEFORE I STARTED, IT IS NOT FOR FUN!

    I would cry myself to sleep or as an alternative go back to my PC and google all night and end up abandoning the project of being a happy mac user…

    • http://blogs.tech-recipes.com/jimmyselix jimmyselix

      sorry to hear that you had problems, but yes.

      ALWAYS DO A BACKUP BEFORE TRYING ANYTHING WITH BOOT CAMP.

      I’ll add that to the begining of the recipe/guide. Let me know if you need any help or have any questions.

  • MacBookAir 1,1

    Hi and thank you for this tutorial.

    I’ve got the Legacy OS Error, I think that there is a problem with the original macbook air (MacBook Air 1,1 as seen is System Profiler).

    • http://blogs.tech-recipes.com/jimmyselix jimmyselix

      hmm, i have heard of others with this issue too. Let me do some digging and see if there is a work around or perhaps a different version of rEFIt that may resolve this issue. :)

    • http://blogs.tech-recipes.com/jimmyselix jimmyselix

      http://refit.sourceforge.net/doc/c4s1_notfound.html

      hmm, this may be of some use for you :) seems like older versions of rEFIT were having issues w/older firmwares. Is your MBA 1,1 running the latest update firmware releases from Apple?

  • jjasdf

    Hi I have the legacy driver not found error as well. Has anyone found a resolution?

    • http://blogs.tech-recipes.com/jimmyselix jimmyselix

      as mentioned above, i’m going to take a look this weekend to see if there are any workarounds to that issue.

      thanks for stopping by! :)

  • Sardarjamal

    @Seamonkey420 I Have the same issue Legacy thing i have the original Macbook Air 1.6 Ghz Everything is ready exept it wont let me pass thru Legacy firmware not supported

    • http://blogs.tech-recipes.com/jimmyselix jimmyselix

      Per commenter, Serkan Piantino:

      “After LOTS of messing around I finally figured out what the issue is with not being able to boot the USB stick. I think there’s a bug in rEFIt where, even if you’ve selected the USB stick, since there’s a second bootable legacy partition (the bootcamp partition) it keeps trying to load that one instead of the USB. Solution: remove the bootcamp partition first, then recreate it and format it in the windows 7 installer. Worked for me. Hope it works for you guys as well.”

      I’d give that a try next

  • http://www.facebook.com/serkan Serkan Piantino

    After LOTS of messing around I finally figured out what the issue is with not being able to boot the USB stick. I think there’s a bug in rEFIt where, even if you’ve selected the USB stick, since there’s a second bootable legacy partition (the bootcamp partition) it keeps trying to load that one instead of the USB. Solution: remove the bootcamp partition first, then recreate it and format it in the windows 7 installer. Worked for me. Hope it works for you guys as well.

    • http://blogs.tech-recipes.com/jimmyselix jimmyselix

      i think you may be onto something!! :) i’m hoping we see others that get the prob fixed w/this tip. Thanks for sharing!!

      • nick

        Tried this and it didn’t work for me. Same “No Bootable Device” message. I, like a lot of the others around here, have 2008 intel macbook pro (with a busted superdrive).

      • ethan

        does this method work with a downloaded win7 iso image from the internet ? or does it have to be a win7 dvd?

        • http://blogs.tech-recipes.com/jimmyselix jimmyselix

          YMMV, the ones i’ve tried did not work w/the utility but my oem dvd iso did.

          • ethan

            thanks for the quick reply … so i guess that has to be problem and the only way to fix it is to get/buy a win7 dvd!

    • ethan

      Hi, is this solution for fixing the error “the firmware refused to boot from the selected drive” when booting from the usb?
      i tried your solution by deleting the partition and trying to boot again from my usb key on which i installed win7 as detailed by this tutorial, i still get the same error!
      It’s pretty straightforward so i can’t be doing it wrong …. but could you give a bit more details!
      thanks a lot!

  • Mike

    I just get the “No Bootable Device” message on my 2011 MacBook Pro, like most of the commenters it seems. The USB stick boots fine in my other two windows machines. I don’t get any LED activity on my USB drive after choosing to boot from it in rEFIt.

    • hops

      have you been able to figure out how to get the usb drive install to work on your macbook? I am dealing with this issue right now. I’ve got the latest macbook pro.

  • jon

    Hello im trying to install on my macbook air and having the same “no bootable device” error, I have tried everything twice and installed all updates.

  • Chris

    How did you make the iso file from windows 7 using magicdisk?

  • Chris

    I have the upgrade for Windows 7

  • Ramik

    Okay. I think I got it working for the ‘no bootable disk’ error. Funny enough, before you select the windows partition on the rEFIT, just press shell and load it till the countdown. press ESC and type ‘exit’. Once out to the main screen, select Windows. Should run now smoothly. It did for me.

    • youtea

      Hmmm… Didn’t make it better on my iMac. What *exactly* did you do?

  • Chris

    Cannot find WindowsSupport.dmg file. Please Help

  • Chris

    never mind. got it

    • http://www.facebook.com/BennyGomezzz Benny Gomes

      can u tell us where u found it? because i can’t find it either :/

  • Tebe12

    Thanks for the this wonderful tutorial….Yet I still face problem with the partition…it says “some files cannot move” and suggests to format the hard disk…

    I need HEPL, please

    • Alexis

      I had the same problem. It means that you need to Defrag your disk becuase you need consecutive memory block to your new windows partition. I found a few pages where some guys recommended downloading iDefrag software (which is paid), and defrag your disk to make available consecutive space.
      However, I didn’t want to pay for a software that I was going to use just once, so I did what follows:
      1. Downloaded the demo version of IDefrag.
      2. Run it.
      3. Within the program you should be able to see how files are distributed in your disk. I found that I had several “red” blocks which represented big files within my HD.
      I removed those files to make up some free space in my drive, until I had a big white consecutive part in iDefrag. After that run Boot camp again – and worked like a charm.
      Hope works for you too

      • http://blogs.tech-recipes.com/jimmyselix jimmyselix

        great tip Alexis! Thanks for sharing!

  • Techphets

    Awesome tutorial. Just bought an MBA. Wanted to get Win7 on in a hurry. It was a breeze with this tutorial. Just waiting for the WindowsSupport files to copy to a USB drive. Then I’m loading Fusion to try using the new partition in a VM.

    • http://blogs.tech-recipes.com/jimmyselix jimmyselix

      great to hear! yea, i love how you can run the bootcamp partition in vmware fusion; saves space in that you dont’ need another virtual disk for win7 in osx. and get dual booting to boot! :)

  • Tran Huy Anh

    the defrag demo doesn’t work >

  • Anonymous

    Im having a similar problem to a few other Macbook Pro users. I haven’t seen any responses so i was looking for some clarification, does this tutorial only work with the MBA because they have a different EFI config or can it work with a MBP. I have been working on this problem for weeks and i keep getting bricked with a “NO BOOTABLE DEVICE” or a “Unsupported while loading Bootmgr. error message” driving me nuts

    • Robin

      I have the exact same problem…

      • Anonymous

        glad to know other people have issues maybe if all open comments we can get a quick response

  • Jacksoncmc835

    Will this work on an imac? 

  • UK

    Tried it with my 2010 iMac 27″ and it did NOT work.
    BUT this solution with Parallels trial version worked fine:
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=631901
    (read all) Good luck!

  • Og

    AWESOME tutorial!  Worked like a charm.  I used “All Image” to create the ISO image from the Win7 DVD – free and worked well (other ISO generators like Roxio or MagicDisc didn’t work for me).

  • Couchapple

    This was perfect!!!! one more step with LION tho when you get to the Hard Drive Selection Part it says “windows cannot be installed to this hard drive” at the bottom. So Just Delete the BOOTCAMP PARTITION and Then Create a New Partition. Then Select Refresh and you will be able to install. (This was with Windows 7 SP1 Ultimate and Mac OSX LION)

  • Patrick Saile

    Is it possible to do this with Windows Vista?

    • http://blogs.tech-recipes.com/jimmyselix jimmyselix

      yes, i believe this would work with Vista too. :) vista and win7 are pretty similar, win7 is basically an uber tweaked and refined vista. 

  • 1401steven

    Cant get around the problem “No bootable device….” using new mac mini 2011 with usb formatted etc in this tutorial. installing efi doesnt make any difference. if i select usb from the booting list i just get above error….

  • Imtyv

    I just tried on my lion, and it doesn’t work. Couldn’t find a bootable device. I tested the bootable usb on my windows 7 pc, which works perfectly. Just a reminder for lion users: have a MAC OSX installation DVD at hand just in case u may not be able to start with the MacHarddisk.

    • http://blogs.tech-recipes.com/jimmyselix jimmyselix

      did you install rEFIT and also reboot twice after installing it? it takes 2 reboots for the rEFIT bios to take hold. what model and year of mac?

  • yy

    EXACTLY! I have the 13-inch Macbook pro 2011, and got a ‘NO BOOTABLE DEVICE’ message with LION. I think this is caused by a different EFI in LION for MBP, and have no idea how to fix it.

  • http://twitter.com/mattonthemoon Matthew

    Doesn’t work on Lion, i get a boot device error…

    • http://blogs.tech-recipes.com/jimmyselix jimmyselix

      i can take a look at Lion and doing this later this month. just sold my 2010 MBA 11″ so i need to get a new mac to try this with.  I’ll see if one of the other tech-rx mods can try it on their Lion install.  Thanks

  • Stef

    Your Mac > LIbrary > Application Support > BootCamp

    This folder is empty. I Can’t find the WindowsSupport.dmg
    What did I do wrong ?

    • http://blogs.tech-recipes.com/jimmyselix jimmyselix

      did you choose to download the support package when setting up the Boot Camp partition? this dmg file is several hundred MBs so it may take a few minutes to download.

      hope that helps!

  • Furious Wow

    hey guys, 
    i tried everything above but with this macbook from 2007 nothing worked.
    So the only way was using my internal bluray drive from my desktop pc with an usb to sata controller and boot it from DVD.
    Using rEFIt of course!

    Hope this note helps.

    Good Luck :)

  • Jefflokanata

    how to download “Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool (free, download here)” ?
    it is an exe format !

    • Lawqk

      You need a windows pc or virtual machine in Mac that runs windows in order to create the iso. Mac doesn’t work with exe

  • QKL

    I accidentally stopped the windows driver download in bootcamp. It doesn’t prompt for the download anymore after that. What should I do?

    • QKL

      I downloaded and installed the latest software update. Then I restarted bootcamp an it inquires about the updates. Thanks for the guide!

  • Will

    @Stef: The BootCamp can be found in the Utilities Folder.

    Click on your Desktop, Choose Go to -> Utilities. There you will find it.

  • Will

    I have the late 2008 Macbook and I’m having the same issue. The USB Flash drive tweek did not work. :(

  • Sreerag

    Hi,

    I installed Win7 on my Mac AIR using your tutorial couple of months ago.
    Thanks.

    But now, I am in a situation where I need to re-install Win 7 in the same.

    Can you please advice me on this

    Thanks

  • http://tech-recipes.com jimmy selix

    @Sreerag Do you need to preserve your data on the old Win7 installation your redoing?

    If not, you can just reinstall rEFIT on your macbook air.
    Create another USB Win7 installer
    Boot to the USB installer
    Go through the windows 7 installation and when you get to the part that asks where to install to; you can first format the Boot Camp drive and then install to it.

    let me know if that does the trick

  • David

    Hey guys, so I am on mac pro 2011 with lion. It looks like rEFIt is not booting correctly even, after two restarts. Any clue?

  • Matt

    I tried this and I got a blank black screen. I don’t think I set the USb up right, but I don’t even want to do this anymore.

    All i want to do is reboot into Osx and I don’t know how to do that.

  • Matt

    Nevermind I got it. Just had to hold down option.

    I started to panic a little :) I thought I broke my computer and wouldn’t be able to reboot into osx, but I did it.

  • Mandy

    Hey~ Thanks for this :D

    However, I’m stuck- I’ve done all up until finding BootCamp..I can’t seem to find it, I searched in Utilities folder…is BootCamp a folder? Sorry for the bother and thanks!

  • wat

    Ok, I’m trying to do this on OS X Lion. Made bootable usb via VMware windows 7, installed refit, everything is ok.
    so when i choose the windows partition to start installing windows in refit menu, i get stuck at loading (white screen with windows icon in the middle)
    i don’t even get the black screen. waited even all night, it didn’t start.
    help please.

  • jeffrey

    Hi. I have the USB ready, as well as rEFIt, but when I get to the rEFIt with the choice of Mac OSX, ‘Boot Legacy OS from xxxxxxxxxxx’(partition) and Boot Windows from Partition 1(the USB drive) the last two don’t do anything. I just get a black screen with the command line little line blinking in the top left. Help!

  • Bryce

    I get the message “bootmgr missing” what do I do?????

  • Daniel

    For anyone who are installing Windows 7 on a Macbook Pro(which can use the cd/dvd drive), and has a OS X CD-
    if you’re getting “windows support software is not available” error, then just skip the step and you can get required files from the OS X CD directly. which means you won’t be copying WindowsSupport.dmg into your USB, instead you can run setup.exe for Bootcamp on the OS X CD directly.
    hope this helps.

  • Arnaud

    Hi.

    Worked for me, on a MacBook Pro with a dead DVD drive on Snow Leopard.

    Created Bootcamp partition
    Made bootable usb key with w7 using a w7 installed on Virtual Box
    Installed Refit
    Booted on key and successfully installed w7
    Installed BootCamp utilities on w7 partition, downloaded from torrents

    Worked like a charm :)

  • anonymous

    hey:::I did everything that you said, but I have a new problem not mentioned above. I got through the no bootable disc error by running the shell first, which worked perfectly well, but then I get stuck on the part where the video begins. When I select windows on the refit menu I get the blank screen with the grey windows emblem in the middle, just like in the video. Its just, nothing happens, the screen just sort of chills like that until I shut it off. Ive done everything correct, is it possible that i need to wait more the the 15 minutes i originally waited? Please Help! lol

  • ennka

    My apple laptop error, can not enter the desktop, because I run boot camp assistant application but have not completed the process, there is a close my laptop, when turned over can not even get a desktop .. ,

    # need help, please … please please ..

  • anonymous

    if you cannot access apple or windows desktop try holding option,., or control or command, i dont remember which it is, but one of those allows you to at least return to mac.

    • grNGER

      > its the alt or option key

  • ben

    would this technique work on a normal macbook pro given that i don’t have a windows setup cd of my own

    • http://blogs.tech-recipes.com/jimmyselix Jimmy Selix

      > i believe it should. a few macbook pro owners have mentioned issues w/rEFIt and getting this work. i know some usb thumbdrives and memory card readers don’t play very nicely when booting from.

  • anand

    hello jimmyselix,
    i have installed win 7 on vm ware, and i am using same windows iso for this, but the USB tool says “the selected file is not a valid iso file.. what to do? m stuck here.. please guide.. thanks.

    • http://blogs.tech-recipes.com/jimmyselix Jimmy Selix

      > was this a custom windows 7 iso or one made from a true windows 7 install cd? i know i’ve had problems at times w/my custom win7 isos i make (i create my own custom installer disks since i do this stuff at work) and they usually will not work w/the Windows 7 USB / DVD download tool.

  • anand

    hi jimmyselix, even i used magic ISO and converted that iso to again iso.. but that also not working, m getting same error. any solution?

  • grNGER

    HI, my rEFIt will not allow me to installing. it come up with a few errors saying something like Not found legacy returned and a few more. my usb is a kingston data traveller 1st gen 16 GB. i am using windows 7 ultimate 32 bit. i also have a macbook mid 2009. intel core 2 dua 2.16, 1 gb ddr2 ram. i can’t use a disk as my superdrive stopped working

  • Ken Garland

    When I partition the drive and click “Install” it says “The installer disc could not be found.” and will not partition or continue.

  • ikspres

    I bought a 2011 model of Macbook Air with Lion installed in last June.
    And I found that the BootCamp Assistant has all features required.
    No rEFIt is needed. The only thing I needed was put the win 7 iso in Macbook Air, and big enough USB. (4GB would enough.)

    The BootCamp Assistant, created bootable USB from the ISO, installed win 7 and installed all needed mac specific drivers in win 7.

  • Michael

    Thank you! I installed Win7 32 bit on a Macbook Air 11″ 1,4 GHz, 4 GB RAM ,128 GB HD, worked like a charm!

  • Michael

    My dual boot is not working as a charm anymore :(
    I installed a driver to a printer on my Mac OS X partition and after this I can´t boot Windows 7 (!). Max OS X still works fine. Stupid as I was (am) I took no system restore point.
    Any tip?

    /Most greatful

  • Mhm

    After reading web for three days and get an external drive ( because of my imac drive has been damaged ), finally you help me, thank you man, thank you

  • marck paul mateo

    very good! :) tnx for this tutorial…

  • Paul Johnson

    Does it matter if it is a USb 2.0 or 3.0 stick?

  • watch_bitches

    this is so long there is a much better way to do this