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If you’re building up a computer or you totally wiped your hard drive, there’s a good chance you’ll need to install Windows. And if you didn’t buy Windows on a CD, you’ll need to create your own installer. Microsoft has made the process pretty easy, but it doesn’t always go as planned.
Things can get a little trickier when you need to use your Mac to create the installer too. Here’s what to do when the Windows 10 installer gives you trouble.
The Easy Way
We documented the easy way to create the Windows 10 installer with Boot Camp. If you haven’t tried this yet, give it a shot. There’s a good chance it will work. When I tried it, I couldn’t get it to work, so I had to come up with an alternative.
In some cases, Boot Camp won’t give you the option to create a Windows 10 installer. When I tried to do this for my recent build, for example, Boot Camp told me I could install Windows in a new partition on my Mac, but gave no indication that it would create an installer on my USB stick.
If this happens to you, there are a few options you can try. We’ll start with the easiest method.
Solution 1: Copying ISO to USB
This is by far the simplest solution, and it’s the only one that worked for me. So I highly recommend trying it first. After you’ve downloaded the ISO file for the Windows 10 installer, just copy it to your USB drive. That’s all there is to it.
It seems too simple to work, but as I said, it’s the only solution that worked for me. It’s also the easiest and fastest. So try it first.
Solution 2: The dd Command for USB
The dd command in Unix copies a file and converts the data according to certain parameters. In this particular case, you’ll use it to write the ISO file to your USB drive.
First, make sure to plug in your USB drive. Then, run the following command in Terminal:
This will show you a list of available disks on your computer. You’ll need to find your USB drive (it will say “external, physical” in the location highlighted below):
When you see this, you’ll need to make note of the number in the
/dev/disk# line. In my case, it’s 2.
Now, unmount the disk:
diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk#
Make sure to replace the # with the number of the disk on your computer. Then start the
sudo dd if=
Now, drag the ISO file into Terminal so the file location is inserted into the command:
Add a space, then:
The final code on my computer looks like this:
Hit Enter, then enter your password. Then wait, possibly a long time. It can take 20–30 minutes for this command to run. When the process is done, eject the disk:
diskutil eject /dev/disk#
That should do it.
(Thanks to n3oNLit3 at tonymacx86.com for outlining this method.)
Solution 3: Burn ISO to DVD (Without Boot Camp)
If you want to create a DVD installer instead of a USB one, you can also do that without Boot Camp. There are a number of simple ways to do this. The easiest option is to do it from Finder, where you can select the ISO file and then go to File > Burn Disc Image [name] to Disc…
You can run this same command from Terminal with:
hdiutil burn [path to the file]
And, of course, there are plenty of pieces of software that will burn ISOs for you. Disco, Burn, and Simply Burns are free. DVD Creator is $30, but gives you a lot more power for burning discs. If you think you might be burning a lot of DVDs in the future, it’s not a bad choice. Regardless of which software you use, follow the relevant instructions.
Solution 4: The Nuclear Option
Before we get into this, I’ll warn you: this should only be used as a last resort. In this case, go for it. Just know that disabling system integrity protection (SIP) gives you the ability to really mess things up within macOS. It’s there for a reason. Be careful, make sure you have backups, and so on. And when you’re done, make sure to turn it back on.
Also, I’ll note that the description of this method was described for El Capitan, and not Sierra. So you may need to tweak it a bit.
Using this option allows you to rewrite a little bit of the code in Boot Camp, hopefully allowing you to use it to create a Windows installer. We’ll go through step by step. First, we’ll disable SIP:
- Restart your Mac.
- Before macOS starts, hold Command + R until you see the Apple logo.
- Once Recovery mode has started, hit Utilities > Terminal in the menu bar.
- Enter “csrutil disable” and hit Enter.
- You should get a message saying that SIP has been disabled.
- Restart your computer from the Apple menu.
Once your computer has restarted, you’ll need to get the model identifier of your Mac. Go to Apple Menu > About This Mac > System Report, and make a note of the Model Identifier of your machine. Mine, as seen here, is MacBookPro12,1.
Now, you’ll need to access the .plist file for Boot Camp:
- Right-click on the Boot Camp icon and select Show Package Contents.
- Make a copy of the .plist file and put it on your desktop.
- Right-click on the .plist file and select Open With > TextEdit.
- Add the model of your Mac under “DARequiredROMVersions.”
- Delete “Pre” from “PreUEFIModels” and add your model to the list.
- Delete “Pre” from “PreUSBBootSupportedModels” and add your model.
- If your model is present in the “Win7OnlyModels,” delete it.
Save the .plist file. Then run the following in Terminal:
sudo codesign -fs - /Applications/Utilities/Boot\ Camp\ Assistant.app
This should allow Boot Camp to run with the altered code. If your computer tells you that you need to download something from Apple, complete the download and run the command again.
Start Boot Camp, and create your Windows installer. After that, boot into Recovery mode again and enter “csrutil enable” into Terminal to turn SIP back on.
Thanks to everyone who contributed to this Apple support thread about this method.
One of these four different methods for creating a Windows installer on your Mac should work, but there’s no guarantee. You’ll just have to try a few until something works. And if you can’t get anything to work, you’ll need to use a different computer (preferably a Windows one, as this should be a little more straightforward for this particular process).
Which method worked for you? Have you found another troubleshooting solution? Share your tips in the comments below!