Apple’s Boot Camp was quite quick to provide support for Windows 10 and now that Microsoft has fixed most issues regarding the installation and activation of the new OS, many of you who initially held back can now update freely. The installation process is mostly the same as in previous versions of Windows and Boot Camp though there are some things you should know before starting.
To install Windows 10 on a Mac with Boot Camp, there are certain requirements you must consider before making any other move. First and foremost, you need to make sure that your Mac actually supports Windows 10. Pretty much any device from mid-2012 and afterwards will work just fine but any Mac released earlier than that will simply not be supported. In addition to that, you will need to have an active, licensed version of Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 in order to take advantage of the free upgrade, otherwise you will need to purchase a full Windows 10 license. Furthermore, Boot Camp only supports 64-bit versions of Windows 10 so if you are planning on upgrading from an existing 32-bit version of Windows, you will need to remove it and install the 64-bit version instead. Finally, make sure that all of your Apple products are up-to-date, both in Windows (from the Apple Software Update utility) and in OS X. The Boot Camp Assistant will automatically install required drivers and software updates so you do not need to worry about that.
Upgrading to Windows 10
If you already have a previous version of Windows installed with Boot Camp, upgrading to Windows 10 is incredibly easy. Note that, as I mentioned before, only 64-bit versions are supported. Once you have everything ready, boot your Mac into Windows and download the Media Creation Tool from Microsoft’s website. Run the utility, choose to “Upgrade this PC now” and follow the on-screen instruction to install Windows 10. You will be able to choose whether to keep your personal files or not so this method can indeed provide you with a clean, fresh copy of Windows 10.
Installing Windows 10 from scratch
For those of you who have never used Boot Camp before, installing Windows 10 will be a far more complicated process. The first obstacle lies in the way Microsoft handles the upgrades to its new OS. Because of the fact that Windows 10 is provided as a free upgrade over the previous versions, Microsoft’s installer automatically checks your license and then registers your computer’s hardware online so that you can freely install Windows 10 again on that PC without going through the activation process again. Back in October, Microsoft finally went compromised with its users and now allows anyone to activate their copies of Windows 10 with a license key from Windows 7, 8 or 8.1. What this means is that even if you do not have an active copy of Windows running in Boot Camp, you can still get Windows 10 for free if you have stored the product key somewhere.
Setting those issues aside, here is how to install a fresh copy of Windows with Boot Camp. Note that a USB flash drive of 8GB or more is required for this.
- Grab the Media Creation Tool and run it in your system.
- Select the “Create installation media for another PC” option, click Next and choose to create an “ISO file” which you will need later.
- Press Command + Space, type boot camp and press Enter.
- The Boot Camp Assistant will present you with several options in its starting window, all of which should be checked. Once you have checked the boxes and reviewed the options, click on Continue.
- Click on the “Choose” button and select the ISO file you created in step 2. After that, insert the USB drive you will use to install Windows 10 and click on Continue.
- Boot Camp will now move the necessary files to your USB drive so allow the process to finish. When it is over, you will be pointed at the “Create a Partition for Windows” menu. Allocate as much space as you want for Windows and click on the Install button.
- The utility will now resize your Mac’s partition, create a new one for Windows and restart your Mac so that it can run the Windows installer. The installation process is quite simple but it is vital that you choose the “BOOTCAMP” partition and click on “Format” in order to format the correct partition dedicated to Windows.
If you accidentally choose your main partition, OS X will be erased and all your files will be lost.
- Once that installer finishes its job and Windows is finally launched, allow Boot Camp Assistant to download the various drivers and tools you will need in your system and you can start using the OS normally.