I'm currently trying to install windows on my macbook (13in, 2011), but without any success. My CD drive is dead (as a matter of facts its ruining any cds I put in it), and I simply cant boot via USB. Im running Mavericks. I've tried enabling USB burning on bootcamp assistant and codesigning it, and it worked for Windows 8, I could even boot, but couldn't install it on the bootcamp partition. As soon as I get to the screen in which to select the partition, windows refuses to install, with some error code. I've also tried formatting this partition as ntfs from inside the windows installer, but it doesn't work also. After I did that, whenever I restart my macbook, I get an error message saying "No bootable device found" or something like that, and I can only get back to OSX by holding option and selecting it manually. After All of that I've tried windows 7, and this time the bootloader (when I hold the option key) doesn't recognize the usb anymore. So, as nothing works, how can I install windows? (It's for gaming purposes). Maybe I can make a small partition, burn the windows installer to it and boot from that? It sounds like a plan, but I cant find how to burn a .iso to a partition anywhere.

1 Answer 1


This might seem like a long shot, but it was also the only option for me to install Windows into my Bootcamp partition a little while back. It's also the only option for a Mac that used to have an optical drive but no longer does, since for some reason these devices are no longer able to boot from USB.

  1. Use Disk Utility to create a FAT partition a little larger than your wanted Windows partition.
  2. Install rEFIt.
  3. Reboot twice for rEFIt to install properly. As soon as you see the rEFIt boot menu when starting, it's good. Here you choose the 'Partition Tool', with which you'll change the MBR (Master Boot Record). (On a side note: You can easily uninstall rEFIt by renaming the directory at the root of your harddrive)
  4. Install VirtualBox, Parallels or VMware. I did this with VMware back at the time, but all of these should work as long as you're able to mount the virtual harddrive like any removable disk.
  5. Use the virtualization software to install Windows into a virtual machine at the size of your wanted partition (not what you made it above, but a little smaller than that). You can of course install from an ISO here, making the state of your disc drive irrelevant. Kill the virtual machine as soon as it reboots the first time after finishing the installation, stopping Windows before being able to configure itself.
  6. Use the virtualization software's features to mount the virtual harddrive.
  7. Install a tool called WinClone.
  8. If your virtual drive is mounted, WinClone should be able to see this in the tab 'Image'. Pull this into an image onto your harddrive.
  9. Now choose the 'Restore' tab in WinClone and restore this image to your Bootcamp partition.
  10. Now you can reboot and boot into your Bootcamp partition with rEFIt, which is no longer of any use from this point on, but you can keep it around as well. Windows should now continue configuring itself and finish the installation.

I stumbled across this solution here in the Apple Support Community and posted about it here a while ago on a German Apple User Forum, if that turns out to be of any use to anybody.

  • what does create a FAT partition a little larger than your wanted Windows partition. mean?
    – user101404
    Nov 19, 2014 at 7:32
  • You're going to run into problems if it's even a bit too small, which quickly happens when you're aiming for the same size. So for safety, make the FAT partition a little larger, a gigabyte should definitely suffice.
    – Kilian
    Nov 19, 2014 at 12:20
  • I have to comment that only some Macs with optical drives are not able to boot from USB. My MacbookPro8,3 (Early 2011) cannot, while my iMac 11 (Mid 2010) can.
    – bomben
    Feb 5, 2017 at 9:30

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