How To Install Windows 7 On Your Mac

7/5/2012 3:09:03 PM

If you’ve recently purchased a Mac, you may be surprised to know that Apple will actually let you install a separate partition on your system with Windows 7 as long as your computers is Intel-based (which should be the majority of you). This means that you can choose the way you want to boot up your Mac and can switch between Mac OS X Snow Leopard/OS X Lion and Windows 7. It is a great option for those of you who need to use certain Windows applications or are PC gamers as you can get that fix while still keeping your Mac OS for your daily activities.

Step 1

Description: OS X Lion - Mac OS X 10.6

OS X Lion - Mac OS X 10.6

Make sure you have either Mac OS X v10.7 Lion or Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard installed. You can update Snow Leopard to Lion through the Mac App Store when you purchase Lion, which currently costs $ 29.99.

Keep in mind that you need to be at OS X 10.6.6 as Snow Leopard user before you can upgrade to Lion. If you are a Snow Leopard user and have been following standard software updates from the Apple menu, you should be at 10.6.8. You can read about this update here. Lion’s latest update, as of this writing, is 10.7.4. You can head over here to read about it and update directly from Apple’s website.

Step 2


Make sure your Boot Camp is up to date, which means version 4.0 for Lion and 3.2 for Snow Leopard. Boot Camp is an assistant application, and you can read its manual here on Apple’s website. If you have Snow Leopard or Lion installed, Boot camp should already be included, Boot Camp should already be included, but make sure it is up to date. Otherwise head to Apple’s website to download an update. This is the Boot Camp icon:

Apple lists the features here that make the latest version of Boot Camp (version 4.0) different from previous versions:

Description: Download Bootcamp 4.0 Drivers, here's a link on some Apple

Download Bootcamp 4.0 Drivers, here's a link on some Apple

Electronic Software Distribution use the Boot Camp Assistant to create a CD or USB media to install the latest Boot Camp drivers for your computer. You should get the newest drivers available any time you install Boot Camp.

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.

Upgrade or “clean” install Windows without using the Boot Camp Assistant If you want only to upgrade the version of Boot Camp or Windows on your Windows partition, you don’t need to use Boot Camp Assistant. Instead, choose Help > Help Center in Finder and search for “upgrade Boot Camp” or “upgrade Windows.”

As you can see, it is a good idea to update from version 4.0 to take advantage of the great features offered in the latest version. This is especially true if you have a Mac without an optical drive, like a Macbook Air, as previous Boot Camp versions support updating from USB flash drive. You may need to first upgrade to Lion if you have a Mac with an earlier OS or use an external drive.

Step 3

Description: Find Boot Camp Assistant under the Finder windows and click on it

Find Boot Camp Assistant under the Finder windows and click on it

Have a Windows 7 Install disc ready. You can use either 32bit or 64bit, although 64bit is recommended for the best performance. Alternatively, Boot Camp Assistant helps you burn the ISO image to a USB flash drive if you have Lion installed. You can find not which Macs are compatible with the 64 bit version of Windows 7 from Apple here. Apple also mentions the versions of Windows 7 you will need if you want to install a 64bit OS:

“computers with Mac OS X v10.6 or later work with 32-bit versions of Microsoft Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 Professional, or Windows 7 Ultimate. The only 64 bit version of Windows supported on these computers is 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional, or Windows 7 Ultimate.”

Step 4

Description: Boot Camp Assistant

Boot Camp Assistant

Go to the Boot Camp Assistant and start the installation process. To do this from Snow Leopard, click on applications from de Dock. Then click on utilities, it should be located toward the middle of the second row from the top. From Lion you can go to utilities directly from Launchpad. From here, go ahead and click on the Boot Camp Assistant.

This is the screen you should see when you first click on Boot Camp Assistant from the applications – utilities menus:

Step 5

Description: Boot Camp Assistant

Boot Camp Assistant

Follow the instructions and download additional software necessary to support Windows on your Mac. Driver updates will allow for your Apple peripherals like keyboards, mice and cameras to work on the Windows partition. Alternatively, you can insert your Mac installation disc to download these drivers (this may depend on If your Mac came with Lion or Snow Leopard and the type of Mac you have). Here is how this next screen should look like:

Step 6

Description: Boot Camp Assistant

Boot Camp Assistant

After you’re installed the Windows compatibility driver software, go ahead and create a Windows partition. You will be asked if you want to create a Windows partition first. A Windows partition will allow you choose how much of your hard drive space you want to devote to Windows vs your Mac’s operating system. You can choose to make it 50% for each instance, thus divide the partitions. Alternatively, if you don’t plan on using Windows that frequently, choose a lower number for the Windows partition. Here is how the Boot Camp Assistant will prompt you to start the process:

Step 7

Description: Boot Camp Assistant

Next, you will want to start the installer. You will be asked to insert the Windows 7 disc or USB drive with the software and the installation process will start. The menu will be similar to the one above in step 6. It will appear after you finish selecting the size of your Windows partition. You can also use a different drive if you have multiple hard drives or solid-state drives installed inside your Mac. Keep in mind, however, that external drives cannot be used to host the Windows partition.

Step 8

Description: Windows 7

Restart your Mac and boot it into Windows. Eventually your Mac will restart and you can start Windows 7 or your pre-installed Mac OS. If you own Snow Leopard, you can press the Option (Alt) key on your keyboard to go to a menu where Apple asks which operating system you want to use. Alternatively, you can use the Startup Disk control panel to choose your default starting operating system.

When you boot into Windows, you will need to go through the process of updating drivers and making sure your Apple peripherals, like mice and keyboard, work correctly.


Being able to choose whether you want to use Windows or Mac OS X/OS X Lion is what really makes purchasing a Mac such a great option for anyone looking for a new computer. Apple is said to have included Boot Camp, along with working closely with Microsoft, just to demonstrate to how confident the company is in its own operating system and to show its user base that it is not threatened by Windows. Do not expect Microsoft to allow users the option of installing a Mac operating system on a Windows PC, however.

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