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Install Windows 7 (32 or 64 bit) and LINUX on external drive on iMac running Snow Leopard - ?6 GB RAM for Mac iMac7,1

Posted on 2010-11-09
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
Wondering if this can be done.  I would prefer to install both on an external hard drive using rEFIt-0.14.dmg and using a partition tool called iPartition.

Not sure how to do this for Windows 7 and if this can be done.  I have install CD's for 32 and 64 bit Windows 7 and an Ubuntu installer.  I was under the impression that you cannot install the 32 bit Windows 7 on my Mac:

  Model Name:      iMac
  Model Identifier:      iMac7,1
  Processor Name:      Intel Core 2 Duo
  Processor Speed:      2.8 GHz
  Number Of Processors:      1
  Total Number Of Cores:      2
  L2 Cache:      4 MB
  Memory:      4 GB
  Bus Speed:      800 MHz
  Boot ROM Version:      IM71.007A.B03

and that you cannot install windows on an external drive.

Also, wondering if my iMac can handle 6GB of memory.  Apple says 4 GB, but OWC has kits for a 6GB upgrade.

I have VMWare and that apparently supports 64 bit windows 7, more flexibility.  Just not sure if the performance would be much better if I boot directly into windows.

I tried BootCamp and ran into some errors trying to install the 32-bit version.
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Question by:sscotti
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by:OxygenITSolutions
ID: 34098086
VMWare with 4Gb and Windows 7 won't be 'amazing' and running natively will always be faster but I run Windows on my Macbook Air with 2Gb using VMWare and it seems to manage provided I don't do too much. 4Gb will handle if you allocate only what you need to the Windows 7 installation (done in VMWare settings).
Version 3 of VMWare supports Windows 7 better than Version 2.

On the subject of your iMac memory.

Using mixed modules can cause instability in some models and the iMac won't use dual channel mode (need identical modules). Sometimes (not all the time) 4Gb may be better in the long run than 6Gb). If Apple don't recommend it that is because there would be some underlying issues.
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by:sscotti
ID: 34098109
What about installing on an external drive?  If that possible using other tools besides BootCamp.  I have a partition tool that will allow me to create a MBR and windows partition as well as LINUX partitions on an external drive?  Will the 64 bit version work natively on my Mac?
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Expert Comment

by:OxygenITSolutions
ID: 34098142
Give it a whirl.

Try installing using Bootcamp and then when you boot your mac, hold down the option key and the theory is the drive should be available as a boot option.

ALWAYS backup your important data when doing things like this.
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Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 34100073
Windows 7 will not boot from External HDD. It will boot from eSATA anyhow.
Why not booting from USB drive? The problem is that USB driver is loaded after you get initial load of Windows (as you pass welcome screen of Windows). So none will work, do not waste your time.
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LMiller7 earned 500 total points
ID: 34108970
Microsoft does not support installing Windows on an external drive. It can be done on some systems but it isn't easy. It is best avoided.
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Author Closing Comment

by:sscotti
ID: 34244514
I agree.  Resorted to BootCamp on my Mac partition.
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