Install Windows 10 on a Mac via USB — 2022

If you are an operating system fan, you have surely migrated from Windows to macOS and vice versa on more than one occasion in your life or are thinking of doing so. That is why you must have knowledge to create a bootable USB with all the Windows installation files . In this article we tell you how you can do it easily using Terminal.

Requirements to start the process

Before creating a bootable USB drive, several very important considerations must be taken into account. If these are not taken into account, the process will surely not end up being successful, since despite the fact that it seems like a simple process to carry out, the truth is that there are some previous steps to take into account.

Download Windows from the Microsoft website

The first thing to do if you want to create a bootable Windows 10 USB is to have the disk image of the operating system in question on your computer. In order to download it, you simply have to enter the Microsoft website and after choosing the language and the country from where the request is made, it will give two options: 64 bits o 32 bits . Depending on your needs, you will click on one or the other and at once the download of the disk image will start, which can be stored in any folder on the Mac.

Apple Windows Microsoft

Download Windows 10 image

Keep in mind that always with the disk image alone is not enough at all. The appropriate license is required to access the fully unlocked full version of Windows. This is undoubtedly something that can confuse many people who think that Windows is totally free, but nothing is further from the truth. You must pay for this type of license found on the same official website. If you don't, you can find some serious limitations when it comes to having a wallpaper or even having access to the latest updates.

This license can be purchased officially through the Microsoft website, although it has a considerably high price. That is why it is best to opt for an OEM key that has a much lower price. Keep in mind that they are totally original keys provided by Microsoft. The only problem is that the key is directly associated with the hardware you have. In the event that it ends up changing due to a repair or an improvement, you will have to get another license, although for the price it has, it undoubtedly ends up compensating.

Mac requirements

To be able to install Windows on a Mac, you have to keep in mind that some important recommendations must be followed in order to have the best possible experience. Among them is mainly the storage available on the Mac. Although it is recommended to have at least 64 GB of storage to perform the installation, this is not optimal. To be able to work comfortably in Windows, storing documents or installing programs, it is better to have at least 128 GB of available space.

Install Windows 10 on Mac

Added to this is the need to have a external USB storage drive with a space of about 16 GB . In this way you can enter the copy of Windows 10 that is downloaded. It is relevant that the drive is formatted in MS-DOS format via Disk Utility on our Mac.

Creating Bootable USB on Mac

Once all the necessary requirements to create the USB are met, there are several ways that can be followed. The first one is the one done through Terminal

Using Terminal

Although at first Terminal may give some respect, since it seems that you have to have a lot of computer knowledge to control it, the truth is that it is a tool that can be very useful. In this case with a few simple commands that we are going to specify next you will be able to create a bootable USB easily. Once you have connected the USB flash drive to the Mac, you simply have to go to Terminal through Finder or by entering Launchpad on the Mac.

In the Terminal you must enter the following commands:

  1. In order to track our connected USB we must execute the command diskil list. This will give us information about each of the disks that we have connected to our computer, but we will be interested in the section '/dev/diskX'.
  2. Once we have located the USB in this list, which will be easy knowing its storage, we must write down what disk number it is, replacing the X in the previous section with the number in question.
    terminal dev disk
  3. Once you have located the USB, you must unmount it using the command diskutil unmountDisk /dev/diskX
  4. When it is disassembled, the moment of truth arrives. run the command sudo dd if=/Ruta_Windows 10.iso.img of=/dev/rdiskX bs=1m replacing 'Path_Windows10.iso.img' with the path where you have the download disk image . We can do this quickly by dragging the file to Terminal and the path will automatically be set.
  5. Enter your Mac login password.
  6. wait more or less s 20 minutes to pass all the information to the USB. A message will appear in Terminal when the process is done, so don't close it until it's finished.
  7. Safely remove the USB.

In this way you will already have a USB with Windows 10 inside to be able to install it on another computer, such as the new gaming PC that you recently bought or to help someone whose operating system has been corrupted. To avoid problems it is important that you have a fairly stable internet connection so that the download of the disk image is successful. If there is a short connection time and not all the files are downloaded correctly, it is possible that we will see some other problem when installing on the PC.

Via BootCamp

Another way that can be found in macOS is the Boot Camp app. This is natively installed on all available Macs and can be used to create a bootable drive in an easy way. Steps to follow include the ability to select the USB drive you've connected to your Mac, as well as the file path of the Windows 10 image.

Although, this is a method that can be used on those Macs that require this flash drive to do the corresponding installation. Specifically, we are talking about all those Macs that install as operating system OS X El Capitan or earlier . In the event that a later version is installed, this process cannot be carried out and you must always opt for Terminal as we have previously commented.


Installation steps

Once you have all the necessary components to be able to install Windows 10, keep in mind that it can be done in different locations. You have the option of doing it on a partition within the storage unit of a Mac or going to a PC to do the corresponding installation.

Install to a macOS partition

Apple's operating system gives the option to isolate a part of the storage that is available on internal storage units. This gives the option of installing some specific distributions on it with other software such as Windows. Obviously, this can cause some problems when it comes to performance, since partitions can always cause some kind of problem. What should be avoided at all costs is doing the installation on an external hard drive, because despite being able to do it, performance is largely sacrificed.

In order to create a macOS partition and install Windows, you can use the disk manager that is natively integrated into a Mac. To do this, you simply have to follow these steps:

  • Access the Disk Utility application.
  • Click on the side above the main drive of your Mac.
  • In the upper toolbar click on ‘Partition’.
  • In the cheese-type graph, choose the storage you want to dedicate to the particular partition. It is important to allocate a necessary space as we have previously commented.

Mac Disk Utility

Once the corresponding partition has been created on the storage unit, you must connect the pendrive with the Windows 10 disk image. When you start the Mac from scratch, you will have to hold down the 'Alt' key ' to display the bootloader. Select the pendrive that you have connected and in the installation process you will be able to choose the partition that you just created on your main storage disk.

Use USB to install Windows on PC

If you want to install on a PC, it is also possible without any problem. The pendrive must be connected to the PC itself so that the BIOS system ends up recognizing it. The BIOS is the software that the motherboard itself has and that is the essential step to be able to carry out this installation. Access to each of the BIOS varies depending on the type of motherboard you have installed in your computer. Although normally it is through the F2 key when it is starting up.

In the manual of the plate itself you can consult all these procedures. Natively, the motherboard will try to boot the primary storage drive, but you must change this. You have to choose within the BIOS the need to start from the pendrive that you have connected in order to load the disk image and start the installation of the operating system.

Problems that may arise

It is a reality that we are facing a process that for some people can be a great challenge. Especially if Terminal is used, doing this type of commands constantly for some people can become complicated. That is why on many occasions it is necessary to take into account the problems that can be generated during this creation and installation process.

In the process of creation

Entering the necessary files to install Windows on a Mac can lead to numerous problems. The first of them is that The storage unit you are going to use is not detected. This is something that happens in a general way, and in this situation you will simply have to choose to change the flash drive. Likewise, it is also important to note that it will only be possible to use the storage units that have a very specific extension. That is why in most cases you will have to resort to another computer to carry out the formatting in a compatible extension, which is generally ExFat.

As a second point, it should also be noted that the unit may be defective and have reached the end of its useful life. In this case, it is best to run tests on other computers with different operating systems to be able to determine exactly what is happening.

When you go to install it

Another situation where problems can be generated is specifically at the time of installation. That is, when you already have all the files on the flash drive and you need to export them to the Mac to start it. It should be noted in this case that the files that have been entered should always be reviewed. In the event that the pendrive itself does not appear when you want to start the system from it, you should think that you have done something wrong.

Another case that can occur is that you do not have space that is not adequate. In this case you have to check that you have not inserted extra files in the partition, since if this happens you will obviously have a serious problem. And likewise, it should also be noted that the minimum requirements of the operating system should always be followed. In the event that your Mac does not meet them, you are obviously going to have different problems.