Running Windows on Mac

Hi all,

I'm looking into how I can run Windows on my Mac, I need Windows for some programming stuff at college and putting it on my Mac will be far easier than switching devices. I've made one of my memory sticks bootable and installed a Windows 7 ISO file on there, so my question is, can I just boot up my Mac from the USB now and Windows will work, or do I still need Bootcamp for it to actually run? If I do need Bootcamp or any other components, could someone give me some instructions on getting them set up?

I don't want to install Windows on my Mac directly because it's only a 60GB MacBook Air, and I'm struggling for space on that as it is.

Thanks for any help.


windows won't like that

App Developer

Windows is designed to run from a computer, and it typically verifies that it is doing so in order to ensure you licensed it (Microsoft is big on the whole anti-piracy thing and that's one semi-paranoid tool they use). I have some suggestions:
1. You could use bootcamp, which requires you split your drive. I assume you have a 64 gb drive based on your post, however so that'll be difficult. If you want to do that, here are general instructions:
a. obtain a windows ISO, which depends on model of computer (new ones only like windows 10, but older ones will allow 8 or 7)
b. Run bootcamp assistant (under utilities)
c. follow the instructions for the installer and drivers to be imaged
d. split your drive and perform the installation. While there are some tools designed to speak for the installation, I would recommend you use sighted help if possible.

2. If you don't want to use bootcamp, you could use a virtual machine. However, as the latest air with only 64gb storage I can find is from 2012, the processor may have trouble handling running both systems simultaneously. This method will still use quite a bit of storage, but it will be less than the bootcamp choice.
3. There is a feature within windows 10 that allows to create a windows USB disk. You could try this method. However, I believe it only runs under professional or enterprise editions, and it may be slow. If you are interested in this, I am willing to research the system and provide instructions. You would need a windows machine to initiate this process, but if you can find an older laptop that may work.

I'm afraid your hardware may constrain the ability to run windows well. I am wondering, however, which tools you need windows to run. I have found that the mac's unix-like base is actually preferable to windows when coding. If you can specify what tools you need, I can find mac-compatible equivalents.

Windows and college

App Developer

He might not be able to use MAC or Linux for his classes at school. C# and VB with Visual Studio don't work on a MAC.

Andy is right

Andy is right, some of what we're doing uses Microsoft's visual studio. In fairness I was a bit unsure about how it would work, it was this guide that I was gonna use. I did consider running a virtual machine, I can't afford VMWare, but Veertu looks accessible so could use that, but again, it's storage that's an issue and how well the MAC would handle running both oporating systems, which wouldn't be very well

Add More Storage

Yeah, if you were to divide your drive in half, you won't have very much room. I mean, the WINDOWS OS requires about thirty GBs or so. You could either upgrade your drive or get a new machine, if you can afford to. You won't be able to run from flash drive. WINDOWS OS is very strict on running solely from computer.

didn't think of visual studio

App Developer

I forgot about visual studio. That's true. It's been a while since I used it, but I recall it being rather CPU and memory heavy. That may make a VM running it a bit painful. Whatever you do, there will be storage issues. If you can't get an upgraded disk blade installed, which could be expensive, you may have to try something else. I'll investigate the USB windows thing. I think it's still available. It was set up for businesses that don't have personal machines, so people use USB disks on the machines in the various locations. I wouldn't hold my breath, however.
A small update--I just found the latest visual studio installers, which seem to range from 3gb to 7gb just as installation images! That's probably going to be a problem. Do you have access to any old computers that people aren't using? You might have some success with an older windows machine.

virtual software for windows

Hi there,
I may be wrong but the only virtual machine software I am certain of using assistive technology for windows with is vmware.

Not worth the hassle.


What year and model is your Mac?

While it is possible to install Windows on a Flash drive, it’s not worth the hassle. In addition to driver compatibility issues you may run into, you will also encounter a performance hit.

You might want to consider getting a bigger SSD. Now is a good time to purchase one as retailers such as newegg and amazon are fighting for your money. Depending on your model, installation isn’t that difficult and some places will install it for around 50 USD.

Another thing you can do. If someone in your house uses a Windows based PC, you can setup Remote desktop. Install Windows using bootcamp then install the apps you need on the Windows PC. This isn’t for the faint of heart but for a CS major, this would be a fun project.

Thanks for letting me know

Hi all,

Thanks for letting me know that it wouldn't work, I'd seen a few guides about doing it and went with them, but didn't think of the drivers.

David, my Mac is a mid 2012 MacBook Air, with a 64GB SSD and 4GB of RAM, so there's no way it would handle a virtual machine. I didn't think of the remote desktop thing to be fair but after clearing everything I don't need I'm only left with 6.3GB, so there's not gonna be enough space for the Windows files.

My college can loan laptops so I'll have a word and see if they can put JAWS on there, or let me put NVDA on. The only computer I have access to which no one uses is my old Windows XP laptop, which is painfully slow.

Thanks again for your tips :)

Not that hard.


Just wanted to sheare a video on replacing the SSD on the MBA. The tech describes what he is doing and it’s all real time. With the help of my sighted wife, we were able to replace the SSD on my MPB in about 15 minutes.

So if anyone thinks it difficult or expensive to replace the drive, this should prove otherwise.

i'd stick with a windows laptop and NVDA

With all the constraints you're going to be under, you're best just sticking to a windows laptop, and NVDA. Anything running Windows 7 or 10 would be good if you can manage that. To me Macs are just meant to run Mac OS, and Windows machines are just meant to run Windows. Sure, you can do it if you have lots of room, but on a system like that, that's going to be a no go.

main problem is storage

App Developer

If we can increase the storage, you should be fine. I don't know if you can get a larger SSD, as you must use the ones apple has created. Many of the SSDs you can buy online are the standard 2.5-inch ones that work in most things, but apple uses a different shape for space reasons. While it's possible that the mid 2012 uses something more available, be careful which one you buy as the limitation is there.

Actually you can get one on

Actually you can get one on amazon a 1tb drive for under 100 dollars and have your apple store put it in. I know someone who did it already.

Windows on a windows laptop

App Developer

Stick with the typical windows laptop. Mine has a 512GB SSD, 12GB of DDR4 ram, and an I76500U processor. Considering that my MAC has 16GB of memory, a 512GB SSD, and an I7 4700HQ (8 cores), my Windows laptop is better at running Windows than Bootcamp running Windows.


App Developer

Too bad you can't put two of those 1TB drives in :)