Bootcamp (Boot Camp Assistant) is essentially Apple's way of welcoming Microsoft into its walled garden in a roundabout way. In other words, it allows you to install Windows on a Mac computer by partitioning the disk and letting you dual-boot a laptop or desktop. You will need to specify the amount of disk space for Windows installation, as well as get all the drivers required to run Windows on your Mac OS X or macOS computer. Once installed, it will be exactly the same as working in Windows. A lot of users prefer this over switching between Mac and PC, so you can imagine why Boot Camp Assistant has been so popular for so many years.
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Part 1: Problems with Bootcamp Assistant on Mac
That being said, there are a lot of problems in using Bootcamp Assistant on latest macOS such as Mojave or High Serria. One of the errors is the 'Boot Camp installation failed' error. Apple suggests that you move to macOS Mojave and try installing Windows 10 again, but the issue doesn't always go away. Another common error is when trying to copy the Windows installation files. In still other cases, you'll notice that several Mac features don't work when running Windows, such as Apple Software Update stopping, no audio from built-in speakers, mic or webcam not recognized by Windows and so on.
To avoid such errors and issues, which can often take quite a lot of your time to figure out and fix, you can use alternative solutions to install Windows on a Mac from USB. Though you will still need to use Boot Camp Assistant for part of the process, but you're not likely to come across major installation errors when doing this. You can also use Terminal in Mac to help you install Windows. The next two sections describe these methods in detail.
Guest video from Kendall over at a guest video tutorial on how to Install Windows 8 on Your Mac. This video is by my friend.
Part 2: Make a Bootable Windows 10/8/7 USB Installer on Mac
Boot Camp Assistant is the official recommendation for creating bootable Windows USB. In case it does not work, we will suggest two alternative software in this section. Both are working fine on latest macOS and we tested three USB drives without running into any issue.
Method 1: Create Windows Bootable USB Using ISO Editor (without Bootcamp)
UUByte ISO Editor can work as a great alternative to Bootcamp for installing Windows OS on Mac. You can easily fetch all the required drivers using Bootcamp, but the installation process for putting Windows on your Mac is different from how Bootcamp does it. UUbyte is one of the most robust Windows 10 bootable USB creator for Mac that you'll ever find. It can do a lot more than just create bootable media, such as creating ISO files, editing them, copying from disc to ISO and so on. For this process, you will need to use the Burn module, which is explained below:
Step 1: Get the Windows 10 ISO from Microsoft's website and install the Mac version of UUbytes ISO Editor.
Step 2: Launch Boot Camp Assistant, go to Action and click on Download Windows Support Software. When the dialog appears, click Save and specify a location for the files.
Step 3: Open the UUbytes program and click on the module that says Burn. Insert a USB flash drive and burn ISO to USB drive. Select the ISO image and click on Burn. This will create a bootable USB drive for the Windows installation.
UUByte is the best alternative to BootCamp for creating bootable Windows USB installer. It is simple to use and has less errors.
Method 2: Create Windows Bootable USB Using Terminal App (without Bootcamp)
This method uses Terminal application to create the bootable media for Windows 10. You will still need Boot Camp Assistant for the support software, but if you're comfortable with command line work, you try this approach. You will first need to download the Windows 10 ISO file. You will also need to use Boot Camp Assistant to get the support files, for which you can follow Step 3 from Method 1.
Step 1: Launch an instance of Terminal. Type the following command and then Enter to list out your drives:
diskutil list external
Step 2: Scroll down the name of the USB drive listed in Terminal. You will be using this in the next command. For now, let's call it disk2. The next step is to format your USB drive for Windows 10. Use the following command, then hit Enter:
diskutil eraseDisk ExFat 'WINDOWS10' MBR disk2
Step 3: You will be able to see a mounted disk called Windows 10. Mount the downloaded Windows 10 ISO file by double-clicking it in Finder. The name will be CCCOMA_X64FRE_EN-US_DV9. You can also run the following command:
cp -rp /Volumes/CCCOMA_X64FRE_EN-US_DV9/* /Volumes/WINDOWS10/
Step 4: Unfortunately, there's no progress bar to indicate that the bootable media is being created. However, after a sufficient amount of time has passed, the USB drive will contain bootable media for a Windows 10 installation.
Part 3: Create a New Partition for Windows OS on Mac
Windows OS can be only installed on a FAT/ExFAT or NTFS partition. You have to create a new partition on Mac for storing Windows OS files as the default partition on Mac is HFS+ or APFS. This can be done with the help of built-in Disk Utility app. However, this is a highly risky task. Please backup your important data to iCloud or external drive with Time Machine.
To create a new partition for Windows OS, please open Disk Utility app on your Mac. Click the internal disk name on the left sidebar. Now, click the Partition tab on top menu. From the pop-up window, type a name for this new partition and select ExFAT for Windows 10 and MS-DOS (FAT) for Windows 7 from Format drop-down menu. At the end, set a size for the new partition. Finally, click Apply button to take this into effect.
Part 4: Boot Mac from Windows Installation USB
Mac will boot from internal hard drive or SSD in default. To install Windows OS on Mac without Boot Camp, you should let your Mac booting from USB drive to start the installation process. However, this is an easy task.
Make sure you disconnect all USB devices except a wired keyboard and the USB drive containing the Windows ISO files. Now restart your computer and hold down the Option (Alt) key at the same time. Wait for about 10 seconds, Apple logo shows up and you will be presented with several boot options. Pick up the drive you have set in Part 2. If you did not do that, the default name is EFI Boot.
Part 5: Start Installing Windows 10/8/7 on Mac without Bootcamp
When Mac boots from the bootable Windows 10 USB, wait about 30 seconds and Windows installation wizard appears. At this time, the window is much small because graphics driver are not installed yet. Now, you have to follow the screen prompt to choose language, region and most importantly the partition to install Windows OS files.
Part 6: Download and Install Windows Support Software (Drivers)
The Windows ISO image file only has the basic drivers for running Windows OS. Some of the hardware on Mac won't work in Windows, suchas Apple Mouse, trackpad or speaker. You have to install addition drivers to use Windows seamlessly as it is on a PC. To do this, you should download and install Windows Support Software with the help of Boot Camp Assistant.
As usual, launch Boot Camp Assistant app on your Mac and click Action tab on menu bar, where you can see an option named Download Windows Support Software. Now, choose your Windows Installer USB as the target location to store the driver files. It will take 5-10 minutes for the downloading task.
Now, boot your Mac into Windows partition. You will see a pop-up from Boot Camp installer. Just follow the prompt to install Windows Support Software. If it does not appear, then plug the USB drive and navigate to USB drive in File Explorer; then go to WindowsSupport -> BootCamp, and click setup.exe to start installing Windows drivers for this Mac.
Part 7: How to Switch Between Windows and macOS
Now, you have everything set up properly for both Windows and macOS. You may be wondering how can you switch OS between Windows and macOS? The trick is a bit different depending on which OS you are currentlt in.
If you are in macOS now and want to restart into Windows, then reboot your Mac and hold Option key untill you see the Startup Manager, where you can choose a booting device like we mentioned in Part 4, something like this:
You can also do this in Startup Disk from System Preferences. Choose th Windows partition and click Restart... button to boot Mac into Windows OS.
If you are in Windows OS and want to switch to Mac, click the Up Carat icon and select Restart in macOS. If this option does not show up, then reboot Windows as normal and press Option key to bring up Startup Manager and pick up Macintosh HD this time.
It is absolutely not an easy journey for installing Windows on Mac without BootCamp. Fortunately, we have put everything together to help you complete this task smoothly. The key part is how to partition the Mac internal drive and create bootable Windows USB. If you are not comfortable using Terminal, UUByte ISO Editor is the recommended way to install Windows on a Mac without Boot Camp Assistant. It's reliable, quick and doesn't require any special technical knowledge.
Mac vs Windows. Windows vs Mac. Why choose if you can get the best of both worlds by dual booting? Install Windows on Mac so you can jump back and forth from one operating system to another on the same computer.
By now, the practice is well-established and Windows can work on Mac well. In this article, we’ll have a deep look at installing Windows on Mac. Don’t worry, we’ll have your back the whole way through!
Boot Camp for Mac vs virtualization software
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If you want to install Windows on your Mac, you have two options. You can either use Mac Boot Camp, a native feature of the macOS operating system, or you can use a third party virtualization program. Both methods have their own pros and cons, so let’s dive in.
Boot Camp is built into the operating system of all Macs. If you go to your Applications > Utilities folder, you’ll see the Boot Camp Assistant app. It makes the separate partition on your hard drive for installing and running Windows. Once Windows is installed in Boot Camp, every time you turn on your Mac, you will be asked to choose the operating system you want to run. This means that in order to switch from macOS to Windows, you need to reboot your computer.
- built into your operating system
- easy to use — Boot Camp Assistant guides you through the installation process
- puts less strain on your Mac’s memory and processing power
- completely free (not Windows of course)
- easy to update
- you need to reboot your computer to switch between the systems
- transferring data between operating systems isn’t easy
Virtualization programs are third-party applications that allow to install a separate operating system on one machine. They run like any other app on your Mac, so you can see the entire Windows desktop within a window on your computer.
Among the most popular virtualization programs are VirtualBox, Parallels, and VMware. Each one has its peculiarities, but we’ll try to sum up what they have in common.
- you can run both operating systems at the same time
- easy file integration between systems
- you need at least 8 GB of RAM for Mac to run smoothly
- virtualization apps are not cheap
- updates are not free
Depending on your specific needs, you can choose the option that works best for you. But we suggest using Boot Camp. It’s a free native feature of your operating system, running directly on your hardware. Therefore, it will be faster than any other method. And below, you’ll find all information on how to run Boot Camp on your Mac.
How to use Boot Camp: Preparing your Mac
1. Check the system requirements
Some versions of Windows require a certain processor and more hard drive space than the others. Therefore, you have to check the documentation that came with your copy of Windows to learn what you need.
You also need to make sure that your Mac is compatible with the version of Windows you want to install. For instance, Windows 10 is supported on these models:
- MacBook (2015 and later)
- MacBook Pro (2012 and later)
- MacBook Air (2012 and later)
- iMac (2012 and later)
- Mac Mini (2012 and later)
2. Clean up your hard drive
You need to have at least 55 GB of free disk space on your startup drive for installing Windows on a Mac. And if you don’t feel like spending the next several hours cleaning your Mac manually, you can use a powerful utility CleanMyMac X to find and remove all the junk from your startup disk.
CleanMyMac has everything to finish the 3-hour task of cleaning your hard drive in less than 5 minutes. It will scan every inch of your system and remove gigabytes of junk in two clicks. By the way, CleanMyMac finds about 75 GB of junk on average — more than enough for a smooth Windows installation.
Here’s how to clean your Mac with CleanMyMac X:
- Download CleanMyMac here.
- Run the app and click Scan.
- Click Run.
That’s it! Gigabytes of junk are gone from your computer forever.
3. Back up your Mac
Finally, you should also perform a backup of your Mac in case something goes wrong. Although, it happens very rarely, it’s always better to back up your important data. There are a few methods of backing up your Mac, so choose the most convenient one for you.
You can make automatic backups with Time Machine — software that comes with your Mac. It backs up all data, so you can recover individual files or your entire system from your backups. You may also store files in iCloud and access them whenever you need. iCloud comes with 5 GB of free storage but you can upgrade it any time. If you have an external storage device, you can copy some files and folders on it.
We do recommend you to back up your Mac before installing Windows as it minimizes the chance of losing important data.
How to Install Windows with Boot Camp
Here’s how to install Boot Camp. The installation can be a little time consuming, but it is by no means difficult. Check out the details below.
Step 1: Get a Windows disk image
First of all, you need to get the Windows disk image (ISO file) from the Microsoft website. Here’s how to download it:
- Visit the Windows 10 disk image download website.
- Go to the Select edition menu and choose Windows 10.
- Click Confirm.
- Choose the language of installation and click Confirm.
- Click 64-bit Download and then click Save.
The ISO file now will be downloaded to your Mac.
Step 2: Open Boot Camp Assistant
Boot Camp Assistant guides you through installing Windows on your Mac. You just have to follow the onscreen instructions. To launch the Boot Camp Assistant, go to Applications > Utilities folder. Click continue and Boot Camp for Mac will automatically locate the ISO file on your system.
Step 3: Create a partition for Windows
When you are done with the Assistant, your Mac restarts to the Windows installer. When you are asked where you want to install Windows, choose the BOOTCAMP partition and click Format.
*Note that this step is only required if you’re using a flash drive or optical drive to install Windows. In other cases, the right partition will be selected and formatted for you automatically.
Step 4: Install Windows
To finish the installation, you have to follow the onscreen instructions. Take a long breath — the next 12 steps may seem like climbing Everest, but it’s much easier than you think. Here’s how to install Windows on a Mac:
- Choose your ISO file and click the Install button.
- Type your Password and click OK. You will see the Windows Setup screen.
- Select your language.
- Click Install Now.
- Type your product key if you have it. Otherwise, click 'I don’t have a product key'.
- Select Windows 10 Pro or Windows Home and then click Next.
- Click Drive 0 Partition X: BOOTCAMP.
- Click Next. Windows 10 will be installed.
- When the Setup screen appears, click either Use Express Settings or Customize Your Installation. We recommend you to choose the Customize button and disable most, if not all of the switches.
- Then you’ll be asked to create an account. Type a username. You can also add a password if you want.
- Click Next.
- Choose whether you want to use the Cortana personal assistant or not. You can disable it by clicking Not Now button.
Windows will boot fully so you can use it normally.
On the Welcome to Boot Camp Installer box, click Next and accept the terms in the license agreement. Then click Install to proceed. When the installer completes, click Finish to reboot your machine.
Step 5: Restart your Mac
By default, your Mac will still boot to macOS. To access Windows, you have to turn your Mac off and then turn it on while holding the Option (Alt) key. You will be asked from which drive you’d like to boot.
Note that while in Windows, the Mac’s Command key functions as the Windows key, while the Option key functions as the Alt key. If you have a Touch Bar, you’ll see a complete set of buttons, similar to the Control Strip in macOS.
How to remove Windows from your Mac
If for some reasons you don’t need Windows anymore, you can permanently remove it from your Mac. Follow these steps:
- Boot into macOS, launch Boot Camp Assistant and click Continue.
- The Assistant will show the existing Windows partition. Select it.
- Click Restore when you see the Restore Disk to a Single Volume option.
The Boot Camp Assistant will automatically remove Windows from your Mac.
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Warning: All data, including software and files, stored on the Windows partition will be deleted, so make the backup copies first.
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That may seem like a lot of steps, but it doesn’t take all that long to install Windows on a Mac. Now you can enjoy two operating systems and switch between them right when you need. Cheers!