How to Dual Boot Windows 8 and OS X on a MacBook

Have you ever wanted to run two different operating systems on your MacBook laptop, either to improve your computer literacy or just because you want to see the latest version of Microsoft Windows at work? Surprisingly, booting two different operating systems on the same system—like Mac OS X and Windows 8, for instance—is easier than you might think. Read on to learn how to do it in about an hour.

Step 1: To get started with this process, make sure you have all of the necessary items. You’ll need a MacBook laptop with Boot Camp Assistant software—standard on most Apple machines—as well as an empty USB drive with 8 gigabytes or more of storage space and a Windows 8 ISO file. Tick each of these items off your checklist before moving any further.

Step 2: Open Boot Camp Assistant on your MacBook laptop. This can be found by going to the Applications folder, opening Utilities, and selecting “Boot Camp Assistant” from the programs listed. An introduction menu will pop up, explaining what the Boot Camp software is meant to do.

Step 3: Click “Continue” to bypass the introduction screen. You will now be greeted by a “Select Tasks” menu with three checkboxes. They are: “Create a Windows 7 install disk,” “Download the latest Windows support software from Apple,” and “Install Windows 7.”

Step 4: Select “Create a Windows 7 install disk” and click continue. This action will take you to a menu where you will need to provide the location of your Windows 8 ISO file on your hard drive, as well as to select the USB drive you will using to create the install disk. Follow the onscreen instructions for both, then click continue. The system will now proceed to create a bootable Windows 8 disk on your USB drive.

Step 5: Once your disk is created, you will be prompted to provide your computer password to approve the changes. Do so and you will be taken to a new screen where you can partition your hard drive between Mac OS X and Windows. Microsoft says that the minimum space necessary for Windows 8 is 16 gigabytes, but you would be better off allocating 30 or 40 gigs for Windows and any programs you plan on using on the Windows partition of your drive.

Step 6: Once you have allocated storage space for the different parts of your drive, click “Install” at the bottom of the window. It will likely take a few minutes for your MacBook to partition the drive and install Windows 8, after which your system will automatically reboot. Once you see a “Booting from Boot Camp Assistant boot drive” message, you will know that you have successfully booted Windows 8 on your MacBook laptop.

Recent versions of Microsoft have seen some cool innovations that Mac users might want to check out. Whether you want to use Windows 8 for gaming purposes or to better manage your Windows phone, the above steps will help you to boot Windows 8 on your MacBook without sacrificing the parts of your computer that require Mac OS X.