Installing Bootcamp on your new 5k retina iMac

Technically installing bootcamp on any recent Mac should be the same, so other of you using the new retina Macbook Pro or even the Mac Pro can follow these instructions.

You would think that is ts a simple process, but I found it to be quite confusing and annoying, so i decided to make a little guide.

 

In your Applications>Utilities folder you will find Boot Camp Assistant.
like any form of Boot Camp, its a pretty “no frills” affair and they dont make it any more exciting than it needs to be.

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You will need 2 things

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1.Copy of Windows 7 or 8 in an ISO format.

This somehow stands for “International Organization for Standardization”, but forget that ( plus the letters are in the wrong order) . Its just what is known as a “disk image” and usually looks like a small round thing on your desktop once mounted or a file with a picture of a hard disk.

You can create that using “Disk Utility” (which is on your mac already) or other DVD copying software if you have the original, or be sneaky and download it you little devil. Bill Gates is probably in Africa and won’t notice. YOU CAN ONLY USE WINDOWS 7 or 8 as the new imac runs only  64-bit architecture. If you think this is some sort of small lego set, then pipe down and just remember the numbers 7 or 8 (if you can).

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2. A small usb 2.0 thumb drive which is at least 8GB in size.

which will hold the installation. Seems pretty redundant to have to get the installation made twice, but hey, I didn’t design the process. Once this is done you can reuse that USB if you need to install bootcamp on other machines.
Generally I would recommend a funny USB stick that makes it look like a dog is getting busy with your USB port, but as the USB ports are on the back of your imac you may use a boring looking one if you like.

 

3. (optional) An empty external hard disk… if you want your windows to be on an external disk.
or you can use your main hard disk which will be automatically partitioned. 

For most of us, its just easier to use the same hard drive, so its always there when you need it, not that most of us will take our iMacs with us (although it is light enough to and i will probably do that sometimes). One thing to be aware of, is that, in the case of the iMac retina, you will be partitioning a “fusion” drive (25%SSD and 75% HDD), and I’m pretty sure none of the SSD will be part of your partition. I dont have the resources to test this theory but seems very likely than any partitioned area will be from the “furthest” part of the HDD, which allows you to partition and unpartition easily without losing Mac system data.

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I suggest leaving all the options on. Some people say partition your hard disk first and skip the first step. I say they are very silly, or possibly know something I dont. Anyway this is the easiest way I feel.

Before you start this process, MAKE SURE you have the CD KEY for windows handy. If it is in a file on your mac, you WILL NOT be able to access it once your computer reboots in windows. This will greatly affect your happiness and you may have to start again. Just write it on a piece of paper or if you have a second computer please have it readily available

It will give you a warning saying it will erase your USB stick. Throw caution to the wind and let that happen. Then it will go to this screen….. for LOOOONG time. Go have a cup of coffee or other beverage of your choice.

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This is doing what it says I imagine. Let it do its thing. Go and play with your kids, or if you dont have kids, then go play with your girlfriend, and one day you may be able to play with your kids.

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After reboot

Ok, it gets a little confusing here, so just copy what I did. It will show your hard disk with 4 separate partitions. 2 of the are quite small. Ignore them.

I told my mac to partition my hard drive with 225Gb for windows… seems some is lost in the conversion and it went down to 160.6GB. Make sure to check thew sizes of the disks to find the right one. It will also have in capital letter “BOOTCAMP” next to it.Now the next part baffles me. It WILL NOT allow you to install windows on there as it says it is not formatted in NTFS format. How Apple managed to include this flaw is beyond me and so strange as that is the sole purpose of this software. Very silly Apple!

To fix this, just click the “Format” button just below, it will warn you about erasing data. Just say yes and it will only take about 10 seconds to complete.

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Now it still referenced as “Drive 0 Partition 4” but loses its bootcamp name.
Note: when you open the computer up again in OS X when all this is finished, it will still be called “BOOTCAMP” and  will be slightly larger than shown here. Also you OSX partition will recuperate the space… Its all very confusing and I’m pretty sure that it because of the fusion drive. That being said I’m glad I’m chose a fairly large space for it (chose 225GB and ended up with 172GB) as i want me PC drive to be fairly large so as to not come into space issues further down the track and I advise you add 20% more on to what you want to end up with.

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The Setup Process

It will reboot and a tiny windows logo will appear… actually you will realise soon that everything is small on the Windows side.

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The next phase will be to enter your windows PRODUCT KEY. As i recommended before if you have a digital version of it, you had better have it written down somewhere (like I didn’t), or if you have two computers, search it that way. (which I had to do)

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After that you are basically home free. It will install and then go into setup mode.

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After reboot you choose language

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Yes, this is truly how Microsoft see me. Some faceless idiot on a dangerously blue screen.

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And suddenly that allow you to personalise with pretty colors.

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It says many things, and eventually “almost ready” for about 30 mins. It truly is NOT almost ready, but the cycling colors are quite mesmerising.

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 YOU MADE IT

Good on you!!  You successfully installed windows on you iMac.

Further viewing

Here is a really blurry video that some guy called diego made. Its totally different to the method I used as he does each stage separately. Anyway seems to work and may be a good backup for some of you that get stuck somewhere in the middle and need to start over. My technique I feel is more simple for the general user.