Install Vista on a MacBook WITHOUT BootCamp

It’s no secret that I love Apple laptops but I much prefer Vista over OS X.  I’ve upgraded to a MacBook Pro and wanted to see if I could get Windows Vista to install on my old 13″ MacBook without using BootCamp.

The following method worked for me using a Windows Vista DVD with Service Pack 1.  I did a fresh install of OS X 10.4 Tiger before doing this.  (Sorry the pictures are wonky – I’m not great at shooting screen shots with my camera.)

Your mileage may vary.  Proceed at your own risk:

Insert Mac OS X Install Disc (this part should work with OS X 10.4 Tiger or OS X 10.5 Leopard discs).

Reboot.  Hold down C key during reboot.

Do not start the install.  From the Utilities menu, select Disk Utility.


Select your hard drive from the list and then click the Partition tab / button.

Click the Options button and select “Master Boot Record” as the partition scheme.  Click OK.


From the Volume Scheme drop down list, select 1 Partition.  Select MS-DOS (FAT) for the format (not that this matters since you will reformat it using NTFS during the Vista install).


Click Apply.

Reboot.  Hold down the Alt/Option key turning reboot.


When the graphical boot menu appears, hit the eject button.  Take out the OS X Install Disc and put in your Vista with SP1 install disc.


If a Windows DVD icon does not appear, reboot and hold down Alt/Option during reboot.

When the Windows DVD icon appears in the graphical boot menu, hit Enter to select it.


Proceed through the Vista install.


When you come to screen titled “Where do you want to install Windows,” select Disk 0.


There will be a message saying that you cannot install to that disk because it is not formatted using NTFS.


Click the Drive Options link.  Click the Format link.  Click OK in the confirmation dialog.


Now select Disk 0 and click Next.

The Vista installation should proceed as normal.

Once Windows is installed and loaded, insert an OS X 10.5 Leopard disc and install the Windows drivers from Apple. If you do not have access to an OS X 10.5 Leopard disc, your mileage may vary in getting all the hardware to work.  (Note:  I used the Leopard disc from my MacBook Pro to install the drivers for on the old MacBook.  Worked like a charm.)

If this works for you, please leave me a comment here.  If it didn’t work, please leave a comment describing what happened.

  154 comments for “Install Vista on a MacBook WITHOUT BootCamp

  1. Everest
    September 12, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    Hi guys,

    I installed Windows 7 on my MacBook 13 inch Mac OSX 10.5. Everything is fine except the sound. The sound does not work in Windows 7. When i check the device manager it seems shows that the sound driver is installed. But maybe its not installed the right one. I cannot hear youtube video sound, neither can i hear any audio sound. Any help on this would be greatly appreciated.

    Can use the Mac OSx install cd to find the driver? I want to be sure becuase i do not want to screw the installed OS again. I installed WIndows 7 by first creating a seperate partition with disk utility tool in Mac OS X. I did not use bootcamp. Then in that partition i installed Windows 7.I would prefer not to use bootcamp, becuase it screwd my previous install!

    Thanks in advance

  2. Bubba Jump
    September 16, 2010 at 2:45 am

    I have a question. I followed the instructions and installed Windows 7 on my macbook pro. I even managed to fix the sound problem that Everest mentions. Apple released an update for it and for the most part the Apple Update Manager installed the update automatically.

    Now I want to install Mac OS X on a separate partition without losing my windows 7 installation, can I do that. Lots of articles on how to install Windows 7 x64 atop of Mac OS X. I have a Macbook pro running windows and want to run Mac OS X on it without losing all the data. I have a bigger hard drive now and would love to be able to run mac os x when I need to, especially because I miss iPhoto and iMovie like hell. If anybofy could help, that would be much appreciated.

  3. Carsen
    September 20, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Hey Tigger,

    Were there any different steps with the Ubuntu 10.4? Did you install it on “Disk 0” or did you integrate it with the Mac OS? I’m new when it comes to this stuff, but I want to run Linux for programming ease.


  4. Galatei
    October 9, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    Hi, used your guide and worked like a charm with Windows 7 x64. The only thing was, that I had to create new single boot type dvd with windows. This is due to well known: “Select CD-ROM boot type:” issue. All one has to do is to follow this:

    Anyway, thanks a lot.

  5. shengero armel
    October 18, 2010 at 4:22 am

    thanks but if we don’t have the os x 10.5 or any other disc?

  6. markcass101
    October 28, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Hey Bubba Jump,

    The mac install disk can’t deal with an NTFS partition. What you need to do is partition your hard disk from Windows, then you can safely format the new partition in HFS and install mac!

    Job Job 🙂

  7. Ayyaz Ilyas
    December 6, 2010 at 8:26 am

    I also install windows 7 on my macbook and its working fine

  8. Bob D
    December 11, 2010 at 8:11 am

    Well fellow Micr-apple people. I just got the dual 6 core oredered with the ATI 5870 video card. I will be running both operating systems and yeah, it is simple to just create two partitions, once that is done, you may have to tell Wind’blows to display the OSX option, but they should run well together. The issue I will have is that the Mac is Raid 0 when it gets here, I am not sure how Windows will handle the installation.

    I wish I could run XP on it, but that isn’t an option now days.

    Wish me luck! Watch for the first Dual Xeon 12 core benchmarks on Passmark.

  9. Nathan
    December 20, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    So is it still possible to switch between the vista and mac’s operating systems? or will it permanently be on vista?

  10. January 6, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    @Chris Ting i don’t know sure, but i think windows 7 much better then vista 😀

  11. Ethan
    January 11, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    I have something to ask …. i reinstall Windows 7 without using BootCamp and MAC OS, but it seems some hardware driver problem occur (this MACBook is from my customer, not mine. and LOST the CD too T_T) how can i get the whole hardware driver and it works perfectly? i tried many way but it no works T_T

    now is sound and 2 driver no found T_T

  12. January 12, 2011 at 1:33 am

    Thanks Derek worked like a charm!

  13. Barney Stimpleton
    February 18, 2011 at 12:08 pm


  14. Barney Stimpleton
    February 20, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    Will this dual boot Windows or make my Mac 100% Windows?

  15. March 5, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    Great guide! It worked for me on my Mac Pro.

  16. Nick
    March 10, 2011 at 6:43 am

    @Barney Stimpleton yes this will delete the Mac OSX part of your computer. If you want to dual boot do some research on Bootcamp

  17. saqj
    March 11, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Guys … will I be able to switch back to Mac OS if I changed my mind ?

  18. Lance
    March 17, 2011 at 10:13 am

    For a minute, I thought you were going to tell us something. I’m sure we all know how to do this. I thought you were going to tell us how to install Windows Vista or 7 on a Mac that already has OS X without using Boot Camp. Now THAT would be telling us something useful.

  19. JJ
    April 27, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    I was able to triple boot with Win 7 Ult x64, OSX and Ubuntu 11.04 RC. All are working fine on a Mac desktop. I got this desktop and wanted to try it out. I have 2 x 1TB hard drives internal. All works fine. It wasnt too tricky.

  20. Richie
    May 29, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Just so everyone knows, windows 7 sound won’t work if your running anything below snowleapord in bootcamp, it’s not just a simple missing driver, i know it sucks i had to upgrade too in order to run 7. I didn’t read every comment so if someone said this before me sorry for the repeat.

    source: me and apple

  21. Luke
    June 27, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    Have to say this couldn’t really be easier. I have been offering to install windows on all my clients macbooks and macbook pros. I get paid they get windows everyone is happy!

  22. Carmelo
    June 30, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    I followed your guide, it worked like a charm. The only issue i have is that the mac will not auto boot to windows. I have to hold down the alt key everytime i boot the mac. Can someone tell me how to configure the auto boot option?

  23. Rahul
    July 6, 2011 at 4:34 am

    Thank god u did a good guide to do this thing like a charm…
    One question please…
    Will multitouch on trackpad also work if we install windows 7 by ur method??
    SOmeone plzzz tell…

  24. Jeremy
    September 28, 2011 at 4:59 am

    I have a different problem.
    I have used bootcamp to partition my hdd and allocated 50GB for Win7 64-bit (ultimate).

    Followed the instruction to insert Win7 installation dvd and clicked continue.

    Win7 booted up no problem, after selecting language and region; I hit “Install”

    The error came out -> “Unable to find device driver, please click cancel, browse or rescan”

    I am stuck there and unable to proceed.

    Macbook Pro 13 (mid 2009)
    Running OSX Lion
    Bootcamp 4.0

  25. Calvin
    September 28, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    Hi, can u play games on this ?

  26. Jeremy
    October 5, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    Finally fixed the problem….

  27. bryan
    October 25, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    i install a windows 7 on my macbook and the isight and audio doesn’t work properly what should i do to work my audio and isight or my webcam?

  28. January 14, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Hurray! thnx so much, got it working after 3 bootcamp-errors…
    Best tutorial, thnx!

  29. Joe
    January 30, 2012 at 11:27 am

    I have done this too because I have multiple partitions on my drive that were not created through bootcamp, rather through disk utility. However, with the use of bootcamp you are able to keep the GUID partition table. That is a big plus, because the master boot record partition slows down the operating system quite significantly. I am in the process of reattempting the whole process again this time with GUID. It seems that apple has some support files that you can download through bootcamp assistant even if you are not using bootcamp to partition it. I’ll let you know if this works. If it’s any consolation to anyone, you must have the first partition dedicated to windows and the last with the windows operating system if you don’t go through bootcamp.

  30. jamadagni
    February 10, 2012 at 8:15 am

    Hi i am successfully installed win7 in my mac book but Bluetooth and camera option is not showing in control panel .

  31. Justin
    July 20, 2012 at 3:57 am

    I know this is really old but thank you so much!!!! I was about to throw this Mac down the stairs!

  32. MackDaddy
    August 4, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    I have a question. All the steps work fine for me except to point where you have to reboot your computer and insert your windows install DVD. I take the OSX install disk and insert my Windows 7 install disk but the icon doesn’t show.

    I noticed in your picture that in your 5th picture your install disk is a burned disk. My windows 7 disk is also burned. But it won’t show as an icon to select for booting an installation. I just continue to get the blank white screen you get when it boots up.

    Is there a reason that my install disk doesn’t show up? Did you have that problem? How did you fix it?

  33. Doug Mitchell
    September 20, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    MackDaddy: Did you get things to work? I’m about to try Win7 64-bit with a brand new machine coming next week.

    Anybody else get this to work with a USB3.0 machine? The machine currently available (non-Retna).

  34. doug mitchell
    October 10, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    Got Windows 7 running with this method and now will probably install this new drive in my optical bay so I can boot one or the other drives upon startup. Thanks so much! This allowed me to have 750GB for mac and 750GB for my CAD and other windows stuff. Awesome!

  35. David
    December 11, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    I had no problem installing Win 7 on MacBook Pro. But I did runt into an issue that I hope there is a answer to. On the Mac i, I created a Fat partition where I moved a bunch of data to instead of moving it off the HDD. I then coverted the MAC HDD to FAT in the hopes of when I installed Win 7 I could direct to that partition and leave my data partition alone. But during the Win 7 install, I was not giving an option of what partition to install Win 7, it just went to Disk 0. Is it even possible to do what I thought was possible.

  36. Rafael
    December 18, 2012 at 7:17 am

    Dude this works like a charm!
    I installed Win 7 64 bits folliwng your tutorial, i just change 2 things, after the installation, i ran Windows Loader Extreme to crake it, and then i installed bootcamp and realtek audio driver that comes in the SnowLeopard DVD, and everthing is working, the sound, the multitouch pad, the videocam, the sound and light buttons on the keyboard, no errors no problens =o)
    thank you a lot!

  37. April 18, 2013 at 1:03 am

    Yeah… use vmware you can boot from an ISO or DMG image as a CD and install any version you have on the image with ease

  38. George
    January 5, 2014 at 7:22 am

    I am stuck big time. My Mac Air 11 inch did not come with a CD and I looked everywhere for drivers. I managed to install Windows VISTA 64 bit before I read this article and now I am left with half the computer without drivers. Its also idiotic to have to waste so much time to transform something into windows IF it was not designed to be so. Also battery life was reduced 30 – 40% due to Windows (its a fact) and spent already two weekends looking for drivers. I have decided to revert back to MAC OS and learned to live with my fancy MAC MISTAKE. Good luck guys.

  39. shahrizzat
    January 25, 2014 at 12:29 am

    i want to install tiger to my mac book can every one help me where to find it ?
    maybe link to download the installer disk

  40. syam
    March 8, 2014 at 1:50 pm


    i have instaled windows in Mac pro, But unfortunately , now windows only working can you just tell me how to swicth to MAC OSX with short key , I have tried alot , but i coudnt get the the MAC OSX , help me if you knwo the short cut key

  41. Dan
    April 4, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    Hi Syam. Restart with Option key pressed.

  42. JoeDirt
    May 25, 2014 at 1:19 am

    I did all of these steps and it all worked until the end, I have not been able to load up windows sense the last restart of the instal screen, now it just shows me a black screen with a blinking “_” . Any ideas on how to fix this?

  43. ROGIE
    July 3, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    thanKs BROTHER

  44. Shamim
    September 8, 2014 at 3:31 am

    reply to JoeDirt:
    shut down your mac. remove all the usb cables, flashes and ports on your mac! (you can leave the power plug connected!). turn on your mac and go to windows! It should work!

  45. December 4, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    Somebody needs to implement a CAPTCHA to hold the bots from pwning this site.

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