When users want to install Windows operating system on their Mac computers, Macbooks’ own Boot Camp is the obvious way to do it. Unfortunately, there are times when Windows installation via Boot Camp fails, or Boot Camp Assistant does not allow users to install a specific version of Windows that they need. In these cases users search for alternatives to Boot Camp.
If you google “how to install windows on mac without bootcamp assistant”, most of the top articles there will describe ways to install Windows alongside macOS by hand or using third-party software. I don’t want to repeat what others already said so I will instead list some other ways to run Windows on a Macbook without Boot Camp Assistant (namely, virtual machines) and point out advantages and disadvantages to each of them.
Virtual machines allow you to install and run Windows or other operating systems in a window on your Macbook. Basically, Windows will run inside an app but will “think” that it is running on a regular computer. To install Windows inside a virtual machine you will still need to have an unused Windows license, same as with Boot Camp. Best and most popular virtualization software for Macs are Parallels Desktop, VMware Fusion and Virtual Box.
Method 1: Install Windows on a Mac Without Boot Camp Assistant, Using Parallels Desktop
Parallels Desktop is very intuitive and easy-to-use for regular computer users. The app will configure everything for you, even download Windows or utilize the one you already downloaded via Boot Camp. You can open Windows in a separate window (including a full screen mode), or you can turn on Coherence mode. In Coherence mode the virtual machine will run in the background, while Windows programs can run alongside your Mac apps. You can even put Windows programs on your macOS desktop or pin them to Dock. Parallels Desktop allows you to copy and paste or drag and drop between Windows and macOS without any problems.
Parallels Desktop prices start at $79.99, however there is a free trial period available.
Method 2: Download Windows on a Mac Without BootCamp, Using VMware Fusion
VMware Fusion is another popular virtualization software for Macbooks. It is close to Parallels in terms of functionality and pricing, but VMware’s Fusion supports a larger number of operating systems than Parallels. On the other hand, Parallels is easier to use for regular computer users, and runs a little smoother. Otherwise, these two programs are approximately on the same level.
VMware Fusion offers a free trial period to its users, same as Parallels, so you may try both for free and decide which one you like better, before committing.
Method 3: Install Windows on a Macbook Without Boot Camp Assistant, Using Virtual Box
If you don’t plan to spend extra money on virtualization software, there’s always VirtualBox by Oracle. VirtualBox is a pretty decent free alternative to paid software if not slower, less polished and missing some handy functions. If you need to run some resource intensive Windows programs, VirtualBox might not be the best choice for you. VirtualBox also requires more technical knowledge than, for example, Parallels, as users need to tune some settings themselves when installing it. However, if you are a power user already or don’t mind doing a little more work, and you are not going to run latest Windows games or video-editing software, VirtualBox is a good (and free!) alternative.