March 2, 2013

Macbooks and Windows

One of my less tech-inclined friends has a Macbook Pro (from 2011). Recently, he was complaining about not being able to play games. I suggested that I could install Win7 with BootCamp. Apparently that wasn't *quite* what he had in mind, and I was asked to replace OS X with windows.
First, I made a bootable copy of his entire disk, onto an external HDD.
Next, since my only installer was on a USB drive, I needed a way to boot from USB. On a Mac. That doesn't support booting from USB.
For anyone that wants to boot a Mac from USB, rEFIt makes quick work, hooking into the bootloader and allowing USB ports to emulate CD/DVD drives.
The actual installation was probably the easiest part of the whole process, just delete all of the partitions and go from there!
Once Windows was installed, there were almost no working drivers. The screen worked, but only at a resolution of 800x600, the keyboard worked, mostly. The mouse pointed, and occasionally clicked (sometimes when I *didn't*), and neither wireless OR wired worked.
After a little more research, I figured out what the hardware was and started looking for the required drivers. It turns out that, even though I wasn't using BootCamp, all the drivers I needed could be installed with ONE .exe found inside the .dmg file used to install the windows drivers from the OS X partition.

All in all, it was a fun little project. It took me about three hours, and when I was done I felt that I had learned not just how to install Win7 on a Macbook Pro, but also a little about how Macs work.

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