Install Windows 7 on iMac 11,3 (late 2010 model) without Boot Camp or OSX?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by PartisanEntity, Jul 30, 2015.

  1. PartisanEntity macrumors member

    Apr 10, 2008
    I have the following setup:

    iMac 11,3 (late 2010 model).

    Sole OS is Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.

    The last installed OSX version was 10.8 (I still have this on an external HDD from which I boot the machine from time to time).

    I would like to install Windows 7 on this machine as a dual boot with Ubuntu. I have partitioned the internal HDD to make a new NTFS partition.

    I then proceed to boot the iMac from a Windows 7 64bit install DVD but the boot loader does not see the DVD.

    I also tried the refind boot loader and that too does not see the DVD.

    When I try to boot from the DVD the disk drive seems to by trying to read the DVD and then spits it out after a few seconds.

    I have also tried making a bootable Windows 7 install USB (I tried creating this USB both from within Ubuntu 14.04 using UNETBOOTIN and from within OSX 10.8 using Boot Camp).

    Depending on which method I used to make the USB, in some cases the iMac boot loader sees "EFI Boot" and when I select that it simply hangs. In other cases the boot loader will show me some boot options from the USB but then I either get a "Bootmgr is missing" message or I see a black screen with a white blinking cursor and nothing else happens no matter how long I wait.

    How hard can it be to install Windows 7 on this iMac? What am I missing/doing wrong?

    It seems the only way to install Windows 7 would be to have OSX installed on this machine with only 1 partition and then to go through Boot Camp.

    This seems awfully restrictive unless I am missing something?

    Anything else I can do/try? Or am I doing something wrong?
  2. jjhoekstra macrumors regular

    Apr 23, 2009
    What you are missing is that the hardware of the iMac is similar to but not the same as a pc. There is no way for Windows 7 to 'know' how to handle hardware which is not PC-compatible. Ubuntu solves this by making a Mac specific version of their OS but I doubt very much that Microsoft will ever make a Mac specific version of Windows 7.
  3. PartisanEntity, Jul 30, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2015

    PartisanEntity thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 10, 2008
    Thanks for your feedback but I think your comment refers to a different issue.

    Boot Camp, as well as the Apple website, allow you to download the Windows hardware drivers for installation in Windows 7 (after you have installed Windows 7 on your iMac).

    Technically you can install Windows 7 on an iMac using Boot Camp and get your hardware to work. Enough posts in various forums as proof.

    But we are detracting, the issue is not whether Windows 7 can deal with the hardware or not. My issue is that I cannot get the iMac to boot from the install DVD or USB and I would like to install Windows 7 on the iMac without having to go through OSX or Boot Camp (an entirely different issue).
  4. roadkill401 macrumors 6502


    Jan 11, 2015
    You missed the point. Windows 7 install DVD does not contain the drivers that match the hardware on your mac. I am going to gather that you have never had the pleasure of trying to install previous versions of Windows NT in the past that didn't come with all the drivers pre-installed on the install disk so you had to figure out what hardware you had and then make floppy driver disks that you needed to insert between the initial boot of the install CD and the OS loading. And if you were lucky it all worked for you, but sometimes you went throigh the full install only to get a BSOD when the machine rebooted.

    BootCamp is just a method of pre-injecting the required drivers into the install of windows so that it has the correct drivers to deal with the hardware on the mac. If you don't want to use BootCamp then you need to figure out how to extract the required drivers from the Bootcamp app and manually add them into the boot process to get windows 7 to install.

    Windows 7 natively does not support the EFI bios system. Windows 8 does. I have a Toshiba laptop that if you want to install Windows 7 you need to change actual settings inside the bios to emulate what windows 7 needs to install.

  5. PartisanEntity thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 10, 2008
    I see I get it now. Thanks for the clarification. I thought all Boot Camp does is help you create the partitions. I did not know that Boot Camp actually modifies the installation files to add drivers.

    I have heard that Windows 8 is easier to install, but I think my next obstacle would be that the Boot Camp version I have in OSX 10.8 only mentions Windows 7 ?
  6. Hastings101 macrumors 68020


    Jun 22, 2010
    I can just put the Windows 10 disc in my 2010 iMac and boot from it no problem, and have done it with Windows 7 before on the same machine. I never use Bootcamp for dual booting because it can be finicky with multiple partitions. You sure the ISO you're using doesn't have any problems?

    Not sure if this applies to everyone, but I've personally *never* been able to get Windows to boot from a USB drive on this iMac; I've always had to use a DVD otherwise I get the same BOOTMGR missing.
  7. PartisanEntity thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 10, 2008
    Perhaps, but I have actually used that same ISO to make a bootable USB for a MacMini and that worked. (I have also tried the official Windows 7 DVD and that too does not show up in the boot manager).

    I may buy Windows 8.1 and give that a try, I hear there are good deals on licences now that Windows 10 is out (and if that works then perhaps ill make use of the free upgrade to Windows 10).
  8. Coldmode macrumors regular

    Mar 10, 2010
    Do you still have access to that USB drive? That might be a better course of action.
  9. hwojtek macrumors 65816


    Jan 26, 2008
    Poznan, Poland
    BS. It's just an Intel PC with EFI instead of BIOS. Windows boots from a DVD just fine. There's no 'mac specific' Ubuntu version, unless you talk PowerPC.

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