This article is part of a series on how to burn a Windows 10 disk image on a USB key using your Mac computer. As there is no one-size-fits-all way of doing this procedure, I divided this series into four articles. This one shows how to burn the Windows 10 ISO using macOS Boot Camp.
Overview: Burning a Windows 10 disc image to USB on macOS Mojave.
This article provides an introduction to this topic, as well as the limitations of each method presented.
Method One: Use the macOS Boot Camp Assistant to burn the Windows disc image, which is the present article.
Method Two: Burn a Windows 10 ISO image by mounting it in macOS and copy its content to USB.
This article provides another way of burning the Windows image that relies on the use of a smaller ISO file.
Method Three: Use the live version of a Linux distribution to create a bootable Windows 10 USB drive.
This article provides another way of doing this procedure that is compatible with all operating systems.
As you can see, there exist several ways of burning the Windows 10 ISO image besides using the macOS Boot Camp application. The choice between one method or another will depend on several factors. The size of your Windows ISO file, whether you intend on booting Windows on a mac or pc, and whether or not you wish to use Linux are all aspects to consider.
Of all the possible workarounds the one found in this present article, i.e., using the macOS Boot Camp, is by far the easiest. However, it has a significant caveat: you can only use this method if you plan on running Windows 10 on a macOS computer. If you intend to use this pen drive to install Windows 10 on a pc, you will have to look at one of the other two methods presented earlier.
The present method involves installing components on your computer. However, it uses the integrated macOS Boot Camp Assistant, which makes the process easier and more user-friendly than using the command line.
How to burn the Windows 10 disc image using macOS Boot Camp
You will need:
- A USB stick with a capacity of 16GB or more (a prerequisite for the use of macOS Boot Camp Assistant).
- The latest Windows 10 ISO file, which you can find HERE
- Access to Boot Camp Assistant, Disk Utility and Finder
Download the latest Windows 10 disk image from the official software download page (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10ISO). Please take note of its download location (usually, it will end up in the Downloads folder, but you can move the file to the desktop for ease of retrieval).
Insert your pen drive
Reminder: Your USB key needs to have 16GB or more available.
You will lose all the content of your pen drive during the installation process, so either get an unused or new USB stick or backup its content before proceeding.
Open the macOS Boot Camp Assistant (you can look for it using Spotlight)
Boot Camp Assistant is an intuitive and user-friendly application; it will guide you each step of the way. First, you will see the Introduction page. Click “Continue”.
Next, it will ask you to select tasks. By default, you will see that all three steps are selected. You have to uncheck the third task “Install Windows 10 or later version”, as it is used to add a Windows partition directly on your Mac hard drive. So unless you want to divide your hard disk to dual-boot macOS and Windows 10 on it, make sure to uncheck it. Click “Continue”.
The Boot Camp Assistant will then start the “Create Bootable USB Drive for Windows Installation” procedure and ask you to select your ISO file. Click “Choose…”, then retrieve the disk image you downloaded in step 1.
By default, your inserted pen drive should appear next to “Destination disk.” Make sure that your computer has a single USB stick inserted, otherwise you might end up choosing the wrong pen drive by mistake.
Note that if you have both a USB key and an SD card inserted, it is relatively easy to distinguish them. A pen drive will be identified as a “USB Flash Drive Media,” whereas an SD card will be a “Generic STORAGE DEVICE Media.”
If you cannot see your USB stick in the Boot Camp Assistant “Create Bootable USB Drive for Windows Installation” page, then remove and reinsert it. This will usually take care of the problem.
Once you set up everything, click “Continue.”
The Assistant will warn you that “The drive will be erased.” Click “Continue”.
Boot Camp Assistant will first format your drive, install the Windows files, and then save Windows support software. This step will take several minutes. Be patient. Using a 3.0 USB key and port will make the process faster, whereas using an old SD memory card as I do for this tutorial will result in a slow installation. ***
At the end of the “Task Status,” Boot Camp Assistant will ask for your password. Enter it, then click “OK.”
Boot Camp Assistant will tell you that it has saved the Windows support software, and to “install this Windows support software after installing Windows.” Click “Quit.” Voilà!
***If the macOS Boot Camp Assistant tells you that your USB drive couldn’t be created or doesn’t have enough space, make sure to review the following:
- Your USB has to have a storage capacity of 16GB or more.
- Your Windows 10 ISO file needs to be the latest edition, which you can find HERE.
- Your macOS might need to be updated. Check to see if you need to install updates by clicking “System Preferences” from the Apple menu; click on “Software Update” and “Update Now” if you see that new updates are ready to be installed.
HOW TO INSTALL THE WINDOWS SUPPORT SOFTWARE
As indicated in step 9, you will need to install the Windows support software when booting Windows from your USB key for the first time. You can find more information on the official Apple support page (https://support.apple.com/en-ca/HT204923), but here is a summary of the tutorial:
- Insert your pen drive into your Mac, then power it on.
Start your Mac in Windows. To do so, press and hold the Option (or Alt) ⌥ key on your keyboard during startup and release it only when you see the Startup Manager window appear. Choose the appropriate disk (Boot Camp is for a Windows installation made within your hard drive, and External Drive is for a bootable Windows USB stick).
- From the file manager (File Explorer), access your pen drive and open setup.exe. This file is located either in your WindowsSupport folder or the Boot Camp folder.
You will be asked to allow Boot Camp to make changes. Click on “Yes.”
Doing this will start the installation process. Be aware that you might a message saying that the software hasn’t passed Windows Logo testing; this alert is nothing to worry about. Click “Continue Anyway.”
- Once everything is set and done, click “Finish,” then “Yes” to restart your Mac.
You can now access your Windows operating system from your Mac at any time by doing the following: start the computer, press and hold the Option (or Alt) ⌥ key on your keyboard during startup and choose Boot Camp from the Startup Manager window.