Installing Windows 7 on iMac (late 2009) with OS X Lion


Well, this is certainly complicated to figure this out and there are no specific instructions, but the main problem is that Boot Camp 4.0 and the web doesn't give very good instructions and Windows 7 doesn't have the right default drivers for the iMac, so the screen goes blank, but here they are:

  1. Start Boot Camp Assistant and create a DVD with the new Boot Camp for Windows stuff on it (this is not the same as the minimal drivers you need to run the display and mouse, so you will need both a DVD and a USB Key).
  2. Then use Boot Camp Assistant to create a partition. Note that it does not create the partition correctly so you have to reformat this later.
  3. Now you have to google around looking for "iMac late 2009 drivers" to get a 110MB set of minimal drivers in a zip file.
  4. Now go to disk utility and insert the USB key, format it as FAT and then go to options and select MBR
  5. Copy the unzipped files to it and then make sure to insert the USB directly into the iMac (it doesn't work if it is attached to a hub or a keyboard). Make sure unattended.xml and the drivers directory are at the root of the drive.
  6. Now insert the Windows 7 installation disk in the DVD drive and restart
  7. Plug in a USB keyboard and press the option key (the bluetooth keyboard doesn't work for this)
  8. You should see a selection of devices to boot from. Choose the DVD
  9. At the install screen, you need to select the parttition call boot camp (don't pick repeat do not pick the Mac OS X drive!!!!). And then choose advanced to format it as OS X doesn't know how to properly format the drive. 
  10. With you go through setup and the USB key is automagically installed and you should see the thing setup. If you get to a black screen, it means the display driver didn't take, so read carefully and start again.
  11. Note that there will be at least two reboots and the system will always go back to Mac OS X, so you have to be there and make sure to hold the Option key down on the keyboard when it does reboot and select what should get back to Windows
  12. You should now be running on Windows 7. The last step is to take out the install DVD and put in the DVD you made that has all the Windows 7 drivers for the iMac (this is about 600MB), run setup.exe from that disk and this will install the rest of the Mac drivers. The USB key only installed the keyboard and the display (it is 100MB or so). You will get the iSight working, the sound chip, the mouse fully working and there is a little application called Boot Camp Utility that runs from the Windows control panel that should now be available.
  13. Run Windows Update about a hundred times (!!!?) to pick up all the updates and don't forget to download antivirus and firewall asap (this is Windows after all). Comcast users get a free copy of Norton, so go to and get that ASAP.
  14. You should also now be able to see all the Mac OS X disk content as well as the Windows 7 for iMac has drivers for that. And you are done!

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