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How to install the Windows 10 Technical Preview on a Mac

Derek Walter | Oct. 14, 2014
It may seem like mixing oil and water, but as it turns out, installing Windows on your Mac isn't a violation of natural law--your Retina display won't melt or anything!

Install Windows 10 in VirtualBox

Let's explain how to get Windows 10 running in a virtual machine first, since that's our recommended method. Head to the Oracle VM downloads page, and select the VirtualBox version built for OS X hosts.

Launch the download, dragging the icon into the Applications folder. Included is a 300-page PDF if you want a thorough set of instructions--though you can skip those and keep reading this if you don't have time or desire to brush up on VirtualBox's most arcane secrets.

At the VirtualBox launch screen, you'll be asked to choose which operating system to install. I chose "Windows 8.1" from the menu, as it's the most recent version of Windows. Windows 8 should probably work out as well--just be sure to select the appropriate 64-bit or 32-bit option based on the version of Windows 10 you downloaded.

VirtualBox will then ask you how much RAM to allocate to running the virtual machine. You can go with the default of 2048MB if you're concerned about system resources, but Windows 10's performance will increase if you can dedicate more--you are running another operating system simultaneously, after all. If you can bump it up to 4GB without starving OS X's own resources, that'd be perfect.

Next you'll be asked to create a virtual hard drive for Windows 10. Unless you're planning on doing extensive work or installing more software, you can safely choose the default of 25GB. Select the VirtualBox Disk Image option on the next screen and continue.

The next choice is to select a dynamically allocated hard drive or fixed one. As you can probably figure out from the context, the former grows as you add space, and it's a better choice if you're short on space and don't plan on adding that much to your Windows mock computer. The fixed drive, on the other hand, will give you faster performance as long as you can spare the room.

When all that's done, highlight the Windows 10 VM in the VirtualBox dashboard and select the green "Start" arrow. You'll be prompted to point the VM towards the Windows 10 .iso file. After doing so, you'll see the Windows logo with a black background. You're on your way!.

The Windows signup screen will appear next. Pick a language and hit Install now. Then you'll have two choices: a custom or upgrade installation. Select custom, then choose a specific location on the hard drive for installing Windows. Just leave this as-is--it's installing to the virtual hard drive created by VirtualBox.

Now it's time to install Windows and plug in your Microsoft account credentials. If you don't have an existing account, you'll need to put in an email address to satisfy the Windows gatekeepers. This enables you to save and sync settings across multiple Windows devices.


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