Mac Basics: Using Windows on your Mac via Boot Camp
Boot Camp lets you run Microsoft Windows on your Mac. Learn how Boot Camp runs Windows and what the installation requirements are.
Have a Windows application you need to use once in a while? No problem. Every new Mac lets you install and run Windows at native speeds, using a built-in utility called Boot Camp. Setup is simple and safe for your Mac files. After you’ve completed the installation, you can boot up your Mac using either OS X or Windows.
Run Windows at native speed
You can run the Windows operating system on your Mac at native speed—without the performance penalty that comes with software emulation or "virtual machines." Windows applications have full access to multiple processors and multiple cores, accelerated 3D graphics, and high-speed ports and networking such as USB, FireWire, Wi-Fi, AirPort, and Gigabit Ethernet as well as drivers for audio and Bluetooth functionality. If you're using Mac OS X v10.5 or Mac OS X v10.6, the Boot Camp support software is on the Mac OS X installation DVD. After the installation of Windows is complete and you insert your installation flash drive or disc containing the Boot Camp support software (while booted in Windows), it is automatically installed on your Mac.
Depending on your computer’s hardware and OS X version, Boot Camp supports Microsoft Windows Windows XP with Service Pack 2, Windows Vista, or Windows 7. For more details, see Boot Camp: System requirements for Microsoft Windows. For information about using 64-bit editions of Windows Vista or Windows 7, see Boot Camp: Macs that work with 64-bit editions of Microsoft Windows Vista and Windows 7. Note: Windows 8 is not currently supported by Boot Camp.
Boot Camp Assistant creates a partition just for Windows without erasing your existing OS X volume.
After installation, you can switch between Windows and OS X by holding the Option (Alt) key at start up. Or, use the Startup Disk control panel in Windows (installed with Boot Camp support software) or the OS X Startup Disk preference pane to set the default operating system to use each time the computer starts up.
To use Boot Camp, you need:
- An Intel-based Mac with a built-in or external USB keyboard, and a built-in trackpad or USB mouse.
- Mac OS X v10.5 or later.
- The latest firmware updates available for your Mac.
- At least 10 GB (for Windows XP or Windows Vista), 16 GB (for 32-bit Windows 7), or 20 GB (for 64-bit Windows 7) of free space on your startup disk (for the Windows partition).
- Boot Camp Assistant, which is located in /Applications/Utilities/ . You can also open Launchpad and type Boot Camp Assistant in the search field.
- Supported Windows installation media. Boot Camp does not include Windows. For more details, see Boot Camp: System requirements for Microsoft Windows
- OS X Mountain Lion and OS X Lion only support new installations of Windows 7.
- Mac OS X v10.6 or later is required for Windows 7 installations.
Before installing Boot Camp
Before you install, follow these steps:
- Always back up important data before any software installation.
- Print the "Boot Camp Installation & Setup Guide" (OS X Mountain Lion and OS X Lion versions, Mac OS X v10.6 version, or Mac OS X v10.5 version) document.
- Update your Intel-based Mac to the latest version of OS X.
- Download and install the latest firmware updates available for your Mac. Follow the onscreen instructions to complete the firmware installation.
Installing Boot Camp
For specific installation steps, refer to the "Boot Camp Installation & Setup Guide" PDF document that you printed, starting with Step 2 in the PDF. For Windows 7, you may wish to also read the Windows 7 installation frequently asked questions.
Note: OS X Mountain Lion and OS X Lion only support new installations of Windows 7.
Important: Apple does not provide technical phone support for installing, using, or recovering Microsoft Windows. Support is available for using Boot Camp Setup Assistant, as well as installing or restoring Boot Camp software while booted into Windows. Support articles and discussions may also be available on Apple's support website.