Install any OS on a MacBook White/Black, without rEFIt. Explained simply.

Today, I was having a huge problem when it came to a MacBook White 2007 I acquired a few days ago. It was refusing to boot into a thumb drive on Windows, and never recognized a Linux thumb drive. However, in my research, I found an extremely simple workaround, to boot Windows/Ubuntu on the machine.

 

For this workaround, you’ll need:

  • A DVD drive (if you plan on installing an OS that’s under 700 MB, use a CD). Make sure the disk is blank (pro tip: if there are any color differences on the shiny side of the disk, that means it’s not blank) if you’re using a -R disk. For -RW disks, make sure any data is backed up.
  • A computer with a CD/DVD drive (or a USB drive)
  • A turned off MacBook White/Black that isn’t the 2015 one

* before starting, make sure your MacBook is off.

First step. Acquire something called an .iso for the OS you want to install. Windows, Linux, you name it. If you came here because the flash drive wouldn’t boot, you probably have the ISO file. Make sure you do, however.

Second step. Acquire ImgBurn, a personal favorite for burning disks from ISOs. Be sure to NOT install any bloatware that might be included with the installer.

Third step, with ImgBurn set up, and ready to rumble, click the “Write image to disk” option. Select the folder icon at the top of the first window, and select your file. After that, click the big button. The disk is now writing. It may take a while, so sit back, and relax!

If you get any errors on the verification of the image, it’s likely your CD/DVD is damaged, so you should find a new one. Or you could keep trying, but that’s a waste of time.

Fourth step, pull out the newly burned disk from your computer, and put it in the disk slot of the MacBook.

Fifth step, hold down the “C” key on the MacBook, and turn on the computer. You should hear the sound of the disk spinning up. Keep pressing the C key for about 20 seconds after you first heard the disk spin up, as a rule of thumb.

Sixth step, install your favorite OS without the need for rEFIt/rEFInd!

 

This method was successful when installing Windows 7/Ubuntu 15.10 to a MacBook White 2007. rEFIt was not installed at all during the process.

 

Prelude: If you’re trying to install Windows 8/Windows 10 on these old MacBooks, you might run into a problem with selecting the CD-ROM boot type. Long story short, you can install Windows 7 on your machine, and then do a “software hop” to Windows 8 or 10. For Windows 8, burn an .iso to a thumb drive (using Rufus, etc). Plug it into your MacBook, and launch setup.exe. For Windows 10, download the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool, and you can install Windows 10 from there.

 

You’ll also likely run into the issue of Boot Camp drivers not installing on Windows 8 or later. The fix is actually really simple. With the Boot Camp drivers unzipped into a folder, head into the “/Drivers/Apple” folder. Right click on BootCamp, and under the compatibility tab, make sure that the “Run with compatibility mode” is checked, and selected to either “Previous version of Windows”, or “Windows 7”. Do the same for BootCamp64. Back in the base directory, do the same thing for the setup executable.

 

Hopefully this saves a panic or two from your attempts at getting a new OS on that old MacBook!

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