I have spent 4 days now, trying to install Windows7 64 bit on my MacBook Pro 13 mid 2010 with High Sierra installed on it. I had installed in many years ago and it was really easy. I removed it when I replaced my original HDD with 500GB SSD. After many attempts with getting ISO to work with BootCamp assistant, I gave up and tried installing directly from bootable USB by using refind (as pressing opt/alt at start-up did show this USB as a bootable source.

Doing that I get the error "Windows can't be installed in drive 0 partition x (show details)" and the detail gives the error message "The selected disk is of the GPT partition style". Additionally it says that it must be NTFS.

I could click format, but it remains stuck at GPT error.

I tried different solutions so far that did not work.

  1. Solution with ExFAT format It simply says that format Windows/bootcamp partition to ExFAT from diskutility and restart. Tried it but did not help.

  2. solution given with gdisk Tried that, but did not help. Still got the message.

  3. Solution by using diskpart at the Windows Installation screen. I used it missing to check that it is to be used in case I have separate physical disk. I used it and wiped out my who HDD.

After 3 I started fresh with High Sierra again. But I partitioned my disk before installing any OS. Now, I tried the same to install Windows7, but I get the same message. I realized that above instructions were for Windows 8. Don't know if that makes a difference on how to proceed with this GPT error?

Also in Solution 1, it highlights " make sure that "bootcamp is partition 4". But for me it appears at partition 3. Does that makes a difference?

Output from diskutil

 diskutil list
/dev/disk0 (internal, physical):
   #:      TYPE NAME                            SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:      GUID_partition_scheme              *500.1 GB   disk0
   1:       EFI EFI                             209.7 MB   disk0s1
   2:       Apple_APFS Container disk1         409.9 GB   disk0s2
   3:       Microsoft Basic Data BOOTCAMP      89.9 GB    disk0s3

/dev/disk1 (synthesized):
   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:      APFS Container Scheme -                      +409.9 GB   disk1
                                 Physical Store disk0s2
   1:                APFS Volume MacintoshHD             13.0 GB    disk1s1
   2:                APFS Volume Preboot                 22.2 MB    disk1s2
   3:                APFS Volume Recovery                516.2 MB   disk1s3
   4:                APFS Volume VM                      4.3 GB     disk1s4

Output from gdisk

GPT fdisk (gdisk) version 1.0.4

Warning: Devices opened with shared lock will not have their
partition table automatically reloaded!
Partition table scan:
  MBR: protective
  BSD: not present
  APM: not present
  GPT: present

Found valid GPT with protective MBR; using GPT.

output from gdisk print partition table

Expert command (? for help): p
Disk /dev/disk0: 976773168 sectors, 465.8 GiB
Sector size (logical): 512 bytes
Disk identifier (GUID): C49B7CD4-E813-445E-BEDB-BCA947F6F707
Partition table holds up to 128 entries
Main partition table begins at sector 2 and ends at sector 33
First usable sector is 34, last usable sector is 976773134
Partitions will be aligned on 8-sector boundaries
Total free space is 263573 sectors (128.7 MiB)

Number  Start (sector)    End (sector)  Size       Code  Name
   1              40          409639   200.0 MiB   EF00  EFI System Partition
   2          409640       800991871   381.7 GiB   AF0A  
   3       800993280       976510975   83.7 GiB    0700  

output from gdisk "print protective MBR data

Disk size is 976773168 sectors (465.8 GiB)
MBR disk identifier: 0x00000000
MBR partitions:

Number  Boot  Start Sector   End Sector   Status      Code
   1                     1    976773167   primary     0xEE

Output from gpt -r show /dev/disk0

      start       size  index  contents
          0          1         PMBR
          1          1         Pri GPT header
          2         32         Pri GPT table
         34          6         
         40     409600      1  GPT part - C12A7328-F81F-11D2-BA4B-00A0C93EC93B
     409640  800582232      2  GPT part - 7C3457EF-0000-11AA-AA11-00306543ECAC
  800991872       1408         
  800993280  175517696      3  GPT part - EBD0A0A2-B9E5-4433-87C0-68B6B72699C7
  976510976     262159         
  976773135         32         Sec GPT table
  976773167          1         Sec GPT header

At this moment Bootcamp is FAT32 partition.

After 4 days of effort, loss of data, I need help. I am not sure if I missed something small to notice after reading page after page.

I came across this solution about converting drive from GPT to hybrid. I would like to try this, but at the same time I notice that almost every article warns about Hybrid GPT/MBR.

I hope there is a simple solution than this or if someone can confirm that this is the only option left to try. I can then try this complicated looking solution as well.

  • I believe you would be better off using hybrid partitioning. I believe the Windows Support Software was designed for a BIOS booting Windows 7 on 2010 Macs. To BIOS boot you need hybrid partitioning. Are you using a DVD or some other method to install Windows? – David Anderson Jan 6 at 10:45
  • I am using USB flash drive, which I can boot through refind installed on Mac. When I select, it shows "boot Windows in legacy mode". I assume that means it is using BIOS mode and thus creates conflict with GPT disks. Looking at your post, for me using gdisk simpler method than gpt .. I was just about to use it, as I figure I have nothing to lose, as already I am on barebones High Sierra after a fresh install :). based on DVD or USB any special procedure that can or need to be used? – arundeep78 Jan 6 at 11:03
  • The link you have referred to is step 3 in the solution to this question. You may be able to modify the answer to work with a 2010 Mac and Windows 7. For example, the Boot Camp Support Software would change. The link to the correct download can be found here. – David Anderson Jan 6 at 11:07
  • I tried using BCA, even with editing of .plist. But just could not get it to work. The current usb can boot through refind, but not through alt/opt. The ISO I used to create this USB on a windows machine, does not work with BCA to create a flash drive. I have GPT * for disk0 as mentioned in your link at step 12. I would try your [solution][3] and see how it goes. At max, I would need to start over, but I have no more data to lose :). I will report back soon, how it went – arundeep78 Jan 6 at 11:47
  • I followed the steps to make hybrid MBR. All seems good on MAC side. I can boot in MAC, go to recovery and so on. But now, the usb flash drive became useless!! When I select it through refind, it starts as before with Windows logo and then stops immediately at black screen with blinking cursor on top :(. The output of gdisk /dev/disk0 GPT fdisk (gdisk) version 1.0.4 Partition table scan: MBR: hybrid BSD: not present APM: not present GPT: present Found valid GPT with hybrid MBR; using GPT – arundeep78 Jan 6 at 13:01

Basically, this is a chicken/egg problem where the Windows 7 installation flash drive will not boot properly when the internal drive is hybrid partitioned.

After many hours of false starts, the following steps were used to install Windows 7. You will need two flash drives.

  1. Download and install rEFInd on the Mac.

  2. Use ImgBurn on a Windows machine to create an iso file from the Windows 7 DVD.

  3. Use Rufus on a Windows machine to create the bootable USB flash drive from the iso file.

  4. Use MacOS to create the internal drive partitions needed to install Windows 7.

  5. Download the latest Windows Support Software. For your Mac, this software can be found at Boot Camp Support Software 4.0.4033.

  6. FAT32 format the second flash drive. Be sure to use a MBR partitioning scheme. For example, you could use the macOS Disk Utility application to erase the flash drive using the parameters shown in the image below.

  7. Copy the Windows Support Software to root folder on the second flash drive. For example, you could use the macOS Finder application to copy the files.

  8. Put a copy of gdisk for windows on second flash drive.

  9. With both flash drives inserted in USB ports on the Mac, use rEFInd to boot from flash drive created with Rufus.
  10. Use shift+f10 key combination to open a Command Prompt window.
  11. Use Method 1 in this answer to convert in internal drive from pure GPT to hybrid partitioned.
  12. Exit the Command Prompt window and complete the installation of Windows 7.
  13. Install the Window Support Software.
| improve this answer | |
  • All these steps from answer are valid. Except that on my macbookpro, the usb created by the given method was not detected by refind as bootable. I created an iso on windows machine using imgburn and wrote that on usb with rufus. This was bootable. Surprisingly, after following all other steps and installing Win7, the first USB was detected by refind as bootable!! – arundeep78 Jan 9 at 7:50
  • @arundeep78: I updated my answer. I assume you can edit my answer. If so, please make any additional corrections. Or, post additional corrections as comments. – David Anderson Jan 9 at 8:46
  • Once again, many thanks for the help. I hope it will help someone who comes across such a problem. Although Win7 supoorted hardware and new software will make it a rare occurrence :) – arundeep78 Jan 9 at 19:48
  • @arundeep78: If I posted the correct answer, then I am left rather confused. If you had the DVD to begin with, then why not just boot the Mac using the DVD and then install Windows 7? Why go through all the extra work to to use ImgBurn and Rufus to create a flash drive that was only bootable through the use of rEFInd? – David Anderson Jan 9 at 22:45
  • Actually, I didn't have DVD. I had an ISO file with bootcamp software already on it. I had it from last time when I installed Windows 7 (about 7-8 years ago). I thought it was bootable, but Mac and refind won't accept it. I tried methods with diskutil, dd and copy paste etc. , but none worked. Finally this method with imgburn and rufus worked to get USB that refind would detect as bootable. I think along with DVD one can add from a non bootable ISO and/ windows 7 folder to make a bootable USB. As one may have DVD but not a dvd drive on Mac. – arundeep78 Jan 11 at 8:34

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