How to Dual Boot Mac OS X and Windows 7 – A Complete Walkthrough

***UPDATE (Sept 13 2011)*** There is a new guide for installing Mac OS X Lion in a Virtual Machine. Much easier guide to follow if you wish to just try out the Mac OS X. If you wish to build a native Hackintosh, the updated guide on installing Snow Leopard is still very relevant.

***UPDATE (March 28 2011)*** Please check out this updated guide from begin to end on how to build a Hackintosh Dual Boot Windows 7 along with Snow Leopard.

This is a complete walkthrough in general on how you can install Mac OS X (Leopard) onto your desktop or laptop along with Windows 7. I know we are a Windows 7 topic specific blog, but lately there are an increasing interest in people who want to have their PC to run both Windows 7 and Mac OS X simultaneously. So let me share some of my 2-year of experience of building and installing hackintosh (warning: if you are not computer savvy user you may not want to try this :))

Here are some of the prerequisite:

  1. You need at least a CPU that supports “SSE 2” instruction set or above instruction set, if not you probably haven’t updated your PC in the past 5-6 years. How to find out if your CPU (doesn’t matter if you are using an Intel or AMD) suppose SSE 2 instruction set? Use CPU-Z to checkSSE_2
  2. Have a copy of Windows 7 Install Disk (you will need this to fix the boot issue after you’ve finished installing hackintosh)
  3. Get as many different Mac OSx86 distribution as possible, you will find them useful during the process of installing. Here is a list of the distributions. Be careful some of the distribution only support Intel-based PC. If you have AMD please look for the release notes of each distribution.  You know where to download them (prefer get the latest edition for each)
    • iATKOS
    • iDeneb
    • Kalyway
    • SnowOSX Universal (this is for Snow Leopard)
  4. Better have a different hard drive to install on if not, make sure you have at least 20+ GB free space
  5. 2GB of RAM or more
  6. A DVD Drive (of course)

Note: before we start, it is important to backup all your data if necessary, any data lost is your own responsibility.

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Let’s Get Started

Lets assume you already have Windows 7 installed. The first thing you probably want to do is to create a new partition on your hard drive. If you don’t know how to do that, check this tutorials first.

When you create a new partition please give it at least 20 GB or more, if you want to use the hackintosh for any real usage you probably want to add more disk spaces in there. (Xcode in Mac along will take almost 8 GB + spaces, so you want to give it as much spaces as you can)

Once you have created a partition it’s time to try out on installing Mac OS X on your machine.

Yes, you literary need to try out on the different distributions, if you really want to proceed and have a working hackintosh you better start looking at the hardware supportability here. Since every one of you will have a different hardware configuration, it is hard to be general in this case. The bottom line is, you want to check your motherboard (for desktop) or laptop version first. http://www.insanelymac.com/forum/ is an awesome place to go if you have some specific questions regarding your hardware compatibility and installing issue.

Once you have done enough research you will feel confident of what you are doing.

Go to BIOS make sure you are now booting from the DVD first. Insert the Mac OS X distribution you’ve obtained, personally I like to use iATKOS, since that’s the one that I got my Acer Aspire 5580 laptop to work. Yours might be different, again its all depend on the hardware.

customize

During the initial Disk load press F8 for optional parameter. Some of the parameter you can use are –v,  –F,  –X, cpus=1 etc

Once you have successfully loaded into OSX go to Disk Utility you want to reformat the partition you’ve just created into Mac OS Extended (Journaled) (for detail see here)

Now quit the Disk Utility and proceed the install

Be sure to click Customize when you see the Screen Above

Now its the matter of re-trying over and over again. Remember what your configuration is and apply the proper driver (kext file)

We will skip the long and boring re-trying part. Let’s assuming you have it finally working installed and get properly login into Mac OS X. You will soon find out you are not able to boot back into Windows 7 again. That’s because the bootloader you’ve installed overwrite the Windows 7 Boot Manager.

You have two option to fix can’t boot into Windows 7 issue:

  1. The easies way is to insert your Windows 7 disk, and repair your Windows 7. If the wizard found the problem great. If not proceed to step 2
  2. Now you probably want to manually recover the Windows Boot Loader

When you get back into Windows 7, I recommend to use this method called “tboot” what it does is basically create a new entry of boot option in your Windows Boot Manager, that will then re-direct you to Darwin or Chameleon bootloader in Hackintosh.

That’s pretty much it, if you have any specific questions please feel free to leave a comment here, and I will try my best to help you out.

  • Fuchuan Song

    Hi, there

    I have Acer Aspire 5580 laptop also. it featured:

    T5500(2 MB L2 cache, 1.66GHz)
    Mobile Intel 945GM/PM
    NVIDIA GeForce Go 7300
    14.1″ WXGA Acer CrystalBrite TFT LCD,
    Intel High Definition audio support
    3 USB 2.0, 1 VGA
    Acer OrbiCam integrated 1.3 megapixel camera
    Intel PRO/Wireless 3945BG network connection
    Marvell Yukon 88E8038 PCI-E Fast Ethernet

    Im quite new to Mac. so could you tell me the detailed setting you checked in customization? and which version of iATKOS were you using?

    Thank you

    -Fuchuan

    • Jonathan

      @Fuchuan

      I have a slightly different hardware configuration. But it should does the job. I’ve replaced the Intel wireless card into a dell 1390 as the wireless card will not work. All the other hardware should work.

      You can use iATKOS v4 or v7 both worked for me. Suggest you use iATKOS v7 the higher the better, as you will run into lots of problem later when you try to update to the latest 10.5.8. But other than that, make sure you check all the corresponding customization list that are suit for your hardware. I don’t have a complete list as for now, but your Ethernet will not work out of the box, you need to tweak one of the plist in the IOFamily kext file.

      also another tip for you, use “cpus=1 and -v” boot flag during the installation. At least my hackintosh needs to boot with one CPU at the time. Other wise cause race condition and lead to kernel panic.

      Check the forum I’ve mentioned earlier that should help you all the way if you are determined to put a hackintosh =p

      cheers ! and let us know your progress

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  • drew4macs

    Hi there, I have the same processor as you except mine is a AMD Athlon x2 (Dual Core. and I have the same instructions in CPU-Z. Do you think this will work for me? I think it should and thank you for this tutorial, this is the only one i have seen with a AMD Athlon processor.

    -Thanks!

  • ApoX

    Hi there, My System is:

    AMD Phenom(tm) II X4 955 Processor 3.20 GHz
    4.00 GB RAM (3.25 usable)
    Graphic Card Nvidia GTX 260 SLI

    Do u think it would work for me ?
    Sry for bad english ^^

    Justin

  • Haseeb asim

    Hello I have lenovo s10e netbook please tell me if I can get iatkos v7 on my netbook that has windows 7 I would like to dual boot it. But I have heard that wired Ethernet does not work. Can you please sent me all the kext for my mac osx so I can get everything working. My e mail address is haseebasim95@gmail.com. Any help will be highly appreciated

    • Sarfo Emmanuel

      Hi, Please try this. At the customize section click on drivers select system and click on wired and wireless click done when installing your iATKOS v 7.

      Best of luck.

  • http://www.rockadote.webs.com Rock Adote

    How do you edit windows 7 BCEdit.exe?

  • Michael

    Win7-OS X Dual Boot endless loop

    ——————————————————————————–

    Hello everyone, Im Mike, new to this forum. Im on here for only one reason, and im nbot sure weither to post it here or to a mac site well… I followed the instrustions to this site to the tee..

    http://thegadgets.net/trickt-boy/tips-and-tricks/how-to-dual-boot-mac-os-x-snow-leopard-and-windows-7-on-a-pc/

    Now I have the usb stick all set up perfectly and i know it works because it begins to boot. unfortunatly it does begin and says Darwin for a split second but then it resets to the HP logo and restarts again. I am able to switch the directory to boot from so my Windows 7 side is unaffected. But i cannot get the OSX side to start. ANY IDEAS? i have been able before i choose the boot site to have on the bottom like a comand prompt it seems like where it just says BOOT: and i can type what ever I like into it.

  • Zane

    Do, i have to use hackintosh? Can’t I just download snow leopard, from like the pirate bay or something and install that?

  • Hussain22

    Hey I Have,
    Intel Pentium 4, 3.0 GHz,
    Intel Chipset (graphic card), 256MB,
    Windows 7 Ultimate x64,
    4 Partitions..(1 Empty)
    Now, Can you please tell me which version of MAC will my system support?
    Can i use OS X 10.6 (OG) or Hazard 10.6.1-2
    I don’t have a windows 7 CD so how can I repair the boot problem..?
    PLEASE HELP, THNKS IN ADVANCE…

  • macwizard

    hey u have a Gateway NV59C model.

    i have an Intel Core i3-330M processor

    Intel HD Graphics

    4 GB memory

    320 GB HDD

    and i am running on a Windows 7 Home Premium x86

    which version of mac would work best for my pc?

  • mcdost

    hello , i would like to ask few questions and have sum advices about double boot topic of u, would u like to email me please. t__thestyledancer__t@hotmail.com… note: i m a win 7 user and i would like to have double b oot for running adobe apps on mac os x ..waiting for ur mail….

  • V

    For most of the people asking questions- Google is the best friend you possibly have.

    If you get a HFS+ partition error, set the Mac partition active using the diskpart through the W7 install disk. If your W7 partition doesn’t get recognized by the install disk, mark the W7 partition active, and try again.

    For the people wondering if their hardware is right- just try it ;)

  • jose

    is this also possible to lenovo g450? model 20200?

    thanks

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  • henry

    i have an acer aspire 4715z do you think i would work?

    waiting for you reply…

    tnx…

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  • ahzhang452

    umm…will my acer aspire 4552 laptop work with this?
    specs:
    processer: AMD athlon II p340 dual core processor 2.20 GHz
    installed memory: 2gb
    system type: 64-bit os
    graphics: ati raedon hd 4250 i think..
    camera: 1.3 mp cristal eye
    ________________________________
    please help me i need a mac for school but im too poor to afford one :(

    thx in advance :)

  • David

    hi, is there a way to install dual boot for Mac Os X Lion and windows 7?, which distribution should I get, I only found images for vmware…
    Thanks

  • Devin

    Is it possible to install the windows 7 via usb instead of using a disk?

  • James

    I have an HP Dv7 6360us i7 sandy bridge 4 GB ram, 750 GB harddrive, intel integrated 3000, and I am looking to make a dual boot hackintosh. I used CPUID and it said my motherboard is Hewlett Packard 165B, will this work? Also I have blu ray and USB3.0. I will have to disable the USB 3 to do the install. But where can I find drivers? Do you think it will work

  • Stereo

    I have a asus x53sv-sx111v, is this possible ? Wifi will working ?

  • RapHaeL444

    what is the download link for the “mac“ os

  • Mauricio

    Well, first of all thank you for the guide, i am not quite a computer person but i understood everything perfectly. I want to make you some questions because i really need to install a stable OS on my computer due to university work, and i don´t trust Windows that much since last week that i lost a hole year of work because of my computer.

    My computer specs are:

    Dell Alienware m11x

    CPU: Intel Core i7 (Socket 989rPGA)
    Intel(R) Core(TM) i7 CPU U640 @ 1.20Ghz; Core Speed 2245.7Mhz

    (MMX SSE (1, 2, 3, 3S, 4.1, 4.2), EM64T..

    It has a 500gb HDD and 8gb of ram.

    I think my computer fills the requirements for installing MAC OS X, but i have some doubts about it..

    First of all is too risky to do so? As i am not an expert i prefer the opinion of one to see if i go on with it or just keep my actual windows 7 OS.

    Second, i did not understand quite well how to get all the drivers for Mac (because i had to search for all my windows 7 drivers and it was really hard getting on to all of them on windows…)

    And my last question, what if i am able to leave both Windows 7 and Mac OSs on my laptop, but cause of a virus or stuff i get forced to reinstall windows and/or Mac.. on windows i just reinstall with the Windows DVD and nothing else? And what about Mac.. it should be the same right?

    Im sorry if this takes you for ever to answer, and if you cant dont worry i´m already happy with the this guide… but if you can give me a hand here i would apreciate this a lot.

    Thank you for your time and thank you again for this guide.

  • SidWuk88

    I have successfully installed OSX 10.5.6, and am dual booting with Windows 7. My machine I buit myself a few years back with some new and some used parts I had. Basic specs are AMD Athlon64 2000GhtZ, 2X 1G DDR2 Ram, 1x80Gb SATA2 and 1x40Gb ATA (IDE) HDD’s (both set to primary.

    I installed windows on the smaller (IDE) drive and this run without any problem. I did notice that if I pressed F8 during startup that I would be given a choice of which disk to boot from. After trying many installs and distros, I finally got IPC 10.5.6 to instal to my SATA drive. I then had to find a driver for my usb wireless internet conection, and one for my PCI soundcard. Searching in windows I found a wireless driver and was soon using my new OS to browse the internet. However there seems to be no way of getting it to recognise my soundcard. To enable sound I spent 99p on a usb audio device from ebay which worked straight away. All good, but then OSX refused to allow me to sync my iPhone4, said I needed to update iTunes, which required an updated Safari browser, that in turn required 10.5.8, something I know doesnt work on my machine. A little research told me I had to change two strings on “SystemVersion.plist” from 10.5.6 to 10.5.8. About this mac now reads 10.5.8 and I have been able to make the changes and sync my iPhone. I’m now almost satisfied with my Hackintosh, the only problem is very slow video file playback, no suitable kext for my ATI 4500PCIe HD graphics card. But I am nearly there and will soldier on. Hope someone finds something of use in my post. :)

  • Arsh

    Hey Jonathan nice guide,
    I have a HP Pavilion Slimline s3760a Desktop. Do you think it will work.
    Thanks

  • Sam

    Hi Jonathan
    I have Dell Inspiron 570
    CPU: AMD athlon II x4 630
    Main Board: Dell 04GJJT
    Nvidia Geforce 310

    is it compatible with x Lion or do you recommend snow leopard ?

  • Easymeasy

    EASIEST WAY FOR DUALBOOT WITH 2 HD´s IS:

    1.PLUG IN ONLY HD 1 AND INSTALL WIN7!
    2.UNPLUG HD 1 (Win7)
    3.PLUG IN ONLY HD 2 AND INSTALL OSX WITH CHAMELEON BOOTLOADER
    4. PLUG IN ALL HD´s NOW U CAN CHOOSE AT BOOTUP (IF HD2 IS FIRST BOOT DEVICE IN BIOS) BETWEEN OSX AN WIN7 DEFINITELY THE EASIEST WAY

  • jassal

    hi, i have dell XPS 15 Z with i7 2620M,Intel HM67 chipset, NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 525M 2GB, pls advise can i go for dual boot with windows 7.

  • Kaivalya

    Hi…I am trying to install Mac From 6 Months…
    But it is not Working…because when I use ‘-v’
    parameter,My pc restarts…
    can you Tell me some other parameter

    I have: Acer Aspire Series PC
    Intel Based PC
    Intel(R)Core 2 Duo CPU E4500 2.22 GHz
    2 GB DDR2 Ram
    512 MB nvidia GeForce Graphic Card
    Cable Ethernet
    And other All Things

    I have problem only for
    Parameter

    Plz Help Me…

  • ABC

    Hi, I have a win7 disk but i dont hv a mac disk. i hv downloaded mac osx lion.vmdk for vmware….. how can i dual boot now?? plzzz help me.. thanks

  • aaron

    OK so i downloaded CPU-Z and when i look at the CPU instructions it says “SSE(1 ,2 ,3 3s)” but in this article it shows “SSE (1 ,2 ,3 ,4A)” is mine OK to still run it?

  • Pratean

    I installed mac os 10.6.8 on sata 250gb, also have a windows on a 1 tb hd, i cant get into windows AHCI, so i have to get into the bios and change back to IDE, does anyone know if teres a way to get this to work with either of them? Without changing.
    An also i cant get the boot from easybcd to work with the mac partition, when i try to get in the mac i get the ” chain booting error”, anyone nows what to do about this too .
    Thanks

  • http://www.quentinrenard.com Quentin

    What’s the difference between installing a dual boot of MacOS and Windows7, and installing MacOS on a virtual machine ??
    Will there be any difference of quickness or efficiency ? or any problem of competition between the two OS ?
    Cheers

  • aditya

    hey i installed mac osx leopard10.5.7
    but my mac os x does not boot up it says that it failed to start some os0000000f
    file appears missing or corrupt

    but the install always appears complete and im using easy bcd as the dual boot please help

  • Chheang hay

    I want install max os x but my computer don’t run Dish,What can I do?

  • http://www.extendedtech.wordpress.com simongo7

    What happens if I want to update SL to Lion. Will I get any issues?

  • bassist516

    Did it on a gateway m series with vista and amdprocessor…. For free I updated to 7, created a partition, booted Mac 10.6.2 with hazard, and install perfectly, in one day. So for those complaining that it’s impossible, and ur computer can’t do it…. Ur stupid

  • majdman

    Hi, I have a Gateway NV51B20h
    -AMD E-350 vision Technology
    -6GB Ram
    -ATI Catalyst Chipset
    -640GB HDD
    -Windows 7 Home Premium x64
    Could this potentially harm my PC or even BRICK it? If not would this work with my CPU i already got it to dual boot, but its really slow, i cant do anything on it I wanna be able to use the XCode on it…

  • Gowtham

    Hi there I’m having following configurations:
    320 GB HDD
    3GB RAM
    Core 2 Duo processor(2.2 Ghz T6500)
    Currently installed Windows 7 and i’m having iATKOS version can i install it???
    will it run properly…If not mention the problems…

    Thanx in advance…

  • John

    Hello i am runnign Windows 7 on an acer aspire one 533 net s dont have a disk drive and is it possible to acually install MAC OS X Lion without harming the windows 7 because i do not have another win 7 install disc as it was pre installed

  • http://wpden.net/ Ritesh Sanap

    Hello, when i try to mount the iAKTOS the Burn fails on DVD, and when i try to mount on Daemon tools , it mounts but it only shows files of 600KB or around it most of naming BOOT, if i try to extract using Winrar or any other it still shows 600Kb, but ISO is of 4GB so don’t know what the problem is

  • farwees

    HI,i am having Acer Emachines E725 with intel dual core processor.250 GB HDD and 2 GB RAM. can u suggest me which version MAC to instal and i hav WIN 7.I want to get dual boot.i am new to this stuff but i really need this dual booting….
    waiting for u reply…
    thanks in advance.

  • nathan

    after installing mac os x i’m not able to connect internet …plz help

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  • Ted

    will it totlay work fine…
    …is it safe??

  • Robin

    Hi guys, i’d like to think i’m fairly confident with computers and sort of know what i’m doing with installing mac os x leopard on my windows based pc. But! when I go to choose were I want to install mac os x leopard it says i have to format the partition that I set aside for mac os x leopard. However, the disk utility in the installation process won;t let me format the partition. I can only format my whole harddrive and then partition. So clearly I don’t want to have to reinstal windows 7 afterwards and put my files back. Has anybody got any ideas what i could do. Sorry for the long post, but i’d really appreciate it…been trying different methods for hours on end now!

  • Akshit Baunthiyal

    Okay,
    Dell Inspiron N5010
    Intel core i5
    500 GB HDD
    4 GB RAM
    ATI Mobility Raedon HD 550v
    iATKOS doesn’t seem to boot. I see the apple logo (before installation) but then my computer restarts.
    I tried installing Lion but it corrupted my boot manager. Now I use GRUB.
    Also, please tell me the custom kernels/drivers I’m supposed to install from the customization menu.

  • Mminhaz93

    after installing ..when is restarts am i suppose to eject the dvd,,, nd when my laptop restartz ..it goes back to the installation again..what do i do…plz help…email.. mminhaz93@gmail.com

  • Avi Sudha62

    i had install to mac os x leopard and snow leopard to my pc but it will not take boot after completing the installation ……. my pc configuration is HP 8400 workstation series .. 1 gb nividia graphics card 4 gb ram ,500gb hard disk…but it will not take boot pls give me solution for my problem

  • http://twitter.com/rqstadman ruben stadman

    before i’m going to waste my last DVD, does it work on the Acer Aspire 5742G ?

    • Kalyan Kurkure

      I tried installing it on Acer Aspire 5742 (not 5742G) but i failed….

  • Maxjondeau

    Will it work with the motherboard Asus P8P67 Deluxe? 

  • Mirano Tuk

    When I boot cd from iAtkos (etc) I get bunch of:
    EBIOS read error: Device timeout
    Block 0×0 Sectors 0
    Is that normal?
    After that it runs.

  • sukhi

    i have a toshiba satellite L500-1xL
    150gb hard drive
    2 gb ddr3 memory
    intel mobile core 2 solo
    828 mb graphics
    windows 7 at the moment
    what mac osx should i get

    • arduino

      the toshiba sattelite doesn’t have compatible parts to be able to run mac OSX

  • Mato

    when start my mac os x – error – Memory error 0x5fff850, Line 220 what is this??… ihave acer extensa 5620 (2GB RAM)

  • Spok

    AMD processors aren’t supported by OSX…

    • bastiaan ruitenbeek

      uh yeah they are :) with modified amd kernels, mavericks works very stable on my phenom ii x4 965 be

  • http://www.facebook.com/eddy.mora.161 Eddy Mora

    i installed aitkos s3 v2 along side with windows 7 now i get an error “boot:done” and cant get the boot loader to work. when i choos the mac osx partition it gets to the apple logo but then restarts and ideas….

  • Erik

    What if I am currently dualbooting linux and windows7 ? will I have to repair my linux too ?

    • Xander

      No. If you use the Windows bootloader then hit the linux distro then boot into it, you don’t need to. You only need recover Windows.

  • theeoracle

    i have a Gateway NV59C with

    intel core i3-370M
    intel HD Graphics
    500gb hd
    and 4gb of ddr3 ram

    is it possible to dual boot windows 7 and mac os x with these specs? please answer asap

    • eliibr

      hello, did you do the hackintosh with that laptop?

  • Siva

    iam using lenovo with intel pentium processor,4GB of RAM,500 GB HDD…weather iam able to install mac on my pc or not plz help me…

  • Ad

    How about if you dont have a windows disk and it was pre loaded on your pc?

  • Knlegend1

    I have a question. I’m running win 7 and already dual booting ubuntu, can I still boot Snow Leopard?

    • Jonathan Hu

      yes you can

  • CobraSoft

    I want to know if mac os can read the other partitions created on windows and conversely

    • Jonathan Hu

      out of box no, but there are applications you can download to enable this feature. But you can only read, no write option from Mac OS to other none Mac partition

  • Gabriel

    i have Windows 7 and dual booting Windows 8 , can i still boot Mac?

    • Jonathan Hu

      yes you can if you use Windows 7′s bootloader instead of the newer Windows 8 bootloader

  • BK

    kext=kernel extensions=driver for mac