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MacBooks Pro and Windows 7

I recently purchased some MacBooks Pro. Unfortunately at work we’re still using Mac OS X 10.6, as 10.7 isn’t very good in an Open Directory environment. Fortunately the newest MacBooks can have 10.6 installed on them. I used NetRestore to image the computers, and all was good. Except 11 of these computers were going to be used with Hebrew users. You might not know that Hebrew is written from right to left, and sadly Mac OS X is not the most friendly with right to left languages. So I needed to run BootCamp.

Here’s the problem. You launch 10.6’s BootCamp and it says that it can’t run on that generation of MacBook. Then you boot off of a 10.7 drive, and it says BootCamp can only run off of the internal drive. Bugger.

So here’s the solution:

  1. Booted off an external drive, partition the internal drive, and make the second partition FAT32.
  2. Reboot off of a Windows 7 install disc.
  3. Reformat the drive as an NTFS drive. Don’t continue with the install.
  4. Reboot into Target Disk Mode. And connect via Firewire or Thunderbolt to another computer.
  5. Launch WinClone and restore your previously saved image to the NTFS partition.

That’s how I did it for some machines, others I used Clonezilla, which basically does the same thing, but over ethernet, and more difficultly. A lack of GUI makes a basic CLI knowledge essential.

I did have one machine with a problem. It wouldn’t let me install Windows on it. The partition didn’t seem to be acceptable. So I reformatted the drive, and reimaged the Mac OS X side, and it worked.

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