Running Windows 7 64 Bit on a Macbook Pro I didn’t know was old..

York Railway Museum Engine Controls

I’ve had so much success with 64 bit Windows 7 on my new Dell Laptop I thought I’d put it on my MacBook Pro. I got this around 2 and a half years ago and it has been quite reliable, only needing a new power supply, battery and system board so far. Thank heavens for AppleCare.

But I digress. I bought a new hard disk and got number one son to fit it. Then we installed OS X and fired up BootCamp which is the Apple program to partition the drive and put Windows on it. At the appointed time I put my Windows 7 64 bit distribution disk in the machine to begin the install. And I got a very strange error message, as if the disk was stuck at a menu I hadn’t seen before.

Turns out that the Windows 7 64 bit DVD uses a format that doesn’t work on old (i.e. made more than 18 months ago) Macs. After a bit of searching I found my way to a web site that explained how to make a new DVD that worked OK.  The command I used (with my not-working DVD in drive d:) is this one:

oscdimg.exe -n -m -bd:\boot\ d:\ c:\windows7x64.iso

The oscdimg program is provided by Microsoft for making disk images. Once it had finished I then had an image on drive C:  which I could burn to make a working disk. I still have it. I’m going to put it somewhere safe.

Anyhoo, that got Windows 64 bit working on my machine and then I hit a second snag. The machine is so old that Apple don’t provide a version of BootCamp for it. This means that I couldn’t do the automated install of all the Apple and other drivers to make it work properly. The good news is that I’ve got all the important bits working without it and I’m sure I can live without the light up keyboard. From a performance point of view everything is fine, and I can now use all of the 4Gbytes of memory the machine has inside.  If you have an older Mac I’d definitely recommend the move to 64 bit.