Windows or macOS? Why choose if you can have both operating systems seamlessly installed on your Mac. With both systems in place, you can switch back and forth between the two using the same computer.
It has already been confirmed that Windows does work on Mac. This article will walk you through installation process to help you get Windows running on your Mac.
How Can You Install Windows on a Mac
There are two well-established methods to get Windows running on Mac. You can either use Mac’s native Boot Camp Assistant app or third-party virtualization software. Each has their trade-offs and offers certain benefits. Check out a quick summary below, in order to pick the option that works best for you and figure out how to put it to use.
Boot Camp comes preinstalled on all Macs. It is located in Finder > Applications > Utilities > Boot Camp Assistant.app. With this application you can create a separate drive partition specifically for running Windows. After installing Windows on your Mac, you will have a choice of which operating system to boot every time you power on your Mac. In other words, reboot is required when switching between operating systems.
- Already on your Mac
- Comes free of charge
- Simple to use
- Easily updated
- Relatively low strain on power
- Needs reboot to switch operating systems
- File transfer between two systems is burdensome.
Third-party virtualization applications for Mac work differently. They enable the installation of an additional operating system on your Mac. You can then use it from within an application window. Some of the most popular apps capable of running entire Windows desktop are Parallels, VirtualBox, VMware, etc. Each of these have their differences, yet all share the same core functionality.
• Files can be easily accessible
• Both operating systems can be run simultaneously
• Needs at least 8GBs of RAM for decent performance
• Paid updates
Make the choice based on your specific needs and your Mac’s hardware. Further down this guide, we’ll be taking a closer look at the Boot Camp method. It is a free option native to macOS that runs directly off your hardware and, therefore, is our go-to for this guide.
How to Use BootCamp on Mac
Before you run Boot Camp to install Windows, there are a few preparatory steps you should be taking to ensure your Mac is set up correctly for the installation.
The support for different Mac models can vary depending on the Windows version your own. For example, Windows 10 is supported on Macs 2012 and later. Certain version of Windows may have their own hardware requirements — processor, drive space, memory, etc. Make sure you do your homework and confirm that your Mac is compatible.
Free up Drive Space
If you want Windows installed on your Mac, you better be ready to spare some space on your drive, as Windows needs a lot. To be more specific, you will need to free up at least 55GBs of space in order to install Windows. That may be quite troublesome, especially on entry-level Apple machines.
When you’re hard up on free space, there are 2 ways you can go about this issue — manually sort through the files or grab a specialized utility like MacFly Pro and run a drive cleanup. Undoubtedly, the second option is going to save a ton of time.
Back Things up
It never hurts to back everything up when attempting major installs, updates, or changes to the system. Granted, things are unlikely to go south in most of the cases, but better safe than sorry, right?
You can choose whatever backup method works best for you — Time Machine, third-party apps, moving files to cloud or external drive.
Installing, Running, and Downloading Windows on Mac
The process of getting Windows to work on your Mac is not difficult, but it will take some time for you to go through all the steps.
First and foremost, you will need to download Windows disk image file (ISO). It can be downloaded off Microsoft’s website after selecting Windows edition and language pack. Make sure you download the 64-bit version too.
Second, with your ISO image locked and loaded, go to Finder > Applications > Utilities and launch Boot Camp Assistant. Once launched, Boot Camp will automatically locate the ISO file. Follow on screen instructions.
Third, when Mac reboots into Windows installer, choose BOOTCAMP disk partition as the location where you want to install Windows. Format if needed.
Lastly, follow the instructions to install Windows on your Mac:
• Pick the ISO Windows image and click Install
• Type in your Password and hit OK.
• Set preferred language and hit Install Now
• Type in the license key now or skip by clicking “I don’t have a product key”
• Select Windows version and hit Next
• Click Drive 0 Partition X: BOOTCAMP and then click Next again
• Wait for Windows to install
• Restart your Mac and hold Option key while it’s turning back on to boot into Windows
While this guide may seem overwhelming at first, once you get down to putting it to practice, you will quickly realize that the process of installing Windows is straightforward and easy to follow.