Install win7 on macbook air without installing bootcamp?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by bigeasy_uk, Oct 14, 2011.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Hi All,

    I want to install Windows on my macbook air but I don't want to use bootcamp as it allocates 19gb of disk space minimum, i've only got 64gb to play with and I'm going to be using a slimmed down version of windows7 so I dont need that much space.
    So I've got 2 options really, install somehow without bootcamp so I can allocate disk space myself or install with bootcamp then resize the drive afterwards.

    Which is the best way to go?
  2. Gnigma, Oct 15, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2011

    macrumors newbie

    If you have OSX 10.5 or newer, you can resize the hard drive and create another partition from a terminal using diskutil. Look up the procedure for triple booting an iMac on the web--- many people have explained the procedure better than I could. Here's a site that tells you how--- you would only need to resize disk0s2 and create another partition for disk0s3 unless you're going to triple boot:
  3. macrumors 6502

    Nice one Gnigma, I'll have a read through and take it from there!
  4. MJL
    macrumors 6502a

    You'll have to understand that there are two parts to bootcamp: one is partitioning the hdd/sdd in such a way that both OS X and Windows 7 can run on it (one needs GUID and the other MBR and they do not like to co-exist). After you've installed windows then you use the Windows part of bootcamp to install all the windows drivers.

    If you want to install only Windows 7 then you only need to have the OS X install DVD (up to Snow Leopard) or in Lion download and make the Windows Bootcamp install part. Once you have the Bootcamp stuff on CD/ DVD then there is no more need for OS X.

    What you do next is to use your Windows install and allocate the whole hard disk to Windows, install normally and at the end use the Bootcamp CD/DVD to install all the windows drivers. It is the simplest windows install I've ever done with the least hassle.

    IMHO OS X is going to morph into iOS and as such has a limited lifespan so I'm not wasting any more time on it. Windows 7 gives you far more control over hardware and software than OS X. No doubt you've read about overheating Apple Mac gear, especially with the i5 - i7 chips. Turbo boost has a lot to do with this and with the MAC's EFI there is no BIOS to disable turbo boost. However there is a workaround: and this will enable you to control the temperature natively through the Windows OS without a third party application (which I never trust, especially when it is a freebee)
    [end rant]
  5. macrumors newbie

    Well, if worse comes to worst, and you decide to drop OSX, Windows 7 is EFI aware--- you could drop the Apple OS altogether: (I haven't tried this.)

    From what I've seen, iMacs that are set up to dual boot with Windows actually run it better than Windows machines. If you completely eliminate OSX, you can't upgrade the firmware. That may not be an issue depending on your circumstances. :)
  6. MJL
    macrumors 6502a

    Unless you have an external HDD that has the OS X partition. Windows will not boot from an external partition but OS X does.

    Only issue that I did run into is that with Lion you'll have to download Bootcamp and that will not work from the external HDD. With timemachine the internal OS X can be quickly enough restored and after doing your work you restore windows from backup (4~5 minutes) A bit of a hassle but for me the shortest possible WIndows restore times are more important than having OS X available ad hoc.

    And yes, Windows runs very nicely on a MAC, only pity is that it first checks what needs to be booted (looks if there is a DVD/CD or even OS X before booting windows). Still boots in less than 40 seconds which is about 10 ~ 15 seconds more than with my Thinkpad T61p.
  7. macrumors 6502

    I''ve used refit and installed tiny7 now, which uses around 4gb of the 10gb partition. I did install the standard windows 7 first but it used the whole 10gb! there was around 220kb of free disk space! ridiculous for just the OS.
    It takes a while to boot but I've read that the bootcamp drivers aren't properly optimized for disk access yet, but I boot it that rarely I don't mind, it's just for a few games.
  8. macrumors G3


    Not sure how you managed that. For me, a standard Windows 7 install takes around 15GB.
  9. macrumors 6502

    I Used a modified version of windows called tiny7, it does cut a lot of stuff out so I couldn't recommend it as a main os but for what i'm using it for it's ideal, I might even try out xp if I can find the drivers.

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