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I recently got a macbook pro with the intention of dual booting Windows 7 so that I can play some old games I still have that don't run on anything more recent, and generally access my Steam library. I was frustrated to find that Bootcamp would not allow me to use Windows 7, despite the fact that my laptop is compatible, and therefore set out to create a bootable USB on my own.

It's been really, really frustrating. I've searched for a couple hours online, but I must be doing something wrong, because all of the tutorials I can find either do not work, or tell me to use bootcamp - Which won't let me doing what I'm trying to do.

I have a Windows 7 Iso that I legally downloaded, I have a USB stick with 8 gigs of storage. I cannot for the life of me figure out how to make that USB stick function as a bootable drive, so that my Macbook will let me install Windows.

Any advice, or links to a tutorial that actually works?

  • Run 'sudo dd if='/path/to/Install_macOS_Sierra_(OS_X_10.12.3).iso' of=/dev/sdd bs=4M' except with the windows 7 ISO and the location of the thumb drive . Then try booting it. If that doesn't work the then it might be because it isn't Mac comptable format but I'm just guessing. I haven't done this except with Linux distros. – William Apr 30 '17 at 15:58
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Microsoft has a tool for creating a bootable USB stick installer that works with Windows 7, 8 and 10. You can find it here. http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msusa/html/pbPage.Help_Win7_usbdvd_dwnTool#installation

The caveat is that you will need a windows PC to use the utility.

Now Bootcamp will do the same thing plus it will put all the right drivers in the installer to be installed with Windows and help you resize the Mac partition and create a Windows partition. You don't technically have to do it that way though. If you open the Boot Camp package there will be a Windows driver installer package you can copy onto your Windows 7 install USB media and then run once you have windows installed.

Note that you will likely have to re-partition the drive yourself. the Windows 7 installer will not likely resize your Mac partition, you'll probably need one of those Linux bootable "rescue" utilities that will let you resize your Mac's partition so you can install Windows in the partition you could create with it.

It is not terribly difficult but does require enough computer experience to not mess things up and do everything in the right order.

One bit of advice though make a backup image of your Mac's HD before you do anything else. As things going wrong are not unlikely at all.

  • That didn't work. I followed the instructions for the Windows tool in order to create a bootable stick, and it said that the Iso. copied properly, but when I plugged the USB back into my mac, it doesn't see it as a bootable drive, it just sees it as a USB stick. My drive is partitioned (I have about 100gb set aside for the Windows 7 install), and I can't see anything that I'm doing wrong, but my computer doesn't see the drive. – Mikmaxs Dec 26 '16 at 2:49
  • Sorry for the confusion but the Microsoft Media Creation Tool will not necessarily creat a USB stick that will boot a Mac. Really to install Windows on a Mac you NEED to use the Apple Boot Camp utility. The media creation tool is so you can get and create an ISO that Boot Camp can then use as it's source. – Steve Chambers Feb 13 '18 at 14:55
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That's because Macs cannot natively read NTFS (what Windows is formatted to) drives. If you restart in boot mode by holding down the option key it should show up. If that doesn't work, try installing an NTFS driver tool for Macs and then repeat.

  • Macs can natively read NTFS. NTFS drivers for macOS add write support. – grg Feb 23 '17 at 20:34
  • This has nothing to do with ISO booting. ISO are formatted completely differently for booting. – William Apr 30 '17 at 16:00

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