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Is it possible to install Windows 7 (64-bit) on a Mac Pro without Boot Camp?

I don't need Mac OS at all and just want to install Windows 7.

EDIT: Yes, it seems possible (see answer), but I would strongly recommend to follow deddebme's advice on this matter.

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  • 1
    so... why did you get a Mac Pro?
    – Decio Lira
    Nov 20, 2009 at 23:59
  • 1
    I didn't and if you mainly want to run Windows on it I wouldn't recommend it. Nov 22, 2009 at 23:29

8 Answers 8

9

This is for Vista, but the same rules should apply to 7.

http://derekhat.com/install-vista-on-a-macbook-without-bootcamp/

18

If I were you, I won't bother installing windows without boot camp, since it is painfully unnecessary if you do so.

You'll be losing something like one hour and 10GB of harddisk space if you install (restore) OSX and install bootcamp, but you'll save lots of time since bootcamp will do the EFI booting configurating, partitions creating and shrinking, providing mac hardware drivers etc.

5
  • 1
    +1 there's no real reason to not keep OS X installed, unless hard disk space is a particular premium. You can configure boot camp to launch into Windows directly bypassing the boot screen if you want.
    – Mark Pim
    Nov 3, 2009 at 9:58
  • 1
    I think the Mac drivers are provided by installing the bootcamp drivers from the OS X disc (as pointed out by Lawrence) - even if I have OSX I have to manually install the drivers. Nov 3, 2009 at 23:46
  • I recently bought an iMac and installed Windows 7 x64 on it. The bootcamp setup application on the DVD refused to run on x64. This may have been resolved now, but it's something to be aware of Feb 25, 2010 at 9:53
  • 2
    @crippledsmurf make sure your mac is on this official apple support list of Windows 7 64 bit support.apple.com/kb/HT1846, then you should be able to install bootcamp in Windows 7
    – deddebme
    Feb 26, 2010 at 16:55
  • Any firmware updates only get OS X updates too, good idea to keep it just in case you need one of those
    – Nick
    Aug 29, 2011 at 1:27
2

I did it following the Vista instructions that Joseph posted above. It will work, but here are a few things I wish someone would have told me:

the big gotcha: no xp mode

  1. if you want to use "xp mode" with windows 7, you have to enable your hardware virtualization in the bios. But macs don't have "bioses" so you'll have no way to do this after you install. Forum rumor has it that if you boot first to osx and then reboot into windows 7 that osx will start it for you and then you can use xp mode. of course, you need bootcamp to be able to boot both of these (maybe you could install osx to another hd or something).

You can use VMLight instead, but I installed itunes on that and it just crashed without running. Had similar experiences with Adobe on parrallels in OSx.

there's some general issues with booting macs that most users probably know already, but I did not:

  1. do the disk util thing the way the vista instructions describe.

  2. when you reboot with your windows 7 cd, it will do some initial instally-things and then reboot your computer. You have to hold down the "alt" key when it's rebooting and then select the hard drive to boot from, otherwise you will be stuck with a white/grey screen.

  3. when you are done with the install, reboot and hold down "alt" and then control-click the windows-7 drive to make it the default boot volume and you don't have to hold "alt" down anymore on restart.

As others have said, it's probably best to just use bootcamp and set windows as the default. Unless you're putting everything on one big raid volume and booting straight from that, osx isn't really hurting anything except a few megs off your boot volume, but that's not typically a problem.

(I didn't install any drivers from the disk and didn't have any problems)

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Not sure if you can simply install Windows 7 from scratch (i.e., pop the disc in and boot from it, as opposed to using the Boot Camp Assistant from Mac OS X), but you'll certainly want to use the Mac OS X disc afterwards to install the Boot Camp hardware drivers.

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Windows 7 Pro, x64 disc boots fine on Mac Pro. Just delete all existing Mac partition, and create new Windows partitions, and reformat the new partitions. Windows 7 installs and boots as is. Then insert Snow Leopard disc and install Boot Camp drivers.

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Install Windows 7, put the OSX disk in, and rather than letting it autorun, open the disk manually and select setup. The compatibility checks Boot Camp seems to run appear to be bypassed this way.

It worked for me on my mad science rig "Abby", but she was dual booting Ubuntu 10.x 64 and Windows 7 64 with grub-efi-amd64, so that may have made a difference. Macbook Pro 2,1.

0

well once i installed xp x64 to a single free drive. first i removed the os x drive and and a new empty harddrive. it was as easy as installing on a pc. Standart install worked fine and i used 64 bit drives from intel, ati and others (not bootcamp drivers). had no problem. it was a dual socket, 2 core xeons, mac pro, total 4 cores...

0

environment: any MBP/MBA having GPT (yes GPT, not MBR, because 10.11/10.12/Sierra/etc will not allow you to have MBP partitioned drive and installed on it, especially on wireless recovery mode). however if you don't have MBR drive partitioned - windows 7 will refuse installation - the only cure is a "hybrid" GPT/MBR configuration explained below.

prerequirements: you need 2 USB sticks = 1 formatted NTFS (because you might have no DVD drive anymore around) and created as Windows7 installation using unetBootIn, 1 formatted FAT32 for win32/64 MBP drivers to be stored onto with the help of boot-camp

step 0: all you need from the boot-camp these days is to get WindowsSupport folder downloaded into your USB stick FAT32 formatted one. trying to install windows 7 using boot-camp will complain about single only partition you must have on your HDD and will complain about installing ONLY from DVD disk (imaging the hassle as modern MBP/MBA has NO DVD drive embedded at all)

step 1: you have to migrate windows 7 installation from DVD drive/image into USB stick. the best way to do so is to use unetbootin. make sure you have NTFS formatted stick otherwise it will not boot installation after.

step 2: repartition your hdd drive using regular macosx disk utility (let it stay in GPT mode, it won't matter for you anymore).

step 3: download and install refind boot loader replacing original useless MBP/MBA pseudo-bootloader (you can always comeback to the original one by holding "alt" key during boot process). refind will let you choose what media to boot from including: USB stick with windows 7 installation image and HDD partition with already installed windows 7 (later)

step 4: download and install gdisk. it will require to append hybrid MBR partition emulation (without boot flag enabled!). you sudo gdisk with your drive device name. print list of partitions (command 'p') and remember the one you've created for future windows 7 installation. then switch into "recovery and transformation mode" (command 'r'). make hybrid MBR (command 'h'): specify windows 7 dedicated partition number (single digit), answer 'y' on place EFI GPT partition first, answer "default" on MBR hex code (just hit Enter), answer 'n' on set the bootable flag. answer 'n' on "use one to protect other". write table to the disk (command 'w'). if you specify bootable flag 'y' - you'll have a windows 7 usb stick bootloader failure (it will discover bootable win7 partition on your hdd and will try to boot from it instead).

step 5: plug windows 7 usb stick and reboot. you'll see 3 choices to boot produced by refind bootloader menu: "your macosx partition name", "boot windows (legacy) from Basic data partition" - this is your future windows 7 partition to boot from, "boot windows (legacy) from NTFS volume" - this is your NTFS formatted USB stick with windows 7 installation - run installation from it now. inside windows install select "advanced" installation and choose preselected partition by yourself. don't delete the partition but I'd suggest to format it within the menu. the rest of installation process will be relatively simple and standard. remove the stick once the windows will enter reboot state.

step 6: plug in fat32 formatted usb stick with WindowsSupport folder you've downloaded with the help of boot-camp application. execute setup from inside the folder and wait for all the drivers to be installed. reboot system and you are done with the 2 systems booting in parallel from the refind bootloader.

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