Windows 7 on the iMac
July 8, 2011 5:27 AM   Subscribe

A few questions about installing Windows 7 on my iMac.

I want to get Windows 7 dual-booting on my iMac. It's an Intel Core i3, which is apparently a 64-bit processor, so I assume I should be installing the 64 bit version, right?

Also, I know that OEM software is meant to come with a new machine, but there seem to be a lot of places selling OEM version of Windows 7 online. Are these dodgy or legit? I know that some OEM software can tell what machine it is being installed on, so would they work on an iMac?

Please let me know about your installing-Windows-7-on-a-mac experiences, potential problems, and driver issues.
posted by moorooka to Technology (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It'll install and activate just fine on a Mac, however your still breaking Microsoft's licensing terms. OEM is only intended for new machines for resale.

Say I built a brand new PC for myself and installed OEM Windows 7. The only way I don't break the license is to sell that machine to somebody.

That said, Newegg is a good trusted site to buy OEM Windows.
posted by glenno86 at 5:54 AM on July 8, 2011

Either the 64- or 32-bit versions should work fine, but the 32-bit version won't use any RAM above 3GB or so.
posted by vasi at 7:03 AM on July 8, 2011

My new MBP, Core i7, has a Windows 7 (32 bit) installation running in virtualization, not a separate Boot Camp installation. It was just about as easy to put Windows 7 on the machine as the virtualization advertising says it is. Wireless works. Sound works. Peripherals work. Fast graphics work. I had exactly one problem with it, below. No sweat activating the license online, either.

Because of certain old applications designed for Windows NT I used 32 bit Windows 7. One of the license servers would not run as a service, even in the multiple legacy modes that the system offers. The license server will run as a program. Considering the changes from NT to Windows 7 it is not really a fault.

And I -did- plan to sell this machine on, but that plan fizzled. My bad.
posted by jet_silver at 7:12 AM on July 8, 2011

Not to break the thread, but you'll get infinitely more use out of a Windows installation if you use a VM like Parallels or VM Ware. The interaction between both OSs is really where the utility comes in. Rebooting used to be the way to go, but VMs these days are much faster than before.
posted by Gungho at 7:59 AM on July 8, 2011

VM Ware Fusion 3 is awesome. Unless you want to play high-res Windows games, there's little reason to dual boot your machine.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 8:11 AM on July 8, 2011

I successfully installed 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium OEM Edition on my 2010 iMac with no hassle. The included Apple graphics and sound drivers are horrible. Just remember to download the manufacturer drivers and use the ATI control panel to decrease the brightness, and to install the sound driver.
posted by Electrius at 10:41 AM on July 8, 2011

Yet another voice chiming in that your plan is possible.

I've installed the OEM 64-bit version on my iMac's Bootcamp partition with no troubles. However, keep in mind that Windows activation is unlikely to allow you to use the same product key under virtualization, even if you're booting from the same install (stupid licensing schemes consider a virtualized environment to be a new machine, even if it's running on the same physical hardware).

You won't be able to reinstall your Windows on another machine either - that's what the retail copies are for. OEM locks you into a single install on a single machine.
posted by owls at 12:21 PM on July 8, 2011

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