Windows 7 on my MacBook

So, I started to do a little fiddling with .NET. On the train home today, I was doing some work in Visual Studio 2010, in my Windows 7 VM (via Fusion on my MacBook). The MacBook is not speedy, 2.0Ghz Core Duo processor with 2GB of RAM and an Intel graphics card… the crappy kind that shares main RAM. Despite these limitations, the VM runs nicely for most tasks. But when I tried to enable Aero Glass, things got sluggish. Too sluggish even though I was just editing text files and creating simple command-line utilities.

Then I remembered  that I upgraded the hard drive on my MacBook to 250GB, mostly because I knew at some point I was going to install Windows on a separate partition and install BootCamp to get all of the hardware drivers working. Now seemed like a good a time as any.

Installation of Windows 7 is a bit complicated, though. It seems as if Windows 7 isn’t directly supported. You need to install Vista first, then Windows 7. In fact, these are  the steps I followed:

Burn necessary disks

The first thing I needed to do was burn Vista x86 and Windows 7 x86 disc images. This didn’t take too long as I have an MSDN subscription and broadband.

Run Boot Camp Assistant

Boot Camp Assistant is a program built into OS X. It’s installed when you install the OS and gets updated periodically whether you care or not. As you probably know, it partitions your drive and gets it ready to receive a copy of Windows.

Reboot, install Vista

Hopefully the last time I need to install Vista. At some point, say I boot camp my Mac Pro, I’ll try and skip this step and go directly to Windows 7. For now, this is what I did. Vista installation worked like a charm.

Install Boot Camp Software

Boot Camp Software is installed under Windows from the Mac OS X install DVD. For my Snow Leopard disk, it installs version 3.0 of Boot Camp. After the install, all of the MacBook’s devices came alive. I downloaded Boot Camp 3.1 from the Apple Website and installed that, which was recommended.

Install Windows 7

The Vista to Windows 7 upgrade is pretty seamless. It worked on my work PC and I expected to have no problems here. Unfortunately, out of the box, the upgrade failed. Apple had a fix for it and when I applied that, the Windows 7 install started to proceed as normal. Then, I ran into an issue where the version of Windows 7 I was using could not be used to upgrade my version of Vista. Ug. So, I opted to install Windows 7 from scratch. This is why I mentioned above  that if I did this again I would go directly to Windows 7. The install ran fine and Windows 7 is now running on my MacBook, all drivers seem to be working.

Install Visual Studio 2010 RC

Now, I can actually continue where I left off on the train, finishing my .NET twiddling on a native, Aero Glass-enabled, Windows 7 install on my MacBook.