How to install Windows 7, 8, 10 on a Mac or a MacBook via Boot Camp

Windows has been around for a long while and it is a known fact that it has the biggest applications catalog. Games are also widespread amongst Windows users, but what you do when you switch operating systems? Games and programs on Windows have the common “.exe” format, that macOS and Linux won’t be too happy with. Running Windows native programs and games can prove challenging, especially due to the fact that some programs or games can be very resource demanding.

The solution: Boot Camp Assistant, a quick way to get Windows on a Mac

Yes, the name is a bit odd, but Boot Camp is quite possibly your best bet if you wanna run Windows on a Mac. It pretty much lets you install Windows 7, 8 or even 10 as a separate OS on your hard disk, while preserving the macOS installation. You get to chose which one you boot to, during the startup of your Mac. Boot Camp is included for free with your macOS installation, and it can be found on Launchpad, in the “Other” folder.

To set up a Windows partition through Boot Camp, you need a DVD with Windows (7, 8 or 10), a pen drive to store the special drivers for Windows, and some free space on your disk. Remember, Boot Camp will assign the specified space (you can choose how much) to the Windows partition which will become NTFS, and therefore Read-Only on your macOS side. Once you open Boot Camp, the on-screen wizard will guide you through the quick steps.

A matter of Windows drivers:

To accommodate the display, audio, keyboard shortcuts (audio, brightness, etc), USB ports, card reader, WiFi and Ethernet, Webcam, and any additional stuff your Mac / MacBook, special drivers may be needed. With the drivers, you also get to install Boot Camp program on Windows, which helps you control which partition to boot to, what should the function keys do, disable or enable the IR sensor, light sensor and so on.

Since an HFS+ driver is installed on Windows, you are able to read from your macOS partition if you wanna take a file from your macOS Desktop for example without having to reboot, but you cannot write anything to that partition.

IMPORTANT NOTE: On some older Macs (2010, 2009, 2011, possibly even newer), and MacBooks (2009 to ~2012), installing from a USB stick/pen drive would result in a UEFI installation which on pre-UEFI models may result in no audio whatsoever. If your Mac / MacBook is a pre-UEFI model, and it has an optical drive, you must install the operating system only from a DVD and preferably through Boot Camp to get a BIOS installation. On pre-UEFI models, installing the operating system in EFI mode from USB results in audio devices misbehaving because they are not properly exposed while in EFI mode. There is currently no fix for the broken audio drivers other than reinstalling from a DVD. Reinstalling the Cirrus Audio Driver will not help. Here at iFixMyStuff we even tried a USB audio card to try to overcome the problem, but it failed. The device is detected but there is no audio pass thru.

Installing Windows on your Mac:

A fully functional Windows will be installed by Boot Camp on your Mac, so all programs that typically run on Windows will be happy. We even had success gaming on a 2011 Mac (even 2007 one, although we only tested with Need For Speed: Most Wanted, IGI 2, Project IGI, GTA: SA, GTA: VC and Stalker), and we had quite good success, in fact, the Mac makes a better PC than most PCs.

Coding and developing stuff in Visual Studio 2015 or even newer was not a problem on our test machine (an iMac 2011 with Intel i5, 512 MB Video RAM and 12 GB of RAM, 500 GB mechanical SATA Hard Disk), and needless to say that Chrome and all websites we visited had no issues.

In conclusion: Boot Camp makes your Mac a better Windows PC than most PCs on the market, and with some additional RAM (we would recommend at least 8 GB of RAM), and possibly a SSD if you can afford a 500 GB or even better a 1 TB SSD) you will get a very decent PC while keeping your macOS installation.

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