There are two main methods; Boot Camp and VMWare. Both are different with pros and cons.
One of the key benefits of buying and running an Apple Mac or MacBook is that you can have the best of all worlds.
Ever since Apple's transition to Intel processors in 2006 the Apple Mac has been the only device on which you can run OS X and Windows, and their supporting applications. You can run Windows on any Mac bought since 2006. (You can run Windows on older Macs too, in fact, but for the sake of simplicity this piece focuses on post-Intel Apple Macs.)
How to install Windows on Mac: Boot Camp or VMWare?
There are a few ways to run Windows on a Mac, all of which will require you to purchase a Windows licence. The simplest way is to boot into Windows at startup and use your Mac as a Windows PC throughout your computing session. This is easy to do because the required feature - Boot Camp - is built into OS X. It also offers the best performance because your Mac's hardware is dedicated only to running the Windows OS.
The other option is to use virtualisation software.
This is more complicated to do and requires a third-party application such as Parallels Desktop for Mac or VMware Fusion. It means you can switch rapidly from Mac to Windows, but it does mean that your Mac's processor, memory and so on are having to run two OSes simultaneously. It can make for slower performance.
Looking at using VMware Fusion to run Windows on a Mac.
The process is broadly similar for Parallels which is a similar software. In both cases you'll need a Windows licence key and installation media and follow the steps outlined.
First you need to download VMware Fusion from the VMware website. It costs $199.9 but, happily, there's a free trial.
Once you've downloaded it the VMware Fusion disk image will be saved to your default download directory. Find it, and double click the VMware .dmg file, to mount it.
Double-click the VMware Fusion icon to launch the Installation Assistant and follow the instructions to install VMware Fusion.
Once it is installed, launch VMware Fusion on your Mac. The Virtual Machine Library window will launch, from which you can create a virtual machine. Now you can use VMware Fusion's Windows Easy Install feature to automatically install Windows and VMware Tools in your virtual machine.
From the Virtual Machine Library window, click the New button or choose File, New. The New Virtual Machine Assistant launches.
Click Continue to go through to the Operating System panel. Now you can select an operating system and version for your virtual machine. In the Name panel, enter the name for the virtual machine in the Save as field.
In the Virtual Hard Disk panel, set the maximum size for the virtual hard disk. You need to set aside enough space that your virtual machine will work well, but not impinge on the original OS X install. Go in to the Advanced Disk Options section if you want to allocate all possible disk space, or one of several other more high-end features.
In the Windows Easy Install panel, select Use Easy Install. Enter your Name, Password (optional) and the Windows Product key. The product key is the long series of letters and numbers on the Windows DVD box or sent to you via email when you downloaded Windows. 'Name' should just be the name to which your Windows software is registered, not your Windows username. 'Password' will be your Windows administrator account password.
Now you'll go to the Finish dialog. Leave selected the option 'Start virtual machine and install operating system now'. Input your Windows installation media and select the option 'Use operating system installation disc' if it is on DVD, or 'Use operating system installation disc image file' if it is a USB stick. In the case of the latter you'll have to browse to the image file.
Now click Finish and put on the kettle. VMware Fusion will install Windows. This will take up to 45 minutes, and once it is done you can boot to Windows at any time by going to VMware Fusion from within OS X.
If you'd rather not delve into the complexities of virtualisation software, Boot Camp is your friend.
Here's a simplified summary of the process required to install Windows on your Mac using Boot Camp.
1. Download the Windows 10 Disc Image. Choose 64-bit download.
2. Make sure OS X, your Mac firmware, and Boot Camp Assistant are up to date.
3. Boot Camp will take the Windows ISO file and create a boot disk that can be used to install Windows on your Mac.
4. Once you have the Windows 10 ISO downloaded, open the Boot Camp assistant. Tick the following boxes: Create a Windows 10 install disk; and Install Windows 10. Insert a USB drive and select the Windows 10 .iso file via the Boot Camp Assistant.
5. Boot Camp will copy the Windows iso and all the Boot Camp drivers needed to run Windows to the USB stick.
6. Partition your hard drive. Click Install. Windows will start to install.
7. Enter your product key and select your Windows Boot Camp partition to install Window on.
8. Follow the installation process. Once installed the Mac will boot into Windows 10.
9. Install the Boot Camp drivers on the USB stick. Locate them and run setup.exe to install them.
What about the opposite scenario? Is it possible to run Mac OS X on a PC?
In a word: no. It is one of those ironies that although Microsoft is famed for its aggresive commercial practices, Apple is responsible for this particular impasse. Although you can run Windows on any X86 computer, Apple makes its own OS X software available only on Mac software. Overtly the reasoning is laudable: OS X is designed to run on Apple's own hardware, and the experience wouldn't be as good on any old computer. This is one reason why you will never run an underpowered Mac.
But it is also fair to say that Apple creates software in order to sell hardware. The excellence of OS X is a killer app when it comes to selling Macs, and it doesn't want to share. So if you want to experience the best of all worlds, you need to run Windows on your Mac.
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