If Macbook Air or Pro is your daily driver, you might run into some problems if you need to use Microsoft-exclusive apps. Some companies rely on information management tools like Microsoft Access which isn’t available on macOS. And if you don’t own any Windows device, you’ve got no choice but to install Windows on your Mac.
There are two methods of doing this: run Windows in Boot Camp for free or resort to a virtual machine such as Parallels (for $79.99). Of course, if your device supports it, going with Boot Camp is a no-brainer. Unfortunately, newer MacBooks with M1 processors won’t support Windows natively since they’re not Intel-based anymore. If that’s the case, you must install and purchase Parallels to set up a virtual machine. This article will cover how to install Windows 10 on an Intel-based Macbook using the dual boot method.
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Dual Boot or Virtualization?
Both methods have pros and cons, the most obvious being price. As we said above, complete Boot Camp installation is free, while setting up a virtual machine is a bit expensive. It’s best to familiarize yourself with each method and decide which one suits your needs. You can set up a virtual machine on an Intel-based Macbook too.
Dual Boot means having two operating systems running on the same device. Users of Intel-based Macs can take advantage of it by using Boot Camp Assistant, a dual boot utility created by Apple. Using this method ensures you’re getting the most out of your Macbook, utilizing all of its memory and processing power. However, you can’t use both systems simultaneously, so you have to restart every time you want to use another system.
- Easy to install.
- No performance loss.
- You can install it by using the built-in Boot Camp Assistant.
- Can’t run both systems simultaneously.
By using this method, you can create a virtual instance of computer hardware and use it to run multiple systems simultaneously. You need special virtualization software such as VirtualBox or Parallels to install Windows from within macOS. This way, you can use both systems without restarting the computer. On the other hand, the performance of the virtualized system will be noticeably worse since it can’t use the full potential of your hardware. It’s a great solution for multitasking when you have to use Apple’s and Microsoft’s apps simultaneously.
- You can switch operating systems without restarting.
- You can share files between both operating systems.
- Noticeable performance-loss.
- It needs third-party software.
- At least 8GB of ram is required to work properly.
How to Run Microsoft Windows in Dual Boot via Boot Camp
First of all, Boot Camp requires a Mac with an Intel processor. But before you start the install process, make sure your Mac meets the following requirements:
- 64GB of storage space is the bare minimum on your Mac startup disk, and 128GB is optimal to run both operating systems. Automatic Windows Updates require a lot of storage space, so make sure you’re ready for it.
- A bootable USB drive with 16GB capacity or more. This part can be skipped if you have one of the following Macs.
- A 64-bit version of Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro on a disk image (ISO). You can download it directly from Microsoft by using Media Creation Tool.
- Make sure you have a working Windows product key. You can grab Microsoft Windows 10 Home Retail KEY on RoyalCDKeys for only a fraction of the retail price.
If you meet all of these requirements, follow the instructions below.
1. Check Secure Boot Settings
The default Secure Boot setting is Full Security. Make sure it’s set this way before installing Windows. After the installation, you can use any setting without affecting the system’s startup.
2. Create a Windows Partition with Boot Camp Assistant
Go to Applications > Utilities > Boot Camp Assistant and follow the on-screen instructions until you’re asked to choose an ISO image. Select an ISO image from the USB drive mentioned above.
When Boot Camp Assistant asks you to set the partition size, remember that Windows operating systems eat a dozen of storage space. Also, take into consideration additional drivers and apps you’re going to use. Think it through because you can’t change it later.
3. Format the Windows Boot Camp Partition and Install Windows
When Boot Camp Assistant finishes, it will restart and launch the Windows installer. If it asks where to install Windows, select the Boot Camp partition and click “Format.” Usually, it selects and formats the Boot Camp partition automatically.
After that, click Next, follow the onscreen instructions, and begin installing Windows. Windows installation is pretty straightforward, so we won’t cover this process here.
4. Use The Boot Camp Installer in Windows
When Windows installation completes, your Mac will open a new window: “Welcome to the Boot Camp Installer.” Install Boot Camp along with the necessary drivers for your new operating system. You will be asked to restart when done.
- Sometimes Boot Camp Installer won’t open automatically, and you must open it manually. If that’s the case, follow the instructions from the official Apple support.
- If you’re using an external display connected through Thunderbolt, the display will remain blank for up to 2 minutes during installation. This is normal, the signal will come back eventually.
How to Switch Between macOS and Windows
There are three ways to switch between Mac and Windows on your Macbook. You can go from Windows to Mac and vice versa or switch by restarting your computer.
Windows to Mac
- Click the up arrow in the bottom right corner of the screen.
- Right-click on the Boot Camp icon.
- Select “Restart in macOS.”
Mac to Windows
- Click the System Preferences icon to open settings.
- Select Startup Disk from the System Preferences panel.
- Select Windows and then “Restart.”
Switch with Restart
- Restart your Macbook on any system.
- When Mac starts to reboot, hold down the Option key on your keyboard until you see a screen with two hard drives.
- Choose the desired operating system.