Install Win 7 on Macbook Pro retina from a USB stick

So you’ve gotten the new macbook and want to install Windows on it (only Win7 will work, don’t try Win8). Although you could run a virtual box (like parallels) you might still want to make a dual-boot system for some reason or other. The problem is the laptop has no optical drive, meaning you’ll probably have to buy an accessory that costs around $80 to do the job, or use a USB disk. So, here it goes…

What you need is an image of Windows 7 installation (ISO image), a 4GB or larger USB thumbdrive and about an hour of free time. Here are the detailed steps.

1. Back up the contents of the thumbdrive as they will be completely erased during this process.
2. Open the bootcamp assistant (in OsX Utilities) and select all the options. Follow the instructions – effectively, this will create a windows 7 installation USB, download some support software and help you install windows (this tool does mostly everything now, it used to be much more technical).
3. Once bootcamp downloads windows support, it will ask to partition your drive. Simply drag the slider to determine the size of the windows partition you’d like. Keep in mind – you will be able to see the windows files from mac, so you don’t need to make this partition too large. The standard Win7 x64 installation can take up to 20Gb.
4. Once the windows installation starts, you will reach a screen asking where you want to install windows. You will note that you can NOT install to the disk created by bootcamp – reason – it creates a FAT32 partition, and you need an NTFS partition. Simply select the bootcamp partition and format it (there is an option in the menu). Continue with installation.
5. Soon enough, the installation will be done. Pull the stick out. Restart the computer. When restarting, press the option (alt) key. This will enable you to chose which system to boot to (windows is now default). Boot into OsX.
6. Go to preferences -> Startup disk and select the default boot mode (probably OsX). There you have it, dual boot. Whenever you want to boot into windows, press the option key.

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