I'm attempting to install Windows 7 to a 16GB SD card. While I know it's not quite practical, I do have a reason - I want to be able to browser test sites on IE 7/8(Browser compat mode is good enough) as well as IE9. However, I don't want to have 2 Windows installations taking up space on my already tiny 256GB MacBook Air.

I think I'd have no problems doing this with a virtual machine, but I'm stubborn and I think this would be pretty damn cool anyhow.

My initial roadblock is that I can't find the SD Reader's Windows 7 drivers. If I had this on a USB drive, I believe I could load the driver in Windows 7's installer, making the SD card appear as a installation choice.

I know I can create a bootable OS X SD card, so I'm clinging to that as evidence that I can do the same with the Windows 7.

I have downloaded the Bootcamp Windows 7 drivers, but A) they're all .exe's and B) I can't find the driver on the disk anyways (I believe Apple to be the SD reader manufacturer).

End Goal: Windows 7 on 2 SD cards as bootable devices, a backup of the installation on my external drive for quick re-creation of the SD cards.

So, TL;DR - Has anyone done this? And does anyone know how I can get the SD drivers for Windows 7?

  • What are your thoughts on speed with this setup? (superuser.com/questions/505372/…) – michaellindahl Nov 14 '12 at 6:54
  • Does the SDCard stick out? Do you feel comfortable leaving it in all the time? I'm trying to move my existing Windows vm to a SD card on my Macbook AIR. I only have a 128GB drive and it's full. I'm using VMWare so I don't know if it will work if I move it. – 1.21 gigawatts Mar 14 '13 at 5:58
  • Yes it does, but check these out (I have neither, though am waiting for a nifty) theniftyminidrive.com and indiegogo.com/projects/… – Dakine83 Mar 20 '13 at 6:47
  • When I was using a standard SD card, I was NOT comfortable leaving it in all the time. I carried it in the laptop bag. – Dakine83 Mar 20 '13 at 6:47

Using a virtual machine you can build the system on the local drive then move the entire virtual over to the sdcard and run it from there. I currently do this with USB pen drives for the same reason. I test different applications and do not want several different versions on my harddrive. Yes they are slower but still work fine after they boot up.

  • So I could use virtual box on osx to run windows off an sd card... I like it. – Dakine83 May 3 '12 at 4:51
  • Hi, have you a link to do this, I don't know how to do it. – joseluisbz Aug 16 '18 at 4:49

Windows Setup will not permit you to install to media other than an IDE or SATA connected hard drive, regardless of what drivers you have. Therefore, it is not possible to install and boot a full Windows 7 environment from an SD card.

If you must boot Windows from an SD card, consider using Windows PE, a stripped down version of Windows 7 designed to boot from USB and optical media. You can use use command-line tools from Microsoft or third-party graphical tools to build a customized image with the drivers and programs you need. Please note that you may need to use another computer or virtual machine running Windows to get everything set up properly.

Windows PE is available free of charge to anyone with a valid Windows license as part of the Windows Automated Installation Kit.

  • Just note that using a license for PE does use up the license: you can't share a PE license with one installed on a computer somewhere. – Joel Coehoorn Mar 28 '11 at 20:47
  • Well, this isn't exactly the news I was hoping for - But I've been playing around with VirtualBox some more, and I find it runs windows exceptionally quickly and smoothly. Once I cloned my virtual hard drive to the SD card (which is only class 4, yikes) it took an enormously long time to do anything, but was still usable. I will purchase a high speed SD card, and I think that will suit my needs. But this would have been cooler :) – Dakine83 Mar 28 '11 at 21:59

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