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Solution: Installing Windows 7 from Retail DVD On Mac Mini w/ OS X Lion

26784 Views 17 Replies Latest reply: Dec 21, 2012 4:38 PM by watdog RSS
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AdamLamar Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Aug 20, 2011 7:17 PM

Want to install Windows 7 from a retail DVD, buy the optical reader, and then for all of these efforts, your computer gets as far as "Windows is Loading Files" with a white bar frozen 1/2 way across your screen.


If this sounds familiar, please read through - I spent many hours over the past two days resolving this with Apple Care and want to help save someone else the same pain. I am also writing this as the reps from AppleCare told me this is a very new issue to them as BootCamp 4.0.1 has some changes and now there are Mini Macs with no internal optical drives and with Lion freshly installed.


First: The solution is very easy and quick if you know the steps - NO coding a special USB drive from an existing Windows 7 computer, NO ReFits, and especially - NO need to reformat your hard drive. Multi Restarts will NOT work; Waiting several hours will NOT work..


Root problem: After going through everything here is the problem - if you have a Windows 7 DVD, you need an optical reader to read it. Mac Mini doesn't have an internal one, so you are forced to purchase an external unit if you don't already have one. Problem: Windows 7 will NOT install from the external optical drive no matter what you try and reformatting the disk is a painful waste of time - I fortunately didn't get that far..


Solution: You need to take the step to create the install disk (first stamp in Bootcamp) from an .iso download. Fortunately there is a way to create the iso from the Windows 7 DVD.


Tools required: Sorry but in addition to the Optical reader you just invested in, you will now need to purchase a thumbnail drive - 8GB is enough.


1) Please make your copy of the Windows Support Drivers - it is a timeconsuming download but totally necessary. Do it on a thumbdrive, cd, whatever you want. Set it aside - you will only use after Windows 7 is installed. Exit Bootcamp


2) Load your Windows DVD into your external optical drive.


3) Go into Applications - Utilities - Disk Utilities


4) Select the Windows DVD on the left, then at the TOP of your screen, click + New Image


5) Save to your Desktop - use any name you want - I used "WINDVDBit64" - again just make up anything you want.


6) Note the file will be saved as a .dmg - just slow click the name and change ".dmg" to ".iso" and when the warning sign about changing extensions pops up, confirm using ".iso".


7) Plug in your 8GB Thumbnail Drive


8) To be on the safe side, at this point eject and physically remove the optical drive altogether from your computer - take it completely out of the equation!!


8) Start Bootcamp again


9) Now choose the top option to create the install disk from an .iso file, choose the file on your desktop you just created, choose the 8GB thumbnail drive as your destination and continue

Now, be REALLY patient - seems to hang about 90% through, but it WILL finish. Take the dog for a walk or enjoy some coffee.


10) Now, just follow the remaining steps. And if you have been trying this before, you will have that sigh of relief when you see the Windows is loading creep across your screen and go into install.


11) Remember to select "Bootcamp" as your destination, then Advance Options.. Format - this will format your Bootcamp Partition into NTFS which will save you another series of headaches as Windows 7 will not run on FAT32 - which is how Bootcamp initially formats the new partition.


12) After the install is completed, now connect your CD or thumbdrive having the driver updates  you created before. After this runs and reboot, your screen will look pretty good again - looks like garbage up to that point - that's normal.


13) Now,.. enjoy the next 2-3 hours of clicking Windows Updates - theres a bunch of em!!!



Hope this helps - cheers!

  • PenguinMacPro Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Thank you! Great post. I'm running Windows 7 on a Mac Pro and just use my Mini as an HTPC, but this is great information for running Windows 7 on the Mini.

  • user1724 Level 3 Level 3 (530 points)

    Two things.


    1 - When I made my iso from the DVD then make the USB in bootcamp, it was not recognized in the next step. Found the USB did not have the windows files. It was formatted to boot, but no windows install files.  I just copied the files fom the DVD to the USB at that point, then it was recognized.  I tried this several times with the same result.  Not sure why this was happening, but it may happen to you.


    2 - The bootcamp files can be copied to the same install USB. So you only need one 8 GB sitick. Makes it easier to do and save in case you need to do it again some day (reload your disk).


    Hope that helps someone.

  • user1724 Level 3 Level 3 (530 points)

    Let me add that bootcamp uses a default partition size of 20GB.  I set mine to 32GB.  A fter loading Winsows 7, nothing else other than getting it current with updates, I had 6GB left.  Just FYI when deciding how much space to allocate.  Seems to me that 32GB would be about the minimum anyone would want to allocate.

  • Jon\'s Alias Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    2011 15" macbook pro:


    In step #9 of your post Adam, you write:


    " Now choose the top option (in BootCamp assistant) to create the install disk from an .iso file, choose the file on your desktop you just created, choose the 8GBthumbnail drive as your destination and continue ... "


    The only options I get in BootCamp are: "Create or remove a Windows partition"  or "Start the windows installer"


    Nowhere in the process am I ever presented with the option to "... create the Install disk."


    Am I missing something or are you working with a different version of BootCamp?


    Thanks for any help,  Jon

  • Nikopol2001 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Good Guy ...


    Had been looking for this solution since two weeks, and it made me nervous a lot. I bet that using an Apple DVD drive makes no trouble for installing windows from a silver disk. But who will pay that price?


    Thanks for your excellent post ...

  • DaddieMac Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    You can also make an ISO file this way:


    From within Terminal (Applications->Utilities->Terminal)


    You can determine the device that is you CD/DVD drive using the following command:


    drutil status


    Vendor Product Rev

    Type: CD-ROM Name: /dev/disk1
    Cur Write: 16x CD Sessions: 1
    Max Write: 16x CD Tracks: 3
    Overwritable: 00:00:00 blocks: 0 / 0.00MB / 0.00MiB
    Space Free: 00:00:00 blocks: 0 / 0.00MB / 0.00MiB
    Space Used: 66:55:27 blocks: 301152 / 616.76MB / 588.19MiB


    Now you will need to umount the disk with the following command:


    diskutil unmountDisk disk1


    Now you can write the ISO file with the dd utility:


    dd if=/dev/disk1 of=file.iso


    When finished you will want to remount the disk:


    diskutil mountDisk disk1




  • liltunechi Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have the same probleme i don't understand what he mean !

  • ctrl-shft Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thank you.  Same exact problem, resolved through these instructions.  Mac Mini i5 dual core.

  • gidisus Calculating status...

    Hi there,

    I dont have this problem because all I did was having an iso of my Windows 7 and just create an Windows 7 bootable device from bootcamp assistance and then you choose your usb and your iso and it puts it on there if you dont have any wrong iso or something it will work and then download windows support and then create Windows partition thats it

  • Chippy99 Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    Kudos to the OP.


    Followed his instructions and successfully installed Windows 7 Ultimate x64 from start to finish without a hiccup.  It was so easy, I couldn't believe it.

  • tpm1999 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks OP!  I bought a new mac mini and a seperate drive, but I had no idea it would be this hard to bootcamp.  It was easier when macs had drives.  The directions were spot on...the only hard part was finding the apple drivers after the install.  I wish they would have named the folder something more bootcamp drivers.

  • DaddieMac Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    I feel that the Mac isn't as "easy" as it used to be -- at least when it comes to upgrades and installations, etc. I love Apple. But sometimes I feel like they need to do more "real-world testing" before releasing things. They should also still offer an internal optical drive if they are going to make it a huge hassle to do basic things like install Windows onto Bootcamp from a DVD.


    Sometimes I wonder why Apple has become like this -- where they seemingly make things harder for their users, and just don't seem to care. Perhaps it is because their beta testers are their software developers -- programmers. I.e., people who generally know unix like the back of their hand and don't think the way most people think.


    It would be good if Apple overhauled its product testing, and implemented some kind of outreach program for beta testing that involved getting regular people to go through the process of upgrades and installations, to figure out what kinds of problems might crop up. I believe if they did this, then they would have discovered problems like the one featured in this thread, and many others, and been in a position to correct that problem prior to releasing the final version of the product.


    Because I feel that Apple should not release products with these sorts of problems. I acknowledge that Apple will always have some problems in its products. However, I wish they would take a more user-friendly attitude.


    I am posting this here because I hope that someone at Apple reads these messages, someone in a position of power there who cares enough about enhancing the user experience to actually do something about it, and implement new measures within Apple to change the product development cycle in such a way that problems like this are caught and fixed prior to release.

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