macbook air usb boot

deibel used Ask the Experts™
Hello Experts

I have a MacBook air with no OS on it and I want to install windows 7. The problem is that no device is being recognized on the usb port. I have tried different usb sticks with different OS and different usb dvd drives with different OS (Linux, Windows, OSx)
Curious is that the USB Port did work as there was OSx installed.
So what can I do to get devices to be recognized on the usb port?

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Installing only Windows on a Mac computer can be problematical. You will have difficulties with drivers. You are better off installing a minimal OS X installation, then installing Windows using the Boot Camp Assistant:

You can make the Windows partition into a large partition, just leaving 10 Gigs or so for the Mac partition.

That also leaves you with a bootable Mac partition to reinstall Windows from if you Windows installation dies.

See also:


Hello strung

my problem is that booting from USB is not possible - neither OSx from a USB DVD Drive.
Do you have another Mac available, so that you can connect the two and use Target Disk Mode?

If so, please let us know the models of both Macs and what OS are on them.
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Computer Consultant (Desktop analyst)
Which version of OS X was installed on it originally?  Does the machine have a recovery partition?  It is accessible via a CMD-R boot sequence or Option key boot sequence (depending on the age of the machine).

As to the USB port, it might be in a bad state.  Try resetting the PRAM and/or the SMC.  To reset the PRAM, hold down the following keys:  CMD+OPT+P+R.

Hold them until you hear two chimes.  Then let it boot as normal.

To reset the SMC on your Macbook Air:
  Shut down the Mac.
  Ensure that the Mac is plugged into a power source.
  While the Mac is off, press and hold the Shift, Control and Option keys and the Power button.
  Release all four keys at the same time (note: the Mac should not power on).
  Press the power button to turn the Mac back on.
If you have a wifi connection, you can use command option r to restore the original OS from Apple's servers over the internet.
David AndersTechnician

Model of the Mac would be helpful.
Why is the hard drive blank? Has the MBA been dropped or liquid spilled?
Does the MBAir chime and screen appears with ?mark folder
Does the MBA with CMD+OPT+P+R keys down chime more than once, until keys released?
"T" key down at startup, does a large icon appear? Target Disk Mode explanation here
OPTION key down at startup, does a boot manager screen appear?

Following an iFixit guide and temporarily removing the SSD may change it's behavior (unlikely)

Bootable USB with OSX on it should be partitioned GUID and formatted HFS+ (Journaled)
OPTION key at startup should show the OSX USB drive as an option.

Thunderbolt port is on MacBook Air (Mid 2011 and later)  gives the specs on all Mac Models
The A1234 number on the bottom of the case is the case model not the mac model.

Startup Keys Listed


CMD+OPT+P+R is the answer.

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