Derek Hatchard writes on the theme of "improving experiences" which includes managing technology, user experiences, life hacking, and some business related stuff. Derek has a software development blog at and a product review site at He is a Principal Member of Technical Staff (PMTS) at Radian6, a company. All views expressed are his alone (or those of any guest writers) and do not represent the views of Radian6 or

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.

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178 Responses

  1. Everest says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

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

  6. markcass101 says:

    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. tom says:

    hi i need a link for nvidia 9400m mac drivers for vista, ive got no dick anymore, some dick broke it, should i just go and buy snow leopard? or is there a download link online

  8. Chris Ting says:


  9. Ayyaz Ilyas says:

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

  10. Mac-user says:

    @ tom,

    If you have no dick anymore, then buying snow leopard won’t work neither ;-)

  11. Bob D says:

    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.

  12. Nathan says:

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

  13. mohit says:


    my problem is that when i try to partion it starts normaly but after some time the bar onthe bottom left says shrinking then stays their for alot of time once i wated like 30mins still it was on shrinking so i had shut down.then i tryed again but this time i used boot camp that too didnt help me so i shut down again and tried boot camp again but this time it said i had need 10 atleast spare on ur hard drive when i have like 33 befour the prevous shut down and becouse of that i went to disk utilties and select verify disk and then it told me to start into my snow lepard istaltion disc and had it repair it from their and tried again of repeting the same proces again but had the same result.
    please help
    reply on

  14. Joe says:

    I’m not sure if i’m barking up the right tree but I have a serious problem… I’m currently studying from home and the course CD can only run on Windows operating system, what is the best method of going about this? Or is their even a way of fixing this without resorting back to my old PC ?
    Please reply to – I would be more than greatful.
    Thanks, Joe.

  15. uut3 says:

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

  16. Ethan says:

    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

  17. Will says:

    Thanks Derek worked like a charm!

  18. Barney Stimpleton says:


  19. Barney Stimpleton says:

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

  20. Nick says:

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

  21. saqj says:

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

  22. Lance says:

    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.

  23. Khial says:

    Hello every buddy I install windows xp in my mac computer my Internet is not working now if someone can help me with that plz

  24. JJ says:

    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.

  25. Richie says:

    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

  26. Fred says:

    you my good freind have a good choice of OS =D

  27. Luke says:

    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!

  28. Carmelo says:

    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?

  29. Rahul says:

    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…

  30. Jeremy says:

    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

  31. Calvin says:

    Hi, can u play games on this ?

  32. Jeremy says:

    Finally fixed the problem….

  33. bryan says:

    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?

  34. Ari Zadrakh Tindaon says:

    I’m From Indonesia, thanks A lot Bro!!!
    for your helping, thank you so much!!!

    can you give me an information about the advantage of Mac OS X? is that mac book can use another mac OS X?

  35. edwin says:

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

  36. Joe says:

    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.

  37. jamadagni says:

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

  38. Justin says:

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

  39. MackDaddy says:

    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?

  40. Doug Mitchell says:

    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).

  41. doug mitchell says:

    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!

  42. David says:

    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.

  43. Rafael says:

    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!

  44. Scott says:

    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

  45. George says:

    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.

  46. shahrizzat says:

    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

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