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Can't install Windows 7 on iMac in Boot Camp RRS feed

  • Question

  • I've been having trouble trying to install Windows 7 Home Premium on my Intel iMac using the Boot Camp solution. Neither Apple nor MS technical support have been able to help me so far, as each only has claim to certain parts of the issue. The main problem is that, when I load the installer disc and restart the computer, I get nothing but a blank, black screen with a blinking cursor in the upper left hand corner.

    My research indicates something that I'd like to confirm, if anybody has the answer. The Windows 7 installer, as I see it, looks for a specific BIOS set on startup. On an iMac, this is replaced to a degree by EFI firmware. A poster on Apple's forum told me that EFI v2.x would be compatible with Windows 7; I currently have version 1.00.259 on my system. Apple provided an updater for the EFI firmware, but my system won't run it, telling me it's unnecessary. I have a feeling that the EFI may be the key to solving the problem, and I'd like to confirm it with someone with such knowledge.
    Sunday, February 14, 2010 2:13 AM

Answers

  • Thomas: I already dealt with Apple support, and they couldn't help me either. I just had a diagnostic done on my iMac, and it had no problems, which only means I still cannot install Windows 7 via Boot Camp.

    Sean: The Boot Camp 3.1 update is only good after you install the v3.0 drivers, which are found on any OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) install disc. This, of course, assumes that you have successfully installed Windows to begin with. You have to install Windows in the partition you make with Boot Camp Assistant, then install the 3.0 drivers once Windows is installed and otherwise operational, then apply the 3.1 update.

    Because I cannot install Windows 7 via Boot Camp, and I must assume I will never be able to do so that way again on this computer, I have no choice but to switch to a virtual environment emulator software package, such as Parallels Desktop or VMWare Fusion, to achieve the same results I would have had under Boot Camp. I therefore leave the question marked as "answered", though not to my satisfaction.
    • Marked as answer by Don Goldberg Thursday, February 18, 2010 3:08 PM
    Thursday, February 18, 2010 3:08 PM

All replies

  • Hello,

    Make sure tha all firmware updates installed on your Mac  (use Apple Button -> Software Update… to check). It's necessary before installing windows 7 on Boot Camp.


    Thomas77
    Monday, February 15, 2010 7:19 AM
  • I did install all the previous required firmware updates, except for the iMac Graphics FW Update 1.0.2, which is the one that won't install. Also, Software Update doesn't always look for firmware updates, or at least not specific ones, and I usually don't use it for most updates anyway (I prefer going to Apple's Downloads page and getting the updates myself).

    I'm bringing my computer in for a diagnostic soon. Maybe that will reveal something.
    Monday, February 15, 2010 11:05 PM
  • Hello,

    Since this problem is caused by iMac itself, windows has no thing to do with this problem. I recommned you contact the Apple support for direct aisstance.
    Thomas77
    Thursday, February 18, 2010 2:15 AM
  • Hi Don, have you tried Boot camp 3.1? You can take a look the following thread for information:

    Apple Boot Camp - now with Windows 7 support
    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w7itprohardware/thread/e2460e76-b834-4d75-8b77-022392137ef5/
    Sean Zhu - MSFT
    • Marked as answer by Don Goldberg Thursday, February 18, 2010 2:58 PM
    • Unmarked as answer by Don Goldberg Thursday, February 18, 2010 3:08 PM
    Thursday, February 18, 2010 7:52 AM
    Moderator
  • Thomas: I already dealt with Apple support, and they couldn't help me either. I just had a diagnostic done on my iMac, and it had no problems, which only means I still cannot install Windows 7 via Boot Camp.

    Sean: The Boot Camp 3.1 update is only good after you install the v3.0 drivers, which are found on any OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) install disc. This, of course, assumes that you have successfully installed Windows to begin with. You have to install Windows in the partition you make with Boot Camp Assistant, then install the 3.0 drivers once Windows is installed and otherwise operational, then apply the 3.1 update.

    Because I cannot install Windows 7 via Boot Camp, and I must assume I will never be able to do so that way again on this computer, I have no choice but to switch to a virtual environment emulator software package, such as Parallels Desktop or VMWare Fusion, to achieve the same results I would have had under Boot Camp. I therefore leave the question marked as "answered", though not to my satisfaction.
    • Marked as answer by Don Goldberg Thursday, February 18, 2010 3:08 PM
    Thursday, February 18, 2010 3:08 PM
  • Thanks for the refresher in how to install Windows 7 using Boot Camp Assistant, but I already did all that. I even created a 70 GB partition for the installation, but to no avail. I still can't get the Windows 7 installer to run when I restart the system with the disc in, so all this is useless to me. After all, if you can't get the installer to run, what's the point?

    I ordered a copy of Parallels Desktop, and should be receiving it soon. I have no choice now but to use that for running Windows 7 on my computer. I only have 2 GB RAM in my system, so I'm rather leery of using virtualization software with that low a memory ceiling, but circumstances have forced me into this.

    As it turns out, there are a growing number of people with Macs of various kinds who are in the same situation as me. They can't get the installer to run on their systems under Boot Camp either. This may turn out to be widespread enough that Apple may have to make adjustments soon, but I need Windows 7 to run on my system now.
    Saturday, February 20, 2010 12:24 AM
  • Don.  

    I had the the same issues you are having with my new iMac 27.  I tried to install Windows 7 for the past week now.  I have finally figured out what the problem is and how to fix it and the solution is working just about fine.  The only problem I am having is that there is no sound on my Windows 7 after I install it onto my iMac.  I will try reinstalling the OS again and see what happens.  Either way ... here are the steps you will need to take to install W7 on your Mac.

    http://support.apple.com/kb/TS3173

    Just make sure you follow step 6 thoroughly!  I tried using a USB Storage device and it didn't work but once I uploaded those two files (Drivers and AutoUnattended.xml) it worked just fine.  Keep in mind that I did and still do have some issues with the speakers not working but I hope to solve it with some updates or other firmware issue solving.

    Hope this helps Don.  :)
    Saturday, February 27, 2010 5:00 PM
  • Thanks, but that solution I believe is only for the 21.5" and 27" models that came out at the end of last year. I had considered it at one point, but my model is a 20" from 2008, so it wouldn't have worked properly on my system anyway. Besides which, the point is now moot--I got and am using Parallels Desktop, and will continue to use it until Apple comes up with a solution of its own for this specific problem.
    Saturday, February 27, 2010 6:29 PM
  • The Boot Camp 3.1 update is only good after you install the v3.0 drivers
    not quite true; see http://stinos.wordpress.com/2010/02/13/install-only-64-bit-windows-7-on-a-macbook-pro/ under 'install drivers' on how to tear the bootcamp installers apart so you can get only what you need
    Saturday, February 27, 2010 9:28 PM
  • I took a look at that article. Unfortunately, it's far too technical for me to deal with, and it still doesn't change the fact that I can't run the Windows 7 installer under Boot Camp, let alone install any of the drivers.

    Unless someone's got a genuine idea of how to get the Windows 7 installer to run on my particular model iMac in Boot Camp, this issue has otherwise become a dead horse. Recommendations, like the ones I've gotten so far, have been useless to solve the key issue of the installer not working.
    Saturday, February 27, 2010 10:54 PM
  • well I also couldn't boot the Windows 7 installer at first (don't know my EFI version but it's a 3 year old Macbook Pro), this was my issue: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=467704 
    It's not exactly the same probem as yours, but it shows EFI can't just boot any cd.
    The solution is under 'bootable install disc' in my previous link: basically you create a copy of your Win7 disc but change some parameters so that it does boot. What you do is copy all dvd files to a directory (called 'c:/files' here), then run 'oscdimg -h -m -n -u2 -bc:/files/efsboot.com c:/files c:/bootable.iso'
    After burning that bootable.iso to dvd, the installer did boot.
    Might be a long shot, but hat's all I can think of; let me know if you want to try it maybe I can provide more technical details.
    Sunday, February 28, 2010 10:12 AM
  • I took a look at that thread too, and apparently the burning solution requires an existing installation of Windows Vista, which I had but got rid of because I was doing a clean install of Windows 7. Had I known of this before I got rid of the Vista partition, I might have tried it. But even then, I don't make copies of Windows software like that because it might not copy well, causing more problems than solving. (Not to mention that doing so is somewhat on this side of illegal, but that's a whole other issue.) So, even though the solution you offer seems helpful, it doesn't really help me in my particular situation.
    Sunday, February 28, 2010 2:32 PM
  • you are installing a 64 bit version of windows 7. You need the 32 bit version because mac OS is only 32 bit for these imac. You can not install a 64 bit OS to a 32 bit partition.
    Thursday, April 8, 2010 4:27 AM
  • I assume you know you can just install Windows 7 right off the DVD without any work if you're prepared to loose OSX?

     

     

    Monday, April 26, 2010 2:46 AM
  • shy6114: I WAS trying to install the 32-bit version of Windows 7.

     

    kiwi_jy: Apple's Boot Camp Assistant makes it possible to install Windows 7 on a partition that allows OS X to continue existing. That's basically the idea--to create a dual-boot environment with OS X as the primary system, and Windows as the secondary. There's no need to lose OS X for any reason--in fact, you can't even run the computer without it! (And though having only Windows on a Mac may be possible, it is in no way recommended. Macs were made primarily for use with OS X.)

    Monday, April 26, 2010 1:36 PM
  • I have been fighting the exact same problem with an iMac 24"...  Now for the interesting issues...  Windows 7 32bit, same problems as mentioned above...  Windows XP SP2, similar problems...  I do not have or desire to install Vista, but both of the products fail on bootcamp...  No help from Apple, bootcamp 3.1 is for installation after the original install....  Funny thing...  I decided to blow away the existing XP partition before migrating from Leopard to Snow Leopard...  Originally it worked fine...  

     

    Thank Snow Leopard...another fine product Designed in California!  ;-)

    Monday, April 26, 2010 6:22 PM
  • Hi Don, Sure I understand ;).  But as we all know Apple Mac's just work … so why not just have them run System 7 … oh, I mean Windows 7?

    Any ways just to add to the above discussion so as not to seem unhelpful … the sound system hardware in the late 2006 iMAC (at least) is IDT technology.  Playing around with OEM Realtek and Sigmatel drivers is not going to guarantee full functionality.  Likewise the keyboard keys for eject, volume, etc, are not going to work properly without the Apple drivers.  And if you want the built in iSight camera to work for programs like Skype you need to do the installation as Apple intended (mostly).

    My approach (Windows 7 iMAC without OSX) is to load the Windows 7 DVD allowing Windows to prep the disk as it wants (100MB system partition with the remainder of the disk partitioned for Windows) and to install as normal.  First time it boots the LCD resolution will be wrong but this is fixed after the first Windows update.  At this point you’ll find, as most people have, the most obvious problem that sound only works to headphones and the built in speakers will not operate.

    To fix these issues take a Snow Leopard disk and insert it and allow the Apple Boot Camp software to do its job.  You may find that the process hangs right at the end when installing Intel drivers but don’t worry, just restart the system (hold the power off button down then press again to restart, there is no need to go into safe mode).

    Now you’ll find that the sounds is controlled via a small IDT dock (oops ... task bar) applet that allows the full range of features (spatial simulation features, control over the optical I/O, etc), the keyboard sound keys work as Apple intended, and iSight works in application that support it (try Skype or the Photobooth clone).

    While I can’t speak on platforms other than the late 2006 iMAC, hats off to Apple and Microsoft for making this such as simple process.   I’m not being sarcastic here, the iMAC is a super Windows 7 machine.

    Tuesday, April 27, 2010 12:08 AM
  • Hi Rafal,

    could you elaborate what do you mean by "uploaded these two files", as in where did you upload them to?

    I've already used the USB storage device and am trying to install windows 7 and thought those steps you mentioned might help, for me, I still see the black screen with the blinking cursor at the top left corner.

    its very frustrating.

    thank you for all the help

     

    Saturday, May 1, 2010 2:29 PM
  • It seems my initial point has not been given much regard here, so I'll reiterate it for the sake of reiteration, now that my issue is otherwise taken care of: The Windows 7 Installer does not run on my model iMac, once the partition has been created in Boot Camp Assistant. I also said that it's not recommended to install only Windows on a Mac of any kind without also having OS X onboard as well, so the idea of putting Windows on solo, then using Apple's Boot Camp drivers to make it work on the Mac, is not what I ever had in mind.

    So, I can't run the Windows installer from Boot Camp Assistant, and doing a "hostile takeover" of a Mac with only Windows is not my cup of tea. That's why I'm now using virtualization software to do the job. My initial question remains unanswered to this date.

    Saturday, May 1, 2010 7:49 PM
  • Don

    It sounds very similar to the problem I had but I also got a message "Select CD-ROM Boot Type:" which is a known problem with Windows disks and iMacs. To summarise the disk format isn't compatible with the file system drivers on the disk (fixed in newer macs), even on purchased DVDs from Microsoft.

    Solution is to burn a new copy of the disk, good instructions here ...

    http://jowie.com/blog/post/2008/02/24/Select-CD-ROM-Boot-Type-prompt-while-trying-to-boot-from-Vista-x64-DVD-burnt-from-iso-file.aspx

     

    The catch is you'll need a PC to build the new disk.

    Tuesday, May 4, 2010 6:20 PM
  • Funny, I never got that message, just the blank screen with the cursor in the corner.

    The solution you present here still doesn't help me, though. I don't have a separate PC (if I did I'd use that for Windows 7 instead of a Mac), and besides which I was using the 32-bit version of Windows 7 (your link looks only at the 64-bit version, can't tell from here if it'll work with 32-bit as it is not an active link).  As such, little has changed for me.

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010 1:57 PM
  • omg just purchased windows 7 on my imac 24 inch 2008 and having the exact same problem!  Reading this makes me extremely frustrated as these retards responding have abosolutly no reading comprehension whatsoever.  Now im out a couple hundred bucks and wondering why the ____ did nobody tell me how useless mac support is before i got the damn thing.  

     

    Please if anyone has USEFUL information on this topic please respond and not a bunch of links unrelated to 2008 imac and the black screen don describes.

    • Proposed as answer by PriebeJ Tuesday, May 18, 2010 1:30 PM
    Saturday, May 8, 2010 7:35 PM
  • If you are talking about the black screen with the blinking cursor, I had that same problem with my 2008 iMac 20" model. Turn off your machine, then unplug all of your external devices except the keyboard and mouse, and also if you have ethernet running to your machine.  That was my problem.  After I turned my machine back on, it started up from the windows install disk and worked fine.  Hopefully it is that easy when I install Windows 7 on my machine.
    Tuesday, May 18, 2010 1:32 PM
  • I'm having the exact same problem.  Restarting the machine has not fixed it for me.  I have an imac 24" manufactured january 2009 running a fully updated version of Snow Leopard attempting to install Windows 7 Home Premium (genuine install disc purchased through Microsoft Store) full version, 32-bit.  I create the partition, reboot using Boot Disk Assistant and after about 10 secs of a white screen watch the blinking cursor.  Restarting and holding down option to bring up the boot options then clicking Windows results in the same.   I cannot get the windows installer to initialize.  I have redone the partition and attempted the driver fix for late 2009 machines (just in case).  No solution results in anything but the flashing cursor.  Any new ideas?
    Thursday, May 27, 2010 1:49 AM
  • I've had this problem. I've fixed. After creating the Windows partition run disk utility and repair permissions.

    Honest, that's it.

    Sometimes I start from my OSX disc and run disk repair too just because.

    It happens with ALL versions of windows, bootcamp is destructive to your partitions, you need to massage them.

    Hope you have fun with your great computers!

    • Proposed as answer by BeatleMike Friday, May 28, 2010 7:35 PM
    Friday, May 28, 2010 5:03 PM
  • Try installing through Parallels or VMware Fusion. I had the exact came problem, but I tired downloading a trial version of parallels to see if that would work, it did! there was one error message during the installation, I clicked "continue" and it finished fine.  The reason Windows  has trouble installing on a mac HD with Bootcamp is because of a little known program called  Rollback.exe. Google it. To tell you the truth, neither Bootcamp or Windows 7 are amazing programs. I dont like the idea of using  Parallels and only using a chunk of my amazing processing speed. If you need both, you need both. I run Autodesk Revit Architecture in Parallels and it renders slow, but is quite amazing software in every other aspect.

     

    Im running Windows 7 in Parallels 5 on my late 2009 iMac with Snow Leopard. 3.06GHZ 8GB RAM, 1TB Hard Drive, ATI Radeon HD 4670 graphics. 

     

    Hope this helps!

    Saturday, June 19, 2010 10:34 PM
  • I am now using Parallels Desktop for my Windows 7 work. As I said earlier, I'm a bit leery of using virtualization software, given that I have only 2 GB RAM altogether for everything, and my particular model iMac is only capable of handling up to 4 GB total. But them's the breaks, I guess.

    I didn't know about that Rollback program or its effect on installation in Boot Camp. I suppose Apple might address that in the future, but I can't count on that.

    As for PriebeJ and BeatleMike's suggestions, maybe the next time I try to install Windows using Boot Camp I'll keep those things in mind.

    Monday, June 21, 2010 11:06 PM
  • Here the answer:

     

    I just installed 64 Bit Windows 7 on my iMac 21.5"  (2009 model):

    Here is alink to the page that gave me the clue...

    http://www.simplehelp.net/2009/01/15/using-boot-camp-to-install-windows-7-on-your-mac-the-complete-walkthrough/

    Basically, duriung the first reboot of the install process, hold down the option key and reboot into the mac drive (Start Up Disc). Eject the windows 7 Set Up Disc from the DVD drive. Reboot... It will reboot into windows so no need to hold down option and select Windows.  It will install from there. 

     

    It may spend a bit of time completing installation, but it is working.

     

    Tuesday, June 22, 2010 12:36 AM
  • Ok Seems really stupid, but we have had this issue on 10 Imacs, and this has solved it on every single instance.

    If you get the blank (black) screen after trying to install. Power down the Imac (actually unplug the power from the IMac for 20 seconds). Plug the power back in and boot up into the install of windows. and it will now work.

    Thursday, June 24, 2010 1:43 AM
  • OK I feel like an idiot and would be really upset, if I wasn't extremely relieved!!

    THIS WORKS!!

    I had the SAME ISSUE as posted above (Could not get the Windows 7 installer to start in Bootcamp... it just hung on the black screen with the cursor blinking in the top left corner)

    I tried everything!! Verifying and Repairing the Partitions... from the OS AND THE INSTALL DISC! (Neither works, by the way)

    The ONLY thing that works is unplugging everything, including power for 20 seconds, and then leaving ONLY the mouse and keyboard plugged in.... then restart, holding the ALT key to choose to boot to the Windows disc. It's almost like magic (Cause nothing scientific worked... TRUST ME!!)

    Now, to give people another riddle to solve.... I HAD WINDOWS 7 installed on this EXAAAACT iMac BEFORE!!! I had to reinstall Snow Leopard yesterday.... and got this issue the SECOND time I installed Windows 7!! (It did NOT give me this headache he first time I installed it!! It simply installed normally!)

    There is apparently some strange glitch at work here... but, like I said... NOT WORRIED, cause it WORKS now!!

    Anyone having issues, just skip the other suggestions and just unplug everything... it DOES work.

    Thursday, July 15, 2010 3:06 AM
  • I haven't had a problem, as long as I did the partitioning in OSX.

     

    Thursday, July 15, 2010 5:15 AM
  • What do you mean by UNPLUG everything?? and then restart.

    I am having the issue where windows 7 hung with black screen with cursor blink on my iMac late 2009 21.5".

    Tuesday, July 20, 2010 1:44 AM
  • For anyone who finds this thread in the future, this issue was subsequently addressed by Apple. It's a problem with an incompatibility with the video drivers on the Windows 7 Installation Disc and the video card in particular models of iMac.

    See this page for instructions on how to work around this problem.
    http://support.apple.com/kb/TS3173

    To summarize that document, the solution is to download the appropriate drivers and place them on a FAT formatted USB drive or SD card. Have the drive plugged in during installation, and the Windows 7 installer should find the drivers and the video should work as intended.

    • Proposed as answer by 501cGeek Friday, February 4, 2011 8:52 PM
    Friday, February 4, 2011 8:51 PM
  • Definitely upgrade to boot camp 3.2.0.  It resolved some usb issues I had.

     

    Friday, February 4, 2011 10:51 PM
  • Guys, just went through the full list of the postsin this thread. Needless to say I have the same problem and I did exactly what Don tried. Had my vista working then cleared partition and tried with windows 7 with exactly the same problem. Powering down the Mac and then starting it again didn;'t help. I suspect the latest updates reprogram something in the firmware, maybe DVD related and that is why the whole process doesn't work. I tried restarting the Mac numerous times, clearing the partition etc etc ... No luck

     

    What worked for me though in my first attempt was adding an external usb drive !  Same installation disk worked immediately just by selecting with the option key the new drive !!!

     

     

    I strongly suggest you to try it !!!

    Thursday, March 31, 2011 11:44 PM
  • Also it may not6 be that simple as I try to use the external drive for one more time and that didn't work the second time, so I switched back to the internal one and it worked a treat this time ... Try switching between the two between installations if you can. The Apple guys have really messed this up !!!
    Friday, April 1, 2011 12:00 AM
  • p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Verdana}

     If someone get black screen on the last boot of windows 7 installation, try these links: 

     

    http://support.apple.com/kb/TS3173

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3983

    Saturday, April 2, 2011 9:32 PM