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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!

Voila! You're running Windows 10 on your Mac. You'll probably want to check out PCWorld's guide to exploring Windows 10.  

Running a virtual machine is a slightly different experience than running an operating system on a hard drive. Things may move a little slower and appear janky. But it works fine for getting basic work done, or just plain playing around with Windows 10.

When you're done, just close the VM's window as you would anything else. You'll be prompted either to save the machine's state as-is or power it off.

Using Boot Camp with Windows 10

If you want the full Windows Technical Preview experience, you can use Apple's Boot Camp tool to install Windows 10 straight to your hard drive and boot directly into Windows. (You did remember to back up your data first, right?)

For this you'll need a USB drive with at least 4GB of free space. Boot Camp will take the Windows ISO file and create a boot disk that can be used to install Windows on your Mac. 

Assuming you already have the Windows 10 .iso downloaded, launch Boot Camp. Tick all the boxes and proceed.

Insert your flash drive and then select the .iso file's location. Boot Camp will then download all the necessary drivers to run Windows and transform your USB drive into a boot disk. This step takes a while, so be patient.

You'll then be asked to partition your hard drive. This is a critical step, as you can't expand or shrink the storage later on. Instead, you'll have to wipe that part of the drive and start from scratch.

It's recommended you select at least 20GB, but 30GB or more is best, as Windows 10 itself will take up a sizable chunk. Consider how much you will be using it: Is it just for casually tinkering or do you want to install Office and do some serious work? If you want to play PC games, definitely bump up the free space you devote to Windows.

When you're done, click Install to start (you guessed it) installing Windows 10.

Windows will next restart a couple of times. The longest wait will be when it hits the "We're getting our apps ready" screen, which sat on my machine for 10 minutes. It does, however, cycle through some pretty colors for your viewing pleasure.

If for some reason your computer boots back to OS X, reboot and hold the Option key. This brings up a menu where you can select which operating system to launch. 

A few impressions

Overall, Windows 10's performance on the Mac seems good. Scrolling with the trackpad works great with native Windows apps, such as File Explorer or Start menu, but it's a little janky with browsers (I tried it with Chrome and Internet Explorer). I found myself reverting to clicking and holding the toolbar to scroll through a page. Windows doesn't have as many trackpad gestures as OS X, either, so using a mouse may be a good idea.


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