Installing Win7 on a Mac Mini with no Disc (how to create a bootable USB drive with Win7)

Post date: Jan 29, 2012 10:07:50 PM

Yuck, I had to take the unwanted plunge of giving M$ some money and bought some Win7 Licenses. I installed one on a Mac Mini (i5 2011 model) on a separate partition using Apple's BootCamp tool.

I bought Win7 on DVD and thought that I could use the "Remote Disc" feature of Mac OSX Lion to use a shared DVD from a different macbookPro with a DVD drive.


This model of the Mac Mini will only install Windoze using a bootable install image of Win7 on a USB.

I did not buy a USB install iso image. I had a DVD.

M$ sells win7 install iso images on their web site but I bought my license from my local computer supplier.

With a bit of research, I got it done - here is how I did it.

    1. Get the Win7 DVD files onto a Bootable USB (create a bootable USB drive with Win7)
    2. run boot camp assistant to go through the partitioning and install
    3. boot into windows and finish all the configuration to get is running with all the drivers and apps

Step Number 1 is what I am going to discuss, since it was not as easy as clicking some buttons.

Google and I finally found Liza Shulyayeva's post about creating the bootable USB based on the files from a install DVD.

Win7 Install DVD ---> USB Win7 install Drive

She has the steps very well documented. They are all done on a Win7 commandline.

    • First you partition a 4GB (or bigger) USB drive using diskpart.exe
    • create a new parition on that USB drive
    • format it
    • then using bootsect.exe - you put the boot sector on the drive
    • copy all the files from the DVD

For the full details, go to her post, it is step by step!.

Thats it, the USB drive is ready to be used by Boot Camp.

I did not follow the 2nd part of her post because she documented the used of a different boot loaded called rEFit.

Thanks Liza. (

After that struggle,

    • I installed Win7,
    • installed the apple drivers that I had on a different USB drive (because they would not fit on the same 4GB Win7 drive),
    • installed Firefox,
    • installed the Win7 updates,
    • got all the printers and network domain settings and shares setup,
    • then started the download and install of the GAMES that only run on Windoze that drove me to this in the 1st place.


BTW I bought a few licenses and installed it on my main Linux workstation in VirtualBox a free, very robust and well supported virualization app.

It works pretty good but requires much more memory to run correctly because you are sharing resources this way. VirtualBox also works on Mac.

Copy of Liza Shulyayeva's Instructions

Create a bootable USB with Windows 7

See Original post for context.

    1. Plug a USB drive into a computer with Windows 7 already installed
    2. Open the command prompt with administrator rights
    3. Type diskpart into the command prompt and press Enter
    4. Type list disk into the command prompt and press Enter. A list of currently connected storage devices will be listed, starting with Disk 0.
    5. Find what Disk number is assigned to the USB drive (for me it was 1) and type select disk 1 (replacing the number with your own) and press Enter
    6. Type clean and press Enter
    7. Type create partition primary and press Enter
    8. Type select partition 1 and press Enter
    9. Type active and press Enter
    10. Type format fs=ntfs and press Enter – this will take some time. For me, it took about 15 minutes. The progress should be shown as a percentage in the command prompt
    11. Type assign and press Enter – Windows will indicate that a new drive has just been plugged in
    12. Type exit and press Enter
    13. Insert the Windows 7 DVD into the Windows 7 PC that you’ve been working on
    14. Note the drive letters for the USB and the newly inserted DVD. For me it was something like D for the USB and F for the DVD, but it will vary for everyone
    15. Go back to the command prompt (reopen as administrator if necessary)
    16. Type the DVD drive letter. For me this was f: and press Enter.
    17. Type cd boot and press Enter
    18. Type bootsect.exe /nt60 d: (replacing d with your USB drive letter) and press Enter. If this was done correctly (remember that you must be running the command prompt in administrator mode, you should see the following message: “Bootcode was successfully updated on all targeted volumes.”
    19. Outside of the command prompt, copy all files from the DVD to the USB drive by dragging and dropping
    20. Extract the USB drive from the Windows 7 PC