Is it possible to install Windows 7 as a second OS on a Macbook Air with no access to a superdrive? And if it is, how?

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    "The other quirk with putting Windows on the Air is that it must be done with a USB optical drive - no hard drive/thumb drive installs. Interestingly, my external optical drive wasn’t recognized as a bootable drive, so I had to run out and grab an Apple SuperDrive. Apple says that you just need an external DVD drive, without specifying the MacBook Air SuperDrive, but your mileage may vary." Source: anandtech.com/show/3991/… – Peter Štibraný Oct 28 '10 at 10:53
  • For reference: here's Apple's official stance which says that you need an optical drive, but interestingly enough doesn't mention the SuperDrive. – Senseful Dec 30 '10 at 20:40

I created a bootable USB stick with my Windows Vista DVD. I followed the instructions on Install Win 7 on MacBook Air from a USB drive.

  • I eventually did it in a similar way, only from Parallels, since I didn't have a windows pc handy. – Michiel de Mare Feb 20 '11 at 2:15

The most straight forward method to actually getting this done is to get your hands on an external DVD drive that connects via USB but is not the point of your question.

Yes it is possible; you'll need to get your copy of Windows 7 DVD put onto a USB thumb drive. (There are several guides available online - I've not done it myself so I can't recommend one)

Another alternative requires a lot of extra work and is really designed if you're planning to image or install on multiple MacBook Airs; it's possible to NetBoot your MacBook Air using the USB Ethernet adapter. (Source) This requires either a rigged out version of Mac OS X or Mac OS X Server handy. With DeployStudio you can install a pre-made image of Windows 7 that way.


Even better way is to use VirtualBox to install windows or other OS on mac book. You can always delete it when you want. With a little loss in speed, you gain a lot.

See : http://www.virtualbox.org/

I had blogged on how to install ubantu Linux with VirtualBox. Installing windows is no different.

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    It's hardly "even better" way if you don't want to use Mac OS X in the first place. Virtualization has its places and I also use virtualbox which is great, but sometimes you simply need to run the other OS natively. – Peter Štibraný Oct 28 '10 at 10:52
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    I have tried to run Windows Vista in VirtualBox but it was very bad, Mac OS X crashed often. I don't recommend VirtualBox on Mac when you have Windows as a guest. – Jonas Feb 22 '11 at 18:13

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