Unlike past versions of Bootcamp installs, I’ve found it was a bit more troublesome installing Windows 10 via Bootcamp on my 2014 Mac Mini running OS X 10.11 El Capitan. Don’t let me scare you though, its like the good ‘ol times where nothing worked out of the box and you needed to load drivers via cd-rom 😉 Below I walk through step-by-step to get Windows running like it should on your Mac.
- Mac OS X with OS X Yosemite or later installed
- Genuine Microsoft Windows 10 Activation Key
- Empty 8GB USB Flash Drive
Step 1: Buy Windows
I personally haven’t owned a copy of Microsoft Windows since the XP days and Windows 10 finally seemed to fill that gap from my initial impression. My brother Matt Young suggested purchasing from the Microsoft Software Swap on Reddit. I opted for a Windows 8.1 Pro key since the Windows 10 installer now accepts them initially, why pay more? I had a great experience buying from user DNK13 paying with a Amazon E-mail Delivery Gift Card
Windows 10 Upgrade Specs: Handy chart to compare which versions of Windows will upgrade to 10.
After receiving my key via Reddit PM, I downloaded the latest build from Microsoft.
Step 2: Create a Partition
You must first create a destination partition for Windows to be installed on. In finder, Command-Shift-U or navigate to the Utilities folder in Applications and open Disk Utility. Select your Mac’s hard drive and create a partition. Backing up your hard drive first is strongly recommended. Alternatively you could install Windows on a secondary or external hard drive. Select MS-DOS (FAT) as the file system along with the desired size.
Step 3: Create Boot Camp Installer
After the Windows 10 download has completed, open the Boot Camp Assistant located in /Applications/Utilities. Make sure the box for “Create a Windows 8 or later install disk” is checked. Notice that you can’t uncheck the box to download the latest Windows Support Software from Apple. We will address this later on.
Boot Camp has already found my Windows 10 Build 1511 ISO image along with the intended USB flash drive for creating a bootable install “disc”. Click continue to begin creating installer.
Confirm the assistant will reformat your USB flash drive. This will erase any files on your flash drive!
After reformatting the drive, the assistant will begin copying the Windows 10 installation files from the ISO.
Now here is where our problems begin. A common issue with Bootcamp version 6 is that the assistant hangs while downloading the necessary Apple drivers to run Windows. While the assistant may be stuck, it has already created a bootable windows installer for which we can manually add the Windows Support files to. Click Stop to quit the setup assistant.
I accidentally downloaded an older version initially (5.0.5033) as that was the first result from googling “Windows Support Software”. Apple doesn’t officially list the latest version anywhere on their website so you must manually search their knowledgebase to check for the latest version. Even then version 6.0 isn’t currently available via the knowledge base which we will tackle later on.
I then extracted and copied the folder bootcamp5.1.5769 folder onto my USB install drive. Depending on your Mac, Windows may support your ethernet drivers out of the box as it did on my 2014 Mac Mini, but wireless was not supported. Safest bet is to just have access to the drivers after Windows is finished installing.
Step 4: Installing Windows 10
Make sure you have your Windows 10 Activation Key written down or accessible on your phone as you will now restart your Mac to begin the installation process
Restart your Mac while holding down the “option” key. This allows your to select from the bootable drives available on your system. Select the USB flash drive you created with the Boot Camp Assistant. The Windows 10 installer should load, follow through each step to begin installation. Select your hard drive partition created in step 1 and reformat before selecting. This will change the partition from FAT32 to NTFS.
Once you’ve configured the installer and it has started you will need to baby sit your computer to watch for restarts. Since OS X is your default boot drive any time the computer restarts without holding down the option key and selecting your windows partition, your mac will automatically load to OS X unless changed in “startup disk” system preference.
Step 5: Installing Windows Support Software aka Drivers
Windows 10 installed successfully and works with Microsoft’s default drivers to some extent. Sound was the only big feature not working but to make sure everything is supported we’ll install Apple’s Boot Camp drivers we downloaded earlier and placed on our USB flash drive.
Open the Setup.exe file located in the Boot Camp folder on your flash drive. F:\bootcamp5.1.5769\BootCamp
Run the installer and your computer will need to restart to effectively make the changes. Make sure to hold down the option key to select your Windows partition upon reboot. Open up Apple Software Update, which was installed along with the drivers, to check for the latest Boot Camp 6.0 update. This is currently the only way to grab the 6.0 Windows Support Files as Apple doesn’t have a .zip download available on their knowledgebase yet.
That’s it! Not as smooth as it should be not painful either. I now have a fully functioning Windows 10 install for playing games and other applications not available on OS X.
Notes for older Macs or Bootcamp Installer Issues
What I learned from accidentally installing the older support software is that there is a workaround for installing Windows 10 on computers not officially supported by Apple. 2012 or older Macs may still meet the minimum requirements for Windows 10 but running the Boot Camp 5.0.5033 installer will produce this error.
Download Orca MSI Editor to edit the MSI and exclude the parameters causing the error. Open F:\bootcamp5.1.5769\BootCamp\Drivers\Apple\BootCamp.msi and go to LaunchCondition to delete the first two rows.
Once the rows are deleted, save changes, then launch the BootCamp.msi installer. You may encounter this error, click ok and it will continue to open the installer anyways.
Another issue you may encounter is that the Boot Camp installer will hang once it tries to install the RealTek Audio drivers. If this is the case, exit the Boot Camp installer, move the installer from F:\bootcamp5.1.5769\BootCamp\Drivers\RealTek\RealtekSetup.exe to your desktop then relaunch the BootCamp.msi installer. Depending on your Mac you may not even need this installer as was my case for my 2014 Mac Mini. The RealTek audio driver isn’t included with Boot Camp 5.1.5769, but the CirrusAudioCS4206x64 driver included did get my sound working.