Windows 7 can be dual booted alongside Mac OS X on Intel iMacs using a utility called Boot Camp. Boot Camp creates a separate partition for Windows 7, meaning that the installations of Windows 7 and Mac OS X are distinct. Either operating system may be set as the default used at start-up, or users can manually override the start-up operating system immediately after turning on the iMac. The Boot Camp Assistant, included in Mac OS X on Intel iMacs, helps users create a Windows partition and aids in launching the Windows 7 installer.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Intel iMac
- Mac OS X 10.6, "Snow Leopard" installation DVD
- Windows 7 installation DVD
Open the Apple menu, located in the upper-left corner of the Mac OS X screen, and select "Software Update." This ensures that your Intel iMac running Mac OS X 10.6 has the Boot Camp 3.1 update, the newest release of Mac OS X and the latest firmware. "Software Update" will notify you if downloads are necessary.
Open "Boot Camp Assistant" by double-clicking "Macintosh HD" and then the "Utilities" folder. Double click the "Boot Camp Assistant" icon to launch the utility. You must be logged in as an administrator and have all other users logged out.
Create a Windows partition using the assistant. Use the on-screen slider to set the size of your Windows partition. Microsoft notes that Windows 7 requires at least 20 GB of hard drive space for a 64-bit installation and 16 GB for a 32-bit installation. Remember that this figure does not include any applications you may install. As a result, the default 32 GB partition selected by Boot Camp may not be enough space for users planning to install many applications.
Slide the Windows 7 installation DVD into your Intel iMac when prompted. You must have a retail installation DVD for Windows 7; OEM discs, like those provided as backups with the purchase of a new computer, are not compatible with Boot Camp. Upon inserting your Windows 7 DVD, click "Start Installation."
Wait for the Windows 7 installer to load after your Intel iMac restarts.
Select the destination drive to which Windows 7 will be installed. In the "Where do you want to install Windows?" screen, select "Disk 0 Partition 3 BOOTCAMP." Selecting any other partition could inadvertently delete your Mac OS X installation and all files associated with it in Step 7.
Click "Drive options (advanced)" and click on "Format." Upon pressing "OK," and then "Next" to initiate the formatting process, all information on the Boot Camp partition is deleted and the Windows 7 partition is reformatted using the New Technology File System (NTFS).
Install Windows 7. After formatting the Boot Camp partition as NTFS, the Windows 7 installer starts automatically. After Windows 7 is installed, the Intel iMac restarts once more and boots into Windows.
Install Boot Camp drivers. Once the iMac restarts into Windows 7, insert your Mac OS X 10.6 installation DVD, which automatically launches the Boot Camp driver installation software. Press "Next" and follow the instructions displayed on-screen. Your iMac will restart into Windows one final time after installing Boot Camp drivers.
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