How to install Windows 8 on your Mac using Boot Camp

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Installing Windows on a Mac can seem counter-intuitive to some, but it makes a lot of sense when you're in a corporate environment and some of the programs or apps you use rely on Windows compatibility. Instead of using a Windows machine, you can have the best of both worlds by installing Windows 8 on your Mac using Apple's Boot Camp Assistant.

Boot Camp allows you to create a separate partition on your hard drive to install an instance of Windows. Recently, Apple updated Boot Camp in OS X 10.8.3 to be compatible with Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro. As we showed you in the past, installing Windows on your Mac is a simple process; you just need to set aside some time to complete the task.

Before you begin, you're going to need an install disc or an ISO for Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro, an 8GB USB drive and a Mac running OS X 10.8.3. The update to make Boot Camp and Windows 8 compatible is only available in 10.8.3. You can find out if your Mac is capable of running OS X 10.8.3, and thus Boot Camp 5 by viewing Apple's knowledge base article for Boot Camp. If you have all of that rounded up and it all checks out, let's begin.

Step one:

Launch the Boot Camp Assistant. You can quickly find it by using Spotlight, in the Utilities or by searching the Launchpad. After starting Boot Camp Assistant, you'll be asked what actions you'd like to perform to set up your Windows 8 install.

If you have an ISO to install Windows 8 from, you'll need to create a USB install disk, and it's a good idea while you're doing that to download the latest Windows support software from Apple. My install disk came in at nearly 5GB of used space after it was created.

Or if you have an install disk already, you can skip creating another one and just download the latest updates. The updates will be installed on a USB drive, which will then allow you to install the proper Windows drivers during the setup process to ensure your Mac hardware works properly with Windows 8.

If you only have time to download updates and create the install disk, you can uncheck the install box and come back to Boot Camp Assistant when you do have time.

Step two:

Begin the installation process by setting the size of the partition you'd like to keep for your Windows 8 installation. The minimum suggested size is 20GB, which is more than enough if you plan on using Windows 8 sparingly. A Windows 8 install on my machine took up around 6GB of space, so you might be able to get away with 15GB if you're hard pressed for space.

After Boot Camp partitions your hard drive, your Mac will reboot using the install disk and being installing Windows 8. The time for the install process to complete will vary in time based on your system.

Step three:

After Windows 8 is installed and you've entered the requested information, your system may reboot a few times before launching the Apple software update part of the installation. This is arguably the most important step of the installation as it installs the drivers for your hardware. Your screen may look a bit off with extremely small text, or large text, and a mouse that's hard to move around the screen during this step; that's expected and will go away once the Apple drivers are installed.

Step four:

When the Apple updates finish installing, your machine will boot into Windows. You're set up and ready to go! The installation process isn't all that difficult; in fact, it's pretty easy. You'll need to download any Windows updates as you normally would for a new Windows machine. If you want to boot back into the OS X partition of your machine, you can click on the Boot Camp icon in the task bar and select "Restart to OS X." Alternatively, you can hold in the Option key on your Mac's keyboard when booting up to select which partition you'd like to boot into.

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Jason Cipriani

Jason Cipriani has covered technology news and tips for the past four years. He currently is a freelance writer. He is married with three kids.

You can find him dishing out daily tech tips on CNET in the How To section or giving product reviews for Wired and His work also spans into print as a weekly contributor to the Tech Thursday section of the Pueblo Chieftain, and a monthly tech-related contributor to the PULP. You can reach him on Twitter @MrCippy or contact him through his personal website