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Installing Windows 7 on a Mackbook Air 2010 Late as main and single OS

Installing Windows 7 on a Mackbook Air 2010 Late as main and single OS
Installing Windows 7 on a Mackbook Air 2010 Late as main and single OS
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This article was written not for holywar, but simply to share experiences.
- Why is it necessary?
- It is simply necessary!
- There is MacOs installed. Why do we need Windows?
- Everyone can choose for themselves which one is the appropriate to work

- I like Apple hardware, but I use to work in Windows.
- There are virtual machines!
- They are slow in using!
- There is Bootcamp!
- On MacBook Air there is not so much of disk space and only Windows takes about 30-40GB with all additional software! 
Have I answered all the questions? If yes, then welcome to this post!

If you have an external CD drive, perhaps this post isn't for you. Here I will tell about how to install Windows on Macbook Air without a drive. Here is a list of all we need:

  • 2 USB flash drives (one for Windows 7 (4 GB or more) and another one for drivers (1 GB or more))
  • 1 PC - with Windows 7
  • Internet
  • Macbook Air 2010 Late

Step 1. Preparing a bootable flash drive with Windows 7

For the beginning we have to prepare a flash drive and make it bootable. For our work we need PC with Windows 7 and the Windows CD (if the notebook supports x64 then x64 version of Windows is preferred).

windows 7 macbook air

Insert flash drive (no less than 4GB) into USB. Type the keyword "CMD" into search in start menu. It will find the console program. Press right mouse button on it and select "Run as Administrator". Type into console "diskpart" (analogue of old fdisk). Now step by step what should we do in diskpart:

  1. type "list disk" (the list of disks will appear, in the list look for flash drive. In my case - "disk 3")
  2. select disk 3 (select flash drive)
  3. clean (delete everything from it)
  4. create partition primary
  5. select partition 1 (move into newly created partition)
  6. active (make it active)
  7. format fs=fat32 quick (format the partition. We can format it into NTFS too.)
  8. assign (mount the disk and assign a letter for it)
  9. exit (exit from diskpart. Do not close the CMD!)

More information about diskpart: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/300415
Now we have flash drive, which is formatted to FAT32, it is active and can be bootable.
In order to install the boot loader you have to follow these instructions in CMD:

  1. F: (I have the CD-ROM marked with letter F:, you can have an other letter)
  2. cd \boot\
  3. bootsect /nt60 E: (where E is the letter of the flash drive)

Ready! Now your flash drive is bootable with installed Windows 7 bootloader,you only have to copy all files from CD of Windows 7 to this flash drive, you can do it with a guide, or use any other way you want.

Step 2. Preparing Macbook Air

If it had been so simple, and it had been possible to simply insert the flash drive into the Macbook and install Windows 7, it would not have been the post.

So, let's go step by step:

  1. For the beginning, we need drivers for Windows 7. There are no drivers on the flash drive that comes with Air (by the way flash drive that comes with Air is defined as an external CD-ROM)
  2. Take the other flash drive; format it to Fat32 with any disk management utility.
  3. Run Bootcamp. Answer the question in the picture: Do you have such a flash drive or a CD with drivers? You answer NO and ask to download it from the Internet.
boot camp macbook macos

4. After everything has been downloaded copy it to our flash drive using "Save a copy to an external drive" in menu:

boot camp macos install windows

For a question to make disk partitioning you should answer "no"  and simply close the bootcamp. 
More information about how to work with Bootcamp: http://support.apple.com/kb/ht4407

Step 3. Getting Macbook to see USB Flash with Windows

All my attempts to make Macbook boot from the bootable flash drive have failed, so I had to use Google.
It turned out I'm not one who needs Windows / Linux on the Macbook, and there is a program called rEFIt.

Download it from the official site: http://refit.sourceforge.net/. I installed the latest version 0.14. It is installed as any application in MacOS.
After the installation, you have to restart your computer two times. On the second reboot it is necessary to push the right-option button and similar menu will appear (USB Flash with Windows must inserted into Macbook):

refit macbook

You will have a MacOS icon and Windows icon by default. We have to select Windows icon. After running the installer, enter the key, choose "full installation". A list of SSD partitions will be displayed:

install windows macbook

Delete all partitions! And create new partitions. Windows will prompt to create a system partition of 100MB.

I divided the disk to three partitions: 100MB (boot), 40GB (system) and the rest.

After everything was installed, the computer will reboot and start Windows. At the beginning, it probably will hang on a white screen for a long time and look for the MacOS partition, it will recover after installing driver and application Bootcamp in Windows. To find needed partition quickly we have to push the left option button and select the disk with Windows.

After the installation had been ended I installed drivers from the other flash, and rebooted the system. After reboot, go to Bootcamp, select the disk to boot Windows and click restart now. READY! Now you will not see a white screen when turning on your Macbook for about a minute.

Something about how does it work

I have worked for two days on new Macbook. I assessed all the advantages of SSD. Windows loading 10-15 seconds (from pressing the power button, until all the icons in the systray loaded).
MS Word opens in 1 second.
Photoshop CS5 - the first time loads in 4 seconds, if close it and open again, then loads for 2 seconds.

(I think it is related to the ReadyBoost and to other new features of Windows 7)
Response time is immediate.

And all this is with a combination of Core2Duo, DDR3, Multi-touchpad, 1440x900…
In short, I am very pleased! It does not matter that the OS is Windows or MacOS, because MacBook Air 2010 Late is an excellent hardware!

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Disk cleanup in Windows 7

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