Windows/Linux WITHOUT OSX?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by tehfade, Jan 15, 2010.

  1. tehfade macrumors newbie

    Jan 15, 2010
    Hi, all. This is my first post here, so don't rip into me too hard, but I've got an unusual question.

    I love the Macbook Pro laptops, but I don't like OSX. I'm a technically-inclined Linux junkie, and I need Windows for ease of gaming, but OSX just isn't my thing. I would like to get a new Macbook Pro 13", and I would like to dual-boot Windows and Linux and remove OSX entirely. I'm looking for a little technical detail regarding this.

    As I understand it, and correct me if I'm wrong:

    Macbooks have an EFI instead of a BIOS.
    Macbooks' hard drives do not have a conventional partition table, but a different type (the acronym for which I forget)
    If you format a Mac's boot sector/partition table to a conventional MBR format, the EFI will still read it and boot to it.

    SO, is it safe to conclude that one could change the boot sector/partition table to MBR format, then boot off a Windows or Linux disk and install those OS's in the same manner one would with a conventional PC? Can anyone shine some more light on the issues here? I've also read up on a few other forums, but nobody seems to want to get rid of OSX, so there's almost no info other than how to use Boot Camp.

    Oh, and one last question. A "genius" at my local Apple store informed me rather snobbishly, that installing Linux will void my warranty. Is this true?
  2. jtmx29 macrumors regular


    Jan 14, 2010
    What you stated should work correctly, but why would you buy a mac and not run OSX.
  3. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    It's possible. Just Zero out the hard drive and install Windows/Linux. A Mac hardware after all is like any x86 hardware.

    Edit - No it doesn't void warranty
  4. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    This part I can answer... "no", installing Linux will not void your warranty

    The rest is a little more complicated I think, and not as simple as it may seem, although it can be done. If you use MRoogle to search the site, you will find other threads that walk you through the process

    Woof, Woof - Dawg [​IMG]
  5. tehfade thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 15, 2010
    Thanks guys! You've told me more in 5 minutes than I came up with all day on Linux forums. So it definitely is possible; good to know, though keep any technical details on HOW coming!

    One more question: When you buy a Macbook Pro, do you get an install disk for OSX with it? If I did do the whole format-the-hdd-then-install-Windows-and-Linux thing, could I later reinstall OSX?

    @jtmx29: I'm a real Linux geek and open-source evangelist, but Apple makes the hands-down best laptop. :) Where else can you get a 13" machine with that kind of horsepower, let alone so awesome of a design? (Plus I beat the crap out of my hardware, so a solid metal design is nice...I have a Voodoo Envy 133 right now, but it's getting scratched up and I can't really game on it)
  6. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    Yes, the OS will come preinstalled, but you will get "restore" discs as well that are machine specific

    Woof, Woof - Dawg [​IMG]
  7. Ice-Cube macrumors 6502a


    Jul 27, 2006
    Somewhere over the rainbow
    Just boot off from the Restore Discs and format the drive to fat32. Then insert your windows cd and install like you would on a pc.
  8. Nermal Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2002
    New Zealand
    Unlike some Windows restore DVDs, Apple's ones are "clean"; you can choose to install just OS X without bundled software/bloatware etc.
  9. tehfade thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 15, 2010
    But are they restore disks that can install to a totally formatted hard drive? I've heard of PC laptops where the restore disks will not work if you format the entire drive (because they aren't full Windows install disks and rely on a recovery partition), so I'd like to be sure that's not the case here.
  10. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    As usual it is worthwhile to point out that you will ONLY be able to get any firmware updates if you keep OS X around in some form (even if it is just on an external bootable USB device).

    Note that a major component of Boot Camp is the stuff that lets you emulate BIOS and boot other OSes, which did not ship with the Intel Macs initially. (The other parts are the partitioning tool Boot Camp Assistant, and the Windows drivers neither of which are essential especially if you are planning on running Linux!)

    Also note that most Linux distros understand GPT just fine and with the help of rEFIt many Linux distros run just fine on EFI.

    Personally, as a unix geek I just open and I'm home. OS X is just as much unix as Linux.

    EDIT: The discs that ship with systems are full OS X install discs customized for the hardware it was shipped with. You can install on a bare drive (including an external), but only on the kind of system it shipped with.

  11. tehfade thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 15, 2010
    Good information, thanks!

    I've done more research, and I think I've developed a workable process. Can anyone comment on whether or not this will work?

    1: Boot an Ubuntu live CD, create an MBR partition table, remove OSX's partitions entirely and create partitions for Ubuntu and Windows 7. Do not install Ubuntu yet.

    2: Boot a Windows 7 disk and install it to the partition I've set up. (I assume that drivers for Windows on Mac are available on Apple's site?)

    3: Boot to the Ubuntu disk again, and install Ubuntu and GRUB.

    4: Even though I've erased the GPT partition table, EFI will be smart enough to see that there is an MBR and load up GRUB. GRUB should function as normal, and give me a menu to choose whether to boot Ubuntu or Windows.

    5: If I can boot into OSX from a CD or external HDD, I can do something called "blessing" the drive, which will allow me to boot faster?
  12. tehfade thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 15, 2010
    Install OSX on flash drive?

    So. I'm brand-new to the Mac world, and have a couple questions.

    I already posted a thread in the Windows on Mac section, but basically, I'm trying to figure out how to remove OSX entirely from a new Macbook and just boot Linux and Windows. (and if you have any info to share or perspective to give on that thorny issue, please post it up!)

    Problem is, I want to still be able to get into OSX if I need it for a firmware update. Can I use the disk that comes with the Macbook to install OSX to a flash drive then boot it off that? (for example, in case I want to do firmware updates)
  13. BlueRevolution macrumors 603


    Jul 26, 2004
    Montreal, QC
    Uh... if you don't want a Mac, why did you buy a Mac?

    Yes, you can install Linux by running Boot Camp, rebooting to Windows, installing the Boot Camp drivers, then booting to the Linux disk and installing your preferred distro to the former Mac partition. And yes, you can install OS X on a USB flash drive.
  14. NeuralControl macrumors 6502a

    Dec 3, 2009
    Go to a bookstore and read the latest issue of Mac|Life magazine (or subscribe to the periodical). I got my issue two weeks ago and was pleasantly surprised to find a detailed article about how to install OSX onto an SD card or flash drive.
  15. Sambo110 macrumors 68000

    Mar 12, 2007
  16. Toby Goodbar macrumors 6502

    Sep 8, 2006
    yea, WHy did you??? I'm not bashing or anything, but i cant see ANY reason to not have bought a far less expensive windows box if you didn't want OSX anyway? Makes no sense time wise, simplicity wise, or probably most important financially.

    So whats the rationale here?
  17. VPrime macrumors 68000


    Dec 19, 2008
    London Ontario
    You can install it..

    As for those asking why...Here are a few reason why that I can think of..
    -Very few aluminum laptops to choose from
    -Macbooks are quite nice
    -They have awesome build quality
    -Great customer service
    -Great battery life
    -Great screens (compared to most other laptops in the same class)
    -Great keyboards
    -Fairly lightweight
    -Decent specs

    OSX is not for everyone, but the macbook itself is a pretty decent package.

    That being said, why not just tripple boot? What you can do in linux can probably be done in OSX, so maybe you can just have linux as a VM or something?
  18. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    As said, can probably be done, but since you can get an OSX install (if you remove all the language packs and other stuff) down under 10GB, it wouldn't take much of a partition to leave OSX on there as a backup/for firmware updates. Put it on the slowest 10GB of the drive and it won't impact performance of the other OSes at all.
  19. tehfade thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 15, 2010
    Oops...looks like I somehow got my tabs confused and posted what was to be a new thread as a reply in this one. Guess it was later last night than I thought, lol

    And VPrime is exactly right...I much prefer Linux as my OS, but I need Windows for gaming. I don't like, and don't want to learn OSX--but Apple makes the best laptop I can find--see my previous post.

    Anyway, thanks for the answers! Anyone who has more technical info, please post it up!

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