Installing Windows on MBA? external

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Purely Elf, Dec 9, 2012.

  1. Purely Elf macrumors newbie

    Feb 16, 2012
    I want to install Windows on my MBA, but I really have no idea how to do this without an optical drive. When I go to the bootcamp assistant, it tells me I need 10GB space free on my startup disk to go any further. I have 22GB free, but that shouldn't even matter because I want to install Windows on my external drive, not my startup.

    What do I do? I have a windows iso.
  2. arnamak macrumors member

    Dec 8, 2012
    Put it on a flash drive and boot from USB.
    Or the unethical way would be to go to Best Buy and buy a Superdrive, go about your business, and then return it the next day.
  3. qpiqp macrumors member

    Jul 7, 2012
    Is installing windows on an external hard drive now supported through boot camp?!
  4. arnamak macrumors member

    Dec 8, 2012
    OP got me excited. I just checked, and still no unfortunately.
  5. krravi, Dec 10, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2012

    krravi macrumors 65816

    Nov 30, 2010
    You know I had this issue this weekend when I got my MBA and I broke down and went to the Apple store and got a USB super(pricey) drive.

    So sat down to start the install and fired up the bootcamp assistant and behold! Bootcamp on MBA gives you an option of making a bootable Windows USB Flash Drive if you have the ISO of the Windows installation disc!!!!

    I had already opened the Superdrive etc so I just decided to keep it for other things.

    Other option, there is a utility provided by Microsoft that will make a bootable USB drive from a ISO.

    I bet this is what the bootcamp assistant does as well. And I would choose the bootcamp route as the Microsoft Utility needs the same bit windows(If you are installing 64 bit windows, then the utility should be used from a 64 bit windows machine to create the USB)

    Or you can do it manually yourself by following the procedure below but beware, formatting the USB Flash drive can take an hour or more.
  6. wolfpuppies3 macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2012
    Virginia, USA
    Don't forget that you do not need an optical drive at all if you have another computer (need not be Mac) that has one.
  7. solderguy1 macrumors member

    Apr 20, 2012
    Are you saying you have a Win7 iso file already that's not on disk? If that's true, you don't even need an optical drive at all, just the Product Key aka Serial Number from the disk packaging.
    But as other posters have noted, it's only going to install onto the mac drive which may get tight if only 22gig is free.
  8. Pharmscott macrumors 6502a


    Dec 13, 2011
    Sacramento, CA
    Unfortunately, Bootcamp does not support Remote Disc installation.


    I've done successful installations of Win7 on two machines now (rMBP and Mini) so I can answer questions about doing this via flash drive if anyone has any. It's not too tricky but there are a few tips. One is to be sure to use a 8gb or larger drive to fit both the ISO and the drivers downloaded from Apple.
  9. Navdakilla macrumors 65816

    Feb 3, 2011
    I re-read the topic and other posts, and realized I was talking about a totally different subject, my bad

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