How to install Windows on an imac

Installing Windows 7/8 on a Mac without using an optical drive

Many Macs today don’t have an optical drive: it just doesn’t come with the MacBook air and mac mini, some MacBooks/iMacs have replaced it with an optional 2.5-inch drive, and some computers the drive may just not work.

Newer Macs can boot from a flash drive, but I own a non-newer one (2010), and this tutorial will be helpful for those who want to quickly to install Windows from an image on any Mac.

I tried many ways. tried installing from a USB flash drive/disc, all in vain (not every mac boots from a flash drive or external drive). Refit did not work either. it had a dark screen. This method was a lifesaver. So, what’s needed:

Writing a bootable USB using the Boot Camp Assistant

Mac OS X has a built-in utility designed to create a bootable USB flash drive with Windows, and then install the system to a separate partition on your computer’s hard drive or SSD, and then select Windows or OS X when booting.

However, a bootable flash drive with Windows 10, created this way, works successfully not only for this purpose, but also to install the OS on regular PCs and laptops, and you can boot from it both in Legacy mode (BIOS) and UEFI. in both cases, all goes well.

Connect a USB stick with at least 8GB capacity to your MacBook or iMac (or possibly Mac Pro, the author dreamily added). After that, start typing “Boot Camp” in the Spotlight search, or run the “Boot Camp Assistant” from “Programs”. “Utilities”.

In the Boot Camp assistant select “Create a Windows 7 or newer installation disk”. Unfortunately it is not possible to uncheck the “Download the latest Windows Support Software from Apple” box (it will be downloaded from the Internet and takes quite some time), even if you need the flash drive to install on a PC and do not need this software. Click on “Continue”.

On the next screen, specify the path to the Windows 10 ISO image. If you don’t have one, the easiest way to download the original system image is described in the How to Download Windows 10 ISO from Microsoft’s website (for downloading from Mac the second way, using Microsoft Techbench, is fully suitable). Also select the connected flash drive you want to write to. Click “Continue”.

Just wait for the copying of files to the drive, and the downloading and installation of Apple software onto the same USB (you may be asked to confirm your OS X user password in the process). Once finished, you can use a bootable Windows 10 flash drive on almost any computer. You will also be shown how to boot from the drive on your Mac (hold Option or Alt on reboot).

To install Windows you need a Windows hardware

I went the other way then. You need any computer with Windows at hand. In my case it was our Microsoft Surface Go.

Microsoft Surface Go review: a small tablet for big things

Alexander Pobivanets

The procedure is like this. Download the Rufus app to your Windows device at your own risk. Plug in the external drive, launch Rufus and apply the settings like in the screenshot below.

  • Enable “Show USB Drive List” if you can’t see the external drive. Image settings: Windows To Go;
  • Partition scheme: GPT;
  • File system: NTFS.

After that the recording starts. I thought the process would be fast, I have no doubt about the speed of the SSD, but it was slow with the tablet and the adapter, it took about 40 minutes. Perhaps it’s the strange bundling of devices that’s the problem, I’m specifically doing Accent on this.

How much space do you need to install Windows 10 on a Mac??

Your Mac boot drive should have at least 64GB of free space. And for best performance, there should be at least 128GB of space at all. That’s how much you need for automatic installation of Windows updates. If you are dealing with an iMac Pro or Mac Pro with 128GB of RAM, you will need to free up at least that much space on your boot drive, too.

Yes, the Apple wireless mouse and keyboard will work fine in a Windows environment, but just in case, prepare a separate wired USB mouse and USB keyboard before installing. You may need them during the installation of Windows (at least click the Next button, as in the screenshot below), since the Magic Mouse and Magic Keyboard are detected in the system only at the end of the installation, while the initial stage requires user action and input devices may not work.

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How to Install Windows 10 on a Mac as a Second System

All recent versions of Mac OS X have built-in tools for installing Windows systems on a separate disk partition. Boot Camp Assistant. Find the program using Spotlight search or in “Programs”. “Utilities”.

install, windows, imac

All you need to install Windows 10 using this method is an image of the system (see “Windows Live Messenger”). How to download Windows 10, the second method listed in the article is suitable for Mac), an empty flash drive with 8GB or more (4 may work as well), and enough free space on your SSD or hard drive.

Launch the “Boot Camp Assistant” utility and click “Next. In the second “Choose Actions” window, check “Create a Windows 7 or newer installation disk” and “Install Windows 7 or newer”. The option to download Apple’s Windows support will be automatically checked. Click the “Continue” button.

In the next window, specify the path to the Windows 10 image and select the flash drive on which it will be written, data from it will be deleted in the process. See. on the procedure: Windows 10 bootable USB flash drive on a Mac. Click “Continue.

In the next step you will have to wait until all necessary Windows files will be copied to USB flash drive. This step will also automatically download drivers and utilities for your Mac in a Windows environment from the Internet and write them to your flash drive.

install, windows, imac

The next step is to create a separate partition to install Windows 10 on your SSD or hard drive. I don’t recommend allocating less than 40GB for such a partition. and that’s if you don’t intend to install bulk Windows software later.

Click the “Install” button. Your Mac will automatically reboot and prompt you to select the drive you want to boot from. Select the “Windows” USB drive. If the boot device selection menu does not appear after rebooting, reboot manually again by holding down the Option (Alt) key.

The simple process of installing Windows 10 on your computer will begin, in which you should completely (except for one step) follow the steps described in Installing Windows 10 from a flash drive for the “complete installation” option.

A different step. in the step of selecting a partition to install Windows 10 on your Mac, you will be informed that it is not possible to install to the BOOTCAMP partition. You can click the “Configure” link under the list of partitions, and then. format this partition, after formatting the installation will be available, click “Next”. You can also delete it by highlighting the unpartitioned area that appears and clicking “Next”.

The next steps of the installation are no different from the above instructions. If for some reason during an automatic reboot you get to OS X, you can boot back into the installer by rebooting with the Option key (Alt), but this time choose the hard drive signed “Windows” instead of the USB stick.

Once the system is installed and running, the flash drive should automatically start installing Boot Camp components for Windows 10, just follow the installation instructions. This will automatically install all the drivers and related utilities you need to get things up and running.

If the automatic startup does not happen, then open the contents of your Windows 10 bootable flash drive, open the BootCamp folder on it and run the setup file.exe.

Once the installation is complete, a Boot Camp icon will appear at the bottom right (in the Windows 10 notification area) (perhaps hidden behind the “arrow up” button), which you can use to adjust the touchpad behavior on your MacBook (by default, it works differently in Windows than it does in OS X and not really convenient), change the default boot system and simply reboot to OS X.

After you return to OS X to boot back into Windows 10 installed, use a restart of your computer or laptop with the Option key or Alt key held down.

Note: Windows 10 activation on Mac follows the same rules as for PC, more details. Activating Windows 10. At the same time, the digital locking of the license obtained by upgrading a previous version of the OS or by using Insider Preview before the release of Windows 10, works in Boot Camp, including when resizing the partition or after resetting the Mac. Т.е. If you previously had an activated licensed Windows 10 in Boot Camp, you can select “I don’t have a key” when prompted for a product key during a subsequent installation, and once you connect to the Internet, activation will occur automatically.

What you need to do?

Here are the steps that led me to successfully installing and running Windows 10 on my old Mac. In short, we take a dump of the hard drive from the virtual machine where Windows is half installed in Legacy mode and restore this dump to the physical mac’s hard drive where we continue the installation.

Having only a Mac to do what we need is a bit more complicated, but the way I leave at the bottom of the article in the explanation. I have a possibility to use a second machine, so I use my desktop PC with SATA port out.

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Mac drive connected to a PC

First, you must download my archive, in which I have collected all the necessary programs and images. It is better to unpack this archive to a flash drive as we would need this software in the installed Windows. Link to the archive at the end of the article. Contents in the screenshot below.

archive content

Remove the hard drive from the mac and connect it to the PC. Use PartitionWizard to remove all partitions on the drive and reinitialize it to MBR. it is important for the system to run in Legacy mode.

remove partitions. Initialized in MBR

Using vhd2disk we transfer the virtual disk image from the archive in vhd format to our disk. Physical drives in this program have the display of the form //PhisicalDriveX, where X is a number. Check what number corresponds to the disk in Task Manager.

recognized disc number. dump it

After the image transfer is complete, make sure the disk is initialized to MBR in PartitionWizard. If all is well, at this point we should have two partitions and a lot of free space on the disk.

Extend the last partition to the bottom of the disk. Press “apply” as in step 3 (I forgot to put the picture on the screenshot).

Turn PC off, disconnect the disk. power off Mac (or disconnect battery in case of MacBook) and put disk back to Mac. Wait 30 seconds and reconnect the drive.

disconnect the power. connect the disk. 30 sec. plug it in

Run the Mac, keeping pressed Option key (aka alt). The boot menu shows disk with Windows! Select it and complete the installation of the system. Mac may reboot a couple times at this point, to continue setup you would hold alt again and select the Windows drive if you don’t do that the Mac will try to look for EFI systems, if it fails it gives an error.

The system is in Legacy mode and ready to run

Don’t connect to internet for now. The automatic updates will break the installation. After installation is complete, you will not see the dreaded red cross on the sound icon, but for now the sound will not work. no drivers. Wired mouse needs to be installed at this stage because right click on touchpad will not work without drivers.

Sound device is detected!

Connect Mac to the internet with cable. Install 7zip from the archive. Without it, the following software will drop out. Run brigadier from the archive as an administrator, and wait for it to download the right version of the drivers.

The drivers were downloaded into the same folder from which you run brigadier. Right click on setup.exe. Fixing compatibility issues. The built-in Windows utility will detect if the installer should work in win7 compatibility mode and apply those settings. Save compatibility settings. Run setup.exe as administrator.

After the installation of drivers to the reboot offer “yes” and when you turn on again hold Option, selecting in the boot menu our disk with Windows.

Everything works. Sound, Wi-Fi, touchpad and keyboard are fine. Optionally you can install Trackpad from the archive, this software adds the usual gestures macOS users touchpad like drag, and most importantly makes enjoyable and usable scrolling touchpad.

Tossed in a second disk with macOS installed. Both systems are visible in the boot menu and everything loads and functions properly.

Both drives in the case boot menu with both OSs

Installing Windows 7 on the MacBook Air 2010 Late primary and only OS

  • At first we need drivers for Windows 7, the flash drive which is included with the Air, there are no drivers (by the way, the flash drive which is included with the Air, is recognized as an external CD-ROM).
  • Let’s take the second flash drive and format it to Fat32 using a disk utility.
  • Let’s run bootcamp. And when asked if we have such a flash drive or driver disk, we answer no and ask to download it from the internet:
  • Once everything is downloaded, let’s write it to our flash drive by selecting write to external drive:

All my attempts to make my MacBook see the bootable flash failed, so I had to google. Turns out I’m not the only one who needs pure Windows/Linux on his MacBook, and there is a program for that. rEFIt. Download it from the official site: I installed the latest version 0.14. It is installed as standard like any other MacOS application. After installing it you have to reboot your computer 2 times. On second reboot press right-option and this menu will appear (USB Flash with Windows must be in MacBook): You will have by default the MacOS icon and the Windows icon. We have to choose Windows. After starting the installer, entering the key, select “complete installation”. You will see a list of the partitions on which your SSD is mounted: Delete all the partitions! And create new ones. When you do this, Windows will ask, or rather order you to create a system partition for 100MB. The disk I have divided into 100MB, 40GB (system) and the rest. When everything is installed, computer will reboot, and start Windows, at first, it may hang on white screen for a long time, and look for MacOS partition, this will be fixed after installing driver, and Bootcamp application in Windows, to find the right partition faster, click left option and select disk with Windows. Once the installation is complete, install the drivers from the second flash drive, reboot. After rebooting, go to Bootcamp, select the disk to load Windows on, and click restart now. ALL! Now you won’t see the white screen on your MacBook for about a minute.

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Preparing to Install Windows on your iMac

Be sure to check that you have everything you need for the task:

  • The first thing you need is enough disk space to use Boot Camp. At least 63 Gbytes of available space is needed for normal operation. But you need about 128 gigabytes, so you can continue to use it while you install your new iMac.
  • Using a trackpad or keyboard and mouse is a must.
  • A USB flash drive with at least 16 GB of additional space.


After your mac has rebooted, a standard Windows installation will begin. The only difference is that you will need to format the disk labeled BOOTCAMP when selecting the disk to install, to do this click “configure”, then format and when finished formatting, continue installing Windows to that disk.

The process of installing Windows 8 and Windows 7 is described in detail in this manual.

After installation is complete, run setup file from disk or flash drive, on which Apple drivers were loaded in boot camp utility. It is worth noting that Apple does not officially provide drivers for Windows 8, but most of them will install successfully.

After successfully installing Windows, it is recommended that you also download and install any operating system updates. In addition, it is advisable to update the drivers for the video card. those loaded by Boot Camp have not been updated for a very long time. Nevertheless, given that the video chips used in PC and Mac are the same, everything will work.

The following problems may occur in Windows 8:

Another thing to pay attention to. different Mac configurations may behave differently after installing Windows 8. In my case, with my MacBook Air Mid 2011 no particular problem. However, based on feedback from other users, in some cases there has been screen flickering, a non-functioning touchpad, and a few other issues.

Windows 8 loading time on MacBook Air was about a minute. the Sony Vaio laptop with Core i3 and 4GB of memory loads twice or three times faster. In work, Windows 8 on Mac showed itself much faster than on a normal laptop, it’s probably the SSD.

Hello! Please tell me what could be the reason for this situation? Mac mini 2012, 4gb memory. I used Leopard to connect Jabra and Bigben (for Sony PS3) Bluetooth headsets and it worked fine in Skype. Next, I installed Windows 8.1, works fast. Plugged in the same headsets, they were all properly detected and connected. But, instead of the sound in Skype, watching video, or checking the window of playback devices is all gurgling, I can not make out what they say. It is a little better, but also horrible, if the volume is set to maximum. The system writes that the drivers are new and do not need to be updated. Once put the Toshiba program for the headset, but everything stayed the same, then I uninstalled it and everything worked fine. Then I put a Chinese antivirus to check the operation, then I uninstalled it and the headset stopped working again. Next repeated attempts to install Toshiba did not lead to anything. Has anyone encountered the same situation?

Hello! And after installing Windows you launched the program which installs all drivers and Bootcamp software from the installation disk (that was created by the Bootcamp assistant)?

Sergei, there is a problem and it can not be solved for days. The thing is, including Bootcamp it doesn’t ask to select partition, that’s one, but shows at once an option to install Vin7, and of course it doesn’t install in any way, that’s two. Third, it just does not find the installation disk. What to do? I downloaded two images from the off site. It has already generated the drivers on a different flash drive. Bootcamp 5.1.4

Hello, I have a 128 SSD on my MacBook, hence not able to install Windows side by side, is it possible to make a USB or Micro SD for 128gb on which will be a full-fledged Windows? Or at least an external hard drive with Windows, so that I could at least run a full-fledged Windows that way?

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