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I have a Mid-2010 MacBook Pro (MacBookPro6,1) and my optical drive has died. I need to install Windows on it, and was hoping to do so via Boot Camp.

I have a Windows 7x32 .iso and have also created a (nominally, untested) bootable USB stick via the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool. Using the tip on this page I can mount the disk image locally and get Boot Camp to create the Boot Camp partition, but when I reboot I see "No bootable device -- insert boot disk and press any key". Presumably this is because I cannot boot from USB on this older model MacBook Pro.

I've purchased Paragon NTFS in the naïve hope that creating a NTFS partition and copying the ISO or bootable USB to that would work, and tried using rEFIt to boot from such devices. In both cases the end result is a black screen with flashing underline, but no further message.

I also have an external drive (USB and FW800) that I can format and partition in any way that might be helpful.

Is there any way I can get Boot Camp/Windows 7 working on this machine…other than replacing my optical drive with one that works?

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  • Maybe of assistance andrewsavory.com/blog/2011/2156
    – Simon
    Commented Apr 22, 2013 at 18:08
  • the problem is that mac os x somehow doesn't manage to set the active flag to the partition, although you tell it to bee a boot partition. so at boot time it is not recognized as bootable.
    – konqui
    Commented Dec 19, 2013 at 19:13
  • have a look here: insanelymac.com/forum/topic/…
    – konqui
    Commented Dec 19, 2013 at 19:14
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    keep in mind with only windows on mac no os x you can't install any firmware upgrades so it is better to do a dual boot or just use boot camp.
    – konqui
    Commented Dec 19, 2013 at 19:17
  • @konqui Vice versa for every other device firmware. Never seen a HDD firmware updater for OS X.
    – bot47
    Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 14:56

4 Answers 4

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You can boot from an external USB drive from this MacBook Pro. Use bootcamp to copy the ISO on a 8Gig (or more) USB Drive. Then boot from it by pressing option at the boot chime.

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  • This sounds promising. Can you supply more information? a) How do you know that this model supports USB Booting? b) Do you suggest using Boot Camp to create the Windows partition first? c) How do you suggest that I burn the ISO to the USB drive so that it is a bootable Windows image? Disk Utility, or something else?
    – Phrogz
    Commented Mar 16, 2013 at 13:57
  • Every Macbook supports USB booting. I don't know which OSX you're running, but on (Mountain) Lion Bootcamp can create an installation disk on USB from a Windows ISO. Commented Mar 16, 2013 at 14:01
  • only macs that came without an optical drive can use the usb instal option Commented Jul 29, 2014 at 7:25
  • Nope. Every single Mac with an Intel Processor. Commented Jul 29, 2014 at 7:37
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    @dennismuys, you are giving bad advice, please stop pasting this comment. All new world Macs, basically the last decade worth, can boot off USB. Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 14:51
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I had a similar problem with my macbook pro early 2011, I replaced my optical drive with a second hdd and tried to install windows on bootcamp via usb. Unfortunately only the macs that come without a optical drive like the retina or air models are able to install windows via usb it is hard coded in the bios of the machine and I was told I can not change it. Now I use vmware to run windows for small tasks, but as stated above you don't want to game on it..

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Unfortunately, this is not possible. If your MacBook came with an optical drive, the CSM Mode of Apple's EFI will only boot from the optical medium.

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I'd highly recommend installing Windows on virtual machines like VMWare or Parallel Desktop. These applications would let you choose the ISO file on Mac OS X hard drive for installing. The performance is decent for regular tasks, unless you're looking for a gaming platform.

If you'd insist to install Windows on Bootcamp, you can create a bootable Windows 7 installer media on a USB flash drive.

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