How to install Windows 7 on 2011 Macbook Air?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by sick z33, Jul 28, 2011.

  1. sick z33 macrumors 6502

    Sep 20, 2008
    I did some research and read about refit, but apparently the software is difficult to remove afterword.

    Right now I do have an ISO copy of Windows 7. I attempted to use the USB/DVD Windows tool but it will not detect my external drive.
  2. daleski75 macrumors 68000


    Dec 10, 2008
    Northampton, UK
    Do you have the new MBA 2011 or the 2010 model?

    To remove refit all you do is simply delete the folder in the root of your drive and then set the startup disk to be your primary drive and reboot.
  3. TheGenerous macrumors 6502a


    Nov 14, 2010
    I'm an Austronaut
    If you use Parallels Desktop you can use an external HD and install Windows 7 form there in about 30 min.

    Using Bootcamp is too difficult for me, and for what I use windows there's no need to run it natively in a boot camp partition
  4. ZBoater macrumors G3


    Jul 2, 2007
    Sunny Florida
    Installing BootCamp on a 2011 MBA is one of the easiest things I've done. Im not sure how it was before, but with BootCamp 4.0 all you do is run BootCamp Assistant. It takes your Win7 ISO image and copies the install files onto a USB key, makes it bootable, and connects to Apple servers to download all the Win7 drivers for your MBA. All this while you make yourself a sandwich. It reboots from the USB key and kicks off the Win7 install process off it. After its done, you reboot into Windows, and then go into the USB key, look for the WindowsSupport folder, and run the setup.exe file that you find there. That loads all the Win7 drivers.

    Reboot once more. Done.

    I did BootCamp and Parallels. That allows me to reboot into native Windows if I want to, and I can have Parallels use the BootCamp partition as the source for a virtual session as well.

    I have no idea why Apple made it so easy, but I've been installing Windows machines for years and I have never had it so easy.
  5. voigtstr macrumors member

    Jan 31, 2008
    Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
    I installed windows 7 home premium into bootcamp last night. I didnt read the instructions before burning a dvd. (The ISO was sourced from technet). I used the air superdrive for the disk and an old ipod photo as the FAT usb drive for the drivers. It was a flawless install.
  6. ZBoater macrumors G3


    Jul 2, 2007
    Sunny Florida
    Yeah, well, I must confess I too burned the iso image to a CD and went and bought a Superdrive thinking I would need one. Then I ran Bootcamp 4.0 and realized my mistake. :eek:

    There are a lot of bad habits I am going to have to get rid of. I must unlearn what I have learned.... :cool:
  7. sick z33 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 20, 2008
    Thanks guys! That is such an awesome feature to use my ISO image with Boot camp assistant :D
  8. toro1966 macrumors newbie

    Dec 12, 2010
    How did you do it? When I use bootcamp assistant 4.0 on my macbook (not air) it has me download the support files to an external drive which I did. Then, it says begin windows installation and makes me insert installation disk and won't start without one.

    At what point did bootcamp point you to the iso? Thanks.
  9. psxp macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2008
    I just read all the posts and tried it myself on my MBA 13" and successfully installed from a Windows 7 SP1 .iso

    1) Windows 7 SP 1 on .iso on desktop

    2) Use bootcamp assistant to install bootcamp and format USB stick. When I selected and formated the bootcamp drive I did get warning message that I could not install on that partition. After quiting, and rebooting I was able to select the partition then the installed continued and completed fine.

    good luck to others..
  10. robots3humans0 macrumors 6502

    Sep 22, 2009
    London, Ontario
    The Air has a special edition of Boot camp assistant that the Pros do not have. It allows the making of a bootable USB key from the Windows iso. With a Pro, you still need to make a DVD copy of the iso to use. Windows won't (at least it wouldn't for me) boot from an external DVD drive, nor would it boot (again, for me) from a Windows made install USB AND using refit.
  11. hfg macrumors 68040


    Dec 1, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    If you have a 2011 Air and use it to make a bootable USB key from the Windows .iso file, will that USB key also work on non-Air and non-2011-Air Mac computers to boot and install Windows?

    I believe I read where for anything but the latest Air models, you have to download separate BootCamp driver files and install them after Windows installation. This would indicate that only the 2011 Air drivers are automatically downloaded and installed in the Support directory on the USB key drive when it builds the Windows bootable install.

    I suppose it is too much to expect that that same USB key would install Windows7 to a standard PC box as well?:rolleyes:

  12. alan111 macrumors regular

    Sep 17, 2010
    i bootcamped windows for the past couple of years and found myself never using it because of the hassle of having to restart etc.

    2 weeks ago I downloaded virtualbox from Oracle and am in love with it. It works like native and is amazing.

    I've used Vmware and Parrallels in the past and they were always glitchy for me.

    Try installing it with virtualbox and let me know how you like it. You will not be disappointed.
  13. robots3humans0 macrumors 6502

    Sep 22, 2009
    London, Ontario

    I don't think it'll work on other computers. It may work if you use refit to boot to the windows USB, but I'm not 100% on that since it'll be 2011 Air-Boot camp specific. It does automatically download the Windows support files but you can do that through the bootcamp on your computer anyways and burn them to a cd and select those to install once the Windows installation is complete via the USB anyways. The drivers don't autoinstall.
  14. DeBilbao macrumors member


    Jan 13, 2008
    I've just upgraded from a 2010 MBA to a new 2011 MBA, both running Windows 7 Ultimate natively with Bootcamp and I would like to share my experience installing it on both laptops from a USB flash drive and without a SuperDrive.

    The 2010 MBA came with Mac OS X Snow Leopard and Bootcamp 3.0. The Bootcamp Utility assists you partitioning the drive and downloading the Windows drivers from the Internet. After this you can boot the MBA from a USB flash drive that must have been prepared previously using the Windows 7 USB Download Tool program and a Windows 7 ISO image. After the OS install you need to install also the previously downloaded Windows drivers and you're done.

    If you upgraded the 2010 MBA to Mac OS X Lion, you won't be able to install Windows 7, because Lion comes with the new Bootcamp 4.0 and it isn't compatible with the 2010 MBA. So if this is your case, you need to backup your Lion setup with Time Machine, reinstall Snow Leopard from the original Apple USB flash drive, use the method described before to get Windows 7 installed, upgrade Snow Leopard to Lion and restore your Time Machine backup. I think this is the easiest way to go.

    If you have a 2011 MBA it came with Mac OS X Lion and Bootcamp 4.0 and you only need to use the included Bootcamp Assistant. It will ask for a Windows 7 ISO image, it will download the Windows drivers, it will partition the drive and run automatically the installation procedure. Once installed, you need to run the Windows drivers installer and you're done. It can't be easier.

    I recommend using rEFIt as the boot manager. It will provide a very useful boot screen that let you select Mac OS X or Windows 7 and you don't need to press the Option key to get the boot selector.

    Windows 7 runs great on both the 2010 and the 2011 Mac, although in my opinion the energy management is much better in the 2011 model. Battery lasts longer with the 2011 MBA.

    The only real annoyance I've had is that the trackpad performance and sensitivity doesn't respond equally in Windows 7 than in Mac OS X, something that can be somewhat corrected using the Trackpad++ driver.

    Hope this helps.

    :) :) :)
  15. heisenberg123 macrumors 603


    Oct 31, 2010
    Hamilton, Ontario
    is it just an ISO file on a disk or did you properly extrat the ISO when burning it
  16. BadaBing!! macrumors 6502


    May 16, 2010
    ISO file. Bootcamp assistant takes care of it and makes the usb drive bootable by itself. I did it for the first time today and it's pretty easy.
  17. littlelulu1, Nov 11, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2011

    littlelulu1 macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2011
    Help! Sos--

    Quick history: I have an older MB 15-inch that I was able to successfully install boot camp on (installed windows xp), working fine no problems.

    For other reasons, I just got a new MBA (13-inch, 128 GB flash storage/2 GB)...I was told it is going to be pushing it, but I need boot camp on it as well. When installing it, I was confused by the options in Boot Camp Assistant, Create a Windows 7 Install disk, Download the latest Windows support software from Apple, and Install Windows). I only selected the 3rd options and it seemed to have installed correctly and I partitioned 40 GB for windows and kept 80 for Mac-side. Installation seemed to go fine....Problem arose when I was looking to switch back to Mac side and there is no Bootcamp icon, assist on task bar or in control panel. So I restarted and held down option to start up on Mac side. ....So major "opps"? What can I do to rectify?? Please, I greatly appreciate help on this!

    Should I go back to Boot Camp Assistant and Remove Windows 7 and redo installation? I have a superdrive and usb drive, do I need to purchase something else? Will I run into problems with re-activating windows 7 again? Sorry, I have been a casual computer user to this point and getting thrust into more complex computer issues than I understand...I appreciate any input...Thank you!
  18. komoornik macrumors regular

    Jul 29, 2011
    Geez. Just open up bootcamp assistant and download the drivers.

    Then switch back to the Win 7 and install them.
  19. littlelulu1 macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2011
  20. snowwhite007 macrumors 6502

    Nov 4, 2011
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A334 Safari/7534.48.3)

    Ok newbie question here when you are talking about the drive being partitioned are we talking about the external usb? Just wondering if its all ran and stored on the usb? In that case i woodnt mind doing it.
  21. littlelulu1 macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2011
    Nevermind, called Apple Care and we figured it out!
  22. heyloo macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2006
    Thanks for the tip. I was wondering how I could get Win7 on my 2011 MBA without the drive (and possibly without flash drive as well). It's nice to know that I only need the ISO to get everything set up!
  23. Newbie0554, Nov 28, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2011

    Newbie0554 macrumors newbie

    Nov 28, 2011
    Sorry in advance for the simpleton questions. Completely unfamiliar with the language and context so apologies ahead of time. I have a mid-2011 MBA 13" 256Gig 4megs. I want to install Bootcamp and Windows 7 in order to use one particular application that does not have a Mac native version and apparently, never will. I won't be working in Windows much at all other than with this application. I have a few questions:

    1) And probably the most simplistic. When everyone is talking about an ISO image of Windows 7, where do you get that?

    2) I see that you can download Windows 7 directly from MS. Is it possible to do the Windows install from a downloaded file or do I need to "borrow" an optical drive from another computer? Can Boot Camp pull from a file downloaded onto the "Mac Side" of the computer?

    3) What is the recommended partition for a Windows 7 install?

    4) I have read about 32 bit and 64 bit versions of Windows? Which is preferable for my circumstances?

    5) Does the USB flash stick need to be blank? If not, what is the preferable free space?

    6) Is the Home version or Home Premium version of Windows 7 ok or is the Professional version necessary?

    Again thanks. I can hear the groans already.
  24. orfeas0 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 21, 2010
    Athens, Greece
    What I did was insert an 8gb usb drive, open boot camp and do as it says.

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