How to Install Windows on a Mac Computer

Did you know that you can easily install Windows on a Mac computer? Sure, Mac computers come with MacOS installed, but since Apple computers switched from PowerPC to Intel a few years ago, they now come with an inbuilt feature called Boot Camp.

You have two options when it comes to running Windows on your Mac device – a Virtual Machine, or the inbuilt Boot Camp assistant.

What is a virtual machine?

A virtual machine is basically a computer comprised solely of software. Like a physical computer, a virtual machine runs an operating system and applications.

Virtual machines allow you to run two operating systems on your computer simultaneously. So, if you’re just looking to run Windows-only programs that don’t take up many resources, a virtual machine may be the best solution.

Virtual machines to check out

If you’re undecided, give Parallels a try. This program has a free trial, so you can experience the benefits and disadvantages of virtual machines first-hand.

You might also like to check out VMware Fusion.

What is Boot Camp?

Boot Camp is a feature of Mac computers that installs a Windows operating system in what’s called a ‘dual-boot configuration.’ Put simply, this means that your computer will have both MacOS and Windows installed. You can only use one operating system at a time, but you’ll have access to the computers full power with each.

Do I need to use Boot Camp?

No, you can use a Virtual Machine as mentioned above.

If you, want to use Windows on a day-to-day basis, or use more demanding software (such as games), Boot Camp is probably your best bet. Boot Camp installs Windows directly to your hardware, making it much faster to run.

However, it does come with a couple of drawbacks:

  • You will need to re-partition your hard drive. This will take up a substantial amount of storage space. You’re paying top dollar for storage space on your Mac computer – is it worth dedicating a large chunk of this to Windows?
  • When switching between Mac and Windows, you’ll have to reboot.

Which versions of Windows can I run through Boot Camp?

Which version of Windows you can run depends on how old your Mac computer is. More recent models only support Windows 10, while older devices work with older versions of Windows.

Here are some basic guidelines:

  • Windows 10 is supported by the majority of Mac computers made between 2012 – present.
  • Windows 8.1 is supported by the majority of Mac computers made between 2010 – 2016.
  • Windows 7 is supported by the majority of Mac computers made before 2014.

How to install Windows on Mac with Boot Camp

Before we get started, please take the time to back up your Mac just in case. The process is straightforward, but it’s better to prepare for the worst than lose your important documents.

Now, open Boot Camp. The easiest way to do this is to hit Command+Space, type ‘Boot Camp,’ and press Enter.

The Boot Camp Assistant will explain partitioning, downloading drivers, and the installer. Click ‘Continue,’ select the ISO file you are using, and decide how big you’d like your Windows partition to be.

How much space you dedicate to Windows depends on how you plan to use your Windows system. Changing the partition later on requires a third-party tool, so it’s best to choose carefully now.

Boot Camp will then partition your disk, copy the installer to the new partition, and add the drivers so that they’ll start up after installation. You can continue to use your Mac while this happens, but it may cause a slow-down in performance.

Once done, your Mac will reboot, and you’ll see a Windows installer.

Select the partition labelled BOOTCAMP. Do not install Windows to any other partition, as you may end up losing all of your Mac’s data.

Windows will finish installing. And, you can begin the on-boarding process. If you are prompted to connect to the internet, skip this step. You won’t be able to connect just yet.

Once you’ve finished with the Windows on-boarder, the Boot Camp installer will appear. Work your way through the installer to set up your drivers, and then you’re all set.

How to boot into Windows

When you boot up your computer, it will automatically run MacOS. To switch, you’ll need to hold down the Option key as you boot up. You can then select which drive you’d like to boot from.

How to remove Windows from a Mac computer

If you want to get rid of Windows to free up space on your Mac, boot into MacOS. Open Boot Camp, and select the ‘Restore Disk to a Single Volume’ option.

Doing this will delete all files on your Windows partition, so don’t forget to back up!

Get professional tech help

Sound too hard? Not sure this is the solution for you? We can help. Our team of expert technicians can create a tech setup that suits your specific needs. Give us a call on 1300 553 166, or fill out the form on this page, and we’ll be in touch. Speed up your iMac with a SSD hard drive upgrade. Click here to read more.