Installing and configuring Bootcamp without sighted assistance


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Last modified
Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Hello all
Here is how you install and set up Bootcamp on your mac.

1. I will assume you have set up your Bootcamp partition with Bootcamp Assistant and nothing else. At this point your mac should have restarted with the Windows Installation Dvd booting or booted up. I will also assume you have downloaded and stored the latest Bootcamp Support software.
2. I will assume you are using a retail Dvd of Windows. I am unsure whether this guide will work with Oem versions. An Oem version of Windows is the same as the retail Dvd, except the product key will be tied to your machine and will not work beyond that.
3. If you have met the above requirements, and Windows still does not install, one possibility is an incompatibility with the mac's keyboard, whether built in or connected somehow, such as via Usb. I should imagine bluetooth keyboards are out of the question. As a workaround, try connecting a standard pc keyboard.

Now that is out of the way, please read the below guide carefully to install Windows. I shall assume you will be installing Windows 7 onto your Bootcamp partition, since the current version only supports Windows 7.
Update - as of Os X 10.8.3, Windows 8 is also supported, however no testing has been done as of the time of this writing.

1. The first screen is the language, keyboard input and currency display. Press enter at this point to select English. You can change this later in Windows Control Panel, Region and Language.
2. Press enter again to select the install button. The Dvd should spin up at this point.
3. Wait until the Dvd spins right down, and accept the license terms by pressing the space bar. Press enter to select the next button.
4. Press c to select the custom (advanced) button.
5. Press down arrow four times. This should select your Bootcamp partition. Confirm where your Bootcamp partition is located in Disk Utility. The number besides the partition indicates how many presses of the down arrow key are required, which is usually 4.
6. Press alt-a or option-a depending on your keyboard to select the drive options (advanced) button. Note the option key is equivalent to the alt key while the command key is equivalent to the Windows key.
7. Press alt-f or option-f to select the format option.
8. Press up arrow once, and press enter. You should hear a little disk activity from the hard drive. This is setup doing a quick format of the Bootcamp Partition to the Ntfs file system.
9. Press alt-b or option-b to select the back button.
10. Press c to select the custom (advanced) button. This ensures that the newly formatted Bootcamp Partition, now labelled Untitled, is displayed in the drives list.
11. Press down arrow as many times as required (usually four) to select the above partition, and press enter.
12. At this point, the Dvd will spin up, slowly. You will also hear disk activity coming from the hard drive.
That's it! Windows is now installing.
This may take up to 30 minutes initially while the files are extracted and copied from the Dvd.
13. Allow the mac to reboot once so that setup can continue.
14. When the mac reboots for a second time, press and hold the option key, and press right arrow once or twice to select the Mac partition. Press enter. This may involve some trial and error.
The following steps only apply if you have Vmware Fusion installed.
15. Open Vmware Fusion.
16. From the file menu in the menu bar, select Import.
17. In the select a virtual machine window, press the escape key.
18. Press down arrow once to focus to an unlabelled button. If you Vo-right arrow, you will see that this will create a virtual machine using your Bootcamp partition. If so, go ahead and activate with Vo-space.
19. Wait a while, and your Bootcamp Partition will start up.
20. Use Narrator to complete Windows setup.
21. Wait some more time while Vmware Tools gets installed. Allow the virtual machine to reboot if prompted.
22. Once back on your desktop, install and configure your favourite screen reader.
23. Connect a usb flash drive or other removable storage device to which the Bootcamp Support software is located.
24. Run setup.exe and follow the instructions, allowing the virtual machine to reboot when prompted.
25. Once back on your desktop, shut down the virtual machine.

That's it! The next time you boot from your Bootcamp Partition, you will not only have Windows, but also all the tools and drivers needed for Bootcamp will also be there, enabling features such as sound support, the option to use f1, f2 etc as software function keys, and so on.

I hope you find this guide useful. Please contact me for any comments, suggestions or queries.
Thank you for reading!



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Submitted by Victor Tsaran on Thursday, December 6, 2012

Chris, Thanks for posting this. I am struggling with this right at this moment. After Mac restarts for the first time, Windows CD spins and then stops for good. Is there a way to generate the log of what may be going wrong? Alternatively, have you tried with autounattend.xml file? I've tried with one (obtained from a kidn fellow on the list) but nothing seems to help.

Chris, Thanks for this post. I'm planning to use this setup in the very near future and haven't yet used a Mac with Windows. From what I've read, you seem to combine two different means of operation: (1) in Bootcamp which as I understand it is simply choosing to run OS or running Windows on a Mac and needing to reboot to use the other operating system; and (2) running VMWare Fusion as a virtual Windows machine on the Mac, which I understand allows toggling between Windows and OS without a reboot. Is this correct? One other question, will Voiceover work at all in the Windows side on a virtual machine using Fusion. I will want to run JAWS in Windows to use for complex uses of Word. But hoping that Pages and/or Word for Mac will soon be fully accessible. Thanks

Submitted by Santiago on Thursday, December 6, 2012

Hello, I've successfully installed Windows 8 on my 2010 21.5 inch iMac via bootcamp and I wrote down the steps and keystrokes for installing it. The process is fairly simple, however, you have to enter the product key during the installation. The good thing about Windows 8 though, is that once installed, you can use Narrator and your audio system works prier to installing the bootcamp drivers. If anyone is interested, I can post the steps on here.

Submitted by Chris Bruinenberg on Thursday, December 6, 2012

THanks for the guide. Does this work for win 7 64 bit as well?

Submitted by J.P. on Thursday, December 6, 2012

I have a question not related Chris. I saw you were also on Mac Visionaries. I applied to them twice, with no response for a week now. Do you remember how long b4 accepted. That community seems to get faster responses when you need quick answer.

Submitted by Victor Tsaran on Friday, December 7, 2012

Hi Chris, I'm having no luck. After choosing "advanced" with alt+a and then "format" with alt+f, then pressing up arrow, I hear no disk spinning. I waited about 30 minutes just to make sure… What if I simply continue by accepting defaults, i.e. skipping pressing "c" for custom and choosing the fourth partition? Wouldn't Windows choose the FAT32 by default and install itself on it? I could always convert to NTFS later. Thoughts?

If you accept the defaults, Windows won't install, since the partition isn't formatted in a way Windows could accept it and install successfully, that said, you could give it a try and then tell us if it works or not.

Submitted by J.P. on Friday, December 7, 2012

It just says that my application is still pending

Submitted by Victor Tsaran on Sunday, December 9, 2012

One of the problems I have is that that the drive on my Mac Mini is so quiet that I cannot hear what it's doing. For example, how long should I wait after I tell Windows to format the bootcamp partition? Without some kind o time estimates it is difficult to know how long each phase lasts.

Submitted by Victor Tsaran on Monday, December 10, 2012

Trying to install Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit using the original instructions but have an impression that something doesn't match here. Was anybody successful using Chris's instructions? Thanks, Vic

Submitted by Santiago on Monday, December 10, 2012

I was successful using the steps posted when I used to use Windows 7, however, if you use Windows 8, the steps have slightly changed.

Submitted by rdfreak on Monday, December 10, 2012

Hi all, I vertually know nothing about bootcamp, and when I first heard about it, I wasn't too interested but think I'd like to look into it providing my little macbook Air could cope. I can't remember the specs of it off hand but providing it had enough space to do so, is the Air capable of bootcamping? If so, where does one get petition softwear that was referred to above. And of course lastly, since the air doesn't have a dVD, how can this be achieved in the first place? Also, once it is bootcamped, what would you use for the windows key etc? Thanks in advance for explaining this to me.

Submitted by robin24 on Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Hey Chris, thanks for the guide, great work! :-) Well, here's something that actually just came to my mind... When you use VMWare Fusion to install Windows as a virtual machine, Fusion will run an unattended Windows installation, meaning there's no need for any user interaction whatsoever to complete Windows setup. Now, the problem here is that Fusion uses virtual disks to which it installs any operating system by default. However, I think it is possible to setup Fusion in a way that it will install the operating system on a native (raw) disk partition, so that it would be bootable in theory. So, if you could do that, you could first have Fusion install Windows, wait until that's done, then setup the screen reader and install the Bootcamp drivers in the virtual machine, and then boot your Mac from that partition... OK, this probably sounds confusing, but it could work actually! :-) Robin

Ah... I was sure I had seen this somewhere! However, when I double-checked before, I also wasn't able to add raw disk partitions. After some googling, however, I found a way of accomplishing this goal. Here's the guide I found which explains how to do this: Let me say though that this is a rather technical process and could be tricky for those not familiar with how the Terminal works. It might be easier to install Windows natively either by using Chris' guide or with sighted assistance. Still, I think I'm probably gonna try this just out of curiosity. For those of you who want to try it out as well, I just wanted to mention that this guide is about adding a 2nd disk to an already existing virtual machine. Thus, when you edit the configuration file, you'll need to remove the line that specifies the primary virtual disk and replace it with the line that will add the new raw disk partition. OK, hope this is of any help to anyone! :-) Robin

Submitted by Victor Tsaran on Sunday, December 16, 2012

I finally got Windows 7 installed on a Bootcamp partition of my Mac Mini and, for the most part, Chris's instructions worked for me. A couple of observations that I wanted to share that may be helpful to some. I discovered that it helps to be overly patient when pressing keystrokes, for examlle, take a couple of seconds before pressing the next keystroke. I found out that I was pressing them too fast and some were not registered by the OS. This could be due to how fast the CD spins and reads the information. After I installed the OS and tried to run it from VMWare, I wasn't getting any feedback from the soundcard or anything at all. Turns out I had to disable 3D acceleration for my Bootcamp VM. Once the virtual machine started again, everything stted working beautifully.

Submitted by Q on Thursday, January 3, 2013

Hi all I followed Chris's instructions verbatum, but after the first restart, the cd drive only spins up, slows down, and eventually stops completely. Even if i try entering the key strokes as Chris suggested, it doesn't work. Sounds similar to what Victor initially experienced. In addition to this, my mac mini won't even load OSX at startup, even if i do the option +right arrow thingie, neither arrowing right once, nor twice. So at this point my mac isn't working, for all practical purposes. Is there any way other than what i tried, to boot up into OSX so that i could at least use the thing for now, until i found out the reason why Win7 won't install? Thanks very much.

Submitted by Victor Tsaran on Thursday, January 3, 2013

In reply to by Q

You should be able to boot into Recovery Mode and holding CMD+R when the computer starts up. Wait for about 30 seconds and then try to launch VoiceOver. From there on you can go to Apple menu and pick the "Mac OS" startup disk. Hope this helps.

Submitted by Victor Tsaran on Friday, January 4, 2013

In reply to by Q

Try several more times; you may just get it. I eventually had to ask my friend to bring along a tiny monitor and help me install the thing. We followed the same steps and it just worked.

Submitted by Q on Thursday, January 10, 2013

Hi I know that you cannot install Windows 7 32 bit on a machine running OSX 10.8.2, that the latest update of Bootcamp only allows 64 bit. What's the situation with Windows 8? Would Mountain Lion accept a 32 bit version thereof, or do you also have to go with 64 bit?

Hello to Chris and all. First kudos to chris for the awesome post. I followed your instructions to the T and had windows up and running without any issues. Thank you very much again for the post. For me I like running windows regularly without a VM. I do have vmware fusion on here for the times I want to run windows and mac together but I do like the bootcamp way as well. I do have to say one thing though. If you have a usb soundcard or olympus recorder laying around, you can get audio that way on the bootcamp windows until you get the bootcamp drivers installed.

Submitted by Santiago on Sunday, January 27, 2013

Hello, Well, I've installed Windows 8 Pro 32 bit on my iMac running OS X 10.8.2 and it works perfectly fine. Its also running the latest version of bootcamp. I do know, however, that Windows may have issues installing on machines with Apple's new fusion drives, so if you have the latest iMac generation, you may have issues getting it to work.

Submitted by Ulysses on Friday, May 17, 2013

Hi Chris, Your insructions say that you assume that the reader has this utility installed. Suppose they do not? Can they continue setting up Windows with Narrator by booting up with Windows? What is an Oem version? Is there not a screen that will ask you for your product key? What are the commands for windows if on a Mac keyboard? Option is alt, command is control, and control is windows?

Submitted by ray h on Saturday, May 18, 2013

I have a partition with BootCamp and WIndows 7 with JAWS and it runs like a charm. I haven't yet found the courage to install VMWare Fusion, but I need to get it done. I will run JAWS in Windows. I'd like one key to act as my JAWS key which, in windows of course, is the caps lock key. I have read the various posts on key remapping on this site and wondering if anyone has the straightforward instructions for just setting one key as the JAWS key when remapping, since caps lock won't work. Any help appreciated. Ray

Submitted by Krister Ekstrom on Wednesday, May 29, 2013

In reply to by ray h

Hi there. What if i don't have a DVD with Win7 on it, but rather have to install from a file? What will i have to do in order for this to work or should i forget it at once? Where are the bootcamp tools?

Are you talking about an ISO image you download off of Microsoft? In that case, you might want to put that on a USB thumb drive and then choose the otion install Windows seven with a USB thunb drive. All the steps should be the same as far as setting up Windows is concerned, but the only exception is that you will not be able to tell by the DVD spinning whethr it is installing or not.

I've got 12 hours into this, and I've hit a brick wall. The first problem is that the Bootcamp partition is 3 down arrows, not 4, because the first partition is counted. Once I got passed that, though, the installation went smoothly enough The problem was when I launched VM. Narrator refuses to start, and so I am unable to complete steps 15-25. In other words, this is one of those things where sighted assistance is inevitable.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Thursday, January 9, 2014

Hey there nice job on the guide. I was wondering if windows 7 would still work under mavericks and if marator does not come up how do I bring it up when I hit cmd u from vmware fusion 6? Take care all.

Submitted by Ulysses on Thursday, January 9, 2014

Hi Mary, yes, it works with Windows Seven and Eight, for I'm writing to you using Windows on my Mac with Bootcamp. Let me know if this answers your question?

Submitted by anouk85 on Monday, February 17, 2014

Hi everyone, I want to install windows on my macbook air 2013 with mavericks. I wanted to try the talking windows but that does not go too well. So I was thinking of trying windows 8.1 from a usb flashdrive without sighted assistance. Can someone who has done this before perhaps post the steps for this? Thanks, Greetings, Anouk,

Submitted by Ekaj on Monday, February 17, 2014

Chris, thanks for these instructions. I'm not going to attempt any of this by myself, perhaps even down the road a bit. The reason I say that is because I am by no means a programmer, and I have screwed this kind of thing up before. Perhaps what I'll do is get someone who knows what they're doing to help me out at least with the inaccessible part of this, which I'm assuming based on what I've read here, is most of the Windows setup with Bootcamp.

Submitted by Michael Hansen on Monday, February 17, 2014

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team
Hi Anouk, While the directions for installing Windows 8 should be similar--besides needing to enter your product key--I am still not 100% sure you would have speech during the installation because there are no Boot Camp drivers installed and thus no sound card support. Someone did say in one of the earlier comments that they had been successful in instaling Windows 8 with speech, however, so I'm not 100% sure what to think.

Submitted by JDawg on Friday, May 16, 2014

can whoever's installed win8 without sighted assistance please post the steps here? Thanks!

Submitted by Kayla on Friday, May 15, 2015

Just wanted to let people know, apparently this is a common problem with MacBook Pros. Bootcamp installs fine, and we've set up Windows 7, but my husband's MacBook Pro apparently doesn't like the Bootcamp drivers. When we try to run the setup.exe file from the Win Install removable drive, we get an error that says the version of Bootcamp was not meant for this computer model. We have done some research and found that the only thing that apparently fixes it is to install an MSI installer editor and remove the platform checks before launch that are usually present in the installer. Since I have no idea how accessible (or how smart) this option would be, I was wondering if anyone on these forums had some alternatives, or tips on accessible MSI editors. The forum we found recommends InstEd, and we have downloaded it, but we don't want to try something until we're sure it's the only option. Thanks for this guide; it's helped us immensely, and now we just have this last hurdle to jump over.

Submitted by Ulysses on Tuesday, August 11, 2015

In reply to by Michael Hansen

I think the latest Windows versions, 8, 8.1, and 10 allows one to set up using Narrator, but like Chris said in his article, there wouldn't be any way of outputting the sound.

Submitted by want2know on Friday, November 6, 2015

In reply to by Santiago

Have made many attempts to Boot Camp Windows 8.1. Boot Camp gives message need a single drive not a partitioned drive.
Do I need a Boot Camp update. Recently installed El Capitan. Are there problems that conflict with this system?