How to install Windows 7 on a MacBook Pro without internal optical drive

If you – like me – modified your MacBook Pro to contain an SSD instead of the optical drive you’ll probably have a very hard time installing Windows 7 on your machine. It took me a few days until I figured out how to do it so I thought I want to share my knowledge with you.

Disclaimer: these instructions are not suited for inexperienced users. You will mess around with the boot configuration of your MacBook and partitions on your hard drive. Only do this if you know what you are doing, I am not responsible for any damage that you do to your computer. It’s also a wise idea to backup any data that you don’t want to lose, though this How-To shouldn’t touch anything of it.

Update: I used OS X 10.7 aka “Lion” when I created these instructions but some commenters noted that they don’t work for them when using OS X 10.8 aka “Mountain Lion”.

Update 2: It has been noted to work with OS X 10.8 “Mountain Lion” and Windows 8.

You probably already tried to install Windows from a USB stick, a DVD, maybe even the internal hard drive. I can tell you one thing: It won’t work. It ultimately will stop while “Windows is loading files…”. But there is another way and it’s not that complicated. What you will need:

  • A DVD containing Windows 7
  • An external optical drive to read the DVD
  • A USB stick
  • rEFIt
  • VMware Fusion

Don’t be confused by VMware, we will only use it to initialize the installation process to get past the Windows is loading files issue.

First of all you have to install rEFIt. I’m not sure if it is really needed but that’s the configuration that worked for me. Furthermore it’s rEFIt that lets me choose between Mac OS X and Windows 7 when I boot up so I don’t know how it would be without it. After you have installed rEFIt reboot at least twice to ensure it works properly.

Now you can fire up Boot Camp and let it do it’s magic to create an appropriate partition for Windows and load the drivers onto the USB stick. For this to work you need to have plugged in the external drive with the Windows 7 DVD otherwise Boot Camp will refuse to work. Your MacBook will probably reboot after this procedure but don’t try to install Windows and instead boot into OS X again. For this you may have to reboot using the power button and holding the alt key when you hear the startup sound.

Now you have to install VMware Fusion. If you don’t want to buy it, an evaluation copy should work as well. We need it to create a new virtual machine whose (virtual) hard drive is linked to the physical Windows partition that Boot Camp created. That way we can install Windows to the hard drive of the MacBook using the virtual machine.

Now start up VMware Fusion and create a new Virtual Machine for Windows 7. Don’t mess around with the Boot Camp partition yet! We will configure the newly created virtual machine in the next steps. Quit VMware Fusion completely.

Now we have to create a new disk for the virtual machine that is connected to our hard drive. This is called a raw disk in VMWare Fusion. For this you have to know the number of the Windows Partition that Boot Camp created. So open the disk utility that comes with your Mac, select the appropriate partition (probably called BOOTCAMP) and choose Info.

It will show you the disk and partition number, in my case /dev/disk1s4 (disk number 1, partition number 4).

You can now check if the raw disk creator of VMware Fusion says the same through entering

/Applications/VMware\ Fusion.app/Contents/Library/vmware-rawdiskCreator print /dev/disk1

in the Terminal. Of course you have to adjust the disk number according to your setup. The output will probably look something like this:

Here you can see once again that the Windows partition has the number 4. Now we will create the raw disk. Change into the folder that contains the virtual machine that you just created, it should be located in “~/Documents/Virtual Machines.localized/<name of virtual machine>.vmwarevm”. Next create the raw disk with the command

/Applications/VMware\ Fusion.app/Contents/Library/vmware-rawdiskCreator create /dev/disk1 4 win7_raw lsilogic

Of course you also have to adjust the numbers accordingly. That’s how it looks like in the terminal:

Now you will have a file called win7_raw.vmdk. This is the virtual disk that is linked with the appropriate partition. Unfortunately VMware Fusion doesn’t let you add these raw disks graphically to your virtual machine so we have to edit the configuration file of the virtual machine manually. In the same folder that we just created the disk in (“~/Documents/Virtual Machines.localized/<name of virtual machine>.vmwarevm”) is the virtual machine configuration file with the ending “vmx”. For me it’s “Windows 7 x64.vmx”. Make sure that VMware Fusion doesn’t run while you change this file. Now open this file in your favorite editor to add the newly created disk. There should already be one disk present that VMware Fusion created for you in the scsi0:0 slot. We can just replace this one with our newly created disk. The critical section of this file for me looked like:

scsi0.present = "TRUE"
scsi0:0.present = "TRUE"
scsi0:0.fileName = "Windows 7 x64.vmdk"

I changed it to:

scsi0.present = "TRUE"
scsi0:0.present = "TRUE"
scsi0:0.virtualDev = "lsilogic"
scsi0:0.fileName = "win7_raw.vmdk"

Save your changes and start VMware Fusion. You can check if all went well by examining the virtual machine settings. But don’t try to change anything with the graphical interface ;)

You can now boot up your virtual machine for the first time. A good indicator that the raw disk gets used is a popup window asking you for admin permissions because you can’t use raw disks as a normal user. VMware should ask you for a boot medium. Either choose your Windows 7 DVD or an appropriate image file. Start your Windows installation normally and choose the Boot Camp partition when Windows asks you where to install itself. But only follow the installation process until the first reboot! When the virtual machine restarts just quit it immediately. Now to the trick: Reboot your Mac and choose the Windows Partition to boot from when asked by rEFIt. Now you should be able to finish the Windows 7 installation on your MacBook without the help of a virtual machine.

At last install the drivers that Boot Camp put on your USB stick et voilà – you should now have a working copy of Windows 7 on your MacBook.

PS: If you found these instructions helpful or if you have any suggestions or improvements I’d be glad if you leave a comment.

Thanks go to the people of the following posts that showed me how to do this:

72 thoughts on “How to install Windows 7 on a MacBook Pro without internal optical drive”

  1. Hi. Thanks for the tils n trick, gave me hope since imac dvd drive is just hopeless.
    One thing though i managed to install Windows 7 on the Bootcamp drive but when I reboot with the Bootcamp HD i stil get the blackscreen blinking and no Windows logo i can only access it from VMWare. Any further tips and suggestion?

    Thanks in advance

  2. Did you finish the Win 7 installation without using the virtual machine as I suggested? And have you installed the drivers that the Bootcamp assistant put on your USB Stick?
    If not you could try to reinstall it following my advice above.

    1. unfortunately no, when it restarted my rEFIt doesn’t work, so I reboot again while holding “alt” key. And I’m stuck at the black blinking screen.

      I will try to follow your instruction again tonight and let you know if rEFIt is really needed to do this.
      cheers

  3. Hey, nice guide.

    I do all what you said, but, when vmware finish installing (first reboot), I quit as you said, restart and boot from refit to my new Windows HD. But in dos, it throw an error from an exe missing. Im going for a second try.

    1. Unfortunately I don’t know why you encounter this problem but maybe it will work if you try different times for the vmware quit.
      Btw: are you trying to install Win 7? I don’t know if this technique works with Windows 8.

        1. I’m having the same problem. I quit VMWare as it’s restarting. I reboot into windows and just get a big DOS screen saying I’m missing some setup.exe file (or it’s been corrupted). I’ve tried three times now. No luck.

  4. Number of issues here:
    1. VMWare didn’t ask for a boot medium. Instead, I added a new CD/DVD drive in the settings and gave it the Windows 7 ISO and then told VMWare to boot from that. That installed Windows 7.

    2. I got constant errors about VMW not having a SCSI driver for the virtual disk (ie the bootcamp disk). After following VMW’s pitiful instructions, I finally figured out that you have to download this:
    http://download3.vmware.com/software/vmscsi-1.2.0.4.flp
    … mount it as a new floppy drive in the VM settings, and then install it as a driver DURING the Windows 7 installation when the installer says ‘I can’t find a hard drive to install Windows on’.

    3. Once I’d got past that, the bootcamp drive had to be reformatted as NTSC rather than FAT. Then finally it let me install Windows 7.

    4. I’m now about to reboot for the first time with Windows 7 installed and I’m hoping refit is going to see the new virtual drive and let me boot to it. I’ll come back and let you know.

    1. Interesting findings, thank you for your comment!
      Strangely I didn’t have to do these steps but hopefully it will work for you.

      1. No joy, I’m afraid. Refit sees the Windows drive okay but I get the same problem as Diego and Byron – Windows boots but immediately says that winload.exe is corrupt and it can’t work. The files are all there in the Bootcamp partition but it’s not happy using them. I wonder if it’s a consequence of using Mountain Lion…? What OS are you running?

        Pity. Thanks for the instructions, though. They were the most useful I’ve found attempting to do this.

        1. It’s a pity that it doesn’t work for you!
          Maybe it really depends on the version of OS X?
          I use 10.7 aka “Lion”. I’ll add this piece information to the instructions.

  5. Hi, I get this error message while I start the virtual machine for the first time.

    “Setup was unable to create a new system partition or locate an existing system partition. See the setup log files for more information”

    I checked the disk number and partition, it should be correct. Could you give me some suggestion to this problem ? Thanks.

    1. I can’t reproduce your error but for me it sounds like the virtual (raw) disk isn’t properly integrated into your virtual machine.
      Have you checked that you added it correctly to the vmx file?

    2. Just incase anyone else gets this error, the issue is your using the easy install option. Either dont click that when setting up the VM, or delete the floppy drive before you continue.

  6. I have banged my head against all the normal options, and like you, concluded that more drastic measures are required.

    I am just curious, has anyone confirmed that rEFIt is necessary, or does the option key or Startup Disk selection method work?

    (I previously used my SuperDrive to install 32-bit Windows 7 which was working fine, and have since replaced the drive with a SSD, and the HD with a larger HD, and now want to install 64-bit Windows 7.)

    1. Instead of messing around with virtualisation I decided to just take out the SSD temporarily and put the SuperDrive back in. Installed Windows 7 from the DVD, and then put the SSD back in, no problems at all. Can’t understand why Apple would cripple their hardware like this, especially considering installing from USB is supported computers not sold with an optical drive.

  7. I just wanted to stop by and let you know this worked for me! I tried to rush through the process the first time and wasn’t successful. For my second effort, I took the time to read the post thoroughly as well as the linked forum threads and really wrapped my head around the info.

    The only thing not clear to me was exactly where the “Windows 7 x64.vmx” file was. I ultimately found it WITHIN the “~/Documents/Virtual Machines.localized/.vmwarevm” package. I also needed to add the VM Ware floppy image (vmscsi-1.2.0.4.flp) that Harold referenced. All in all it was a fun project to work through and it is very sweet relief to FINALLY have a bootcamp install WITHOUT an optical drive in my MBP. Thanks Daniel.

    For those that are interested… my hardware infoz and such
    Mac infoz: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/14660/mac_infoz.png
    Win infoz: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/14660/WinInfoz.jpg

  8. Just wanted to pop in and say that this worked for my MBP early 2011 model using Lion. I didn’t need to use the VM Ware floppy image though. Thanks for the guide!

  9. Damn, you are a freaking genius. Thank you very much for these instructions.

    Followed in Mountain Lion to install Windows 8 and it worked flawlessly (didn’t had to use any other hack).

  10. thank you so much for this post. this was my last hope and last try.. i’m overwhelmed it worked!!

    followed the instructions installing
    -windows 8
    -on mountain lion
    -vmware fusion 5 trial.
    -on a 750gb hdd in optibay (secondary drive/ “disk1″)

    a few comments:
    FIRST—- if you don’t have an external drive or a empty dvd at hand you can trick mountain lion into creating a wininstall usb pen-drive with this tutorial (http://www.ydramu.com/2012/09/installing-windows-8-with-bootcamp-on.html). this just enables you to create a boot camp partition via the boot camp-assistant. just the part creating the pendrive worked for me, but i never got my mbp to boot from the damn pendrive. i think its impossible ^^
    SECOND—- just a note for beginners like me: yes, during the win8 installation process you have to format the boot camp partition as ntfs, it warns you that data might be lost, but don’t worry ;)

    but thanks a again for these instructions.. superb

    1. Great! It’s work like a charme.

      My configuration: MacBook Pro 15″ early 2011, opticalbay (with HDD with Windows 7 already installed), SSD, Mac OS X 10.8.2. I installed Windows 8 Pro successfully with 29,99$ upgrade license.

      Thanks for Julian integration!

      Additional notes:
      - rEfit is necessary;
      - on VMware, when Windows 8 installing routine is about to reboot, prepare to Hard Shut Down your virtual machine using menù. You must do the shutdown when Windows 8 is counting the 5 secs to auto-reboot. If you fail to shutdown in this moment, you need to restart the tutorial from scratch.

      Bye!!!

  11. I’m getting horribly frustrated.
    I make it to the “create raw disk files” and all I get is “Unable to copy the source files to the destination files.”
    I have tried sudo, I have tried moving the folder, it prompts me for my password then just tells me I can’t do it.
    What the hell am I doing wrong? Why does this work for EVERYONE BUT ME?

  12. Ugh… I did everything said, but when I changed the file to win7_raw.vmdk, and tried to load it up in VMware fusion, I get the error “Unable to open file “/Users//Documents/Virtual Machines.localized/Windows 7.vmwarevm/win7_raw.vmdk”: The system cannot find the file specified. Halp! D: (I’m using VMWare Fusion 4, if that matters.

  13. Oh yeah, following up on my previous comment, when I used the vmware file creator it created the file in ~/ (my user directory), and I moved it into the .vmwarevm afterwards. Did not do anything :<

  14. *almost* worked. I’m on Mac OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.2. I also removed my optical in favour of a secondary hard drive, which is where I partitioned and intended to put Windows 8 via bootcamp. Black screen, blinking cursor. Tried the tutorial here and followed it all the way through… even repaired refit by doing the ./enable.sh in the refit directory (which worked). However, after selecting Windows from the refit menu, it comes up telling me I need to repair Windows 8 and I need the original install media…. corrupted windows load file, I think it said. I’ve tried to find that same message in the vm but now the vm is broken (makes sense) because something was modified on the disk (by my trying to boot outside the vm no doubt). Obviously booting off the media to repair isn’t going to work, lol. I’m going to keep tinkering and will post back if I find a fix. I’ve been at this for about six hours already and am ready to kill someone at Apple for making their hardware so obtuse it cannot even recognize an external optical just because it’s supposed to have its own (what if it died?!). Normally I love their stuff but this is insane… Anywho, thanks for the awesome guide. :)

  15. Update. I tried the following in Terminal, and successfully booted by restarting immediately after, holding Option, and selecting “EFI Boot” instead of “Windows 8.” It appears a couple of the efi’s on the disc do the same thing.

    sudo bless –folder /Volumes/HRM_CCSA_X64FRE_EN-US_DV5 –file /Volumes/HRM_CCSA_X64FRE_EN-US_DV5/bootmgr.efi

    Note: HRM… is the name of my optical disc. Yours may differ.

    My current problem is that I cannot install to my secondary hard drive because it is EFI and not GPT. This is the farthest I have been able to get without the use of rEFIt and VMWare. I am only including my current findings in case someone else can benefit from this… I’m wondering if my method would have worked if I were installing on the primary (bootable) drive rather than the secondary “data” drive I replaced the optical with.

    More research ensues. Now about seven hours into this project.

    1. When I bless the mounted USB Superdrive, I’m able to see it when I do an “option” boot. However, when I try to boot to the CD, all I get is black with a blinking cursor. Were you able to get past this point?

  16. I have followed the tutorial correct. After Vmware wanted to restart windows i closed it and restarted my MBP and the installation continued. After that my MBP restarted again and i went back to windows and i get a black screen with a blinking cursor..

    I was using a MBP 2011 late with ML 10.8.2 installing windows 7 x64.

    I haven’t installing the bootcamp drivers from usb because i cannot load windows 7.

    Anyone know a fix?

  17. I am having soooooo many problems to install windows 7 on my imac 27′ 2009, that has internal drive dead…

    been trying everything for 2 days, now im trying this walkthrought but i have some doubts…i forced shut down of VMW when he askes for the first reboot when installing W7 ( like Dr.Comix said…and not specified in the tutorial ) then i opened contents of the virtual machine, found the “windows 7.vmx” but how do i edit it??? the OP says to do it in my favourite editor…but thats photoshop!!! ( LOL kiding…i know it’s not with Ps…but please tell me how i do this )

    please help

  18. Ok my bad…i edited with text editor…and realized that the stop VMW part IS after this editing…and i made it waaaay before at this part of the tutorial—-
    “Now start up VMware Fusion and create a new Virtual Machine for Windows 7. Don’t mess around with the Boot Camp partition yet! We will configure the newly created virtual machine in the next steps. Quit VMware Fusion completely.”
    —so exactly what was i supose to do in this part?? how do i create a virtual machine without actually starting to install the windows 7 as it happened to me??

  19. Also can’t understand this step “Here you can see once again that the Windows partition has the number 4. Now we will create the raw disk. Change into the folder that contains the virtual machine that you just created, it should be located in “~/Documents/Virtual Machines.localized/.vmwarevm”. Next create the raw disk with the command”

    i have no such folder in my documents or anywhere…also if i type that in terminal AS it is shown in the picture it will say “no such file or directory”

    Oh my god…i’m starting to feel sick of all this…

  20. Thanks for the tutorial, I am trying installing windows through bootcamp now already for two days and I have not found a solution yet…
    My last hope is this tutorial, but unfortunately, like vic, I have no idea what to do at the point when you create the virtual machine for the first time… Do we already have to install windows 7, or how can I just install a virtual machine without installing windows???

    Can anyone help us with this step, please?!

  21. @vic, Andreas: It has been some month since I made this tutorial so I’m not entirely sure what I did exactly but it should be possible to add a new virtual machine in VMware Fusion with “File > New”.
    Deselect any option to install an operating system and just create the bare virtual machine.

    1. Thanks for your quick reply… Unfortunately there is no option to install without an operating system… It always tries to start the installation somehow…

      Also the content of my “.vmx” file has a different filename than yours, it is not named “scsi0:0.fileName = “Windows 7 x64.vmdk” but still has the standard name scsi0:0.fileName = “virtuelle Festplatte.vmdk”….

      Actually I don’t know what else to try….

      But thanks for your help!

      1. My disk was only called “Windows 7 x64″ because that was the name I gave the virtual machine when I created it.
        Maybe it’s because I used VMware Fusion 4 (the latest available version at that time) and you probably got the newer version 5.

  22. Hi Daniel and andreas,
    The frustration took over my willpower…i stoped trying after 3 days, i always loved macs for their simplicity, hell i never even knew that there was a MS-DOSish terminal to begin with!… these 3 days have slaughtered that feeling.
    I think i’m just going to buy the stupid internal drive, to make this happen, and just negate any thought requiring windows boot camp, until it’s done.
    In the past, the way i solved my problems in my relationship with my mac, were like: “Damn! Why is this happening?? What IS THIS on MY SCREEN???”…(google it…click)…”nnn..mmnn..then go mmmn…wait! no…oh ok…nmmm…FIXED!”
    This time i already tried so many things, read so many possible walkthroughs…none worked…my eyes were bleeding of exhaustion…in the end i was already mixing things from several different tutorials. lol.
    So yeah…i quit! I’ll just buy the drive even tho i have an external dvd drive i NEVER use, which now i actually COULD use…but no…my imac can’t boot from it.
    But thanks anyway for sharing your fix! i just couldn’t follow, but then again, i’m a electronic/informatic n00b and can´t do sheet if i don’t have someone holding my hand…i’m one of those that really need these things to be like…what was that stupid song…”Step by step…ohhh baby…” hehe :)

  23. Thank you sooo soo much. I’ve been banging my head at this for two straight days. This all happened when I upgraded to mountain lion and removed my optical bay drive. I tried even using the external of my optical bay and it just wouldn’t read it.

    This has been the only effective way I could get windows on my boot camp. Now I can use my parallels and/or just boot into bootcamp when I need to do certain things I can’t in parallels.

    Again thank you so much!!!!

  24. ok i got to that point that i could actually start the windows installation but it stops immediately : a partition on harddrive “0″ couldnt be formated…code 0×80070057
    what am i doing wrong?

  25. After VMWARE part1 is force shutdown (in that 10sec timeout) vmware guest. Then reboot/rEFIt to Windows and It stopped on info that WINBOOT.exe is missing/corrupted…

  26. I don’t understand the step:

    The critical section of this file for me looked like:

    1
    2
    3
    scsi0.present = “TRUE”
    scsi0:0.present = “TRUE”
    scsi0:0.fileName = “Windows 7 x64.vmdk”
    I changed it to:

    1
    2
    3
    4
    scsi0.present = “TRUE”
    scsi0:0.present = “TRUE”
    scsi0:0.virtualDev = “lsilogic”
    scsi0:0.fileName = “win7_raw.vmdk”
    ——
    For me it looked like:

    scsi0.present = “TRUE”
    scsi0.virtualDev = “lsisas1068″
    memsize = “2048″
    mem.hotadd = “TRUE”
    scsi0:0.present = “TRUE”
    (scsi0:0.virtualDev = “lsilogic”)
    scsi0:0.fileName = “Virtual Disk.vmdk” (“win7_raw.vmdk”)

    So i make these changes(), and when I launched the VM it boots me on Windows installation but stopped at the step “Starting Windows” with the nice logo…
    Could you help me plz ?

  27. I got the vm Ware not to install windows but when i try to edit the file it says that text editor could not open it. Any help please?

  28. I keep getting this error when I try to boot up my vmware machine after I change my vmx file….

    The BusLOgic SCSI adapter is not supported for 64-bit guests

  29. Windows 7 64-bit does not include drivers for the BusLogic SCSI adapter that VMware Fusion uses for virtual SCSI devices.
    To use these virtual SCSI devices, install the VMware driver in the virtual machine. Download the driver from “http://vmware.com/info?id=43″.

    1. What type of driver I have to download? If I search for “scsi virtual drive” there are 233 results…

  30. H, I have MBP whit fusion drive in ML 10.8.3, I try to install but when i restar the partition say me erro winload.exe. Please help me.

  31. Thanks for this post. It was very helpful, but my milage did vary. Some notes on what worked and what didn’t.

    I was attempting this on an early 2011 MacBook Pro running 10.8.3. Putting bootcamp on a partition of disk 0 (where the dvd drive had been replaced by a second hard disk) & using VMWare Fusion 5.

    1. No need to add a virtual device when editing the vmx file. VMWare already had one in there.
    2. I ran into the missing winload.exe error on first boot. This isn’t due to a missing winload.exe but due to the boot metadata having “unknown” locations for the key boot files.

    It took me a long time to fully understand the problems. By that time I’d put my superdrive back.

    You can fix the winload.exe error by using bcdedit to correct the issues in the boot data. I did this, but not in the VM – after reconnecting the superdrive and from the dvd bootup. My supposition is that you could do it in the VM, so:
    - If first boot ends up in winload errors (or black screen). Come back into your VM. Ensure its shutdown. Ensure its still set to boot from your windows installation iso. Start it up and…
    - Hit any key to make sure the first boot goes to cd/dvd again. Choose repair. Get to the ‘advanced tools’ and start up a command/prompt console. use bcdedit to fixup the boot data, using the commands below.

    ; view the current boot settings ... should say unknown for {default} device & osdevice + {bootmgr} device
    bcdedit /store c:/boot/bcd

    ; change the bad boot settings
    bcdedit /store c:/boot/bcd /set {default} device boot
    bcdedit /store c:/boot/bcd /set {default} osdevice boot
    bcdedit /store c:/boot/bcd /set {bootmgr} device boot

    ; check that they've been changed correctly
    bcdedit /store c:/boot/bcd

    quit the console. shutdown the vm and reboot the mac into your windows. Now when it boots into windows, windows will be able to load its bootup files (If there are two boot options to choose from, try them both).

    1. Thank you SO MUCH! Been pulling my hair out for days trying to get my raggedy old MBP 15″ to run Windows 7 without having Apple’s blessing (even though it is perfectly capable of running it). First I found the OP’s post about using VMWare to install then (of course) winload.exe wasn’t found. Your post fixed this issue for my MBP (OS X Mountain Lion, MBP3,1, OptiBay 2nd hard drive, SSD in primary, no superdrive). I had tried everything else to no avail (just could not boot with USB Windows 7, even though its obviously possible as OS X images can boot and new Macs can do it – thanks Apple).

      Thanks again!

  32. I Tried the original steps exactly for the first time and it ran flawlessly for Mountain Lion and Windows 8, Apple guys asked my 11k Rs to replace DVD drive i wanted a way to boot windows 8 with out DVD drive so got this external DVD drive and its working

    Issues i Faced: when i rebooted after final installation on Bootcamp, I go this message press any key to boot from CD or DVD drive after that it did not boot, (got keyboard for this wired one) so got idea from another forum, i just set Startup Disk as untitled Windows 8 and then pressing alt(option) booted from windows Drive and the remaining installation was done there,

    Not required for me: USB pen drive , i burned Apple drivers for windows on a separate CD
    No need to rEFit there is no need to use rEFit

    Things required: External sub DVD drive (cheap one not apple super drive)
    bootable DVD of windows 8 create from windows tool
    VM ware Fusion 5 (i used this)

    Thats it
    Thanks Man you really saved my money i was scratching my head since 1 week and wasted 50 hours tried all solutions but this VMware thing works its The best Trick Thanks a Thousand :p

  33. I was running 10.8 and had some issues with the tutorial above.
    For some reason it just wouldn’t boot after I finished installing windows through the Virtual Machine.
    I got it working though, even wrote a tutorial of my own just incase any one else has the same issue.

    Check it out here: http://www.yesthisbig.com/comments/index.php?action=show&id=3157&type=news

    Most of it is the same as this with a bit more information here and there plus what I did differently to get it working.

    Thanks again!

  34. To be able to view the disks through terminal I had to use sudo infront of the command. When I got to using the raw disk in vmware I got an error message which said I had ‘insufficient access’ to the disk. I fixed this by running ‘sudo chmod +r ./win7_raw*’ (giving read access) on the win7_raw files and changed the owner to my user instead of root, my username is pellet so i ran ‘sudo chown pellet:staff ./win7_raw*’ .

  35. When I reboot my mac and choose the windows partition with rEFIt, a black screen shows up with an error.
    It says “file \Boot\BCD The Windows boot configuration is missing required information”.

  36. Thanks for this. I am able to install Windows 8 no problem using this method. I did the complete install in the VM and had no issues after rebooting. I did run sysprep though, but I don’t know if that was even working (or helping).

  37. Finally got it working!

    Not sure what did it but here’s some things to try if it’s not working for you…

    If you’re using VMWare Fusion 6.0, when you try to add a new machine don’t use Install from Disc or Image. Instead, click ‘More Options…’, make a Custom Virtual Machine and select the appropriate operating system. I’m guessing it initiates a slightly different process if it finds the disk the natural way as opposed to VMWare prompting the install.

    Also, I didn’t quite wait for the first reboot. Instead, I shutdown the virtual machine just before the reboot, during the time is says 10 seconds, 9 seconds etc till reboot.

    Hopefully, this works for some of you.

    Only trouble now is, I get a blue screen if I try to load my bootcamp partition in VMWare. If I use the VMware “from bootcamp” feature, my mac crashes. Has anyone else got a bootable Windows partition and experiencing the same issue? I’ve tried using the disk creator and allowing it access to the correct hard drive. My suspicion is that it’s to do with trying to mount partitions currently in use on my mac.

    Thanks!

  38. Hey, worked like a charm but had to use the instructions from someones comment to get around the winload.exe issue. Otherwise all is good. Thanks a ton! What an obscure issue and strange workaround. :D

  39. BTW great post!

    This sounds like a relatively useful trick, I too am running a MBP 8,1 w Mac OSX 10.7.5 and VMware fusion 5.0.4, rEFInd etc (also running with optibay setup NO superdrive). I currently have my main drive out (mavericks) and placed in external firewire for general file transferring during this process, second drive (optibay) is running what I mentioned above and is how I am typing this.

    I am very willing to try this as I have also been down that road of reinstalling, reformatting, etc etc but before I pull more hair out of my skull I have one question…

    You mention above… “We need it to create a new virtual machine whose (virtual) hard drive is linked to the physical Windows partition that Boot Camp created. That way we can install Windows to the hard drive of the MacBook using the virtual machine.

    Now start up VMware Fusion and create a new Virtual Machine for Windows 7. Don’t mess around with the Boot Camp partition yet! “…

    ….Can you or anyone else please explain the correct and actual steps to take here to get this working? There seems to be a few different ways you can go from the ‘create a new virtual machine’ and for someone that hasn’t created a new virtual machine before it feels like I’m standing at the crossroad wondering which street to take on the various options I’m given :P

    Thanks in advance to those that reply!

    S A

  40. Hi

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news but here is my sad story:

    I could not get this work trying to re-install Bootcamp in a late 2009 Imac that got a ssd in place of its old and broken internal optical drive.

    Without rEFIT this VMWarething ended up in just the same error message “no bootable device” and I conclude that what is missing are the during-boot- time drivers for any mbr-mode device (usb or ext. dvd), and since apple does not provide any for obsolete machines I´m stuck.

    Oh, with little help from my rEFIt I got to the point where it was cursing me for the winload.exe, but Chris Smith’s advice was not applicable: There was no way of stopping the VMWare Fusion to the point he desribes when it is starting (where I could start bcdedit). “Hitting any key…” VMware just continued the installation from disk.

    Maybe I’m just not competent enough.

    I do not know how and why you could get it work, but I’m happy for you. Using a disk image of the whole bootcamp was the only way for me.

    I’m very glad of Apple’s closed system as it works gracefully in normal use, and I understand it is not required from them to provide drivers for us modders, but it would be very polite. What I think is a bit suspicious is that the makers of these modding parts do not show any warnings of what could happen to your bootcamp. Or provide the drivers.

  41. Thank you Daniel! My search after weeks was finally over!! Thank you Chris Smith for the bcdedit tip, I needed that.

    Mine is an iMac (late 2006) model. SuperDrive no longer working. The following order worked for me.

    1) Installed rEFIt. (Found out it’s a must until Windows had completed its setup).
    2) Followed Daniel’s instructions.
    3) Instead of booting into Windows via rEFit menu to continue the setup, booted into OS X, started the Windows 7 setup again in the VM, and followed Chris Smith’s instructions to resolve the “winload.exe” error.
    4) Restarted into Windows via rEFit to continue the setup.
    5) After Windows setup was completed, it started to boot into Windows automatically.
    6) Removed rEFit.

  42. Just amazing. I’ve been searching for a solution for a couple days now and I stumbled on this post. Thanks so much for taking the time to write this out, really helped me out!
    - Matt

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