Resolved Install a Windows 7 partition on Mac OSX without Optical Drive or USB

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by Palgan, Jan 11, 2015.

  1. Palgan macrumors newbie

    Jan 11, 2015
    checked with OSX: Mavericks

    Many of us had extended the life of our old Mac computers replacing the optical drive with an SSD. But when some day you try to install windows in bootcamp partition you will start searching for ways and no one will works for your computer. My solution on the other had lets you install Windows in a partition without dealing with the pain on booting from USB or external dvd drive.

    It took many hours for me to set it crrectly but now it should be easy for all of you.

    The guide consist on 4 simple Steps:
    1. Install windows in virtual machine with a little trick.
    2. Create a Fat partition.
    3. Mount a virtual hard drive.
    4. Clone mounted HD to the Fat partition.

    Software you will need.
    VMware Fusion.
    Paragon VMDK mounter
    Daemon Tools

    Step 1. Trick on Virtual Machine. // Using VMWare Fusion.

    1. Start the process of creating a new VMachine using a windows 7.iso
    2. In the "finish" window select Customize Settings and then Save.
    3. Go to Virtual Machine Library, right click on your VM to go to settings. Then go the Hard Disks and set the Size that you want to have in your windows partition. For example 25GB (use pre allocate disk sapce). Then apply.
    4. Now start the Windows installation process and Shut Down/Stop the virtual machine just before it makes the first reboot.

    This will trick Windows installation and giving all the files you need. My file was named: Windows 7 X64

    Step 2. Create a MS Dos Fat Partition // Bootcamp assistant or Disk Utility

    1. Open disk utilities.
    2. Add a partition and if u used the example above make it 26 GB (1GB bigger than the one in VMWare)
    3. Name it BOOTCAMP
    4. Format it as MsDos Fat.
    5. Apply.

    Or use Daemon tools to mount the Windows 7.iso to start the boot camp assistant installation and make the 26GB partition that way.
    (you can also use bootcamp to get your Drivers)

    Step 3. Mount a virtual HardDrive containing windows installation.

    1. Get Paragon VMDK Mounter
    2. Right Click to open the Windows 7 x64 located on Documents/Virtual Machines/ with Paragoun Mounter.
    (Now you should see a new HardDrive on Finder devices.}

    Step 4 Clone the VMware installation files into the BOOTCAMP partition

    1. Get Winclone / I Bought it.
    2. Start Winclone and now you can Clone the Windows Drive you just mounted to your BOOTCAMP partition selecting Restore

    Now restart your computer and press ALT too select the Windows Partition to boot and continue with the installation.

    If you have small SSD and you dont have enough space having your OSX partition, your VMWARE partition(windows7 X64) and the BOOTCAMP partition. You can copy the VMWARE partition on to the other HARD DRIVE to make space before you make the Bootcamp partition on disk utility.

    i tried to do this many times but this time i did not surrender.
  2. b0fh666 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 12, 2012
    glad it worked for ya, but how much $ are we talking here for the software? fusion is like $50, the vmdk mounter and win-clone I don't know.

    maybe an external usb dvd drive is cheaper and easier :D
  3. Palgan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 11, 2015
    Some old MacBookPros seem to have trouble booting form external drives.
    I used all Free 30 Days trials. The only software i bought was the WinClone. Also, Time is money. So people will now be able to get around this problem fast. And it might be other ways to get WinClone software.

    It was a devastating challenge but i could not stop until i made it work.
  4. ChrisBryant24 macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2015
    Could you help me?

    So lately I've been struggling with installing windows 8 on my macbook pro early 2011. i tried all the steps. but when i want to use winclone it doesn't show me the mounted source and I have been using the Paragon Mounter but it doesnt show up as a new drive. only in diskutility.
  5. Palgan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 11, 2015
    Are you trying this using another Osx? i tried with mavericks. It feels strange that it appears on diskutility and not as a device for winclone. If i find a solution i will let you know.
  6. ChrisBryant24 macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2015
    I am trying this on OSX Yosemite. This gets pretty frustrating. I tried it with the normal bootcamp & it didn't work out. Your tutorial was like a last hope to get my Windows running in bootcamp. Since i need the full power i cant use windows on a virtual machine.

    Thank you for your help!
  7. strayduck macrumors newbie

    Feb 15, 2015
    Palgan's method confirmed working with Windows 8 on an Early 2011 MacBook Pro

    I'd like to confirm that Palgan's method worked for me. I was able to install Windows 8 from an iso on my Early 2011 MacBook Pro running OS X 10.10.2 Yosemite which had no optical drive and was not allowing me to install from a USB drive.

    I'd also like to thank him for putting this together. I found this thread on day 4 of trying to wrestle windows onto my laptop. I tried all of the other methods found on Google including using a Rufus-created USB thumbdrive, modifying plist files for Boot Camp and others. I even tried multiple USB drives having read that certain brands work better than others. This was my final attempt and I couldn't be more satisfied having finally "won". THANK YOU.

    Since there is a fair amount fear, loathing and uncertainty involved here (as well as some voodoo, I suspect) I thought I'd take the opportunity to rewrite the guide to include a little more information and reduce forks in the road.

    In addition to a Windows iso you will need the following:

    Section 1: Download Apple Windows drivers and copy to USB drive

    1. Open Disk Utility
    2. Click on your USB thumb drive
    3. Choose the "Erase" tab
    4. Choose MS-DOS (FAT) format
    5. Name it (I called mine MBPDRIVERS)
    6. Find your model of Mac here and click the link to download the driver software:
    7. Copy the contents of the downloaded file to your USB drive

    Section 2: Partially Install Windows using VMWare Fusion

    1. Open VMWare Fusion and begin creating a new virtual machine
    2. Choose "Install from disc or image"
    3. Choose your Windows iso file
    4. You can choose 'Use Easy Install' and enter your Windows account information and product key, and choose which version of windows you are installing
    5. Choose 'More Isolated' for level of integration
    6. On the "Finish" screen click the "Customize Settings" button
    7. Choose where to save your image and click "Save". It will default to your primary hard drive in ~/Documents/Virtual Machines/
    8. In the Settings screen that follows, choose "Hard Disk" (SCSI) and select the size that you want for your partition. I chose 60GB because I planned to install a bunch of Windows junk. Once you set your size click 'Apply'
    9. Once you close the settings your install will begin. If it doesn't press the "play" icon in the middle of your VMWare window
    10. Shut down (DON'T SUSPEND) or Force Quit VMWare before Windows reboots the first time. The Windows installer has created enough files onto this virtual machine to continue later from your BOOT CAMP disk partition. You'll know when it's time as Windows will warn you that it's about to reboot.

    Section 3: Prepare a FAT partition on your Mac's hard drive using Disk Utility

    1. Open Disk Utility
    2. Click on the disk you would like to add a boot camp partition to
    3. Click the "Partition" tab
    4. Click on the partition you'd like to split
    5. Click the "+" button to add a partition
    6. Click on the new partition you just created
    7. Name it BOOTCAMP
    8. Format it MS-DOS (FAT), even if its a large partition
    9. Set it to the size you would like. I chose 64GB to leave a little extra room for my 60GB Windows install.
    10. Click Apply

    Section 4: Mount your virtual machine as a "real" hard drive using VMDK Mounter

    1. Find your virtual machine image. If you used the default settings with Windows 8 it will be in ~/Documents/Virtual Machines/Windows 8 x64.vmwarevm
    2. Right-click on this file and choose to mount with VMDK mounter. You might get this error [​IMG].
      VOODOO ALERT: Once I got this error I tried a bunch of things but wasn't able to determine WHAT, exactly, fixed the problem: I tried again with VMWare on and off, I tried restarting my Mac, I tried starting the virtual machine and "shut it down" via VMWare and went back to step 2:1 and started the Windows installation over from scratch. Eventually it worked and I was able to continue.

    Section 5: Clone the VMWare system to your BOOTCAMP partition on your mac

    1. Open Winclone
    2. Choose to clone your mounted .vmwarevm disk to BOOTCAMP using "Restore"

    Section 6: Finish the Windows install natively

    1. Restart your mac and hold down the alt/option key
    2. Choose the "Windows" disk that shows up
    3. Windows will boot and finish installing. If it reboots itself in the process hold down the alt/option button to ensure that your mac boots back into windows to continue
    4. Once all of the updates are complete insert your Apple Drivers USB drive, navigate to the BootCamp folder and run setup.exe. This will install support for the Apple hardware and make it fully functional

    Section 7: Cleanup on your Mac

    1. Boot back into your mac and run your uninstaller for Paragon VMDK mounter
    2. Manually uninstall VMWare Fusion using these instructions:
    3. Manually uninstall Winclone using…actually what the heck. You paid for this one, might as well keep it.

    As a side note: there was some discussion about whether or not you need Winclone, as it is a paid app. While I'm not the most qualified person to answer this, I personally did not see any way around this. After days of time wasted on solutions that didn't work I also didn't try that hard. :D When you consider that you are already buying Windows ($120) and a USB drive ($10), another $30 to finish the job is completely worth it. I value the engineering time spent by two canoes, as well as time that I saved.

    Now with all of that out of the way I'm off to play with the Zwift beta which is currently only available for Windows on dedicated hardware. :cool:
  8. doynton macrumors 6502

    Oct 19, 2014
    No you don't. Rather than create your VM on your OSX partition and move it you install it direct to the partition you want using raw disk access. I use VirtualBox but you can use VMware trial if you prefer as in this guide.

    The steps are almost identical to yours (hard power off the VM before 1st reboot etc) you just don't have to copy it to bootcamp partition using Winclone because it is already there.
  9. strayduck macrumors newbie

    Feb 15, 2015
    This is fantastic, not to mention that VirtualBox is free.
  10. doynton, Feb 16, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2015

    doynton macrumors 6502

    Oct 19, 2014
    Indeed. And you don't have to spend $10 on a USB stick either :)

    You can actually keep VBox and either boot Windows as a VM or natively using the same Windows install.

    Unfortunately it keeps making you re-activate. Once you have activated by phone (twice) though you can save the activations (bare metal and VM) and restore them after booting the other way using this

    It is a bit more fiddly than VMware but works exactly the same (in terms of replacing the activation tokens). Probably it could be automated but I rarely boot Windows as VM so I've not bothered.
  11. strayduck macrumors newbie

    Feb 15, 2015
    Oof. That is a good caveat to know for those who want to maintain both virtual and bare metal use of Windows.

    For the time being I'm back and forth between the two pretty frequently and I've opted to pay for the speed of Parallels for the virtual half. (VirtualBox was always slow to me) So far having the two installs sandboxed like this hasn't caused any activation woes.
  12. Palgan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 11, 2015
    Strayduck im glad that my guide worked for you.
    And im really happy that you updated it :) ( english is not my first language! )
  13. DECKMASH macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2015
    You're awesome

    Ohhh Man! Thank you so much! I don't have any words to describe my feels right now, if not for you I would never have been able to install windows on my iMac! Thank you so much! You are the best! :)
  14. fromashes macrumors newbie

    Dec 3, 2013
    Nuop... Didn't work any help pls.


    "Missing Operating system" that's what I get from this GUIDE. And I was really hopping for this to work.:apple::mad:

    Because I tried tens of other ways to no success :(

    Thx in advance
  15. strayduck macrumors newbie

    Feb 15, 2015
    Though it's unlikely that I will be able to help, perhaps one of the others will be able to if you could be so kind as to tell everyone where in the process you see this message and through what software.
  16. fromashes macrumors newbie

    Dec 3, 2013
    To clarify :

    When I've done all the PROCESSES - VMware -> VIRTUAL instal - > SHUTDOWN on the RESTART PROCESS of WINDOWS -> MOUNTHING with PARAGON - > Restore with WinClone -> RESTART and I get the "Missing Operation SYSTEM" in the dark screen when I boot my system through reFIT or with -Alt ... makes no difference.
  17. strayduck macrumors newbie

    Feb 15, 2015
    It took me a moment to figure out what you were saying. Let's forget about reFIT at this point--it just adds complexity to an already complex process.

    So when you boot your mac holding the 'option' button down does it recognize the Windows partition and allow you to select it?
  18. fromashes, Mar 4, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2015

    fromashes macrumors newbie

    Dec 3, 2013
    Whaaaaat !? Are you serious ? And who's words are this in the guide above ?

    "Restart your mac and hold down the alt/option key
    Choose the "Windows" disk that shows up
    Windows will boot and finish installing. If it reboots itself in the process hold down the alt/option button to ensure that your mac boots back into windows to continue..."
  19. strayduck macrumors newbie

    Feb 15, 2015
    Sounds to me like you fell prey to the voodoo part of this process which is that there may or may not be special timing required when you force quit your virtual machine when performing your initial partial install.

    It will be a pain, and it might not work, but I would nuke that Windows partition using Disk Utility and start over. In disk utility:

    • select the hard drive icon on which your Windows partition lives
    • click the 'partition' tab
    • click the windows partition
    • click the minus button

    ...then on the same disk, add it fresh by clicking the + button and creating it using the FAT format.

    Then continue with the guide from there.

    Of course if you're doing this on your primary hard drive MAKE SURE ALL OF YOUR DATA IS BACKED UP AND RESTORABLE IF THINGS GO HORRIBLY, HORRIBLY WRONG.

    Like many of the other methods out there this might or might not work for you and if it doesn't then there are mysterious forces out there that don't want you to have Windows on your Mac. As I mentioned above, I had followed a couple of other guides that people confirmed worked but I could not replicate their success.


    I believe the original poster of this thread installed Windows on his primary hard drive.

    If it makes a difference I installed mine on a partition on a secondary hard drive which was occupying my optical media bay (thus how I ran into the problem of not being able to install via DVD in the first place)
  20. fromashes macrumors newbie

    Dec 3, 2013
    Trying this right now... I tried via "-" but it just got stuck on the LOADING of DISK UTILITY - ENDED the D.U. and then recreated partition on GPT with MS-FAT.

    Now first I'll try to clone AGAIN. then if not - I will try recreate WINDOWS 7 and Try to end task it when it restarts Maybe :roll eyes:

    P.S. I also have an SSD and HDD with me atm. Changed it BROKEN out of the blue SUPER DRIVE for an SSD in hope... dear lord in hope...
    "The Dark force "no-DEV-no-help-solution to Macbook Pro Win 8.1 and 7 install" be strong in this one"...Uhm...Yess.... <aka Yoda style >:confused:

    I've tried and failed with Macbook right about now 10-20 times at the point of 3 weeks when I have free time, and really am close to giving up.

    All I want to do is TO HACK and kill some ZOMBIES on my FRESHLY bought DYING light... MACBOOK God is that 2 much to ask GRRRR... SERIOUSLY this pointed-edgedness on the APPLE cult is horrible - "When it works it works, don't fix it. When it doesn't work - don't fix it. Buy a new one, upgrade or update... Throw some cash in the mix and we have another "supposedly happy customer"... I say this is my FIRST and LAST Macbook with the support for CASH the APPLE is.
  21. strayduck macrumors newbie

    Feb 15, 2015
    I agree that many of the decisions Apple makes with regard to hardware support are arbitrary and in the interest of selling more units.

    On balance, they never had the anti-piracy systems in place that Microsoft did (you could just plug two hard drives together and copy your entire mac system over and have a bootable copy--once Windows notices new hardware you're in trouble!)

    They also beat Microsoft to the punch when it came to giving away their new OS for free.

    I feel lucky that this hack worked for me, but my other hack (Installing Yosemite on a Mac Pro 1,1) wasn't working so I gave up and bought a new(er) Mac Pro on eBay because eventually you get to a point where you finally view your time as valuable and want to stop wasting it. :)
  22. fromashes, Mar 4, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2015

    fromashes macrumors newbie

    Dec 3, 2013
    Hmm, well failed - still "Missing operational system"...

    But I'm starting to question new things, not the HOW to, but the “Why does it fail to find a new system ? Is there maybe some registry to modify in the Terminal or otherwise?
    Also side fact, there was some kind of boot incompatibility which I check on DISK UTILITY with VERIFY disk - > then REPAIR disk it all reacted well. But no System yet found. SO then how I give it visibility ?

    Any clues, tips ? Maybe i should change HDD SSD together? Would that change anything ?

    Tried the Bootpicker, still no result(from this source

    BTW any specifics why I should format MS-DOS not to NTFS from the START with Third-party-app like Tuxera? Or when the WinClone Clones it clones the PARTITION system ?

    P.S. About Mac and WIN advantages and disadvantages - it's all in the CONS and PROS basically. There is always space to improve...
  23. strayduck macrumors newbie

    Feb 15, 2015
    Mostly this is to avoid having to use additional utilities to format the disk as Disk Utility and BootCamp do not provide that option. The windows installer will reformat as needed and Winclone will maintain that format. You can see that is the case in my completed copy in the attached image.

    Attached Files:

  24. strayduck macrumors newbie

    Feb 15, 2015
    I must defer to other forum members as I don't know the answer to this. You could try booting back into your VMWare/Parallels/VirtualBox and let the install go a little further.

    The other guess is that Winclone is not copying something that is necessary. Maybe re-Winclone.
  25. mlody macrumors 6502a

    Nov 11, 2012
    Windy City
    Not to sound pessimistic, but this process is way too convoluted and time consuming.
    It is most likely cheaper to get a 3rd party USB external cd-rw drive for mac and just burn a bootcamp ISO, rather then hassle thru all the steps and waste money on one time use software.

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