Digital Advisor is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
If you're a Mac user who needs to run Windows programs, this tutorial will teach you how to install Windows on your Mac with some helpful tools.
While Macs are some of the most popular devices on the market, there are Windows games and programs that you can't run on Mac - unless you switch your operating system. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced user, you should be able to get Windows up and running on your Mac in no time. Now, let's get started.
Is it Possible to Run Windows on Mac?
Yes, with the help of special software, it is possible to run Windows on Mac. This is useful if you want to use specific Windows programs not available on Mac.
Boot Camp or Windows Virtual Machines: Which is Better?
There are two easy ways to run Windows on a Mac. The first is to use Boot Camp Assistant, and the second is to use Windows Virtual Machines.
Boot Camp Assistant is an official Apple software that allows you to install and run Windows on a Mac on a separate partition of your hard drive. When you turn on your Mac, you can choose between macOS or Windows using this software.
Windows Virtual Machines create an environment on your Mac that simulates a PC, allowing you to run Windows on your Mac in a separate window. Virtual machines such as Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion allow you to run both Windows OS and macOS simultaneously without restarting your Mac.
However, these virtual machines will cost you $80, and running both programs can drain your Mac’s processing power, which will slow it down.
Boot Camp is free and is the easiest way to run Windows on a Mac. It is also a built-in Apple program, so it won’t make your Mac sluggish.
With that in mind, we will show you how to run Windows using Boot Camp Assistant first, then followed by the Parallels Virtual Machine.
How to Run Windows 10 on Mac Using Boot Camp Assistant
Summary of Steps:
- To install Windows on Mac, check first your Mac’s compatibility.
- Prepare your Windows file or download Windows 10 from the Microsoft website.
- Find and run Boot Camp Assistant on your Mac.
- Format the partition, choose Windows ISO file, and install.
- Mac will automatically restart. Then, set up Windows.
- Continue the next Boot Camp steps to finish the setup.
- Mac will automatically restart, and you can now run Windows on your Mac.
Step 1: Check Mac Compatibility and Requirements
Before we start, it is best to prepare your device. Check your Mac’s compatibility to avoid any potential problems and make the process as smooth as possible.
Note: You can only use Boot Camp Assistant on a Mac with an Intel processor, and it must be on macOS X 10.10 (Yosemite) and later. You also need at least 64GB or more free storage space on your Mac's startup disk to ensure that it will run properly.
To check your Mac's compatibility, the list below shows the Mac models that can run Windows 10:
- MacBook: 2015 or newer models
- MacBook Air: 2012 or newer models
- MacBook Pro: 2012 or newer models
- Mac Pro: 2013 or newer models
- Mac Mini: 2012 or newer models
- iMac: 2012 or newer models
- iMac Pro: All models
Step 2: Download Microsoft Windows 10.
Now that you know your Mac can run Windows, it's time to choose which version of the operating system you want to install. You can install a Windows system from a DVD or USB flash drive that contains the Windows installation files, or you can use a bootable ISO file that contains the Windows installation files.
To get an ISO Windows file, you need a Windows license to install it on your Mac. Then you can download Windows 10 from the official Microsoft website. Make sure you get the full version and upgrade. Choose the "64-bit Download" option to prompt the Windows 10 ISO to download on your Mac.
Step 3: Back Up Your Mac
While Boot Camp is a relatively safe process, it's always good to have a backup of your files in case something goes wrong.
You can use Time Machine, which is built into macOS, to create a full backup of your Mac. Alternatively, you can use other software tools like Carbon Copy Cloner to clone your hard drive.
Step 4: Install Microsoft Windows 10 using Boot Camp Assistant
Once everything is prepared, it's time to install Windows using Boot Camp Assistant. This process is pretty straightforward, but it takes a while.
Start by opening Boot Camp Assistant. You can find it by clicking on the Go menu and choosing Utilities.
Follow the on-screen instructions to partition your hard drive. In this part, Boot Camp will ask you to set up the Windows partition size. Keep in mind the minimum storage requirements so it can run properly.
Identify the Windows apps that you need to use. If you only want to use a few apps, 30 GB of storage space is enough. But if you want to play Windows PC games, you need to add more space in the partition.
Set up a partition size that meets your needs because you won't be able to change this part after. You can only change it by uninstalling and reinstalling Windows.
After Boot Camp Assistant has successfully installed Windows, your Mac will restart and boot the Windows system.
Step 5: Finish Windows Setup
You will then be directed to the Windows setup menu. Finish the setup and add your Windows account until you're directed to the desktop.
Step 6: Install Boot Camp Assistant
After successful Windows installation, your Mac starts up in Windows and opens a Bootcamp Installer window.
While it may be tempting to start running Windows programs upon seeing the Windows desktop after the restart, you still need to finish the Boot Camp setup.
Follow the instructions on the screen to install Boot Camp and Windows drivers.
Click Finish, and your Mac will automatically restart.
Step 6: Start Using Windows Programs on Your Mac
After the restart, the installation is complete, which means you can now use Windows 10 on your Mac.
To switch from Windows to macOS, click on the arrow button on the Windows desktop on the right. Then, click on Boot Camp and tap on "Restart in macOS."
And to switch between macOS and Windows, restart your Mac, then press and hold the Option or Alt key during startup.
How To Run Windows 10 on Mac Using a Parallels Desktop Windows Virtual Machine
As I've mentioned earlier, those who want to use Windows 10 and macOS without the need of partitioning it on your Mac may benefit by using Virtual Machines.
The two common virtual machines are Parallels Desktop and VMWare Fusion. For this tutorial, we'll use Parallels Desktop.
Step 1: Check compatibility and prepare your software.
Windows virtual machines only work on Intel-based Mac. Check your Mac's model first to see if it's compatible with the software.
Then, download a Windows 10 installer in an ISO file and install Parallels Desktop for Mac.
Step 2: Install Windows on Parallels.
You can proceed to install Windows if you have the file ready. Make sure you have the license key as you will enter in the Virtual Machine to complete the setup. Click Install Windows 10.
If you don't have the Windows file yet, click "Skip” and you need to download a Windows 10 system. You will be directed to a Create New window, which will walk you through building a new virtual machine.
Choose "Get Windows 10 from Microsoft" and click continue. Then, purchase a version of Windows 10 that you need for your Mac.
Your download will begin. Depending on your internet speed, this will take a while, from a few minutes to a couple of hours.
Then, enter the license key to have full access to the Microsoft Windows operating system. The Windows 10 IOS file will show up in your Mac's Control Center as a virtual machine.
Step 3: Run Windows 10 as a Virtual Machine on Your Mac.
Click on the Windows 10 file to run windows on Mac without the need to reboot. And you're done.
How to Uninstall Windows 10 From Your Mac
Boot Camp allows you to run Windows on your Mac without issue, and it won't slow it down. However, if you are experiencing issues using Windows on your Mac, you can easily uninstall it using Boot Camp Assistant. It's as simple as installing it.
To remove Windows 10, open Boot Camp and check the "Remove Windows 7 or later" box. Then click Continue.
To remove the whole Windows partition, click Restore on the next screen.
Boot Camp Assistant will ask for your password. So, just type it and then Restore your Mac to its original state.
Isn't installing Windows on your Mac easy? Now that you know how to run Windows 10 on your Mac, you can use Windows applications, play Windows games or even use Microsoft Office apps.
Using Boot Camp Assistant, it's easy to switch from two different operating systems. However, if you want to run Windows 10 without switching from macOS, then Virtual Machines are your best bet.
You can opt for "Try for free" for the Virtual Machines to see if it runs well on your Mac before purchasing it.
Did you like our tutorial? Let us know what you think in the comments below.