How to Configure Boot Camp on Your Macintosh

By Mark L. Chambers

Installing Boot Camp on your Macintosh is surprisingly easy and takes far less time than it takes to install Windows afterward. Follow these steps to install and configure Boot Camp:

  1. Launch the Boot Camp Assistant.

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    You can find the Assistant in your Utilities folder, which is in your Applications folder. Use Launchpad to reach it quickly: Click the Launchpad icon on the Dock, click the Utilities folder icon (sometimes called the Other folder), and then click the Boot Camp Assistant icon.

    Click the Open Boot Camp Help button on the Introduction screen for additional tips and documentation that cover the Boot Camp setup process. (You can also print any part of the Boot Camp Help, which makes handy documentation in case you have questions about running Windows.)

  2. Click Continue on the Introduction screen.

    The Boot Camp Assistant Support Software screen that appears.

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  3. Make sure the Download the Latest Windows Support Software from Apple check box is selected, and click Continue.

    Boot Camp Assistant can copy these drivers to a blank CD or DVD or an external USB flash drive. A disc (which you can hang on to in case you need it later) is the easiest choice, but most current Mac models no longer have an optical drive, so the USB flash drive may be a better choice.

    You load this software after your Windows installation is complete, and it provides all the drivers that Windows needs for your Mac’s hardware.

  4. Choose the size of your Windows partition, and click Create.

    Again, you can devote more hard drive space to your Windows partition than the amount recommended by the assistant, but don’t forget this important fact: What you reserve for use in Windows cannot be used by OS X Yosemite! Therefore, be conservative. (In other words, don’t devote 300GB of your 500GB drive to your Windows partition because you’ll cramp your style in OS X.)

  5. Reboot if required.

    You may be prompted to launch the assistant again.

  6. Click Start the Windows Installer, and then click Continue.

    From this point on, you’re running the Windows installation program, just as you would be if you were using a PC. (Well, actually you are using a PC now.) Follow the onscreen prompts, which differ for each version of Windows.

When prompted by the Windows Installer to choose the partition to format, choose the partition named BOOTCAMP. Formatting any other partition likely results in the loss of all your OS X files and data. (Again, this is why you should always back up your existing system before putting Boot Camp to work.)

After Windows has been installed, load the disc or USB flash drive you created with the drivers and support software. Windows should automatically run the Boot Camp driver installation program for you. After the drivers are in place, you’re ready to do the Microsoft dance.

Are you moving your stuff from Windows (running on your old PC) to . . . well, Windows (running on your Mac)? Brings an entirely new meaning to the term switcher, doesn’t it? If so, the files and folders on your existing PC can be copied directly to Windows running on your Mac by using the Windows Easy Transfer utility.