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I'm aware of plenty of options like Boot Camp and Parallels that allow you to run Windows on a Mac, but can you remove OS X and run only Windows on new Mac Intel based hardware?

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6 Answers 6

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Yes, you can have only Windows installed, but there are some other things to be aware of:

Leopard and Snow Leopard

To have full hardware support, you will need a copy of OS X Leopard or preferably Snow Leopard since Snow Leopard has a newer version of the Boot Camp drivers and device software. When you are booted into Windows and insert the OS X disc, you will be prompted to install the Boot Camp drivers and utilities. These Boot Camp drivers are used for things like the Apple keyboards, trackpads, mice, special function keys for brightness, etc. to function in Windows. You can download a version of the Boot Camp drivers from Apple's website, but it is only an update and doesn't include the full suite of drivers and device software. Since the full Boot Camp software is on the OS X disc, you will need a copy of the OS X on-hand, but you don't have to have to keep OS X installed.

Lion and Mountain Lion

Since there is no longer any retail disc, Boot Camp drivers can be download in OS X by running the Boot Camp Assistant utility in Applications -> Utilities -> Boot Camp Assistant. This does mean you will need an installation of OS X at least while you download the drivers and then burn them to disc or copy them to a USB drive.

Firmware Notes

If you are installing Windows on an older Mac, you might need a temporary installation of OS X to update the EFI firmware to allow BIOS emulation which is needed to boot Windows. If you do need to update the firmware, you can wipe off OS X after it is updated.

Some newer versions of Windows such as Vista SP1 and 7 have a EFI boot mode, but Microsoft's EFI boot code is not compatible with Apple's EFI. This effectively means BIOS emulation is necessary to boot Windows, however this BIOS compatibility is in the computer's firmware and does not require an OS X installation in order to function. Also, you can safely format the hard drive as MBR-only if you want only Windows (and/or Linux) installed. If you are also running OS X along with Windows, you would want to be using a GPT/MBR hybrid partition format.

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2  
This post is a little outdated with regards to installation discs (no longer supplied with OS X). Do you have some updates, maybe? That would be great! –  slhck Oct 16 '12 at 21:38
2  
Does anyone else find it funny when she says "...Microsoft's EFI boot code is not compatible with Apple's EFI. Because of this Windows limitation..." Oh mac users... –  Reimius Dec 14 '12 at 22:43
    
@Reimius Apple's EFI 1.10 firmware was shipping on their computers before Microsoft even had an EFI boot loader for x86 architecture processors. Microsoft did develop an EFI 1.10 boot loader for their Itanium editions of Windows, yet Microsoft made their x86 EFI loader only support UEFI 2.0 firmwares which ignored EFI hardware already being sold. However, it's also true that Apple does not seem interested in updating their firmware to UEFI 2.0. –  Lara Dougan Dec 17 '12 at 16:45
    
I see you updated your answer to not include that, which is good. As an ios developer who comes from a linux/windows background I get annoyed by the default way of thinking by users who come from a MAC background that everyone has to conform to how they do things. It seems so ingrained that even with the best of intentions MAC users just throw in these assumptions into their English without even realizing it. –  Reimius Dec 17 '12 at 17:13
    
EFI has been deprecated since 2005. It had no support for x64 (AMD64/Intel64/x86-64) (only IA32 [x86], IA64 [Itanium] and EBC [EFI Byte Code]) (I'm looking at the UEFI 2.0 spec, I believe ARM is supported by now; 2.3 or something). I don't think Microsoft ever bothered with a 32-bit [U]EFI bootloader. UEFI also added a bunch of other features I can't be bothered reading 2500 pages for, and Secure Boot is a notable one MS is using in Win8. Deprecated standards generally should not be incorporated into new products where possible, though MS probably could if they wanted. –  Bob Dec 17 '12 at 17:29

Yes. I've done it myself. I've wiped Snow Leopard in favour of Windows 7, as I found myself booting into windows frequently and my need for Mac software became less important.

I won't question your reasons, thats not the point.

If you insert the windows disk and hold down 'alt' on startup, the windows install will kick in. As previously mentioned, if you want to install Windows 7, the latest Bootcamp drivers are required. These are a .exe found on the Snow Leopard disk (or torrent) and will make your touchpad, sound etc work well in Win 7.

Take it from me, I'm writing this answer using my Macbook white 13in with Win 7 ultimate, and it works like a charm.

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Just wondering: how does the touchpad work, especially the two-finger scroll? One thing I adore about the touchpad/OS X combination is that one does not need to click inside a window before starting to scroll. I guess that's an OS thing, though maybe it's a driver thing. So: do you need to click in a window (or even specifically in part of a window, like the preview of a mail message, or the mail folder list), to activate it to receive the two-finger scroll events? –  Arjan Nov 12 '09 at 10:22
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Hi Arjan, the touch works well since installing the bootcamp 3.0 drivers. Before that it didnt have the tap to click functionality or the scroll/2 finger right click. Now it does. The scroll has a tendency to trigger the right click if you do it too quickly, but that may be just me. Also, as for clicking within windows it only happens on certain applications, but 90% of the time I don't have to. –  Pickledegg Nov 13 '09 at 12:33

You CAN just install Windows. Either from using the BootCamp assistant (Apps>Utilities>BootCamp) or simply by holding down OPTION (ALT) or "C" (for CD-boot) on the keyboard during boot up with the Windows disc in. Once the Windows Installation process starts, choose Custom, Delete ALL partitions, Choose New for the Windows Partition and click Next. Voila! It's that easy.

No need to run Disk Utility. You can edit the partitions from the Custom Windows Install. I was worried if you only had the Windows partition that it might not boot up but this isn't the case. It's works great with just the Windows Partition and the Windows "System" allocated space.

Windows 7 runs amazing on my Mac Mini 2,1.

After installing Windows, ensure to put the Mac OS X install disc in as this will install all the necessary Windows drivers (video card, track-pad, etc) for it run at its max potential.

If you do not have the Mac OS X disc, no worries. You can d/l the drivers from the BootCamp Assistant (Go>Utilities>BootCamp) or from the Apple web site.

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Short and fat:

  • Boot up with original Mac OSX DVD.
  • When installation of OSX starts you will have the menu available.
  • Go to disc utilities - delete all partitions to one or two drives as you prefer (two drives if you want a C and D drive). Partition the drives to FAT. (Otherwise the windows installation cant find a valid installation drive)
  • Stop the OSX installation.
  • Switch DVD to Windows install DVD - This can be tricky. Upon reboot hold down eject key - switch DVD and force close with power button.
  • Upon reboot hold down ALT key.
  • Select Windows CD.
  • Start the installation.
  • Select which drive to install to.
  • If using a Windows 7 upgrade CD - do not type in the activation key at this point.
  • When windows is running (several reboots -switch to Mac DVD in windows environment) - go to bootcamp folder.
  • Install Bootcamp using the bootcamp setup file.
  • After reboot - insert Windows 7 DVD and start installation again. This installation will be considered as an upgrade, and you can now use your activation key.

Two finger scroll works just fine. The keyboard layout is exactly as you see.

The downside is.. (if you are used to normal PC)

  • No page up and page down, print screen or Pause Break buttons

Benefit...

  • Runs/performs even better than OSX
  • Don't know if this works with Windows XP.
  • Don't know if all your other mac hardware works (Apple TV - Mac Mini server).
  • All internal hardware in your Mac performs just fine.
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I would install it via bootcamp and then just make sure to always boot into it.

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How would you make sure of that. Please extend your answer to include all necessary details. –  Oliver Salzburg Jul 30 '12 at 19:09
    
@OliverSalzburg Go to System Preferences -> Startup Disk. Not to be rude, but this is a three year old answer. Aren't there bigger fish to fry? –  Josh K Jul 30 '12 at 20:26

After installing Windows, if you're running Lion, hold Option as the computer is booting up and select recovery HD.

Then wipe the partition from there

Make sure you named the partitions in a easy to identify way. By default, on a MacBook Pro, partition 4 should be Bootcamp.

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