Windows 7 via Bootcamp on 27″ iMac (Late 2012)

I recently endeavored to install windows on my families relatively new 27″ iMac. I have gone through that process on various MacBooks in the past, so I thought nothing much of it. Finally tonight 3 weeks after I originally set out with this goal I am writing this blog post from chrome on a fresh copy of Windows 7.

Before anyone asks (and I know you want to) I wanted to install Windows for games. It has been a while since I had a machine powerful enough to run PC games, and while the game selection on steam has improved on the OS X side, it has a way to go.

So my journey started, by downloading a Windows 7 ISO I had purchased from the Microsoft Store. Downloading these files went well, then I popped open bootcamp and went through all the steps including making a partition. So far so good. My computer then reboots, and opens up into the windows installer. After getting a few clicks in, the install starts, but after sitting at 0% for quite some time, it errors out with the following message:

unable to access required files

I then did the standard windows thing, tried restarting the install process, but had no luck. I then proceeded to google for ideas over and over, there is all kinds of “fixes” for this type of issue, none seemed to quite fit my problem, and none seemed to fix my issue.

After trying a range of things from
– Downloading different ISO (to see if I had downloaded a corrupted ISO)
– Burning the ISO to a DVD to install
– Attempting to not use bootcamp but instead create my own install disk and partitionusing Disk Utility
– Installing the ISO using Virtual Box, to make sure the image was valid

I was about ready to give up…then I had an idea. I am not convinced this actually fixed the issue, but I am going to put it out there in case it might help anyone else.

My idea was, what if the fact that I am running/partitioning bootcamp from a normal user (not an admin user) is somehow messing things up. So I restarted my machine, and logged in as my admin user. From there I went into bootcamp (skipped creating an install disk and downloading the drivers since I already had a USB drive with it at this point) and had bootcamp do the partition as my admin user. Bootcamp did it’s magic, restarted my machine and booted into the windows installer. Much to my surprise this fixed my issue. The installer successfully got past 0% and fully installed windows.

Once I had a running windows install, I was able to go into the harddrive and open the bootcamp folder, to run setup.exe to install the bootcamp drivers. This restarted my computer, and booted into a fully functional windows 7 running on my iMac.

The final issue I had to overcome was accepting my product key. I did not feel like finding my windows vista discs let a lone install it. So I followed instructions documented on this page to do a clean install of Windows with upgrade media but none of the “quick fixes” work. But doing a double install seemed to work just fine, and my product activated successfully. For my second install I wasn’t able to start the installer from within windows. I was receiving a message about “Unable to create disk” or somethign to that effect. I instead just restarted my machine, booted to the external harddrive with the install media, and installed over the previous windows 7 install.

I am not going to not proof read this post, put it up on the internet to hopefully help some other crazy person like me having this issue, and boot up Dota 2 for the first time to see what it is like.

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