According to Forbes, the Best Windows PC is an Apple MacBook Pro, while CNET calls it the best performing Windows Laptop. One does admire the irony of how despite the industry’s best attempts at creating powerful PCs, the title would go to a Mac. There are consumers who admire the hardware of a Mac but are not quite ready to move to Mac’s OS X yet. To address those consumers, Apple has created a multi-boot utility called Boot Camp. Initially released in April 2006, Boot Camp was designed to allow users to install Windows on Intel-Based Mac computers. While Macs aren’t alien to virtualization and can run Windows and even Android as virtual machines, virtualization is nowhere near perfect. With Boot Camp, however, you can run a full, native installation of Windows on your machine, like on a full-blown Windows PC itself. Here’s how.
Unlike the tedious process of installing OS X on a PC, and true to the nature of traditional Mac-based apps, using the Boot Camp Assistant is simplicity itself. Boot Camp comes pre-installed with every Mac, so you should already have what you need. Speaking of which, you will need the following before getting started:
- Genuine Microsoft Windows 7 (or later) installation disc or ISO
- 8 GB (or greater) USB flash drive
- 25 GB (minimum) storage space free on your Mac
- Fully charged battery (if on a Macbook)
Boot Camp currently works with Windows 7 or later releases. We haven’t experimented with Windows XP, as the OS is no longer supported by Microsoft. In case your Windows installation medium is a DVD and your Mac does not have a DVD drive, you can download an image from Microsoft Windows’ official website or anywhere else for that matter, as long as you have a legally purchased serial.
Warning: Do not use a pirated copy of Windows. On top of legal reasons, Boot Camp does not recognize unofficial images.
Plug your USB flash drive into your Mac, and make sure it doesn’t have anything you need because it will be formatted in the process. If you take a look at Boot Camp Assistant’s icon, you’ll notice that it features a nice little ode to the conundrum that is the windows logo.
Launch Boot Camp Assistant, and you will be greeted by a welcome screen, continuing from which gives you 3 options.
Check all three options if you wish to install right away, but if you just want to create a Boot Camp USB for later installation on this or any other Mac, leave the third one unchecked. On the other hand, if you have a previously created Boot Camp USB, just check the last option for installation.
It is important that you let Boot Camp Assistant download the latest Windows support software when creating the bootable USB, since without it, you will have considerable difficulty using your Mac’s hardware on Windows – crucial on a Macbook. In the next step, select your USB drive and the Windows ISO image you want to install from.
Clicking Continue will start the process of formatting the USB drive and preparing it for Windows installation. Do not be concerned if the bar looks like it has stopped moving; this step takes times to download and uncompress files. If you didn’t check the ‘Install Windows 7 or later’ option, the process will finish here. If you did check it, it will continue. Next, you will be asked to choose the amount of storage space that you wish to dedicate to Windows.
If you wish to abandon using Mac OS X altogether, then just keep the core OS (handy for trouble shooting when Windows acts up) and lose any extra apps installed, dedicating the remaining space to Windows. Since my interest in Windows is limited to this review, I’m just going to assign it the bare minimum.
Click ‘Install’, enter your Mac OS X login password if prompted, and Click next. Boot Camp will then create the partition and format it. Once completed, your system will automatically reboot and start installing Windows. This process is identical to how you would Install Windows on a PC.
When asked to select the drive for installing Windows, make sure you select the one labeled “Boot Camp”, and let it format if need be. Enter your Windows serial key when prompted. Your computer will reboot a couple of times and after the standard first time launch process, you’ll be ready to use windows on your Mac.
Once installed, go to the
‘BootCamp’ folder on your USB and install it. It will need to reboot and you will have all your drivers, peripherals and utilities installed to bridge the gap between Mac and PC.
Whenever you need to reboot to Mac OS X from Windows, click the Boot Camp logo at the bottom right corner and select ‘Boot to Mac OS X’. If you want to uninstall Windows, launch Boot Camp from OS X. Check ‘Remove Windows’, press ‘Restore’ on the next window, and let Boot Camp take care of the rest.
Let us know how your Mac to Windows experience went by leaving a comment below.