Newbie Question How to Get Windows 7 on my MB Air

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Young Turk, Dec 23, 2009.

  1. Young Turk macrumors 6502

    Jul 9, 2002
    Pardon the newbie question. What do I need to buy, and in what order do I install, Windows 7 on my MB Air? I currently don't own Windows 7, or any virtualization software, or even Boot Camp.

    My MBA is a rev. B with SSD.

    I have the external superdrive so I'm good there. The only real reason why I need Windows 7 is to be able to get electronic transcripts from court reporters (I'm a trial lawyer), to be able to import them into Clarity Legal's DepoSmart and Trial Smart.

    Thanks in advance,

    Young Turk
  2. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    Boot Camp (BC) is included with Mac OS X 10.5 and 10.6, but it would be sufficient to use a virtual machine like Parallels or VMWare Fusion with Windows XP or 7.

    MRoogle will have many threads on this topic.

    If you wan't to know what software is best, in my eyes that would be VMWare Fusion + Windows XP Professional, which can be bought cheap via eBay as older versions of those exist.
    You don't need the latest versions of those.

    But Boot Camp might be cheaper, as you only have to buy Windows XP, and then run the BC Assistant to make an extra partition and then install Windows onto that.
    Having BC though means you have to restart every time you want to use the other operating system.
  3. milton.sheaf macrumors regular

    Dec 14, 2009
    Is the MB Air a personal computer? Or this is what your employer issued to you? If it's a personal machine, I would leave it at home and instead buy an Asus Eee or a Dell Mini 10 or something very small and cheap like this that comes already with Windows installed. The cost is low, the hassle factor is zero, and you know it will work. MBA is a terrible machine to do visualization on (too slow CPU, too little RAM) and setting up boot camp is a hassle.
  4. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    You need a full copy of Windows 7... not an upgrade. Two ways to buy it. Retail package or OEM. I usually buy OEM, but that doesn't get any support from Microsoft as the retail copy does.

    Next, you have to choose between 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 7. Apple doesn't allow us to run true 64-bit OS X on the MBA, but I have been running Windows 7 64-bit flawlessly. At the same time, it's probably not necessary and adds to complications of drivers and app compatibility.

    If you have limited tech experience, I would recommend a retail 32-bit Windows 7 full disk. If you have tech experience and you're willing to work to get everything running, buy the OEM Windows 7 full disk in 64-bit. One thing is Apple doesn't have any drivers for Windows 7 yet, although they promised them by end of calendar year. As Apple usually over-promises and under-delivers, doesn't seem it will have the drivers on time. So, for the Windows 7 64-bit, you have to go in and manually install all of the 64-bit drivers from the SL disk... which is actually Vista support not Win 7.

    Finally, you can use Boot Camp for free. I highly recommend Boot Camp not because it's free but because it doesn't require splitting the limited resources of the MBA between two OSes. The MBA only has 2 GB of RAM, so designating 1 GB to each OS seems insufficient. Using Boot Camp allows you to run one OS at any time and that means you have plenty of resources for whichever OS you're using.

    You could use Parallels or Fusion, but either of those is going to have you run Windows and OS X at the same time. I just don't believe it's a smart move with the MBA. If you had an MBP with 8 GB of RAM, it would make far more sense.

    Would be a fun Christmas break venture... my experience has been a rock-solid performing Windows 7 64-bit, but the OS X side has been a disaster ever since I upgraded to 10.6.2 and latest Safari. If your experience goes like mine, you will probably enjoy Windows 7 on your MBA far more than OS X... I know it sounds backwards... it's confusing to me too! I always had loved OS X, and Leopard was amazing... I cannot say anything good about OS X Snow Leopard other than the Snow Leopard desktop background image is cool and it saves a little drive space... although that's misleading too.

    Good luck!
  5. Young Turk thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 9, 2002

    Your opinion is very much appreciated here; after all, you were one of, if not THE main reason I went back to a MacBook Air (but this time an SSD) after selling my first MB Air, and unibody Alu MacBook. A quick search of this forum will show many satisfied posts from this MacBook Air.

    By the way, sorry you're having a negative experience with SL; mine is just the opposite. In fact, its the best, fastest and most stable OS I've ever used.

    At any rate, the nearest Apple Store is about 300 miles away, and am wondering whether the following Windows 7 retails is a 32-bit Windows 7 full disk as you recommend. 7 32 bit&lp=4&cp=1

    Do I install Boot Camp first, then Windows 7?


  6. stoconnell macrumors 6502

    Mar 22, 2009
    Rockville (Despite REM's plea.)
  7. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    It's not clear whether that is 32 or 64 bit Windows 7. It mentions 64-bit several times of the features... I would say look for one that specifically mentions 32-bit Full Retail Windows 7.

    Yes, Boot Camp gets installed first. Then, print out the 20-some page manual. Also, look at the forums for the difference in using Windows 7 as Apple isn't yet supporting it. For me, the drive selection was different than in the manual. I don't remember beyond that.

    Feel free to send me a Pm if you have any additional questions. I am dealing with some health issues so am not making it to the forums as often. If you send me a pm it also gets emailed to me.

    Happy Holidays and best wishes with Windows 7.


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