OS X Bootcamp to play Windows games

luf100

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 12, 2015
4
0
Ontario, Canada
This is probably asked all the time, and I've done research, but I'm really not tech savvy when it comes to things like this so I'm asking here because I rarely understand what I'm reading anywhere else.

I just recently bought an iMac, it's brand new, like two months old. I love it, but there are a lot of games I want to play that are only available on Windows, and my old PC laptop is too old to play most of them on without getting very, very frustrated.

Is it easy to use Bootcamp to play games only available on Windows? I don't know anything about how you set up Bootcamp, what kind of memory it uses or anything. I'm not a hardcore gamer so I don't have a lot of games, and most of them are games from Steam or Origin that I would play once and then could uninstall after.

If you need an example of games I want to play, as dumb as this sounds, the main ones are The Sims 3 and The Sims 4. I know they're both available for Mac but I've played them on Mac and much prefer it on PC. Assassin's Creed: Unity is another (please don't judge me for still playing Assassin's Creed), Skyrim, the first two BioShock games... ones like that.

I'm just really worried that I'll end up regretting buying this iMac instead of another really good Windows PC (even though I do like the Mac better when it comes to everything else except games). Or that I will spend the money on Windows and then not be able to use it for what I want anyway.

The games don't even need to be completely maxed out when it comes to graphics and all that, I just want to be able to play them without the constant lagging or freezing that my laptop does. IMO I don't want much, just want to play a few games without being frustrated constantly. It's not like I'm sitting here playing a high performance game for 10 hours a day or anything like that.

No idea if any of this information is helpful but figured I'd post it just in case:





Thanks for any help. Like I said I'm clueless when it comes to this stuff... I just need some information before I go out and buy Windows 8 (or 10 when it's finally available) and try to do this just to find out it doesn't work.
 

antonis

macrumors 68020
Jun 10, 2011
2,085
1,007
Hi.

Your iMac has already installed an application that is named "Bootcamp Assistant". By running it, you'll get guided through all the process of dividing your disk (where you will be able to choose what size the windows partition will be), creating the startup usb (in order to start the windows installer), downloading the bootcamp drivers (e.g. the windows drivers for your mac's components) etc.

There's also the option to install Windows onto an external disk, as long as it is usb3 or thunderbolt, in order to leave your internal disk intact. But this is done through a manual process (not bootcamp) so I guess you should try the bootcamp option first.

Mind also that by using the bootcamp assistant you can reverse the installation (e.g. delete the windows partition and allocate the space back to the OS X side), also in an easy guided process.
 

iF34R

macrumors 65816
Jul 13, 2011
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293
South Carolina
Start here: https://www.apple.com/support/bootcamp/

It isn't hard really, just make sure you follow the steps. I would read over it completely before even starting, especially since this is your first time doing it.

I have a late 2012 iMac, and I play games that aren't supported on OSX, well, on Windows lol. I use Windows 7.

If you have any questions, concerns, problems, etc., just reply back in the thread and "we" will get you up and running.
 

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
May 5, 2008
18,876
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The Misty Mountains
... And you need to buy a copy of Windows. I recommend Windows 7.

Supported versions of Windows
These are the supported versions of Windows(authentic, single, full-installation). Check the tables below to see which of these versions will work with your Mac.

  • Windows XP: Home Edition or Professional with Service Pack 2 or Service Pack 3 (Boot Camp 3)
  • Windows Vista: Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, or Ultimate, Service Pack 1 or later (Boot Camp 3)
  • Windows 7: Home Premium, Professional, or Ultimate (Boot Camp 4 or 5.1)
  • Windows 8: Windows 8 or 8.1, Windows 8 or 8.1 Pro (Boot Camp 5.1 only)
(System requirements to install Windows on your Mac using Boot Camp)
 

blesscheese

macrumors 6502a
Apr 3, 2010
694
174
Central CA
Hi,
It is fairly easy to install BootCamp, and then boot into Windows to play games. There is a lot of stuff you could read about on how to do it, and you should check it out, but it works pretty easily.

The major issue with BootCamp is you have to shut down the Mac and restart into Windows. When you do this, you are running a PC, albeit on Mac hardware, but for all intents and purposes, you will have the best looking PC out there!

This is where you will discover that Apple doesn't update the BootCamp drivers all that often...when you want to play games, you will likely need to update the video card drivers, but no worries, since you are running a PC, just update it like you would on a regular PC.

If you have a brand new iMac, you will be able to install Windows 7 64 bit or Windows 8, but not XP (I just read the web page that Huntn linked to). I agree with Huntn above, get Windows 7, that is what I run, and it should be compatible with games for years to come. The Apple page says that you can only use The Home, Pro, or Ultimate system install disks from M$, but I have installed a "System Builders" dvd on my MBA. Note if you do that, the Windows OS can't be transferred to another computer; in general you are better off buying the Home, Pro, or Ultimate system if you think you will want to get another computer in 2-3 years...

Note: You can't run both Mac OS and Windows OS at the same time, unless you also purchase virtualization software (such as Parallels, VMWare, or freeware VirtualBox). If you want to play the latest games, you would not be able to play them in a virtual machine anyway, so disregard this last paragraph if that is what you want to do.
 

iF34R

macrumors 65816
Jul 13, 2011
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South Carolina
That's pretty nifty. I usually just go to Sys Prefs > Startup Disk when I'm on OSX. When I'm in Windows, I just use the boot camp icon in the sys tray by the clock. I'll give this a go.
 

iF34R

macrumors 65816
Jul 13, 2011
1,074
293
South Carolina
I actually have to use that software because the external keyboard I use doesn't recognize pressing and holding the alt key at startup to select my Windows partition.
You don't have to do it that way. Go to System Preferences > Startup Disk > and choose your bootcamp partition.
 

luf100

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 12, 2015
4
0
Ontario, Canada
Thank you for all the information everyone! Glad to hear it's actually pretty easy. The only thing I'd be using Windows for is games, so I don't mind having to restart to get back to OS X or not being able to run them both at the same time or anything. Plus this computer starts up in about 30 seconds, so not a big deal. :p

I would love to buy Windows 7 instead of 8 (I'm not a fan of 8) or waiting until 10 is actually released, I'm just not sure where I would buy it? The Microsoft website only sells Windows 8 since it's the newest... At least, that I could find.
 

antonis

macrumors 68020
Jun 10, 2011
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Windows 8 require some time to get used to the new UI, but after a while they are fine. Personally, I prefer them much better than W10 (as far as I've tried the W10 previews).

Regardless, if I'm not mistaken, W10 will be a free upgrade to all W8 owners. So, given that this is true, there's no reason to wait.
 

iF34R

macrumors 65816
Jul 13, 2011
1,074
293
South Carolina
Thank you for all the information everyone! Glad to hear it's actually pretty easy. The only thing I'd be using Windows for is games, so I don't mind having to restart to get back to OS X or not being able to run them both at the same time or anything. Plus this computer starts up in about 30 seconds, so not a big deal. :p

I would love to buy Windows 7 instead of 8 (I'm not a fan of 8) or waiting until 10 is actually released, I'm just not sure where I would buy it? The Microsoft website only sells Windows 8 since it's the newest... At least, that I could find.
I got all my physical copies of Win 7 from Amazon. My digital copies came from software empire. I have 5 physical copies and two digital lol.
 

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
May 5, 2008
18,876
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The Misty Mountains
Once you have Bootcamp up and running you will find this useful.

It sits in your menu bar and when you want to boot into Bootcamp/Windows just click on it.

http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/28468/bootchamp
My intent is not to start an argument, but... :)
IMO this utility is not really needed. As per the bolded below, this quote is misleading and the described does not happen if you restart your Mac, holding the Option key and selecting the Windows partition, you have not changed your startup disk, so the quote below does not apply. If later at some point, you tell Windows to restart, you'll find yourself booted back into the MacOS, without again holding the option key and selecting the windows partition.

I believe if you go into the Mac System Preferences and change the startup disk there, that choice might persist, but I've never done that. Then you'd have to tell Windows which startup disk to use to go back to Mac by default? And/or you'd be faced with holding down the option key every time you want to boot back into the MacOS. Holding the option key for the times you want Windows, avoids the need for another app. Or install the app to avoid having to hold Option and making the Windows selection.

From your link:
BootChamp is a small utility for quickly booting into Windows.

How is this different than selecting your Windows volume from within Startup Disk in System Preferences?

Well, using Startup Disk actually changes your startup disk permanently so that each time you restart, it boots into whatever you have selected. What this program is doing is the same thing that happens when you hold down Option at startup and select Windows. However, the app only requires a single click and your admin password, and then it restarts your computer into Windows without further input from you. It will not actually change your more...
 
Last edited:

iF34R

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Jul 13, 2011
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When you are in Windows, there is a bootcamp utility in the sys tray (by the clock lol), that has a few options.



You can select it and choose to boot back into OSX:



...or choose to open the bootcamp control panel. When you open it, there are a few options:

 

antonis

macrumors 68020
Jun 10, 2011
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I believe if you go into the Mac System Preferences and change the startup disk there, that choice might persist, but I've never done that.
Yes, choosing the startup disk from system preferences will make the change persist. Respectively, changing the startup disk from Windows side by using the bootcamp settings (don't remember the exact name but it's the one residing on the task bar) will also make the change persist. They both change the setting in Mac's EFI so it is persisting.
 

McGiord

macrumors 601
Oct 5, 2003
4,533
287
Dark Castle
Any reference list or website regarding what Windows/PC games can be played on the latest iMac models and which not? Thanks
 

malman89

macrumors 68000
May 29, 2011
1,651
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Michigan
... And you need to buy a copy of Windows. I recommend Windows 7.


(System requirements to install Windows on your Mac using Boot Camp)
I disagree. OP should go for Windows 8 (8.1) because you can run Classic mode, which is Windows 7, and have a free Windows 10 upgrade. Windows 8 is definitely the better long term choice that gives you the feel and improvements on Windows 7 with a path to upgrade to 10 if that promises a better experience overall.
 

Jeaz

macrumors 6502
Dec 12, 2009
423
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Sweden
My intent is not to start an argument, but... :)
IMO this utility is not really needed. As per the bolded below, this quote is misleading and the described does not happen if you restart your Mac, holding the Option key and selecting the Windows partition, you have not changed your startup disk, so the quote below does not apply. If later at some point, you tell Windows to restart, you'll find yourself booted back into the MacOS, without again holding the option key and selecting the windows partition.

I believe if you go into the Mac System Preferences and change the startup disk there, that choice might persist, but I've never done that. Then you'd have to tell Windows which startup disk to use to go back to Mac by default? And/or you'd be faced with holding down the option key every time you want to boot back into the MacOS. Holding the option key for the times you want Windows, avoids the need for another app. Or install the app to avoid having to hold Option and making the Windows selection.

From your link:
Not me you are replying to but I'm kinda confused about what you are trying to say.

There are two ways to boot into Windows:
1. Permanently change to preferred boot partition. This is changed from the start-up disk in system settings. Select either OS X or Windows, and it'll stick to it like glue until you change it back. There's also an option to change this from the Bootcamp settings window in Windows.
2. Alt-boot. Hold it and at startup choose if you want to start Windows or OS X, the choice is not permanent, but only for that boot. Next boot will be whatever partition you've set as primary in the 1st alternative (default is OS X).

There are pros and cons for both alternatives, but one of the biggest cons with alternative 2, is that you have to babysit your boot-up. And that's where BootChamp comes in. It uses alternative 2, next-boot-only type partition choice, but you can do it directly from OS X, no babysitting needed.

I personally love BootChamp, since I like to wander off while it's rebooting. Or even when I'm still at the computer, I keep forgetting pressing the Alt button when I need to.

So it's of course not mandatory, but it sure is helpful.
 

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
May 5, 2008
18,876
19,957
The Misty Mountains
Not me you are replying to but I'm kinda confused about what you are trying to say.

There are two ways to boot into Windows:
1. Permanently change to preferred boot partition. This is changed from the start-up disk in system settings. Select either OS X or Windows, and it'll stick to it like glue until you change it back. There's also an option to change this from the Bootcamp settings window in Windows.
2. Alt-boot. Hold it and at startup choose if you want to start Windows or OS X, the choice is not permanent, but only for that boot. Next boot will be whatever partition you've set as primary in the 1st alternative (default is OS X).

There are pros and cons for both alternatives, but one of the biggest cons with alternative 2, is that you have to babysit your boot-up. And that's where BootChamp comes in. It uses alternative 2, next-boot-only type partition choice, but you can do it directly from OS X, no babysitting needed.

I personally love BootChamp, since I like to wander off while it's rebooting. Or even when I'm still at the computer, I keep forgetting pressing the Alt button when I need to.

So it's of course not mandatory, but it sure is helpful.
I'm saying that the description in the quote says you need the bootchamp app so you don't have to change the default boot partition in System Preferences. Since I prefer the MacOS for most tasks other than gaming, I prefer to have the default boot partition be MacOS.

The quote is misleading because there is the alternative (I think your method 2). It's only three key presses more to hold the Option key on restart, select the desired partition and hit return. There's some convenience provided by the app, (saving three keystrokes) but I've been doing it so long the other way, it's second nature and really no bother.
 

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
May 5, 2008
18,876
19,957
The Misty Mountains
When you are in Windows, there is a bootcamp utility in the sys tray (by the clock lol), that has a few options.



You can select it and choose to boot back into OSX:



...or choose to open the bootcamp control panel. When you open it, there are a few options:

As long as you have not changed your permanent boot partition, there is no need to use bootcamp utility in Windows to get back to the MacOS. Simply select "restart" and you will boot back into the MacOS. Try it! :)
 
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iF34R

macrumors 65816
Jul 13, 2011
1,074
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South Carolina
As long as you have not changed your permanent boot partition, there is no need to use bootcamp utility in Windows to get back to the MacOS. Simply select "restart" and you will boot back into the MacOS. Try it! :)
It's quicker to use the bc utility. lol.
 

saturnotaku

macrumors 68000
Mar 4, 2013
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You don't have to do it that way. Go to System Preferences > Startup Disk > and choose your bootcamp partition.
Not if I want to keep OS X as the default when my system starts up. The way you're talking, I would have to go into system preferences and the Windows control panel each and every single time I want to change operating systems.
 
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iF34R

macrumors 65816
Jul 13, 2011
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South Carolina
This appears to be splitting hairs when it comes to convienence. My point is no utility is required to boot back into MacOS. You don't use a utility to restart the MacOS do you? ;)
I use the bootcamp utility.
Not if I want to keep OS X as the default when my system starts up. The way you're talking, I would have to go into system preferences and the Windows control panel each and every single time I want to change operating systems.
Not really. Just click on the bootcamp util in the system tray, and choose to restart to mac os. Done.
 

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