Windows 7 on MBA

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by vicnic, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. vicnic macrumors newbie

    Mar 10, 2011
    Hi guys,

    I am considering installing Windows 7 on my MBA to use it for some programs for school which are not designed for OSX.

    I do not have the external DVD-drive.

    I will be downloading a student version of Windows 7 which will be downloaded as a .dmg file.
    Is it possible to install this file without the use of an external drive?

    It might be a silly question by I am really a Mac rookie :).

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Gregintosh macrumors 68000

    Jan 29, 2008
    I wonder if you can "burn" this installation onto a Flash drive or SD card... that could work. Also, if you google around I think there are instructions out there for how to create a Windows installable Flash drive/SD card for PCs, which I think might also work on the Mac.

    I am also not 100% positive on this, but the Air has that "remote disc" feature which might work too. Hope some of that helps.
  3. DESNOS macrumors 6502

    Aug 24, 2011
    You have the option to burn the DMG to its own partition after you create the bootcamp partition. Shrink the Mac OS partition in Disk Utility, then create a new partition. Make sure it's big enough for the DMG, and it should work. Restore the image to the new partition in Disk Utility. Remote disk would work too.
  4. dennya macrumors regular


    Jun 15, 2009
    From Apple's Boot Camp support site:

    ■Support for the Windows 7 ISO installer
    Install Windows with an installation disc you provide or, on Mac computers that do not have an optical drive, with a USB flash drive that contains a Windows 7 ISO image downloaded from Microsoft. The Boot Camp Assistant will offer to create this image on supported computers.

    (Win 7 would be an ISO, not a .dmg, which is a Mac format.)
  5. iAppl3Fan macrumors 6502a


    Sep 8, 2011
    I installed Windows 7 in a virtualized environment (e.g., Fusion) using an ISO file downloaded inside my OS X. You do not need a CD/DVD drive to install Windows. If you're looking to install it on BootCamp, the same is possible as I believe Apple has updated BootCamp to make it easier to do this. (BootCamp in the past required a physical CD/DVD disc in order to install but this should no longer be the case.)
  6. vicnic thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 10, 2011
    Some quick replies there guys, thanks :). Gonna try the flash-drive option through bootcamp then.
  7. jamesr19 macrumors 6502

    Nov 7, 2009
    If you're only going to use it for a few apps that don't use much CPU/Ram then I'd install it as a Virtual Machine (like iAppl3Fan suggested - i prefer parallels though ;) ). Thing with bootcamp is it's a big pain to resize the partitions if you want to allocate more space to Mac/Windows, but with a VM you can adjust the HD size easily. Bootcamp you also have to restart and load into bootcamp - you can't run it all side-by-side.
  8. roncron macrumors 6502


    Aug 15, 2011
    For what it's worth:

    I used bootcamp to create a windows partition, installed Win 7 on it. The process was very easy and trouble-free. When I boot into Windows, Windows and the software I run has the full resources of the machine, and it truly works great - at least as well as any Windows laptop I've ever used.

    But everything JamesR19 said is correct: doing it my way means you can't run Windows and OS X side by side, and it's a pain to change the size of the Windows vs. Mac partitions should you wish to do so in the future.

    But it is truly great that those of us who are required to (or want to) keep one foot in the Windows world have two terrific options: running a virtual Windows machine in (or along side of) OS X, or booting to a Windows partition and running Windows natively on our machine.
  9. joec1101 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 29, 2010
    So Cal, USA
    I installed Win7 on my MBAi7 in BootCamp and it runs really well. Probably just as fast as my MBPi7 with 8 GB Ram.

    I tried virtualization on my MBP when it had only 4GB RAM and Win7 was a little sluggish, however, in BootCamp it ran really well as it uses the full system resources. I really wouldn't recommend the virtualization method on the MBA (or any machine, really) that has only 4GB Ram.

    I highly recommend you stick with the BootCamp method.

    Also, you don't have to install from a USB stick - you can cheat (like I did) and just plug in an external DVD drive to the USB port and install from there.
  10. Jordan9 macrumors member


    Aug 30, 2011
    Another option is to install Windows 7 with Bootcamp and also use a virtualization software like VMWare Fusion to access you bootcamp partition. I did this a year or so ago with my C2D MacBook with Windows XP, when I only needed to access a Windows app for a few minutes and didn't want to shut down and reboot into Windows and then repeat the process to get back to what I was doing in Mac OS X.

    I plan to do this with my new 2011 Air and Windows 7. I just put Windows 7 on my machine and will be putting Fusion on there this week.
  11. mikethebigo macrumors 68000

    May 25, 2009
    Screw Windows 7, put Windows 8 on there! The free developer preview was released today :D
  12. 2IS macrumors 68030

    Jan 9, 2011
    This is what I'm doing currently (except I'm using Parallels) and it's the best option. If I just need to get into Win7 quickly to do a few lightweight tasks, I load up parallels, if I need native support, a quick reboot does the trick. Only issue I've had sofar is Windows doesn't seem to think it's genuine when loading the bootcamp partition via parallels.
  13. s2dio macrumors regular


    Oct 28, 2010
    Riga, Latvia
  14. Chipg macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2010
    My AIR is my first mac, I split my 256g for half lion and half for windows, piece of cake, I was SHOCKED how fast windows 7 installed, in the past it was a whole day ordeal installing windows (older version) on a PC, this took maybe 10 minutes on my air with ssd.

    I seriously think windows runs better on my air than on my PC, I do REALLY like Lion tho. Best of both worlds for me has been the best descsion I ever made. FYI I did buy the mac dvd drive to install windows, I didn;t think I'd use it after but I have been putting all my dvvd movies on an external drive and using the $99 mac tv to watch them, it's FANTASTIC!
  15. 2IS macrumors 68030

    Jan 9, 2011
    Placebo effect, exaggeration or both. I've installed just about every version of Windows on a wide variety of hardware configurations for the past 15 years. I've NEVER had an installation take anywhere close to a whole day, half a day or 1/4 of a day.

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