Just bought a new 2011 Macbook Air, going crazy trying to get Windows 7 on it!! Help!

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by n00b123, Sep 14, 2011.

  1. n00b123 macrumors newbie

    Sep 14, 2011
    Hey guys,

    As the title implies, just got a new 2011 Macbook Air, I think it's a phenomenal computer. I've been using Lion for a few days now and although I like it, I need Windows 7 on it as well for some work related documents and other features. I know it is possible to have both OS's on it and I would like to do that, but I don't know how. I googled last night for hours on end to no avail, I really need help and don't know who else to turn to. We just got another computer as well, a Dell with Windows 7 already installed. I do not have the Windows 7 installation CD though. So my question is, how can I get the Windows 7 from the Dell onto my Macbook Air? Am I going to need a flashdrive to transfer it? Any responses would be greatly appreciated, thanks so much!
  2. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    Try the Windows on Mac Forum here for your question. Unless you plan to stop running the Dell, you'll need a separate Windows license for your Mac. You can set up Windows in Boot Camp or through a program like Parallels Desktop or VMWare Fusion, each of which have been recently updated to run on OS X Lion.
  3. n00b123 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 14, 2011
    Thanks for the response. Where do I get the separate Windows license from?
  4. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    If you purchase Parallels Desktop you can buy Windows from them to download. Otherwise, you can get a Windows DVD or download from Microsoft or any authorized physical or online retailer. Technically, only the full versions (not the upgrade versions) are licensed for use.
  5. jmcgeejr macrumors 6502


    Oct 7, 2010
    Seattle, WA
    Any major retailer or online sales will sell w7.
  6. n00b123 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 14, 2011
    Alright the question is now, what's the cheapest way to do this? If I have a friend in real life who has Windows 7 on his computer, would he be able to help me out?
  7. minnus macrumors 6502

    Aug 12, 2011
    Just want to make this clear - in the event that you want to be as legit as possible, even the Windows License on your dell cannot be transferred over. Odds are, if it came pre-installed, it has an OEM license bound to that laptop.

    If you don't want to be legit at all, there are many ways to circumvent the Microsoft Activation process.
  8. n00b123 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 14, 2011
    Hey thanks for the response. What do you mean by, "there are many ways to circumvent the Microsoft Activation process" ?
  9. litchblade macrumors member

    Sep 4, 2011
    I think he wanna say that there are also ways to get windows 7 copies without paying for it, especially if you already paid a license of Win7
  10. newdeal macrumors 68020

    Oct 21, 2009

    your dell has a OEM version of windows which will only allow you to install it on that system. There us really no way to get it from one to the other. You either need to purchase a copy of windows 7 to install or download one and use 7 loader to bypass the activation check. Also if you plan on using windows update you need to make sure to not install a certain one because there is one update that makes 7loader not work
  11. n00b123 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 14, 2011
    What about Parallels Desktop? I'm so confused right now, if someone could thoroughly explain all my options to me I'd really appreciate it
  12. jackyyeow macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2011
    OP, you still don't get it don't you? :rolleyes:

    I'm supposed we're not allowed to talk about warez here. Hints are given enough so it's all up to you to GOOGLE.

    That said, cheapest legit way to install windows is to buy a retail copy, and run bootcamp. You still HAVE to buy a copy of windows. OEM windows came with laptops are tied to the hardwares so you'll get error messages stating that you cannot install the OEM version on other machine, the software will detect your system.

    By the way,
    Bootcamp = dual boot, running Windows natively on Mac
    VMWare/Parellel = virtual machine, running windows virtually within OSX
  13. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    Parallels Desktop is available for $79 from www.parallels.com. If you install it, it provides a link to an online store they run where you can purchase a Windows license from them and download it to install. They recently released Version 7, and so a cheaper way to get it might be to buy Version 6 from an authorized seller like Amazon and get the free upgrade to 7.

    VMWare Fusion is also normally available for $79, but they also just released a new version and are selling it for $49 from their website www.vmware.com.

    There is also a program called Virtual Box available for free.

    Parallels Desktop, VMWare Fusion, and Virtual Box allow you to run Windows from within OS X (i.e. side by side with your Mac applications). By contrast, Boot Camp, which is included with your Mac, creates a separate partition where you can install Windows. If you use Boot Camp, you need to reboot your computer into Windows in order to use it (i.e. you can't run Windows applications side by side with Mac applications).

    Regardless of what solution you go with, you need to obtain a copy of Windows. Legally, you need the full retail version, which you can get from any number of retailers or Microsoft itself.
  14. n00b123 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 14, 2011
    Thanks so much. What's the best out of Parallel, VMW, and Virtual Box? Also is there any way I can obtain Windows 7 for free or really cheap?
  15. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    If you are a student, you can get Windows for $29.99.

    I have used both Parallels Desktop and Fusion, and prefer Parallels as it is generally faster. However, I don't know about the new version of Fusion. Fusion usually has fewer bugs. Virtual Box is free so might be more appealing to you.

    This thread should move to the Windows on Mac forum, as it really isn't about the MacBook Air.
  16. n00b123 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 14, 2011
    I would do that for $29, but it says upgrade on it. Would Windows 7 Professional Upgrade work for my macbook air?
  17. gigadigit macrumors member

    Apr 24, 2009
    I think running through bootcamp is better than running through virtual. either way, you'll need a legit win 7 copy.

    I am currently running Win 7 on Macbook Air through bootcamp. Works very well.

  18. bill-p macrumors 68000

    Jul 23, 2011
    Let's see...

    Your options are... either you boot Windows 7 directly using Bootcamp, or you can boot Windows 7 in a virtual machine as mentioned.

    The benefits are as follow:

    - It's just you and Windows 7.
    - Better performance than virtual machine. Good if you want to squeeze every last bit out of the hardware.
    - Potentially better battery life than running a virtual machine in Mac OSX.
    - Cheaper.

    Virtual machine:
    - You can switch between Windows 7 and OSX with a swipe of your fingers.
    - You can run OSX applications alongside Windows
    - Multitouch gestures are supported
    - You don't have to reboot to get to Windows 7.
    - You can keep both OSX and Windows 7 running at the same time, and move documents back and forth without rebooting.
    - Better than Bootcamp if you primary goal is just Office applications.

    As for virtual machines, benefits are as follow:

    Virtualbox: free. That's it.

    VMWare: supports more operating system types. Pretty much the standard of the industry.

    Parallels: fastest performance out of the three. If you plan to play games or run 3D applications but don't want to reboot, Parallels is still the first choice. Also uses less CPU and resources than VMWare or Virtualbox.

    As for getting Windows 7 cheap, you can try to grab a copy off of Amazon for less than $100. My personal recommendation would be to get Windows XP instead. Windows XP should be more compatible than Windows 7, and it's much cheaper as well. Bad thing is Windows XP only works in a virtual machine since Bootcamp on OSX Lion doesn't support Windows XP.
  19. minnus macrumors 6502

    Aug 12, 2011
    Erm ... Windows XP is discontinued/unsupported (or soon to be unsupported). Windows XP also comes 'free' with Windows 7 Professional or up. Why anyone outside a business environment would want to purchase a 10 year old OS is beyond me. Windows 7 works fine on bootcamp - compatibility isn't an issue.
  20. bill-p macrumors 68000

    Jul 23, 2011
    Well, Windows XP is free, or it can be picked up for less than $20. That's the key.

    Windows 7 still costs at least $100 if the purchase wasn't made by a student.

    If the sole purpose of the Windows install is to run a few applications, then would spending $100 be worth it? I'd think not.
  21. Wrathwitch macrumors 65816

    Dec 4, 2009
    I went with bootcamp for my MacBook Air 13" 2011. high end model.

    Reasons: Can run native windows programs with no issues.
    Video games for windows tend to run better on a pure system.

    I don't mind rebooting to switch from OS to Win7.

    I like to play WoW sometimes on it.

    ONE thing to remember though is follow the instructions and ensure that both your OS part and your Windows part are updated completely. Solves lots of problems.

  22. n00b123 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 14, 2011
    Hey guys,

    Thanks so much for all the responses, I appreciate it. What I've decided to do is to have both Windows 7 and Lion in a dual-boot scenario, and from my research I'm apparently going to have to use bootcamp to do this. But I still don't know what I'm gonna need exactly to do this. Obviously my macbook doesn't have an optical drive so how am I gonna install the windows 7 installation dvd onto it? And I don't even have a copy of Windows 7 yet, should I get the $200 one or the $100 OEM one, or should I download it online from the microsoft store to avoid the dvd hassle? I'm so confused right now as to how to go about this. Obviously i have the macbook air, and a 16gb usb sandisk flash drive that I just recently purchased. Can someone on here please walk me through this? Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!
  23. iTouch macrumors 6502

    Sep 12, 2007
    The easiest way to do it would be to use BootCamp. And you can install Windows 7 on a flash drive. You have to have Windows 7 from an ISO. Then let your Mac do the rest. Or you can create a bootable flash drive on a Windows machine that takes more work. Also you need to create the necessary drivers for BootCamp to work, so you would need another flash drive. Total time is less than 15 minutes. As others suggested you can install VMWare or Parallels.

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