How to Start Your Boot Camp

Written by michael ryan
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How to Start Your Boot Camp
A Mac can boot Mac OS or Windows thanks to Boot Camp. (mac background image by haruspex from

Starting the Boot Camp utility on an Apple computer lets you run Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X using a dual-boot configuration on Apple computers with Intel processors. The Boot Camp Assistant aids with configuration of the Windows partition and the installation of the operating system. Although some users need not bounce between their Mac OS X and Windows installation on a regular basis, others must change between the two operating systems with regularity. You can start Boot Camp on an as-needed basis using a key combination at start-up, or you can set Boot Camp as the default boot method via control panels.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Press the power button to turn on your Mac.

  2. 2

    Hold the "Option (Alt)" key while starting the computer to select your boot disk.

  3. 3

    Use the arrow keys, mouse or trackpad to select "Boot Camp" as your default disk. If you do not press "Option (Alt)" to make a start-up disk selection, the computer will automatically launch Mac OS X.

  4. 4

    Press "Enter" or click the drive name from which you want to start to confirm the selection.

  1. 1

    Click on the "Start" menu and choose "Control Panel." Click "Startup Disk" to launch the appropriate control panel if you are currently using Windows. Select the "Boot Camp" partition as the default start-up disk and click "OK" to apply the changes. By default, the computer will start using Boot Camp to boot into Windows.

  2. 2

    Click on "System Preferences" under the Apple menu and then choose "Startup Disk" to change the start-up disk if you are logged in to Mac OS X. Select the "Boot Camp" partition and click "OK" to change your Mac's default boot disk to the Boot Camp partition.

  3. 3

    Restart the computer to ensure that the correct changes are in effect. Your computer should start Boot Camp automatically, and Windows should launch.

  4. 4

    Open the Startup Disk control panel in Windows or Mac OS X to change your default operating system back to Mac OS X when necessary. Alternatively, you may choose Mac OS X as the start-up operating system by pressing and holding the "Option (Alt)" key after pressing the power button to turn on the computer. This lets you make a one-time start-up disk selection using the same process outlined in Section 1 to boot into Boot Camp and Microsoft Windows.

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