One of the key benefits of running a modern Mac is that you can enjoy having mac OS X and Windows on the same computer.
Sometimes you just need access to a Windows system.
Apple’s custom-tailored software solution is called Boot Camp, and it’s the easiest way to get Windows on your Mac!
Ever since Apple’s transition to Intel processors in 2006 the Apple Mac has been the only device on which you can run mac OS X and Windows, and their supporting applications.
If you’re interested in installing Windows 10 on your Mac’s internal drive, you can easily do so by means of Microsoft’s Windows 10 ISO download and the mac OS X Boot Camp Assistant.
Boot Camp – is built into Mac OS X/mac OS. It also offers the best performance because your Mac’s hardware is dedicated only to running the Windows OS.
Apple knows the allure of Windows and PCs, which is why they build Boot Camp right into the OS. Boot Camp lets mac OS X users create a partition and install Windows directly on a dual-boot system.
The installation can be a little time consuming, but it is by no means difficult.
Macs that support Windows 10
For more details, visit Apple’s Boot Camp support page for Windows 10.
- MacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2016)
- MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
- MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2016, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
- MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015)
- MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Early 2015)
- MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2014)
- MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Mid 2014)
- MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Late 2013)
- MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Late 2013)
- MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Early 2013)
- MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Early 2013)
- MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Late 2012)
- MacBook Pro (Retina, Mid 2012)
- MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2012)
- MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2012)
- MacBook Air (13-inch, Early 2015)
- MacBook Air (11-inch, Early 2015)
- MacBook Air (13-inch, Early 2014)
- MacBook Air (11-inch, Early 2014)
- MacBook Air (13-inch, Mid 2013)
- MacBook Air (11-inch, Mid 2013)
- MacBook Air (13-inch, Mid 2012)
- MacBook Air (11-inch, Mid 2012)
- MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2016)
- MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2015)
- iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2015)
- iMac (Retina 4K, 21.5-inch, Late 2015)
- iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2015)
- iMac (Retina 5k, 27-inch, Mid 2015)
- iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2014)
- iMac (21.5-inch, Mid 2014)
- iMac (27-inch, Late 2013)
- iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2013)
- iMac (27-inch, Late 2012)
- iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2012)
- Mac mini (Late 2014)
- Mac mini Server (Late 2012)
- Mac mini (Late 2012)
- Mac Pro (Late 2013)
Make sure you have at least 32GB of free space on your hard drive for the Windows installation. During the installation process, you can set the Windows partition to whatever size you want, as long as the drive has enough storage.
Finally, update your Mac’s OS to ensure there are no compatibility problems. You may want to perform a backup of your Mac in the (rare) case that something goes wrong.
Download the Windows 10 ISO
1: Visit Microsoft’s Download Windows 10 Disc Image (ISO File) page. For Edition, choose Windows 10, and click Confirm. Next, select the desired language, and click Confirm. Finally, click the 64-bit Download button to begin the Windows 10 ISO download.
Run Boot Camp Assistant
2: Once the ISO download is completed, launch Boot Camp Assistant in Applications → Utilities and click Continue.
3: Click the Choose button next to the ISO image box, and select the ISO file downloaded in step 1.
4: Adjust the Boot Camp partition size by moving the Windows partition to the desired amount of space. You’ll want to leave enough room for your mac OS X installation, but you’ll also want to allocate enough storage space for the Windows 10 partition. A lot will depend on how much space you have, and how you plan on utilizing the Windows 10 installation. If you plan on installing a large amount of Windows 10 applications and games, then you’ll need to take that into consideration.
5: After selecting the ISO file and adjusting the partition sizes, click Install. The Boot Camp Assistant will download Windows support software, partition the disk, and copy the necessary Windows files to get started. You will then be prompted to enter your administrator password, and shortly thereafter, mac OS X will reboot into Windows Setup.
Install Windows 10
6: Upon reboot you’ll see the Windows logo followed by the Windows Setup screen. Select the desired language, time and country format, along with keyboard or input method, and click Next.
7: You’ll now arrive at the Activate Windows box. If you already have a Windows 10 product key, enter it and click Next. Otherwise, click I don’t have a product key at the bottom of the box.
8: Select either Windows 10 Pro or Windows 10 Home. If you plan on buying Windows, the Home version is the more economical of the two at $99, and chances are you may not need the features offered in the Pro edition anyway. However, if you plan on taking advantage of the Windows Insider Program, which allows you to essentially beta test Windows 10 using Microsoft-provided activation keys, then you might decide to go with the Pro version. You can compare each version of Windows 10 here. Click Next after choosing the desired version.
9: On the Applicable notices and license terms screen, check the I accept the license terms box in the bottom left-hand corner, and click Next.
10: The installation process will now commence. Windows Setup will copy needed files, and install features and updates. The installation process should only take a few minutes. Once it’s complete, your Mac will automatically reboot after 10 seconds.
11: Upon rebooting, the Windows logo will appear again, and the setup process will continue and reboot again. Eventually. You’ll see the blue Get going fast screen. You can opt to use express settings, but I recommend clicking the Customize button and disabling most, if not all of the switches. Click Next to proceed to the next pages and repeat the process.
12: You’ll now be asked to create an account. An account name is required, but a password is not. Click Next once you select the desired user name and password combination.
13: On the Meet Cortana screen, you can choose to enable the Cortana personal assistant.
14: Windows will now finish up the setup process, and you’ll eventually be taken to the Windows 10 desktop. On the Welcome to Boot Camp installer box, click Next and accept the terms of the license agreement. Click Install to proceed with the installation. If any additional driver installation boxes appear, be sure to Install those as well. Once the installer completes, make sure the Restart System box is checked, and click Finish to reboot your machine.
16: Upon rebooting, click the Wi-Fi icon in the system tray and connect to your local Wi-Fi network.
Apple Software Update
Note: This next step is very important, because it updates to the latest sound driver. The initial driver is known to cause speaker problems, so it’s important that you update.
17: Click the Start Button and select Apple Software Update. Select any of the updates that appear, and click the Install items button in the bottom right-hand corner. Click Yes on the User Account Control pop up windows that appears, and click Install on any additional related software installations.
18: Ensure that any in-progress installations complete, and then click Yes on the Apple Software Update Restart pop up window that appears. Your Mac will reboot back into Windows 10.
19: Finally, go to Start → Settings → Update & security, and click the Check for updates button. Windows will download any needed updates, and prompt you to restart after doing so. Click Restart now to complete the installation and reboot.
Activate Windows or join the Windows Insider Program
You have two (actually three) choices from here. You can purchase a Windows 10 Activation key and activate Windows, or you can sign up to the Windows Insider Program. The downside of joining the Windows Insider program is that you’ll be running prerelease versions of Windows 10, which could possibly come with stability issues. Activating the Windows Insider Program on your installation also means that you’re willing to deliver usage data to Microsoft and its partners. The upside of the Windows Insider Program is that it provides you with a genuine activation without having to pay out of pocket.
The “third” choice is to not Activate Windows at all, but that’s not a choice I recommended. You can still use Windows 10 even if it’s not activated, but Microsoft will bug you with a watermark, and restrict the amount of personalization that you can make to the OS. So the moral to the story is this: Activate it, by paying or joining Windows Insider Program, if you use it.
If you wish to activate with a purchased key, click Start → Settings → Update & security → Activation, and click Change product key.
If you wish to join the Windows Insider Program, click Start → Settings → Update & security → Windows Insider Program, and wait until the Get Insider Preview builds page loads. Click the Get started button to begin. You’ll need to sign in with your Microsoft account to get started. Once you’re signed in, click the Get started button again to confirm your enrollment.
If you do not have an activation key, you can instead click “Do this later”. You do not need to Activate Windows 10 to install it, but you can activate later.
Rebooting into mac OS X or Windows
You can easily switch between mac OS X or Windows by holding the Option key on your keyboard while rebooting. When you do, you’ll be able to select between the Windows and macOS installations.
You can also choose to reboot directly into mac OS X or Windows from either operating system. On macOS you simply go to System Preferences → Startup Disk, and choose BOOTCAMP Windows.
On Windows, you click the System Tray → Boot Camp, and choose Restart in mac OS X.
How to reverse trackpad and mouse scrolling on Windows 10 on a MacBook
If you use macOS, you are likely accustomed to the way the trackpad scrolls. Apple calls it “natural” scrolling, where dragging two fingers up on the trackpad scrolls the content up on the display. This is the opposite from most PCs (and mouse scroll wheels), which typically use “inverted” scrolling (drag down, scroll up). You can fix that on the MacBook by using a registry modification (directions originally found on waded.org)
- Click on the Search bar on the left side of the task bar.
- Type Regedit.
- Press Enter.
- Answer Yes to the security prompt.
- In Regedit expand the folders on the left through HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SYSTEM \ CurrentControlSet \ Enum \HID.
- Under HID, you’ll see some folders that start with VID. Expand each VID folder to Device Parameters. (Note: only one VID folder has it, so you have to try them all.)
- Click each Device Parameters until you find the one that contains FlipFlopWheel in the right pane.
- Double-click FlipFlopWheel.
- Change the value from 0 to 1.
- Click OK.
- Repeat steps 5-8 for FlipFlopHScroll.
- Close Regedit.
- Restart Windows. Logging off and back on does not enable this entry.
Alternatively, you can download the free app flipflop-windows-wheel from GitHub that automates this task. Just download the file, run it and hit ‘Flip.’ Once again you need to reboot (not log off) to make the settings work.
How to return to mac OS from Windows 10
One of the best parts of Boot Camp is how easy it is to switch back and forth between operating systems.
- Click the Show hidden icons button in the Windows 10 taskbar.
- Click the Boot Camp button.
- Click Restart in OS X.
Your Mac will now restart, and you’ll be brought right back to macOS. To get back to Windows 10, and indeed another way to switch from Windows 10 to mac OS X, is to restart your Mac and hold down the Option key on your keyboard until a boot menu appears. From here, you can choose which OS to load.
Updating Windows 10
Now that you have Windows 10 installed on your Mac, you can update it to the Creators Update.
The easiest way to do so is to use Windows Update.
- Click the Start button.
- Click the Settings button. It looks like a gear.
- Click Update & security.
- Click Check for updates.
The Creators Update should begin downloading and will install. Follow the steps on screen, and you’ll be up to date in no time.
If you are installing Windows 10 for gaming, you’ll probably get good graphics performance out of your Mac (as long as you have a dedicated graphics card). That’s because, generally speaking, a lot of games are written for Windows first and will often use Direct X (a Microsoft technology); the same games in OS X will have to make do with a different technology, OpenGL, which is cross-platform and well supported but generally less efficient resulting in lower performance.