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How to dual boot a Mac with Windows 7 and OS X

Run two different operating systems on your Mac

Running two operating systems on an Apple Mac isn't as difficult as you might think it is, in fact it's relatively simple. Here we show you exactly how to dual boot a Mac with Windows 7 and OS X, in a few easy steps. See also How to dual-boot WIndows 8.

How to dual-boot your Mac with Windows 7 and OS X

Every modern Macintosh includes Apple’s Boot Camp Assistant app to make dual-booting a Mac a simple process. Visit Windows 7 review.

The easiest way to do this is with an .iso image of Windows 7 and a 4GB or larger USB 2.0 flashdrive. Take a look at Apple OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion release date 25 July?

Open Boot Camp Assistant (in /Applications/Utilities).

Make sure your empty flashdrive is inserted and your computer is connected to the internet.

With the three options already checked, press Continue. You'll be asked to locate the required .iso Windows image.

Your Mac will then download the essential Windows drivers for your machine, then copy the .iso image of Windows onto the flashdrive to make a bootable stick.

Dual-booting your Mac with Windows 7 and OS X

You’re asked to select the size of the Windows partition. You can select Divide Equally with one button, or manually slide to make your own choice.

We would advise 40GB or more for the Windows partition.

OS X and Windows 7 partition

Your Mac will momentarily become unresponsive during the partitioning process. When it’s done, the computer will automatically reboot and start installing Windows 7.

When Windows asks which partition to install on to, select the one already labelled BOOTCAMP. Then click Format below to create a Windows-friendly NTFS partition.

After the install process is complete, you’ll need to install Apple’s drivers. These were downloaded on to the USB stick in a folder marked WindowsSupport.

Double-click the Setup.exe file, and let the installer complete the job of installing all the software drivers necessary for the display, network adaptors, keyboard and trackpad (for portables).

Total time to complete will vary with Macintosh. For current models with SSD storage, expect the entire process to complete in 20 minutes or less, including driver installation.

This article was amended with minor corrections on Tuesday 17th September 2013.

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