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. strayduck macrumors newbie

    Feb 15, 2015
    It is convoluted and time consuming.

    It is also one of only a couple of options for those with Macs whos original optical drives no longer work or are no longer installed.

    Windows installers will not run from external USB drives, the installer must be running from an internal device.
  2. fromashes macrumors newbie

    Dec 3, 2013

    Tried the real copy over with VmFuse on to the SSD without the virtual file. got stuck on a step where in Terminal I need to write :

    2 411648 234029056 GPT EE Basic Data
    Renatass-MacBook-Pro:~ renatasslekonis$ /Applications/VMware\ create /dev/disk0 2 windows7 ide
    Unable to copy the source files to the destination files...

    I was reffering to this ?
  3. strayduck macrumors newbie

    Feb 15, 2015
  4. jvmaltez macrumors newbie


    Oct 27, 2015
    strayduck, I must SAY that you are DA really worked your method....after I lost a couple of days in the Googleing.......Any WAY. My MAC:

    MBP 7,1 ( MacBook Pro MID 2010)
    Optical Drive Replaced by a SSD ( so no Optical drive at all)
    Yosemite 10.10.5 installed
  5. Pr1n1v, Oct 31, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2015

    Pr1n1v macrumors newbie

    Oct 31, 2015
    Tried all the steps above,restarted my Mac holding the option key,but it doesn't show me the Bootcamp partition for some reason.
    Tried it again and this time i used the startupdisk option in system preferences, and after system restart it showed an error saying "No Bootable device -- insert boot disk and press any key".

    iMac 27' Mid2011
    Trying it on 10.11 ElCaptian
    Trying to run Windows 8.1

    UPDATE: I downgraded to Mavericks since i was facing quite a lot issues with ElCapitan. Also i was able to successfuly install Windows8.1 by the above tutorial.
  6. Eligos macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2009
    Palgan, I want to thank you for the Tutorial, it worked on the first try!
  7. Moonwreck macrumors newbie


    Dec 16, 2015
    On the moon
    HI Palgan,
    I followed your steps and I got an error message when clonning the windows to BOOTCAMP. The error message is attach. Any help will be appreciated.

    Screenshot 2015-12-16 07.50.38.png

  8. Trucabulles macrumors newbie


    Feb 14, 2016

    I had installed my windows 7 bootcamp partition on my mid 2010 27" iMac doing almost the same things a few years ago without any problem.

    Then I decided it was time to update my iMac with a brand new SSD. I also erased everything from the mac 2 TB HD, so bye bye bootcamp...

    I followed the same procedure to recreate my bootcamp partition and move my winclone archive to the freshly created partition on the 2 TB HD (OS X is on my SSD). When I rebooted I got the same message than almost everyone else, something like "no boot files on drive...". After playing quite a bit with my files, checking drives and EFIs and whatever, I decided to give this a last try and copied the EFI folder contained in C:\windows\boot to C:\Boot. I also copied BOOTSECT.BAK from the "reserved to system hidden partition created in the vmware VM (visible when you mount the VM with paragon vmdk.

    After reboot, the windows drive finally appeared when holding down option key and I finally managed to install windows 7. Bootcamp works great since then.

    If you have similar problems, please try this and let me know if it works...

  9. Gjwilly macrumors 68030

    May 1, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    While this was appropriate for Windows 7 and Windows 8 do not do this with Windows 10.
    Windows 10 allows you to skip entering the product key until after the installation is complete and you will need to do just that. Windows 10 will detect the hardware change between the virtual Windows installation and the final Windows installation and if you use your product key at the wrong time it will no longer be valid at the end of the process.
    Microsoft is cracking down on and enforcing their TOS and unless you have a full retail version of Windows 10 they will no longer allow you to reactivate with a simple phone call.
  10. LesterM123 macrumors newbie


    Feb 21, 2016
    You can run whit El Capitan?
  11. PrincipeAzzurro macrumors newbie

    Jan 28, 2015
    Thank you very much. After almost 6 months of trying, I finally managed to install Bootcamp and Windows on my MacBook Pro 17 inch / late 2011.
    I failed on my the first attempt; it might be worth mentioning why: I noticed that the virtual Windows installed with VM was larger than I had set it up, therefore it was only slightly smaller than the Bootcamp partition. All went smoothly when I removed and re-installed the Bootcamp partition making it a comfortable 2.5 GBs larger than the virtual machine.
    Thanks again!!!
  12. LouisOutLoud, Jun 6, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2016

    LouisOutLoud macrumors newbie

    Jun 6, 2016
    Hello there !

    Anyone had the chance to try one of these methods (Palgan', strayduck's or Doyton's) on ElCapitan, to install Windows 10 ?

    I'm on a 3Tb Fusion Drive Late 2012 iMac, and so far, it's been impossible to even get through Bootcamp's *Partition* step. My drive is (well, was at least) completely fresh, and I chose a 400 Go partition - maybe that was a mistake, I know FAT32 can support more than that, but maybe Bootcamp had trouble with it - and Bootcamp just stopped progressing (not frozen, but not advancing either). I had to quit, it left me with 800gigs of "free space" on the drive, I had to re-create the LVG and all that, well, I came back to a stable and full 3To OSX drive.

    But I — as well as a lot of people around here ;) — don't want to quit yet. I want to make it work.

    I am considering strayduck's method, but as it was on Yosemite and with Windows 8. Both my OSX and the Windows I want to install are more recent, and I'm afraid it will be a source of problems (again). Especially after Pr1n1v's comment :
    So... Before I jump into it, has anyone succeeded with installing Win10 on ElCap ? Anyone else had issues with a 3To Fusion Drive iMac ?

    Thanks anyway for this thread, it's a great deal of information to start with (or continue with...)

    EDIT : Ok, so, I finally understand the main issue : 3Tb Drives are just too big for Windows to install properly. Apple's solution probably worked with previous versions of OSX (Mavericks, Yosemite...) on recent iMacs (2013, 2015 and whatnot) but I guess my system (the oldest mac that will support Windows 10 !) is really some kind of an exception. I'm going to follow this guide : and see what happens. Cheers
  13. golosin2 macrumors member

    Nov 22, 2012
    Just to confirm that the method worked!! Windows 10 Pro x64 up&running.

    For more details, I have a Late 2009 iMac 27" Core i7 2.8Ghz, with stock 1TB HDD and later I added a SSD where the SuperDrive was.

    I just changed one thing: I used an USB HDD, where I have a Yosemite installation for emergencies. I booted the system from there, then installed VMWare, Paragon and Winclone. Everything went smooth, so I finally have Windows 10 on it.

    Thanks everyone!
  14. javier.garcia, May 10, 2017
    Last edited: May 10, 2017

    javier.garcia macrumors newbie


    May 10, 2017
    buenos aires · argentina
    Palgan es usted el famoso hacker uruguayo?
  15. gga macrumors newbie

    Jun 1, 2013


    I just wanted to say thank you! It worked for me too!


    • After force-quitting VMware Fusion, I got that error from VDMounter when mounting the Virtual Machine. It worked for me only by normally quitting the VMware Fusion when Windows wanted to restart (that involved suspending).


    • Macbook Pro 15” (late 2011)
    • Running Sierra 10.12.5
    • SSD Samsung 1tb
    • Window 8.1 Pro
  16. Niwla macrumors newbie


    Jul 11, 2017
    I just registered to this forum to say: THANK YOU!!! I've been struggling so hard to get windows running on my mid 2011 iMac without the optical drive (placed an SSD instead). I've tried just about every (video)tutorial I could find and nothing worked. My knowledge of iMac and OS X is limited since this is my first Mac but I'm completely OVER THE MOON right now. I did everything step by step and spend the $30,- for the winclone software and everything worked the first time installing Windows 7 on MacOS Sierra. After that I removed the virtual machine and erased the partition and tried again with Windows 8 en Windows 10. Both worked flawlessly!! I'm very happy with running Windows 10 for now. All the Apple-software I already archived on a thumb drive worked in Windows 10.

    I've read people talking about this method being very time consuming. Maybe it's because of the SSD I'm using but installing Windows in VMware and cloning the image doesn't take more than 5 minutes.

    Once again, thank you soooo much for this tutorial.
  17. McRen, Nov 1, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2017

    McRen macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2017
  18. doynton macrumors 6502

    Oct 19, 2014
    It does work.

    What cost are you concerned about? You can do it all from Windows for free or you can use VMWare or VirtualBox or command line utilities. These are also free.

    All you have to do is put Windows on a partition anywhere and update your ESP to see it.

    There is no need to purchase anything apart from Windows license (unless you want to support the developers of pointless software for some reason).

    Honestly the most simple way would be to install rEFInd, make a partition (on any disk) and then install Windows. Nothing tricky - just copy the contents of the ISO that will do.

    It takes 20 or 30 minutes. Why you all make a meal of such a simple procedure is beyond me.
  19. McRen macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2017
    I'm sorry but there MUST be something , either , I m doing wrong ( probably ) or the hardware is some how behaving differently :)
    I did follow your instruction ... but even the rEFind ( which was installed with it's own script) does not boot .... :-( :(
    My iMac is a late 2009 ( iMac 11,1 ) and if I try to use bootcamp the outcome is always " no boot media insert etc etc etc " let alone trying to simply copy the content of the iso ... :-(
  20. VeganHipster, Nov 15, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2017

    VeganHipster macrumors regular

    Jun 18, 2011
    I did this before and it worked but now I'm having some issues. I transferred my data from my old hdd to a ssd minus the bootcamp partition. So now going through this again, I get up to winclone and whenever I try to restore to the new partition i get an error writing to disk0s3 saying NTFS is not available. Any ideas?

    I wonder if something got left over from my cloning my drive. I was thinking about doing a clean install to High Sierra anyways.

    EDIT: The only way I got around this was by decreasing the size of my Bootcamp partition and VMware image from 256gb to 128gb (also taking into account of making the virtual smaller than the partition). This let winclone finally copy the files to the bootcamp partition, but restarting into windows setup would give me a black screen with an error saying system32/winload.exe was either missing or corrupt. To get around that, I installed Paragon NTFS to access my bootcamp drive from OS X, deleted everything (hidden files too) that could be deleted and replaced the bootcamp drive with all the files from my Windows 7 iso, and finished the install.

    I got the idea from , if anybody has other issues I would look through this thread for some different workarounds.

    Now I'm gonna update to high sierra and hopefully my bootcamp partition will stay.
  21. hazbiy97 macrumors newbie


    Jan 10, 2018
    Hey I know this is an old thread but from what I searched this whole month, I think this thread have the most detailed process so I followed all of it but I get stuck at after cloning my bootcamp partition, I got an error in winclone but the file is copied so I just get over it and restart my Mac but I can't see windows partition (the partition where I installed my windows is not even detected). what should I do ??

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