Apple Bootcamp Logo

There are several options to choose from if you want to run Windows on your Mac. The most notable options are Parallels ($79.99), VMWare Fusion ($79.99 $49.99 promo), and Boot Camp (free).

Boot Camp comes with all Macs, completely free, and it streamlines your installation of Windows on it. You could squeeze the maximum performance from Boot Camp, which can become a significant factor if you play games, for example.

Despite its greatness there are some areas that Boot Camp can come out short.

 

  1. You need to restart your computer to boot into Windows.
  2. You need to split your hard drive so it has a designated space for your Mac and Windows – if you’re like me an have 256GB solid-state drive…it’s a tough decision.

The two areas aren’t ‘huge’ but it’s something to consider if you plan on going for Boot Camp. That said, I emphasize that if you need to use Windows a lot for work or personal reasons, by all means, try Boot Camp. Don’t get me wrong – Parallels and VMWare are great options and they do a stellar job, but eventually, you’ll want to switch over to Boot Camp just because the experience will be more fluid.

Alright, well let’s get started!

How to Set Up Windows 7 on your Mac

Preparation: Windows 7 Installation Disk, Mac OS X Installation Disk

  1. Make sure that you have the latest Boot Camp software by checking this site and/or opening Software Update from the Apple Menu to check.
  2. Open Boot Camp Assistant       Finder > Applications > Utilities > Boot Camp Assistant
  3. Select the option to Install Windows in the next screen, along with other options that you need – ideally, you’d select everything. Click Continue.
  4. Follow the onscreen instructions and wait while Boot Camp works its magic.
  5. You’ll be asked to create a partition for Windows. Aim for around 50GB or more. Windows 7 installation takes a huge chunk of space and while there are methods to extend the partition without destroying data, there are always risks in doing so. Around 80GB or more would be a good number to start with.
  6. Insert your Windows 7 installation disk or Windows 7 installation USB flash drive to begin the installation.
  7. Click Install
  8. Here, Boot Camp will create the Windows Partition, restart your Mac, and boot you into Windows Installation process.
  9. Boot Camp boots into Windows Installation Wizard
  10. Follow the onscreen instruction until you reach the menu where you need to select the partition.
  11. Select the partition named ‘BOOTCAMP’. ******DO NOT CREATE OR DELETE PARTITION FROM THIS MENU. DOING SO MAY DELETE YOUR MAC PARTITION IN THE PROCESS*****
  12. Click “Drive Options (advanced)”
  13. Click “Format”, then click “OK”.
  14. This will format the partition into NTFS format (Windows file system)
  15. Follow the onscreen instructions to complete the Windows Install.
  16. Insert your CD or other external medial (like Flash Drive) where you stored the drivers that were downloaded from Step 4.
  17. Install the Windows Support Software. This will allow Windows to recognize your AirPort (network) card, built-in camera, trackpad for your MacBook, and many more. You want to install this for sure.
  18. Run Windows Update to make sure your Windows is updated.
  19. Follow onscreen instructions for Windows Update.
  20. Congratulations! All done!

Now how do I boot into Windows?

It’s really simple. Press your “option” key when you boot up (before you see the Apple logo and the sound) and kept it pressed until you see an option to select Mac or Windows. Select Windows and you’re off to the (dark) side! 😉

 

Okay so now that I have Windows, will I have to worry about viruses?

Yes, hence why the (dark) side comment above. Make sure you have virus protection on your Windows partition. HOWEVER you do not have to worry about the virus on Windows causing any trouble on your Mac partition. You Windows and Mac partitions are COMPLETELY separate. Also a Windows virus will not infect a Mac system and vice versa, so don’t worry about it!

FAQ and other information on Boot Camp

Boot Camp 4.0, OS X Lion Frequently Asked Questions – Apple.com

 

Don’t let this 20-Step process scare you from installing Windows on Boot Camp. Instructions are usually longer than it actually is and you’ll see when you actually get the installation running – it’s much easier than you think 😉

 

Need Windows?

If you currently own one of the recent versions of Macs that have the Intel chip in them (You could check by going to  Apple Menu > About This Mac > On Processor, you should see "Intel" or "Power PC"), I strongly recommend that you go with 64-Bit Windows 7. 64-Bit Windows is worth the extra price as it utilizes your 64-bit chip more efficiently. For you gamers especially, you’d want to install 64-Bit for the performance boost. 😉

** [12/20/2011] Looks like the prices on Amazon for the 64-bit is the same with the 32-bit version, so go for the 64-bit!

[amazon_carousel widget_type=”ASINList” width=”600″ height=”200″ title=”Windows 7 64-Bit Versions” market_place=”US” shuffle_products=”False” show_border=”False” asin=”B004Q0PT3I,B004Q0PTD8,B004Q0T0LU” /]

However you may choose the 32-Bit Windows 7 as well. Yes, there is a performance difference but if you’re only looking to do simple tasks, 32-Bit Windows could be just fine for you.

[amazon_carousel widget_type=”ASINList” width=”600″ height=”200″ title=”Windows 7 32-Bit Versions” market_place=”US” shuffle_products=”False” show_border=”False” asin=”B004Q0T10A,B004Q0PSMK,B004Q0UVKY” /]

Best of luck and please let us know in comments for any questions or comments!