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Using Boot Camp Assistant to Install Windows on Your Mac

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Boot Camp Assistant 4.x - Download Windows Support Software
Using Boot Camp Assistant to Install Windows on Your Mac
Screen shot courtesy of Coyote Moon, Inc.

In order to get Windows working on your Mac, you need the latest version of the Apple Windows support software. Boot Camp Assistant allows you to download the Window drivers for your Mac's hardware to ensure that everything will work at its best.

Launch Boot Camp Assistant

  1. Launch Boot Camp Assistant, located at /Applications/Utilities.

  2. Boot Camp Assistant will open and display its introduction screen. Be sure to read through the introductory text, and pay heed to the advice to have your portable Mac connected to an AC cord. Don't rely on batteries during this process.

  3. Click the Continue button.

Download the Windows Support Software (Drivers)

The Select Tasks step will display. It includes three options:

  • Create a Windows 7 Install disk

  • Download the latest Windows support software from Apple

  • Install or remove Windows 7
  1. Put a check mark next to "Download the latest Windows support software from Apple."

  2. Remove the check marks from the remaining two items.

  3. Click Continue.

Save Windows Support Software

You have the choice to save the Windows support software to either a CD/DVD or an external drive. I'm going to show you both options, starting with saving to an external drive.

I'm actually going to use a USB flash drive as the external drive in this example. If you don't have a USB flash drive, you may want to use the CD/DVD method instead.

Saving to an external drive

  1. Start by preparing your USB flash drive. It will need to be formatted in the MS-DOS (FAT) format. Formatting the USB flash drive will erase any data already on the device, so make sure the data is backed up somewhere else if you want to keep it. You can find instructions for using Disk Utility to format a USB flash drive on page 4 of "Disk Utility: Format a Hard Drive" guide. Please note that in Step 4 of the formatting guide, it is suggested that you use "Mac OS X Extended" as the volume format; for the purpose of this Boot Camp Assistant guide, be sure to choose MS-DOS (FAT) instead.

  2. Once you format the USB drive, you can continue.

  3. In the Boot Camp Assistant window, select "Save a copy to an external drive."

  4. Click Continue.

  5. Boot Camp Assistant will ask where you want to save the WindowsSupport folder. Select the USB flash drive you formatted as an MS-DOS volume, and click Save.

  6. Boot Camp Assistant will start the process of downloading the latest versions of the Windows drivers from the Apple support web site. Once downloaded, the drivers will be saved in the WindowsSupport folder on the selected USB flash drive.

  7. Boot Camp Assistant may ask you for your administrator password in order to add a helper file during the writing of the data to the destination location. Provide your password and click the Add Helper button.

  8. Once the Windows support software has been saved, Boot Camp Assistant will display a Quit button. Click Quit.

The Windows Support folder, which includes the Windows drivers and a setup application, is now stored on the USB flash drive. You will use this flash drive during the Windows install process. You can keep the USB flash drive plugged in if you will be installing Windows soon, or eject the drive for later use.

Saving to a CD or DVD

You can also choose to save the Windows support software to a blank CD or DVD. Boot Camp Assistant will burn the information to the blank media for you.

  1. Select "Burn a copy to CD or DVD."

  2. Click Continue.

  3. Boot Camp Assistant will start the process of downloading the latest versions of the Windows drivers from the Apple support web site. Once the download is complete, Boot Camp Assistant will ask you to insert blank media into your Superdrive.

  4. Insert the blank media into your optical drive, and then click Burn.

  5. Once the burn is complete, the CD or DVD will be ejected. You will need this CD/DVD to complete the installation of Windows 7 onto your Mac, so be sure to label the media and keep it in a safe place.

  6. Boot Camp may ask for your administrator password in order to add a new helper tool. Provide your password and click Add Helper.

  7. The process of downloading and saving the Windows support software is complete. Click the Quit button.
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