A helpful tip for those of you out there who have MacBooks without DVD drives and want to dual-boot Windows 7…

I recently upgraded my MacBook with a second hard drive in place of my super-drive. I figured I would install Windows on said drive and be able to dual-boot without any issues. Soon after installing my brand new drive, I discovered that Apple doesn’t make it very easy to install Windows without an internal optical drive. Apple’s Boot Camp Assistant recommends creating a bootable USB drive but why go out and buy one just for installing Windows? I decided to experiment with installing Windows 7 using VMware Fusion and writing directly to the physical disk using VMware’s handy rawdiskCreator tool.

*NOTE* This post assumes that your secondary drive has the correct partitions configured for Boot Camp to show Windows in the EFI boot menu. Winclone can set this up for you if you’re patient enough to image the drive and then immediately restore after performing a fresh install.

Setting up the VM took a little bit of work but once I got it booting, installing Windows was easy. The next step was getting my MacBook to boot into Windows natively. After rebooting into Windows, my screen froze up during the Windows startup animation. I discovered that this particular error (0x0000007b) is caused by a set of registry entries that Windows uses to determine the correct interface for accessing the hard drive. When I installed Windows using VMware, my drive got configured in the registry for IDE. Boot Camp wanted to use SATA (hence the error).

In order to correct the registry, I went back into VMware Fusion and edited the following registry keys from within my VM:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\IAtapi
Should be 0

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\IntelIde
Should be 0

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\services\LSI_SAS
Should be 0

After applying my changes, I rebooted and started up Boot Camp. Windows started right up without any issues.

Success…

 
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Installing Windows 7 to Boot Camp using VMware

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