When I woke this morning, I went through my usual schedule of reading various technology blogs around the web to see what’s new, and came across the most ridiculous article about installing Windows 7 on an Apple Mac via Boot Camp.
The article in question (I won’t name the blog…) basically warned Mac users that if they were excited about installing Windows 7 on their Mac’s anytime soon, they should hold off because Apple don’t officially support Windows 7 in Boot Camp yet. In fact, at the end of the article the writer himself said “I wouldn’t try it”. If it isn’t already clear, I completely disagree with the article and wish to set the record straight for anyone thinking of installing Windows 7 on their Mac.
I’ve personally been running Windows 7 on both my Mac Mini and Unibody Macbook since the Windows 7 beta was released to the public in January, and problems have been few and far between. I’d recently formatted my Hard Drive to install Snow Leopard (I prefer to do a clean install when installing a new OS), so the first thing I had to do was go in to Boot Camp Assistant and create a partition for Windows 7. I’d recommend a partition of at least 40GB, as you’ll find space quickly disappears once all your applications are installed and you have a ton of downloads etc.
Making sure you have your Windows 7 disc in the slot drive, select reboot once the partition is made, and you’ll be presented with the Windows installer. Make sure you select the drive labelled Boot Camp, not your OS X partition, and format in to NTFS before you can install Windows 7. Allow the installer to carry on as normal and when it’s finished you’ll have Windows 7 installed on your Mac.
Now installation is out of the way, you need to install those oh so troublesome Boot Camp drivers… To boot into Windows, you need to hold down the option key when your Mac starts up, and select Windows from the two icons that appear. If you’ve installed a 32-bit version of Windows 7 (you receive 2 discs with the box, 32 and 64-bit versions) then you’ll have no problem installing the drivers by inserting your Leopard or Snow Leopard install DVD and following the prompts. The drivers will install automatically and require a reboot, but then you’re up and running with 7! From what I can tell, it installs the Vista drivers which seem to work fine with Windows 7 – everything from the Wi-Fi to the Bluetooth works great.
If you installed a 64-bit version of Windows, you might receive an error message when you put your OS X DVD in saying “64-bit is not supported on this system”. This even appeared on my Unibody Macbook, which really annoyed me as it clearly is capable of 64-bit… To use 64-bit Windows, Apple want you to buy a top-of-the-range model, which quite frankly is out of order. I do however have a quick solution to the problem which allows you to get 64-bit up and running with a few simple commands. First, you need to open the command prompt with administrator privileges, because you’re going to direct it to the install package for the 64-bit drivers. Once you’re in command, type the following:
cd “Boot Camp\Drivers\Apple”
msiexec /i BootCamp64.msi
This will allow the drivers to install on to your 64-bit version of Windows, and you’re up and running with Windows 7 on your Mac! I would recommend downloading the latest Boot Camp drivers if you’re not using the Snow Leopard DVD, as this version includes more options for the multi-touch trackpads found on Macbook’s. Enjoy Windows 7!