How to Dual Boot a MacBook

Written by maxwell payne
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How to Dual Boot a MacBook
Some computers such as Apple's Macbook can run multiple operating systems. (meadow on laptops display image by .shock from

Once Apple switched over to using Intel-based processors in their computers, the ability to run the Windows operating system on a Mac became possible. Dual booting is when a computer has a hard drive that is partitioned and each partition contains a different operating system. Apple introduced a software feature called Boot Camp that allows Windows to be installed and run on a Macbook while keeping the Mac OS X operating system as well. This allows users who need to use Windows sometimes for Windows-only programs and files the ability to still maintain the Mac OS X as their primary operating system.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Macbook running Mac OS X 10.6 or better
  • Copy of Windows XP Service Pack 2 or better, or Windows Vista/Windows 7
  • Mac OS X 10.6 or better install disc

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  1. 1

    Click on the "Apple" logo in upper left corner or screen and click "Software Update." Install any updates if prompted. It is important that the computer has all the latest software updates. Click on the "Finder magnifying glass" in the upper right and type "boot camp" into the search box. Click on "Boot Camp Assistant."

  2. 2

    Select "Create a Windows Partition" and click "Continue." Choose the size of the partition and choose the format. Note that sizes over 32GB must be in the NTFS format. Click on "Create Partition" and wait for the process to complete.

  3. 3

    Select "Start the Windows Installer" from the Boot Camp main screen and click "Continue." Insert the Windows installation disc and follow the on-screen instructions. Be sure to select the partition labelled as "Boot Camp" from the list of available drives to install Windows on. If you choose the Mac partition or the main drive you will erase the entire hard drive.

  4. 4

    Choose the "NTFS quick format" option once the partition is selected and wait for the formatting to complete. Continue the Windows installation as prompted by the Windows installer steps. The computer may restart multiple times during the process, which is normal.

  5. 5

    Eject the Windows CD once the installation is complete by holding down the "Eject" key. Insert the Mac OS X disc while the computer is still running the Windows operating system. If the disc does not auto run click on "Start" followed by "My Computer" and click on the "CD image." Browse the folder for "setup.exe" under the "Boot Camp directory" and click on it. If a Windows prompt appears saying the file has not passed logo testing click "Continue." Wait for the drivers to be installed before proceeding.

  1. 1

    Restart the computer and wait for the screen to go blank.

  2. 2

    Hold down the "Option" key on the Macbook keyboard before the "Apple logo" on the grey screen appears. Continue holding it until you see images of two "hard drives" on the screen. One will be labelled as "Windows" or "Boot Camp."

  3. 3

    Use the "directional keys" on the keyboard to highlight either the Mac drive or the Windows drive and press "Enter." By default, if "Option" is not pushed during start up, Mac OS X will automatically boot.

Tips and warnings

  • Print out the "Boot Camp" manual before beginning the process for easy access to troubleshooting tips.
  • You cannot use versions of Windows older than Windows XP Service Pack 2.
  • The Windows disc used must be a single disc, not spread across multiple discs.

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