Install windows on iMac Late 2009 without Optical drive

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by phate89, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. phate89, Jan 16, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2013

    phate89 macrumors newbie

    Jul 1, 2009
    Hi, i have an iMac 27 i5 11.1 where i want to install windows 7 (or 8). I already did it 2 years ago without problems, but in the mean time i formatted the drive and my optical drive stopped working so i replaced it with an ssd.
    I'm trying to install windows but i don't know how without a superdrive. I tried with an external usb dvd drive and it didn't work (you can't install windows from a non apple dvd drive, it is a known problem) but it don't work, so i tried to create an usb installation key of windows with microsoft official tool and also with boot camp tool, both doesn't work (when i select them on the boot i get an apple alternated with a prohibition mark and a folder with a question mark, exactly as with the dvd drive). So i thought that maybe if i can install windows on an external drive and boot it from there i will be able to launch the install directly from windows skipping the problem, but you can't install windows on an external drive..
    I'm running out of ideas, someone can help me installing windows on my imac? thanks in advance
  2. monkeybagel macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2011
    United States
    Replace the SuperDrive..
  3. jsuaggie macrumors newbie

    Jan 13, 2013
    You have two options:

    1. Purchase an external dvd drive. Pioneer, Panasonic, and LG make drives that that allow the install of Windows. The important thing is; the drive must be available to Disk Utility. If it isn't then you cannot install Windows using it.
    2. If your Mac allows it, try installing windows from a USB drive.

    You will need a program called: refit to allow the install from an external DVD.

    Install the program and reboot twice. On the second boot you will have a new boot menu that will allow you to choose what drive to boot from. Put the windows dvd in the external dvd drive and reboot. The external drive will be one of the boot choices.

    When I say the drive is compatible with Disk utility, I mean you can select it when you open disk utility. If it is not available, then you can still use it but the apple firmware will not recognize it on boot up. I have had success with the brands I listed.

    To make a bootable Windows usb drive go here:
  4. phate89, Jan 21, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2013

    phate89 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 1, 2009
    Thanks for the suggestions, but installing from usb wasn't working, and refit didn't recognise the external dvd drive too (it was in the list, but when i tried to load it i got an error).
    But i found a solution, not usual procedure but still good and easy to do.
    I installed virtualbox, created a virtual machine with the full disk access (you'll have to unmount all the partitions first and run virtualbox as root), started installing windows, when the copy of the files ended and the vm was rebooting i simply closed it and rebooted my imac and finished the installation directly on the imac, everything went well...
    Thanks again for the help
  5. jsuaggie macrumors newbie

    Jan 13, 2013
    Your're welcome.

    The idea to use VirtualBox was great. I didn't know it could do that.
  6. Revolverkiller macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2012
    ok so how did you partition the drive? did you partition it with bootcamp assistant, disk utility or VB?
  7. zzgus macrumors newbie

    Feb 2, 2009
    There are a lot of people interested in this:

    Can you tell us the exact procedure?


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