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Old Jan 10, 2009, 01:36 PM   #1
Mardak
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Install Windows from USB Flash

Would it be possible to install Windows (7) for BootCamp from a USB Flash Drive instead of burning it to a DVDROM?

Installing Windows (Vista) from a Flash Drive [live.com] is possible and potentially faster than installing from DVD or ethernet. I'm assuming this should work for Windows 7 as well.

So the question that remains is if BootCamp can boot? install from? USB. (I've never tried BootCamp, so I'm not familiar with the process of even starting an install.)

(I don't think it'll affect much, but I'm using a new Al MacBook.)
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Old Jan 10, 2009, 01:38 PM   #2
r.j.s
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No, I don't think BC will recognize a USB drive as a boot option.
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Old Jan 10, 2009, 06:30 PM   #3
2ndtoJohn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by r.j.s View Post
No, I don't think BC will recognize a USB drive as a boot option.
Damn. I was also hoping to install Windows 7 from a flash drive as my DVD burns have been failing (tried 5 times).

Can anyone else confirm/deny his claim?
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Old Jan 10, 2009, 07:46 PM   #4
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I would like to know the answer to this as well.
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Old Jan 11, 2009, 12:37 AM   #5
Killthee
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From what I've read, that method will work for Windows 7 on a PC/anything that allows you to boot off of USB. I'm not sure about the new Unibody Mac's, but unfortunately the old MB/P's EFI is unable to boot legacy OS's (Windows & Linux) off of USB. The same is probably true for the Unibody Mac's but it wouldn't hurt to try.

Booting into a bootloader that allows you to boot the Windows 7 installation from a USB drive should work, this is what I'm currently trying to do to bypass the USB boot limitation on my MBP with a busted superdrive.

As for BootCamp, it's nothing but a glorified partition editor that has nothing to do with the boot process.
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Old Jan 11, 2009, 05:08 AM   #6
cathyy
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I'm not sure about Windows 7, but it's not possible on Vista and XP. I recall reading something about the USB port turning off halfway in the boot-up process, and I figure it should be the same for Windows 7.

Your best bet (and probably your only bet) would be to burn it into a DVD.
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Old Jan 12, 2009, 06:40 AM   #7
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cathyy, I work in a school and we have a group of netbooks, all of which have had microsoft XP installed through a USB pen drive. We have also installed Vista with this method.

We are currently trying to install Windows 7 in the same way, so I will let you know how it goes
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Old Jan 12, 2009, 08:38 AM   #8
thefunkymunky
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It is possible because thats how I installed Windows 7 on my Rev. A. MBP.

First make sure that you have first made the USB flash bootable by following the instructons in Mardak's first post an copied the Windows DVD/ISO to the flash drive as instructed. I also copied the Boot Camp drivers folder on to the flash drive as well for convenience.

You need to download and install rEFIt on your OSX drive. This allows more EFI options during the boot process, e.g. booting another operating system besides OSX off of USB drive.

Plug in the USB flash drive, boot your Mac, hold down Option, select the rEFIt option on the boot menu then you should see the USB drive as an option to boot. You also need to do the following to allow Boot Camp to run successfully under Windows 7 - you can install the drivers manually but some options like keyboard support don't work this way.

Quote:
'setup.exe' works fine under W7, its the .msi package that 'setup.exe' links to that doesn't work - its this bit that does the Windows version checking. To get Boot Camp setup working correctly on W7, do the following.

First off, copy the Boot Camp drivers folder to your Windows hard drive.

Download and install Easy MSI Editor.

Run Easy MSI Editor and open up the BootCamp.msi file from your hard drive. You'll see a table in Easy MSI. Scroll down the left hand column and delete the entry that says "LaunchCondition". Save and exit Easy MSI.

Now run setup.exe from the drivers folder you copied to your hard drive from the Leopard DVD. The setup should run and install the neccessary drivers for your system.

Thats how did it albeit for a Rev. A. MBP and W7 32-bit but the procedure should work for W7 64-bit. Though I can seem to get Bluetooth pairing working properly even though Windows says everything is installed OK.

You should edit BootCamp64.msi if you want the 64-bit drivers.
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Old Jan 12, 2009, 09:30 PM   #9
Mardak
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thefunkymunky View Post
First make sure that you have first made the USB flash bootable by following the instructons in Mardak's first post
What exactly are you referring to? The USB flash should have a FAT32 partition with a GUID partition map?

I've tried both Mac OS Extended (Journaled) and FAT on GUID, but both don't seem to work; however, with the Mac OS Extended partition, rEFIt sees the USB drive but I keep getting "Error: Unsupported while loading bootmgr.efi" when selecting the USB drive from rEFIt.
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Old Jan 13, 2009, 06:23 PM   #10
thefunkymunky
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mardak View Post
What exactly are you referring to? The USB flash should have a FAT32 partition with a GUID partition map?

I've tried both Mac OS Extended (Journaled) and FAT on GUID, but both don't seem to work; however, with the Mac OS Extended partition, rEFIt sees the USB drive but I keep getting "Error: Unsupported while loading bootmgr.efi" when selecting the USB drive from rEFIt.
You need to format the drive with FAT32 and MBR partition map not GUID. MBR is needed for a bootable Windows drive. GUID is used to boot OSX on Intel Macs.
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Old Jan 13, 2009, 10:32 PM   #11
Mardak
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I reformatted my USB Flash to MBR with a FAT32 partition for my MacBook5,1.

I also copied the boot directory contents under /efi/microsoft directory to /boot.

I get one of these two errors from rEFIt:

Error: Unsupported while loading bootmgr.efi
Error: No mapping returned from cdboot.efi

Should I be doing something from the rEFIt shell?

(Just to clarify if it wasn't clear. I'm trying to install from a USB Flash with the contents of the Windows 7 iso -- not install Windows 7 to a USB flash and boot from it. You mentioned booting a Windows drive from FAT32, but I'm not sure if that's as important for the installer.)
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Old Jan 14, 2009, 02:46 AM   #12
thefunkymunky
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mardak View Post
I reformatted my USB Flash to MBR with a FAT32 partition for my MacBook5,1.

I also copied the boot directory contents under /efi/microsoft directory to /boot.

I get one of these two errors from rEFIt:

Error: Unsupported while loading bootmgr.efi
Error: No mapping returned from cdboot.efi

Should I be doing something from the rEFIt shell?

(Just to clarify if it wasn't clear. I'm trying to install from a USB Flash with the contents of the Windows 7 iso -- not install Windows 7 to a USB flash and boot from it. You mentioned booting a Windows drive from FAT32, but I'm not sure if that's as important for the installer.)
Do you have access to a PC running Vista? I've got a feeling OSX isn't formatting the flash drive correctly. I did the following on my flash drive in Vista - the same procedure you linked to in your first post - and it worked for me. If you don't try formatting the flash drive via Disk Utility to FAT32 (MS-DOS) and MBR partition map. Then drag and drop the contents of the Windows 7 ISO directly to the root directory of the flash drive. Make sure the root directory matches that of the W7 ISO exactly.

Quote:
Format Flash Drive
Run CMD.EXE and type the following. Note: This set of commands assumes that the USB flash drive is addressed as "disk 1". you should double check that by doing a list of the disks (type "list disk") before cleaning it. If you have multiple hard drives, like an SDFlash drive or a Multibay drive, you could end up wiping your second drive using this command.
(This was a warning that Josh added to his post along with the following commands that I copied from him, so kudos to Josh)

1. diskpart
2. select disk 1
3. clean
4. create partition primary
5. select partition 1
6. active
7. format fs=fat32
8. assign
9. exit

# Copy Windows Vista's DVD ROM content to the Flash Drive
Simply issue the following command to start copying all the content from the Windows Vista DVD to your newly formatted high speed flash drive.

* xcopy d:\*.* /s/e/f e:\
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Old Jan 14, 2009, 02:57 PM   #13
Mardak
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thefunkymunky View Post
Then drag and drop the contents of the Windows 7 ISO directly to the root directory of the flash drive. Make sure the root directory matches that of the W7 ISO exactly.
I've got a machine with XP, but I had to install an unofficial Microsoft virtual CD tool to mount the ISO. Now when I boot up in rEFIt, it gives an option..

Boot Windows from USBCARD

But when I select it..

Starting legacy loader
Using load options 'USB'
Error: Not Found returned from legacy loader

The firmware refused to boot from the selected volume. Note that external hard drives are not well-supported by Apple's firmware for legacy OS booting.

Perhaps it's something with the newest unibody MacBooks.
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Old Jan 14, 2009, 03:36 PM   #14
thefunkymunky
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mardak View Post
I've got a machine with XP, but I had to install an unofficial Microsoft virtual CD tool to mount the ISO. Now when I boot up in rEFIt, it gives an option..

Boot Windows from USBCARD

But when I select it..

Starting legacy loader
Using load options 'USB'
Error: Not Found returned from legacy loader

The firmware refused to boot from the selected volume. Note that external hard drives are not well-supported by Apple's firmware for legacy OS booting.

Perhaps it's something with the newest unibody MacBooks.
Have you got Fusion or Parallels? Or try burning the ISO to DVD. Maybe the ISO is corrupt but if it boots in Fusion or Parallels you know it's OK.
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Old Jan 15, 2009, 02:52 AM   #15
Mardak
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The ISO for the 64bit was fine. The md5 and sha1 both matched up.

I also tried the 32bit version, and I ran into the same problem of "legacy boot firmware issues."

However, I just tried the 32bit version on my USB flash on my 6 year old PC, and it's booting just fine after I select the USB boot option. So I guess it's just something rEFIt + unibody MacBook doesn't support.
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Old Jan 15, 2009, 08:55 AM   #16
Ldoh
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Same here,

funkymunky, you're the only person I've heard of so far who managed to do this,


It's this problem: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=510030&page=9


I'm on MBPC2D on Leopard with MBP21.00A5.B08, 1.14f5, rEFIt 0.12

I've tried this several times now, even with a firewire drive, and it still gives the same problem,



Starting legacy loader
Using load option 'USB'
Error: Not Found returned from legacy loader
Error: Not Found returned from LocateDevicePath
Error: Not Found returned from LocateDevicePath
Error: Not Found returned from LocateDevicePath
Error: Not Found returned from LocateDevicePath
Error: Not Found returned from LocateDevicePath
Error: Not Found returned from LocateDevicePath
Error: Not Found returned from LocateDevicePath
Error: Not Found returned from LocateDevicePath
Error: Not Found returned from LocateDevicePath
Error: Not Found returned from LocateDevicePath
Error: Not Found returned from LocateDevicePath
Error: Not Found returned from LocateDevicePath
Error: Load Error while (re)opening our installation volume

The firmware refused to boot from the selected volume. Note that external
hard drives are not well-supported by Apple's firmware for legacy OS booting.

* Hit any key to continue *
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Old Jan 15, 2009, 09:23 AM   #17
thefunkymunky
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I thought for a minute that it might be the 64-bit version of W7 as this has a problem with efi booting as listed for Vista here.

Mardak, you say you've tried 32-bit and that also failed, correct? I've installed on a Rev. A. MBP 15-inch with 32-bit W7.
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Old Jan 15, 2009, 12:26 PM   #18
Mardak
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That's correct. I tried the 32bit one and it gave the same legacy boot problem, but it works fine on my Dell desktop.

Curious, what option in rEFIt did you select?
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Old Jan 15, 2009, 05:45 PM   #19
thefunkymunky
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mardak View Post
That's correct. I tried the 32bit one and it gave the same legacy boot problem, but it works fine on my Dell desktop.

Curious, what option in rEFIt did you select?
The boot from USB drive option, far right.
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Old Jan 27, 2009, 01:39 PM   #20
cronnos
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thefunkymunky View Post
The boot from USB drive option, far right.
So if I follow this instructions here, I'll be able to install any Windows OS into my Intel Macbook (4,1 I believe) through a USB drive or USB pen drive? My Macbook's superdrive is busted...
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Old Jan 28, 2009, 05:46 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cronnos View Post
So if I follow this instructions here, I'll be able to install any Windows OS into my Intel Macbook (4,1 I believe) through a USB drive or USB pen drive? My Macbook's superdrive is busted...
Thats the theory yes. Some people are having problems though. It worked for me first time but I'm on an old(ish) Mac. Think it might have something to do with the unibody notebooks.
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Old Jan 28, 2009, 01:46 PM   #22
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Im hoping to do this too, as i have no DVD-R's. Will try tomorrow. Would be great if this worked for Snow Leopard too!
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Old Jan 28, 2009, 06:00 PM   #23
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rEFIt isnt even seeing my 8Gb USB Stick Formatted to MS-DOS with the W7 ISO on, the USB is working as the light is pulsing, but rEFIt see's nothing.

Trying 10.6 now, to see if the .iso couldnt be seen, and the .dmg can, either way i want them both installed.
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Old Mar 10, 2009, 03:56 PM   #24
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Same problem as matt for me. My USB drive isn't showing up with rEFIt. Would this mean I haven't correctly copied the Win 7 files over and refit recognizes that the usb drive isn't bootable or would it show up none the less?

edit: Rev B mba
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Old Mar 12, 2009, 10:29 PM   #25
laughinghan
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Press Option on Startup Even with rEFIt

@ MattZani, kinkster:

I encountered the same problem and nearly gave up until I realized that even if you have rEFIt set to 'enabled-always', it won't detect CDs or USB drives unless you press Option on startup, select rEFIt in Apple's built-in boot menu, and then you'll get the rEFIt boot screen complete with CDs and USB drives.

Unfortunately I'm about to give up again, because I'm getting the same error message Mardak is getting:

Code:
Starting legacy loader
Using load options 'USB'
Error: Not Found returned from legacy loader

The firmware refused to boot from the selected volume. Note that external
hard drives are not well-supported by Apple's firmware for legacy OS booting.
Although the fact that I'm on a Al MacBook too does seem to lend credence to Mardak's suggestion that it's a problem with the new MacBook, I still don't believe it. Perhaps someone with more expertise can tell us exactly what rEFIt can't find?

Mardak, if you have any progress please post, many will be grateful. Thefunkymunky, did you actually use the instructions in the first post, or did you follow a different but seemingly equivalent tutorial? Perhaps there's some nuanced step we're all skipping.

When I have the opportunity, I'm going to attempt to boot a PC and a crusty old white MacBook from my USB drive, which I'm pretty sure is fine. I'll report back here when I do.

I'm trying to boot Tiny XP on a Late 2008 Aluminum "Unibody" 2.4 GHz MacBook5,1.

Many thanks,

Han

Last edited by laughinghan; Mar 14, 2009 at 12:52 PM.
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