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Apple releases Boot Camp 5 for booting Macs with Windows 8

Windows 8 Startup Screen

Apple yesterday released Boot Camp 5, a major new version of the software that enables users to boot a Mac with Windows. Version 5 adds support for Windows 8 (64-bit), and continues support for Windows 7. Boot Camp 5 also adds support for 3TB hard drives on new 27-inch iMacs. Not all Macs support Windows 8, however.

Boot Camp 5 drops support for 32-bit versions of Windows. Boot Camp 5 supports the 64-bit versions of Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate. It also supports 64-bit versions of Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro. Boot Camp 5 does not support the Windows 7 Enterprise or Windows 8 Enterprise.

Booting your Mac with Microsoft's latest OS still requires using the Boot Camp Assistant to create a special hard drive partition, as did Boot Camp 4. That part of Boot Camp 5 that enables Windows 8 are the new Windows drivers, which Apple also refers to as the "Windows Support Software."

The Boot Camp 5 Windows drivers can be downloaded from the Boot Camp Assistant that comes with the OS X 10.8.3 update, which was also released yesterday. (See OS X 10.8.3 fixes Active Directory lockouts, login delays) Users of earlier versions of OS X can download the Boot Camp 5 Windows drivers directly from Apple's web site.

The downloaded Windows drivers need to be copied to a USB flash drive or hard drive before booting into Windows; the drivers are installed from within Windows. If you’re upgrading from Windows 7, Apple advises that you install the new Boot Camp 5 drivers in Windows 7 before upgrading to Windows 8.

Boot Camp 5 has an incompatibility with the Windows 8 Fast Boot feature. In order to access Thunderbolt devices from Windows 8, you need to disable the this feature in the Windows 8 Control Panel.

Boot Camp 5 also drops support for some older Macs. Windows 8 with Boot Camp 5 drivers can be installed on the following Macs:

  • MacBook Air, Mid 2011 or newer
  • MacBook Pro, Mid 2010 except for the 13" inch model, or newer
  • Mac Pro, Early 2009 or newer
  • Mac Mini, Mid 2011 or newer
  • iMac, 27-inch, Mid 2010 or Mid 2011 or newer (the 21" Mid 2010 does not support Windows 8)
If you've tried Boot Camp 5 if the update caused or fixed any problems for you.

This article was updated on March 17 to reflect that the 13" MacBook Pro, Mid 2010 doesn't support Windows 8.

Related: Running Windows on Macs -- A Comparison of Available Solutions