Dual booting or multi-booting a system is fast becoming a frequently adopted tech trend. This is mainly due to the fact that users can enjoy the features and functionality of two different operating systems in a single machine. Dual booting is defined as the installing two different operating systems on a hard drive, allowing both of the operating systems to be loaded and controlled.
When a user switches on a dual-booted computer, a boot manager menu will be displayed, with which he/she can select the operating system to use. Generally a boot manager functions by substituting the default Master Boot Record (MBR) by its own and hence the boot manager program boots in lieu of an operating system.
There are many boot manager programs, of which System Commander, Partition Magic and LILO are few of popular ones. The most common combination of operating systems used for dual booting being Linux, Mac and Windows. Of late, there are numerous users who would like to load their desktop with both Windows 7 and Mac OS X simultaneously. Though this is not possible on all systems, please have a glimpse at the system requirements detailed below before following the instructions. I’ve elaborated below the steps and instructions for dual booting a Mac OS X with Windows 7.
As I alluded to earlier, there are a set of system requirements that need to be fulfilled before dual booting a system with Mac OS X and Windows 7. The first system requirement is that the CPU should support SSE 2 instruction set at least. You can easily check whether your CPU complies with the instruction set requirement using CPU-Z, this works fine with AMD or Intel processors. Then secondly, get Windows 7 Install Disk and Mac O X distribution, as both of them will be helpful during the installation process. As there are numerous distributions available in the market, check for the release notes of the distribution to check if they are compatible with Intel or AMD powered desktops. In terms of memory requirement on the hard drive, please ensure that you have at least 20 gigabytes of free space and 2 gigabytes of RAM.
Before you start the installation process, it is important for you create a backup for all the data stored on the hard drive because once the data is lost, it is unrecoverable. First, let me assume that you already have a Windows 7 operating system installed in your system. In such a case, the first thing you should do is create a separate partition on the hard disk. Hard disk partitioning is the process of dividing the storage space in a hard drive into many storage units. There are numerous topics related to disk partitioning on the web and it generally takes only a few minutes for hard disk portioning in Windows 7. The only thing to keep in mind is that give a minimum memory space of 20 gigabytes. Once you are done with memory partitioning, you can try installing Mac OS X on your machine.
It is highly advisable for you to check out various distributions and also analyze the hardware configuration as it differs from system to system. You must also install recommended boot loaders in order to boot back and forth from the two operating systems. Chameleon is one of the popular boot loaders used for dual booting. You can gain vital information by browsing through some technology blogs and forums. Once you feel that you have gained enough knowledge, you can commence the dual booting process. First, go to the ‘BIOS’ tab to boot the operating system from the DVD and then load the Mac OS X distribution. When the disk is loading initially, press the F8 tab to choose the optional parameter.
Once successfully loaded, navigate to the disk utility option in the Mac OS X to reformat the hard disk partition created before installation. After reformatting, close the disk utility and carry on with the installation process. Please make sure you the click the customize option and remember the configuration set and apply it with the proper driver. If it is not installed, then retry installing it again by following the same steps. That’s the installation process is over and you can login into Mac OS X. Once you load the Mac OS X, you will be unable to boot Windows 7 because the boot loader you have installed would have overwritten the boot manager of Windows 7.
You can resolve the issue by the inserting the Windows 7 disk to repair with the wizard. But if the wizard could not find the problem, you have to manually reclaim the boot loader. Once you have resolved the reboot issue and book back into Windows 7, it is advisable that you use the ‘tboot’ method to create an additional boot option entry in the boot manager. This additional entry will redirect you to the Chameleon boot loader. Nowadays most modern Macs come with built-in Apple’s proprietary boot camp assistant app, which makes dual booting a simple process that can completed in a matter of minutes.
If your system has the boot camp assistant app, then your Mac will automatically install the required Windows drivers. In such cases, you need to create a bootable stick and choose the required size of the hard drive partition. You can choose and divide equally with a single button, or slide manually to set your choice. The one thing to note is that the Mac will become unresponsive when it is partitioning and then the system will automatically start and install Windows 7. Once Windows is loaded, it will ask for the partition to install, for which please select the boot camp option and then select format to set a Windows 7 compatible NTFS partition.
In conclusion, once the installation process is complete you will be required to install Apple drivers, which were transferred to the flash drive. You’ll just have to run the setup.exe file to install all the required software drivers essential for display, keyboard, and network adapters The total time required will with different models and for the latest models with SSD the whole process, including driver installation, can be completed in less than 20 minutes. That’s it, I hope the steps and instruction elaborate above will be greatly helpful for you to dual boot Mac OS X with Windows 7.