Installing Windows 7 from scratch?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by Necross, Apr 1, 2011.

  1. Necross macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2011
    #1
    So, I just got a new Mac. I need to install Windows on it with Parallels or Boot Camp though for some things (like Army Builder).. anyone have any advice for installing from scratch?

    I wanna get Windows 7, but it's like $200. Looking at newegg.com, they have a $99 "OEM" version, is that all I need? It says "This software is intended for pre-installation on a new personal computer for resale." .. Well I'm not reselling it, but is it still the same windows?

    Also, I have a Windows XP CD (the very original one, not SP1 or 2 or whatever), so could I just get the upgrade version if OEM isn't what I want? The XP CD is an upgrade version as well, but my Windows 98 CD that I used for the upgrade is nowhere to be found and most likely long gone. I remember reading that Macs need at least XP SP2, so I'm afraid the XP CD won't be readable or something dumb like that.

    I want it to be as cheap as possible. Is the $99 OEM the best I can do?
     
  2. jegbook macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2007
    #2
    Apple only officially supports Windows 7 on current Macs, though it is supposed to be able to scour older Boot Camp drivers together if you really want to use XP.
    But Win 7 is so much better I would stick with it.

    As for OEM, check out this page: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/bott/is-it-ok-to-use-oem-windows-on-your-own-pc-dont-ask-microsoft/1561

    I'll leave that up to you and your conscience. :rolleyes:

    As for how to install, stick in the DVD and start the installer. "Boot Camp" is largely a misnomer in my eyes. There is no one component that is "Boot Camp" -- it's a collection of items that make it easier to run Windows on your Mac, but strictly speaking, none of them are necessary.

    If you run Win 7 only in a VM (and I recommend VMWare's Fusion, though admittedly have no experience with Parallels, but Fusion is so good, I can't see why I would look elsewhere), then you have absolutely no need for Boot Camp anything. All your "hardware" is virtualized, so whichever VM product you choose will install drivers in Windows for it's virtual hardware.
    If you go the VM route, I recommend creating an .iso image of the install disc (XP or Win 7) to install from. Installs so much faster. Though, the difference for Win 7 is less.
    You can use Disk Utility to create an .iso image. Just choose DVD/CD Master when creating the image. Disk Utility will give the file a ".cdr" extension, but once the image is created, just change the ".cdr" to ".iso" and voila! When creating your VM, point it to your .iso image of the installer disc as your source for installing Windows.

    For Boot Camp, if you really need/want to boot directly into Windows, you can partition your hard drive to install Windows. You can use Boot Camp assistant for this, or just run Disk Utility and create a new partition. Format the new partition as MS-DOS, but it doesn't matter so much. Your Windows installer will reformat the partition as NTFS anyway. Once you have the new partition, insert your Windows installer disc, reboot and hold down the Option key. You'll see that the optical drive shows as being able to boot Windows. Choose the disc and you're on your way.
    During the Win 7 install, you shouldn't see the space in between the partitions (should be 128MB of space in between Mac and Windows partition, as well as a 200MB partition at the beginning of the hard drive. DON'T mess with these), just choose the second partition you created and start installing Windows. There will be at least one reboot, and when that happens, you do need to hold the Option key again, but you want to select the Windows hard drive option to boot from, not the disc.

    Once Windows is installed on the hard drive partition, then use your OSX install disc to install the Boot Camp software (which is just the hardware drivers for keyboard, trackpad, iSight, etc. and the Boot Camp control panel). But, truth be told, you still have decent functionality even without Apple's drivers, and can probably find drivers directly from the manufacturer for the WiFi, audio, and video hardware. Someone components will just work. Piriform's (www.piriform.com) Speccy should help identify the hardware components if you want to look at the manufacturer's pages for drivers.

    Both Parallels and Fusion allow you to use your Boot Camp Windows install as a VM, so if you think you might need to boot into Windows, installing Windows on a hard drive partition might be advisable since you can still run it as a VM (as I do most of the time, only booting directly into Windows ~10% of the time). But, running Windows only as a VM is probably a quicker install and more straightforward I think, and you don't need to worry about hardware drivers as the hardware is all virtual and supported by the VM software.

    Have fun with your new Mac and running Windows on it, too!
    Cheers.
     
  3. Stridder44 macrumors 68040

    Stridder44

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2003
    Location:
    California
    #3
    Absolutely. Go with the Windows 7 OEM (also known as a system builders edition). It's the same exact thing as the retail box (the one you see in stores that lists for $200) except it doesn't come with in the fancy box or has manuals, etc. I also believe it doesn't have phone support or something useless like that. As for XP, it's a dinosaur of an OS. There's no reason at all to go that route.

    Let us know if you need any help installing.
     
  4. Necross thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2011
    #4
    Cool thanks for the info.. I'll use the OEM version then :)

    I didn't know Parallels could use Boot Camp. I didn't really think I would need a full install kind of thing, I won't be using any hardcore apps on the PC, just Word and a few other things. I won't be doing any gaming, I have a PS3 for that.

    But, if it's easier / better to do boot camp and then have Parallels use that, then that's what I'll do. So if that's the case, I should do bootcamp and install windows, then install parallels? or does it not matter?

    Anyone ever tried VirtualBox? I was going to try that since it's free. I already dropped 3k on this macbook, my bank is just about broken :)
     
  5. Stridder44 macrumors 68040

    Stridder44

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2003
    Location:
    California
    #5
    Parallels, and other virtual machine programs like it, are purely for convenience. Seeing as all you'd do is Office related stuff, it would be the better route for you. The only downside is that you'd have to buy Parallels, whereas Boot Camp is free and would be the best performing option. I've never tried VirtualBox myself, but I've only heard good things about it. I'd say definitely give it a shot before buying Parallels. If all else fails, just use Boot Camp. The only downside to Boot Camp is having to hold down the "option" key at startup to boot into Windows, but that's all of 30 seconds anyway.
     
  6. Necross thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2011
    #6
    OK thanks.. I think I'll just do boot camp for now.. I guess in case I ever do want to play a game or do something more hardcore it would be better to have a real install instead of a virtual machine kinda thing.

    If I give boot camp like 75 gigs and one day I need more, can I just crank up the partition for it, or am I stuck with whatever I set it to from the start?
     
  7. Stridder44 macrumors 68040

    Stridder44

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2003
    Location:
    California
    #7
    I believe there are programs that might let you do this, but they cost money and even then you'd risk the data on the partition getting screwed, making you have reformat anyway. Short answer: not really. 75GB will be fine.
     
  8. jegbook macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2007
    #8
    Don't forget VMWare's Fusion! :)
    I say this in part because my boss just got a Sandy Bridge 15" MBP and when he runs a Win 7 VM giving it only 1GB of RAM, the VM is sluggish and his whole machine slows down.
    On my 13" 2010 MBP, also with only 4GB of RAM and a measly 2.4GHz C2D, I run my Boot Camp Win 7 with Fusion, giving it only 1GB of RAM, and Win 7 is quick and I notice no slowdown of the rest of my machine (unless I've had Safari open for ages taking up like 700MB of RAM).
    Granted, it may not be Parallels, but even without other apps running, he found his VM sluggish and the the overall computer slowdown.

    Or, as you say, Virtual Box. Given your light usage of Windows apps, I would avoid Boot Camp and look to a VM or just running the apps via DarWINE or Crossover Mac. Having to reboot to do something in Windows ain't terrible, but it's way more convenient to just hop over to Windows or the app you need without disturbing your other workflow. I reboot as infrequently as possible. It's a pain. : )
    And since neither OS X or Win 7 ever crash for me (sure, an app crashes every now and again, but not the whole OS), updates are usually the only reason for rebooting.

    In short, I recommend avoiding Boot Camp, give Fusion a look (they should have a 30 day trial) as well as Virtual Box, or DarWINE or Crossover Mac.

    Also, if you do go Boot Camp, you can use Winclone to backup your Windows partition, resize your partition with Disk Utility, then use Winclone to restore the Windows backup. Works great. I did just this recently.
    Also for Boot Camp, if you're not doing any games, 30GB would be plenty, maybe 40 to be safe. Win 7 is pretty big, maybe over 15GB after SP1 is installed, but if you're not going to install much over that or use it heavily, not a lot of reason to lose too many GBs to it.
    I increased recently since I started playing more games, and these days they take like 8GB per game.

    Good luck and have fun.
    Cheers.
     
  9. jegbook macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2007
    #9
    Winclone is totally free! http://download.cnet.com/Winclone/3000-2242_4-172338.html

    75GB is more than plenty, agreed.

    And Disk Utility can resize partitions on the fly (well, HFS+ partitions, the Windows one would get erased). And that's where backing up with Winclone comes in. Disk Utility added repartitioning/adjusting partitions on the fly when Boot Camp came about. It's the only component of "Boot Camp" that is on the Mac side of things. Well, that and that Disk Utility creates GPT partitioning schemes that include MBR data as well.

    Cheers.
     

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