Win 7 exclusively on iMac ?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by Thunderbird, Dec 27, 2009.

  1. Thunderbird macrumors 6502a

    Thunderbird

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2005
    #1
    I recently bought a 2009 24" iMac and am running Parallels 5. It's nice to have virtualization on Snow Leopard. In fact, it's so nice that I find I am using Windows almost exclusively.

    It got me wondering: What if I just used the iMac as a Windows machine, a kind of reverse Hackintosh. In addition to the iMac, I have a PC machine with an Intel SSD g2 160gb in it. Would it be possible to swap out the iMac HDD for the Intel SSD (with Win 7 on it) and just run Win 7 exclusively on the iMac with the SSD? No Boot Camp, no virtualization, just pure Windows.

    Would there be any driver issues? Hardware compatibility (e.g. iSight cam)? What would happen with BIOS and firmware updates for either Mac or Windows, would these need to be done differently ? Or can I just treat the iMac as a regular PC machine?

    Any future problems I might stumble upon ?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Buzz Bumble Guest

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2008
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #2
    You need Boot Camp since it has all the necessary drivers for the iMacs hardware, Boot Camp is not virtualisation, so there is no slow down, etc. that you get with Parallels / Fusion.

    Once you've installed Windows using Boot Camp, you've got a 100% Windows PC that looks like a Mac, with the added advantage of legally having Mac OS X as well.

    BUT, why anyone would want to do that is beyond me - it's would be like putting a lawn mower engine in a Ferrari. ;)
     
  3. Infrared macrumors 68000

    Infrared

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2007
    #3
    Except that most multi-platform apps run faster under Windows :)
     
  4. cjmillsnun macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2009
    #4
    If you're going to do that, and I don't recommend it, then leave a small OS X partition installed and use Boot Camp (which allows Windows to run natively). You need OS X for any firmware updates!
     
  5. weckart macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    #5
    You don't need Bootcamp if you have no intention of running OSX. Vista/Win 7 will boot up and install just fine without it on EFI Macs. All the drivers are on the OSX install disk; Bootcamp is just another fancy GUI for OSX's diskutil function. You should have a minimal OSX installation on an 8GB usb stick just in case Apple does release a firmware update, though.
     
  6. Matthew Yohe macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2006
    #6
    Windows 7 is not yet supported by Boot Camp drivers. You'll need to wait.
     
  7. ildondeigiocchi macrumors 6502a

    ildondeigiocchi

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2007
    Location:
    Montreal
    #7
    I installed Windows 7 Ultimate and then ran Bootcamp64.msi from SL disk and it installed the drivers fine. Just cuz Apple hasn't "supported" it doesn't mean it won't work.:rolleyes: Tons of people have Win7 up and running on their Macs. With the Intel SSD you're going to love Win7 on your iMac. I have a dedicated Intel SSD on my Mac Pro and it rocks! :D
     
  8. Thunderbird thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Thunderbird

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2005
    #8
    Thanks. So I couldn't just download the Apple firmware updates onto the Windows SSD, I'd have to download them onto the usb stick first. And then where do I install the firmware updates? (I know Macs don't have BIOS). What is the Mac equivalent of Windows BIOS?
     
  9. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Location:
    Pa
    #9
    Ok. Buy yourself an 8gb or larger USB drive.

    Insert your OS X DVD into your iMac, and install OS X onto your USB drive. It might take some time, but trust me on this one. Once it's up and running, update OS X, and just make sure it works.

    Insert the Windows DVD into your iMac.

    Turn off the iMac.

    Unplug the USB drive. This drive has a working install of OS X, which you can use to perform firmware updates. Keep it handy, but you wont need it often.

    Turn on the iMac, holding down the C or D key (I forget which) to boot off of the Windows DVD. You can erase all of the partitions, and install Windows onto a completely clean hard drive.

    Once windows is running, insert the OS X dvd to install the drivers.

    Profit?
     
  10. Matthew Yohe macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2006
    #10
    Good for you! I just don't waste my time helping people with things that aren't supported yet, because things can change.
     
  11. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #11
    If they were fully supported, help would not be required (in most cases) would it? It's subjective as to whether helping others a waste of time though.

    B
     
  12. Thunderbird thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Thunderbird

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2005
    #12
    So I still don't understand...do I need to reformat the Windows SSD to install Apple firmware updates (like the latest superdrive firmware update) or do I just install them from a usb stick with OSX on it. If the latter, what do I do?

    There seems to be something about Apple firmware updates only installing on GUID partition schemes.
     
  13. ildondeigiocchi macrumors 6502a

    ildondeigiocchi

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2007
    Location:
    Montreal
    #13
    Install OSX on the USB drive. Updates should work fine to my knowing.
     
  14. Thunderbird thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Thunderbird

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2005
    #14
    ...and how does the firmware get from the usb stick to the iMac, running on a Windows (NTFS) only SSD, with no GUID partition and no Boot Camp? Booting from the usb with OSX on it and offloading the firmware, is there any compatibility issue? This is what I'm trying to find out.
     
  15. panzer06 macrumors 68030

    panzer06

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Location:
    Kilrath
    #15
    Installing OS X on any external drive is fine. That's how my iMac is setup. Windows 7 on the 500GB internal and OS X on the 1.5TB external. Works great.

    Easiest thing is to just use the original iMac drive in an external housing and boot OS X from there anytime you might like to download updates. Personally, once my system is working well I don't install any firmware updates.

    Cheers,
     
  16. Kat King123 macrumors regular

    Kat King123

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2009
    #16
    nah dude its like this. When you boot from the usb drive you update the firmware that firmware update stays in the computer no matter what OS your running on. So lets say for example you update your superdrive from version 8.5-9 in osx then right after you delete everything off your computer and install some linux version your superdrive will continue to remain version 9 no matter what.
     
  17. Bill Gates macrumors 68020

    Bill Gates

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2006
    Location:
    127.0.0.1
    #17
    You cannot install firmware updates without an EFI partition on the disk. The best thing for you to do, in my opinion, is to use Disk Utility to partition the SSD with GPT and create one partition on the disk. Disk Utility will automatically create a hidden 200MB EFI partition at the head of the disk. It's been a while since I've done this, but I'm almost positive that you can use rEFIt to create an MBR partition table on the disk that mirrors the GUID table, using its built-in utilities, accessible from the rEFIt boot menu. You should then be able to install Windows on the SSD and only have two partitions on the disk, without any need for OS X to be installed on that drive. For firmware updates, as has been suggested, a flash drive will suffice as long as the EFI partition is intact.

    Edit: My mind is a bit foggy at this hour, but I was just thinking that it may also be the case that just having the EFI partition on the USB flash drive is sufficient. I really don't know either way though since I've never attempted what you are trying to do.
     

Share This Page