Tech Review

I'm taking a bit of a break from the Microsoft posts. Well, I'm sort of taking a break. In this post I want to demonstrate the best way to use Bootcamp on a MacBook Pro Retina to run Windows and OS X side-by-side.

First off, a gripe. Apple, why wouldn't you provide a simple process or a simple step-by-step guide for getting Windows on your hardware using Bootcamp?

SmarterTools is a Windows development company that runs primarily MacBook computers because the hardware is incredibly solid. We build every computer with a Bootcamp partition because our developers spend most of their time in Windows. However, it shouldn't be this difficult to get Windows running! On the other side of the office, the Customer Service team works primarily in OSX and this gives us a good balance of testing across all platforms. As I've mentioned in previous posts, we also have a few employees using Microsoft Surface devices.

Knowing all of this, and having the experience with the process, I thought it would be very helpful for people to understand how to get Windows on a MacBook Pro. A majority of our MacBooks are late 2013 models and we run Windows 8.1 Pro. So, here is our configuration and the steps we use to get this all set up. It may also apply to other MacBook models, Windows versions, etc.

First off, what you'll need…

  1. A DVD player (use a USB version if your MBP doesn't have a physical drive) and DVD with Windows on it. Install off a USB drive doesn't seem to work. Believe me, we've tried.
  2. A 4GB USB stick for the Bootcamp drivers.
So, let's get started…
  1. On the Mac, start Bootcamp assistant. The easiest way to do this is use Spotlight (command + space and type "bootcamp"…it should highlight). Choose whether you need to make your USB drivers, etc. This is where you'll use the USB drive if you actually need to create/get drivers. If you're lucky and have the drivers already, you can skip this step. Bootcamp Get Started
  2. Once the drivers are ready, choose your partition size and then your computer is going to reboot when done. Set Bootcamp Partition Size
  3. Hold down the "option" key on boot up.
  4. Choose EFI Windows or it may just say EFI with a disk and start the Windows setup process.
  5. When you get to the disk and drive options, delete the partition that was created for Bootcamp. It should be the last one the list. Delete Windows Bootcamp Partition
  6. After deleting the Bootcamp partition, hit "shift + f10" and type in the following information:
    Select disk 0
    create partition primary
    format fs=ntfs quick
  7. Hit "alt + tab" after this is completed and then hit the "X" on the list of disks
  8. You now need to re-start setup.
  9. When your computer reboots, hold down the "option" key again and choose the EFI for Windows again. (It may just say EFI.)
  10. Now you can choose the last partition / drive in the list and Windows will install.
After Windows finishes installing, you'll want to go through and do ALL of the Windows updates. Gotta love Windows…

Once you're ready to go, all will work as normal: You'll have 2 separate partitions on your disk, one for OS X and one that allows you to enjoy Windows on your Mac!