If you’re interested in gaming on your 2018 Mac mini (review), you might consider installing Windows 10 with the help of Boot Camp Assistant. In this hands-on video walkthrough, we show you how to install Windows 10 on your Mac mini step-by-step.
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Why Windows on Mac?
Although the gaming landscape on the Mac has improved over the years, there’s still no denying that Windows is where it’s at when it comes to playing the latest and greatest games.
With this in mind, I’ve decided to turn my 2018 Mac mini into a part-time Windows gaming rig. But before we can even think about Windows gaming, we need to install Windows 10. That’s where the easy-to-use Boot Camp Assistant comes into the picture.
How to install Windows 10 on the Mac mini
Download the Windows 10 ISO
Step 1: Visit Microsoft’s Windows 10 download page.
Step 2: Select the Windows 10 April 2018 Update edition and click Confirm.
Step 3: Select your language, and click Confirm.
Step 4: Click the 64-bit Download button to begin the Windows 10 ISO download. Once the download is completed, you can close your web browser.
Configure Boot Camp Assistant
Step 5: In Finder, open Applications → Utilities → Boot Camp Assistant.
Step 6: Click Continue on the Boot Camp Assistant introduction screen.
Step 7: Use the slider to select the amount of partition space to lend your Windows 10 installation. Since my Mac mini only has 256GB of storage on board, I went with the minimum amount allowed. If you’re concerned about storage, keep in mind that you can always use an external SSD to save and load game content.
Step 8: Click the Choose button next to the ISO image field, navigate to the Windows ISO file downloaded in step 4, and click Open.
Step 9: Click Install to begin the Boot Camp setup process. The setup process will download necessary Windows support software, partition your disk, and save the needed support software to the Boot Camp partition.
Step 10: Once the initial setup process is completed, you’ll be asked to enter your Administrator password. After doing so, click Okay, and macOS will reboot into Windows.
Windows 10 setup Wizard
Step 11: Click Start on the initial Setup screen, and then click I do not have a product key at the bottom of the Activate Windows screen. Once Windows is installed, you can enter your product key via system settings.
Step 12: On the next screen, select Windows 10 Pro from the list of operating systems and click Next.
Step 13: On the license and notices screen, check the Accept box in the bottom left-hand corner if you agree to the terms, and click Next.
Windows will now copy all of the necessary files and begin the installation process. This process will take some time, so be patient. Once Windows is installed, your Mac will reboot, and you’ll be prompted to continue the configuration.
Step 14: Continue through the setup process to configure your Name, keyboard settings, Wi-Fi connection, account settings and additional preferences.
I recommend watching our video walkthrough above to see how I opted to configure my Windows 10 installation. Once these configuration steps are completed, you’ll be taken to the Windows desktop.
Boot Camp Installer and Windows Update
Step 15: The Boot Camp Installer should automatically pop up on the desktop. This will install all of the needed drivers and settings to complete your Windows 10 Boot Camp installation. After the Boot Camp Installer is finished, you’ll be asked to restart your Mac.
Step 16: Upon returning to the desktop, click the search box to the right of the Start Menu, and search for Windows Update.
Click Check for Updates to load system settings and click the Check for updates button to start downloading and installing the necessary Windows software updates. Once updates are downloaded, you’ll be prompted to reboot again.
Congratulations, Windows 10 is now installed on your Mac mini! If you’d like to boot back into macOS, simply click the Boot Camp button in the System Tray, and select Restart in macOS.
Once in macOS, you can easily reboot back into Windows 10 by going to System Preferences → Startup, and then choosing Boot Camp after clicking the lock button in the bottom left-hand corner and authenticating with your administrator password. You can also hold the Option key (⌥) as you reboot your Mac mini to invoke the boot selector menu.
I much prefer macOS to Windows, but there’s simply no getting around the fact that Windows provides a better gaming environment. Not only is the selection of games on Windows more plentiful, but many times, games outright perform better on Windows.
There is, of course, other rationale for using Windows 10 on the 2018 Mac mini, but gaming is probably the number one reason for most people.
We’ll be back soon with a future tutorial that shows you how to configure your Mac mini hardware with an eGPU to create a very capable Windows gaming setup. Below is a sneak preview of what’s possible. It’s the recently released Forza Horizon 4 running on the Mac mini (with Razer Core X eGPU) at 5120×2160 with high settings at a playable frame rate.
What are your thoughts on running Windows on Mac?