[Tutorial] Install Windows 8 on a Mac via native EFI

One of the more obvious reasons for switching to EFI from the Mac’s virtual BIOS/Boot Camp method is that your boot times will greatly improve, especially if you’re using an SSD (see the video example below). For example, your boot time could go from 25 seconds to as little as 3. Going this route isn’t so simple, and it will take a fair amount of time to complete. Fortunately, if you follow the steps closely, you shouldn’t run into any issues.

Keep in mind that everybody’s Mac hardware is different. I completed this on my 2012 base-13″ MacBook Air. All told, the boot times have increased tremendously:

Something that most Boot Camp users noticed when starting Windows is that there’s a noticeable delay mid-way through the boot process. Going EFI seemed to have bypassed this, all for the better.

Interestingly, I found great interest in all of this. I’m pretty advanced when it comes to hackintoshing, which is where you can install Mac OS X natively onto a regular ‘ole PC. Now, I’m working the other way around, where I’m getting Windows to boot as natively as possible on a Mac.

Credits

My below guide is based off of a guide by “mac-hacks” on MacRumors, which can be found here.

Precautions

Your data will be erased. This is because we’ll be redoing the entire partition structure of your HDD or SSD. Because of this, make damn sure you’ve backed up all of your necessary content. For me, I had an existing copy of Mac OS X 10.8.2 installed, so I simply did a Time Machine backup that I later restored without any problems (more on that below). I also had an existing copy of Windows 7 installed, so I just made a few screenshots of what I had installed so that I can redownload and reinstall them later.

This method will also take a fair amount of time. Make sure you have at least an hour of free time to dedicate to this, plus the time it’ll take you to get your operating systems back to the way they were before.

Also, this isn’t guaranteed to work for everyone. Users of older Mac computers may have older and discontinued versions of the Mac EFI. You can test this by booting from Windows EFI from your USB flash drive, assuming your Mac supports booting from USB drives to begin with.

Requirements

First, you’ll need two USB flash drives, one that will be for Mac OS X, and the other that will be for Windows 8. Once you have those, prepare your Mac OS X drive by using Lion DiskMaker, which itself requires that you have the original copy of Mac OS X 10.7 or 10.8 somewhere on your computer or external media. For your Windows 8 USB drive, you can use Microsoft’s Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool from within Windows to “burn” your Windows 8 .ISO file to the USB flash drive.

Since we’re dealing with USB drives, your Mac may or may not support booting from them. Test this out with the Mac OS X or Windows USB drives. If they show up when you hold ALT/OPTION after you press the power button, then you’re good to go.

Other than the backup statement under Precautions, that’s about it. Now, onto the instructions.

Part 1: Preparing Your Drive

This is where we start to reconfigure your entire HDD or SSD.

Power down your Mac, and plug your Windows USB drive into any available USB port. After you press the power button, old the ALT/Option button until you see your partition listing. After a few seconds, the EFI Boot option of your Windows USB drive should be available. Select it, and press enter.

Within 30 seconds, you should be at the main screen for the Windows 8 installer. Once there, click on Repair Computer. After that, go through the few Advanced menus until you get to the Command Prompt. Now, the destruction begins.

At the Command Prompt, enter diskpart, and follow these commands:

  1. list disk
  2. select disk 0
  3. clean
  4. convert gpt
  5. create partition efi size=256
  6. format fs=fat32 quick label=EFI
  7. create partition primary size=51200 [size of your OS X partition in MB; Ex. 50GB = 51200]
  8. exit

Now that your drive has been reconfigured with no data on it, we can get your Mac OS X stuff back up and running.

Part 2: Reconfigure Mac OS X

Depending on whether or not you made a Time Machine backup, you can choose to restore that, or install Mac OS X from scratch, both using your Mac OS X USB drive.

First, we’ll have to format the partition as Mac OS X Extended (Journaled), aka HFS+ with Disk Utility. To do this, boot from your Mac OS X USB drive. At the main menu, open Disk Utility. In the left sidebar, you should see a partition labeled “disk0s2″ under your main drive. Click on it, and in the main content area, click on the Erase tab. Give it a title if you’d like, but for the format, choose Mac OS X Extended (Journaled). After you’ve done that, click on the Erase button.

Exit out of Disk Utility. Now, you can choose to do a clean install of Mac OS X, or restore a Time Machine backup that I made onto an external USB hard drive of mine. The restore went without a problem, and my MacBook Air even automatically rebooted itself into it.

Part 3a: Installing Windows

This isn’t really a “boot from the installer and click on install” sort of thing, as you’ll now see.

Boot into the Windows 8 EFI installer again, and go to Repair Computer. Go through the options until you find the Command Prompt, just as you did before. Run diskpart, and enter the following commands:

  • list disk
  • select disk 0
  • list partition
  • create partition msr size=128
  • create partition primary size=30720 (desired size of your Windows partition; Ex. 30GB = 30720)
  • format fs=ntfs quick label=Windows
  • assign letter=Y
  • select partition 1
  • assign letter=S
  • list volume (note the drive letter of your USB drive; we’ll pretend that it is C)
  • exit

We’ve just created a few partitions that are necessary for the success of your Windows EFI installation. Now, we need to extract all of the installation files to your desired Windows partition, that we gave the drive letter of Y to. Run the following series of commands:

  • X:
  • cd X:\Windows\System32\
  • dism /apply-image /imagefile:C:\sources\install.wim /index:1 /applydir:Y:\

The Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool is now copying the typical set of installation files from your USB drive over to your desired installation partition. This will take a while, depending on the speed of your drives. Now, we need to set it up to boot itself:

  • Y:
  • bcdboot Y:\Windows /l en-us /s S:

It should say that the boot files were successfully copied over. If that’s the case, then you can shut down the Windows 8 EFI installer. Unplug your USB drive, and reboot your Mac, holding ALT/Option to bring up the boot list. If all was successful, you should see “EFI Boot.” Highlight it, and press enter to boot into it. You should instantly see the Windows 8 boot screen.

After a moment, your Mac should reboot itself back to the Windows 8 boot screen. If it does that, and your display simply goes to a blank, black screen, then follow part 3b. I had to do this. If you get into Windows 8 as expected, then you’re done!

Part 3b: Fixing Windows 8

For me, I experienced the black screen issue, where it would just sit there forever. A fix for this is to remove the igdkm64.sys from C:\Windows\System32\Drivers. To do this, hold CMD+ALT/Option+V+Shift after you press the power button. If it worked, you should see your Windows boot screen with the text “Please Wait” below it. If it didn’t do this, do a hard shutdown (hold your power button for 10~ seconds), and try again. It might take you a few tries to get to the right menu.

Like in parts 1 and 3a, you’ll need to find your way to the Command Prompt. Once you’re there, enter the following commands:

  • C:
  • cd C:\Windows\System32\Drivers
  • move C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\igdkm64.sys C:\
  • exit

Now, when you reboot, it should boot right into Windows 8, asking you for your key (yay!).

If you ever get a black screen again, follow the above steps.

It seems as though the integrated GPU drivers, even after installing the official Intel ones, simply won’t get it to work, so resorting to Microsoft’s basic Intel GPU drive is the only way to avoid the black screen mess. Also, audio isn’t working.

That’s it!

If you’re running into trouble, leave your comments/complaints/suggestions/feedback (in detail!) below, and I’ll try to help you out.

Feel free to follow  The Tech Erra on Twitter.

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  • Phikzel

    Thanks! This tutorial is awesome! Got it working without any trouble. Too bad the audio isn’t working. Hoping there’s a fix for that soon

    • Fatez

      Fir audio, isight etc : Install bootcam 4 windows driver

  • euphoric85

    I get all the way to dism, which copies the image fine, but when trying to run the bcdboot command it says “Failure when attempting to copy boot files”.. Any ideas?

    • besweeet

      Tell me what disk part list volume looks like, as well as the bcdboot command that you’re running.

      • euphoric85

        list volume:

        Volume 0 , Y, Windows, NTFS, Partition, 74GB, Healthy, (blank)
        Volume 1 , S, (label blank), RAW, Partition, 200MB, Healthy, Hidden
        Volume 2, D, Win Data, NTFS, Partition, 111GB, Healthy, (blank)
        Volume 3, E, STICK, FAT32, Removable, 7440MB, Healthy, (blank)

        Win Data is a partition on a separate hard drive (I’m doing an SSD/HDD split setup), and STICK is the WinPE USB.

        using bcdboot Y:Windows /l en-us /s S:
        fails.. I saw somewhere that bcdboot needs the volume to be active, so in diskpart I tried:
        select volume y
        active

        And I get “The selected disk is not a fixed MBR disk. The ACTIVE command can only be used on fixed MBR disks.”

        • besweeet

          It doesn’t look like you followed part one correctly, as you don’t have a 256MB partition, formatted as FAT32, that’s labeled “EFI.”

          • Csledge1

            I started all over and tried the whole procedure again and it worked!! Thanks for this straightforward tutorial! So many other places make this out to be much harder than it really is… Now if we could just get audio working!

          • besweeet

            What are you exact specs?

  • Asdas

    Can I succes with a late 2008 Macbook Pro?

    • besweeet

      We’ll never know until you try!

  • http://www.facebook.com/algorhythm Steven Lockhart

    I also have a 2012 13in Macbook Air and I haven’t been quite able to get this to work after multiple attempts from scratch. Specifically, after the ‘bcdboot Y:Windows /l en-us /s S:’ step in part 3a, there is no “EFI Boot” option listed when I reboot my Mac while holding ‘Option’. The ‘bcdboot’ command says that it “Created boot files successfully”. All the other commands complete successfully as well. The only thing that seems out of the ordinary is that when I ‘list volumes’ in diskpart the EFI (256MB) volume has the ‘Hidden’ attribute in the ‘Info’ column. Strangely, selecting the volume and then doing ‘attributes volume clear hidden’ to try to un-hide the volumn results in an error: “Virtual Disk Service error: The object is not found”.

    • besweeet

      The only reason EFI Boot wouldn’t be there is if a command was done incorrectly or not at all.

  • zukidog

    On the Part 1, looks like it should be ‘select disk 0′ before ‘clean’

    • besweeet

      Correct; fixed!

  • PathogenDavid

    Thanks a lot for the guide! I also had issues with igdkm64.sys except that they were much more obnoxious than a simple black screen. When I went to reboot in step 3, instead of the display going black and sitting there: The system would crash. Further analysis showed that it was a bluescreen related to igdkm64.sys. I could remove it as you described, but then Windows would say that installation had been interrupted and I had to start over.

    I fixed it by removing the three directories starting with “igdlh1″ in Y:WindowsSystem32DriverStoreFileRepository after applying a fresh image with dism. After booting, Windows update tried to automatically pull igdkm64.sys from the internet and load it again, which resulted in a bluescreen. I fixed it by following the steps in section 3b, and disabling the device in device manager (The Intel card has vendor ID 8086 in the device manager details.) In my case, Windows was using the NVidia card anyway.

    For reference, I have a late 2012 15″ (Non-retina) MacBook Pro. I also installed Windows to a separate drive as I have a dual SSD/HDD setup, so for anyone who intends to skip part 1, step 7 and part 2, it does work.

    Also you should put the bit about audio not working in its own section at the top, because I missed it the first time I read over and it would have been nice to know going in. Especially since it looks like the audio issue can’t be fixed without Intel/Apple deploying an update.

  • Leon

    I have the black screen, but igdkm64.sys doesn’t exit in drivers folder!?

    • besweeet

      Make sure you’re in the correct path.

      • Leon

        C:WindowsSystem32Driversdir/p and nothing.

        • Gsndgv

          try this file instead: nvlddmkm.sys

    • Younas

      there is another file name.

      igdkmd64.sys

      i find it and moved to c: my system worked

      • besweeet

        Just use Boot Camp.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1214005242 Simio Suazo

    more simple: In your OS X Lion or Mountain Lion go to Disk Utility and make a new partition in your primary HDD maybe 120Gb for your new W8 and format as msdos/Fat. Reboot, press and hold alt/option key with windows 8 DVD or USB bootable disk, select EFI and enter, now W8 install as native, follow the step and you have a full native Windows 8 in your mac, before installation, log in w8 and install the new bootcamp 5 drivers for windows and you have finished.

    • http://www.facebook.com/robin.perkins.7334 Robin Perkins

      Have you ever done this ? (I ask because I want to know if Apple have updated their firmware). From my experience the W8 DVD is formatted in UDF and last I checked the Mac’s EFI doesn’t support the UDF format – hence why you have to go through the whole rigmarole of setting up a FAT32 USB stick.

      • Damien

        To confirm, I did this on my 2011 15″ Pro, and it worked fine, with no issues whatsoever.

    • Chris Thake

      Please explain to me how this worked for you. I am trying to install Windows 8 on my Early 2011 15″ MacBook Pro on Mavericks 10.9.1
      I rebooted the machine after creating the FAT32 partition in DU. But it just comes up with “This PC ran into a problem and needs to restart” when I select the EFI boot. Help!

  • anom

    damn, thank you, you save my day dude thanks for this complete guide

    • Gman

      Answering to get at the top.
      You can get to the command prompt from any place in windows installer or windows recovery tools by simply pressing Shift+F10. Even from the very first screen.
      No need for navigating your way through any steps.
      (This hotkey also opens context menus in windows.)

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  • Nappl

    Will this also work with Win7 64 bit ?

    • besweeet

      It should.

      • Brendon

        Unfortunately Windows 7 is not fully (u)efi compliant and still relies on legacy INT 10 video BIOS functions, even running in (u)efi mode.

        Without a compatibility support module (CSM) for video, its standard VGA driver fails when using efi. Even if there is a (u)efi compatible video driver available, the PCI registers for the video card need to be initialized (via the efi shell) for each boot –

        see DaGr8Gatzby http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=696523&page=19,

        and d3vi1 post 47 http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=696523&page=2

        In short, it is much easier to use Windows 8 if you want efi.

  • Nappl

    Cant get it working on my mac mini 2011.
    If I install OS X and then use bootcamp assistant to install Windows 7, will it run in efi mode or will it also create mbr System ?
    Wanted to increase my bootup Speed for Windows.

    • besweeet

      BCA always uses hybrid MBR.

  • Nappl

    Getting confused now. Got it working with Win 8.1 preview. Running in efi mode on an gpt disk. No clue why it doesn´t work with Win7 od Win8.

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  • Max

    after i install bootcamp
    two minutes after a restart i have a
    Kernel Security Check Failures
    has anybody a idea?

    • besweeet

      Install via Boot Camp instead of EFI to avoid these types of problems.

      • Max

        i mean boot camp drivers
        without boot camp drivers it works normal
        but i need the drivers that all components work

        • besweeet

          There are EFI issues.

  • http://avluis.net/ Luis Alvarado

    Big props to the writer of this guide! This is the only way my mid-2011 MacBook Pro would accept Windows 8.1 EFI mode and Mavericks on my 256GB Samsung 830 SSD.
    I had given many guides a try but none were able to satisfy my macbook.
    FYI, if you have an external hard drive handy, save your OSX install as an image and you can restore it in the step above much faster and no settings lost (for me I just had to log back in to Dropbox). Makes the 10 times I tried to get windows 8.1 on my Mac much easier on your SSD.

  • besweeet

    If anybody is looking for support for this tutorial, I will be providing it at http://bit.ly/1gIiVcD.

  • Hector

    quick question after doing this can i add linux later on if i want?

    • Hector

      so i could triple boot everything from efi