Installing 64 Bit Windows and other Questions

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by Huntn, Apr 18, 2011.

  1. Huntn, Apr 18, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2011

    Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #1
    How are you guys installing 64bit Windows on your Mac? On my previous MBP, I installed 32bit Vista without any issues.

    Now I want to put Windows 7 on my MBP (sig). I was surprised to see no Window Install Guides here at MR. I currently own Windows Vista Ultimate and my desire is to put 64bit Windows 7 on my computer. Thinking I could first install Vista and then use an upgrade copy of 7, I started with the Bootcamp process by creating a partition. However when I used a 64 bit version of Vista, none of the partitions that appeared in the Windows installer were compatible. I got a message about not NTFS (Windows format) when selecting Partition 3 Bootcamp, the partition I'm pretty sure that the Windows install should go. I also noticed in the Bootcamp install instructions that that it specifically states that only a complete Windows 7 install will work, not an upgrade version of W7. This brought up one of many questions.

    1.The instructions saying that you can't use an upgrade version only of 7, but what if you have a Vista install all ready, then would an upgrade version work?
    2. Does the latest version of Bootcamp v3 work with only Windows7 (versus Vista or XP)?
    3. The Bootcamp instructions don't differentiate between 32 and 64 bit just say Windows 7. Can it be inferred it is your choice?
    4. Any compelling reason to pick 64 bit over 32 bit?
    5. Would it be better to have a version with both 32 and 64bit versions or just stick with one or the other?
    6. Is Bootcamp compatible with a 64 bit W7 install without any special procedures?
    7. Does Bootcamp format the partition in NTFS or is it the Windows installer?
    8. Any version of W7 to specifically avoid?
    9. Any good related links?

    Any other tidbits would be appreciated.
    Thanks.
     
  2. Nermal Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

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    #2
    I expect that the big issue you're having is that there is no official upgrade path from 32-bit Windows to 64-bit.
    [Edit: Sorry; I see now that the 32-bit Vista was on a previous computer]

    Boot Camp doesn't support upgrades due to the disk swap for validation, when most Mac systems don't have an eject button on the drive. If you have a means of swapping disks partway through then you could use the upgrade version.
     
  3. Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #3
    That is why I was curious if I install 32bit or 64bit Vista including drivers, and then while in Windows, I'd try to use the upgrade version of Windows 7 (32 or 64 bit). So the big question is will bootcamp work with Vista today? And the problem might be getting bootcamp to install Windows 7 drivers at the end of such an install. Or if you just wanted Vista, would today's bootcamp install the proper drivers for Vista (in essence, you are stuck with 7)?

    Bottom line, I really don't want anything that is overly complicated. I think I see lots of references to Mac users and their 64 bit Windows installs. :) Thanks!
     
  4. Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #4
    I updated the title of this thread. The original was a bit vague...
     
  5. TheMacBookPro, Apr 19, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2011

    TheMacBookPro macrumors 68020

    TheMacBookPro

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    #5
    This should work:

    After creating the BOOTCAMP partition in Boot Camp Assistant, insert your Windows 7 DVD into your superdrive and select Custom (Advanced) when prompted. Click next, select the BOOTCAMP partition, then click Drive Options (Advanced). Select Format, then OK. Click next, uncheck the Automatically activate Windows when I'm online box (under the Serial Number box) and click next (do not enter a serial number yet).

    After Windows installation is complete, go through the Setup process (create account, set time+date, connect to WiFi, etc), install the Boot Camp drivers and then insert the W7 DVD again, this time in Windows. Launch the setup app, then when prompted reboot [into the DVD] and select Upgrade this time. This time, enter your (upgrade) serial number and check the Automatically activate Windows when I'm online box and click Next. The computer will go through all the installation steps again (but should be much faster this time).

    After reboot and re-entering the Windows desktop, go to Start>Computer>System properties and scroll down to verify that Windows is activated. If not, click the 30 days to activate. Activate Windows now. link to activate.

    Then open Windows Update to update/patch Windows. After that, I suggest you open Windows Update again and check for updates again. Verify that you're finally at SP1 with all the latest patches installed and you're golden.

    You don't need to install Windows Vista/use the Vista key at all ;) However, I suggest you partition a bit more space for Boot Camp as the 'upgrade' process does take up a bit more hard disc space than if you simply did a clean install with a full version serial.

    Now, just to answer your questions (assuming you have a ThunderBook Pro):

    32bit can only address up to 3.5GB RAM (will read 4GB, but can only use 3.5), while 64bit can address 8/16/192GB RAM (depending on version- 8 for Starter/Home Basic, 16 for Home Premium, 192 for Pro/Enterprise/Ultimate). Since you've got 4GB RAM I'd use 64 bit so you don't waste that half-gig of memory (and in case you decide to upgrade later).

    On newer MacBooks (at least on my Air), only Windows 7 is supported. i.e. you cannot install XP/Vista as Boot Camp does not provide the necessary drivers. Thus the only way to use an update copy of W7 is by using the method I detailed above.

    Boot Camp Assistant creates a partition formatted in FAT32. Windows 7 only supports NTFS for its boot drive so you MUST format it to use it in the Windows Installer.

    I don't think 'upgrading' from W7 to W7 requires disc swapping for validation (don't recall needing to do that on my Pro, Windows Vista Ultimate -> Ultimate), but if you have do that you can use an external tray-loading drive with a little button to eject it, completely software-independant. Can't say about Windows 7 as I have a full copy of Ultimate which I simply clean-installed, but I think the process is similar.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers
     
  6. Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #6
    Thanks for the info! :) I was thinking that when the Bootcamp installer said Win7 only, that ment only Win7 drivers. So if I understand you correctly, starting out with a copy of Vista, installing it, and then using an upgrade version of W7 would not work? What about 64bit vs 32bit? Any problems in choosing 64bit? Thanks!
     
  7. TheMacBookPro macrumors 68020

    TheMacBookPro

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    #7
    No problem :)

    Not sure whether or not Windows Vista would install, but I wouldn't bother. Installing a clean copy of Windows 7 and 'upgrading' that OS has always worked fine for me.

    As for 32bit vs 64bit- what are you planning on doing in Windows? If you have some sort of driver/software that only works in 32bit Windows, then install 32bit. Otherwise just go with 64 bit. It runs most, if not all, 32bit software, most companies have released 64bit drivers for their products and most importantly you can use more than 3.5GB RAM. 64bit Windows these days is not the incompatible mess that was 64bit XP ;)

    Personally I have 64bit installed because I plan on doing light gaming and didn't want to waste any RAM at all (power is already at a premium in my Air, lol).
     
  8. Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #8
    Thanks. I tried to install 64 bit W7 tonight and got a message that not all the required files were available on my D drive (DVD drive) so the Window installer would not continue. I'm going to fiddle with it tomorrow. This is not the start I had hoped for. When I did this with 32bit Vista on a MBP I had no issues at all. Any suggestions? Thanks! Mostly I'll just be playing games with W7 including Steam.
     
  9. Huntn, Apr 25, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2011

    Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #9
    Ok, I got 64bit W7 to install. The first time I tried to install, I just tried to blunder through and the point about RTFM is a real and valid point. ;) So I started over, printed out the BootCamp install instructions and within BootCamp I removed the Windows partition I previously created, then created another, then the Windows 7 installer ran fine. For those reading this who may wonder if any special steps were required for the 64bit W7 version, the answer is no, just a normal install process.

    Just two weeks ago I was running Vista on a different MBP running Snow Leopard (that I had upgraded to from 10.5). What I find an interesting question, if I wanted to reinstall Vista from scratch on that 2008 MBP, having installed Snow Leopard, would the more recent version of BootCamp included with the 10.6 disk have allowed me to reinstall Vista or would there be a driver issue there too? In other words I wonder I would have had to resort to going back to the original 10.5 install disk that came with the older MBP, to get the proper Vista drivers to install?

    Those drivers are installed within Windows by popping in the Mac install disk and running the bootamp.exe. I'd hope that there is enough flexibility for it to know which Windows OS you are running, but based on the warning in the latest BootCamp Readne, it seems like they have flushed the older drivers. Yet when I was running Vista on the older MBP, I was still getting Bootcamp updated drivers on a semi-regular basis.

    I'll also comment on my first post:
    I'll reemphasize that this was a not-reading-the-manual issue. At the start of the install process if I had followed instruction and selected "Drive Options Advanced" I would have formatted the partition in the NTFS format that W7 requires. Even through the Bootcamp Install Instructions specifically says it will only install Windows 7, I have a suspicion that it would have installed Vista and then I might have been able to install an upgrade version of W7. Unfortunately because of my own blundering, I did not get a chance to test this theory. I'm thinking that if I had booted into Vista, with an upgrade version of the W7 install disk in the drive, there might have been an opportunity to install 7 and then add the 7 drivers afterwards, because installing the BootCamp drivers in Windows is separate from the initial Windows OS install process.
     
  10. TheMacBookPro macrumors 68020

    TheMacBookPro

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    #10
    I think the installer DVD has a check program built in to prevent you from installing drivers on an unsupported Mac/computer/OS. It would probably not let you install the drivers and only give you the option to open the manual/install Remote Disc drivers or something like that.

    Glad to see you got it installed. Just curious- how did you get the installer to accept an upgrade key without 'upgrading' Windows?
     
  11. Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #11
    This might make me sound stupid (so be it). I all ready had Vista. On the new MBP, my original plan was to install Vista and then upgrade it to 7. But after I had difficulties in installing Vista (the RTFM issue), I printed out the Bootcamp Read Me that specifically says that only W7 works and that an "upgrade" version of W7 won't work, so to avoid further experimentation, I returned the unopened W7 upgrade and found a cheaper copy of a new full W7 version on ebay. The original attraction to the upgrade version was that it included 3 keys and I may be upgrading my wifes Mac in the near future.

    However I am still wondering if I could have made it work? I see no reason why the Vista installer would not have installed Vista and even without the Mac drivers installed, I don't see what would have prevented me from popping in a W7 upgrade disk and installing it and then installing the W7 Mac drivers...
     

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