I've been having a very difficult time trying to get Windows 8.1 running alongside OS X Yosemite and it's starting to become a real pain. I initially attempted to burn the Windows 8.1 ISO onto several DVDs, with all attempts falling short resulting in "Burn failed due to a medium write error".

So I read up on how to burn the ISO onto a USB via Bootcamp Assistant, and apparently this model doesn't allow for it. I tried to use some of the work arounds which only caused errors and the software failing to run. I then got the ISO burned via Rufus and installed rEFInd which showed the USB as a Windows disk. Selecting it just caused a "No bootable device -- insert boot disk and press any key" screen and now I'm completely out of ideas.

So, what can I do at this point? I've just used up the last DVD trying to burn with the same error.

Any help would be much appreciated.

  • There is a method I use personally to install operating systems from an ISO without having to burn it to a disk. It has some command-line steps if you're comfortable with that. – William T Froggard Jun 10 '15 at 23:49
  • Sure, anything that does the job is fine by me. – Ryan Jun 11 '15 at 0:09
  • Okay. I'll work on a write-up. – William T Froggard Jun 11 '15 at 0:33
  • One question though: Are you installing Windows internally, and are you able to make the BOOTCAMP partition? – William T Froggard Jun 11 '15 at 0:35
  • Well, Bootcamp Assistant isn't allowing me to go ahead due to me not having a Windows disc at hand, the reason noted in my OP. I have created a 30GB partition via Disk Utility. – Ryan Jun 11 '15 at 0:39

Here are the steps I use to install Windows without needing to burn to a DVD or flash drive. Keep in mind that the final product will NOT be a virtual machine:

  1. Install VirtualBox from http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/4.3.28/VirtualBox-4.3.28-100309-OSX.dmg. Make sure it installs the command line tools.
  2. Once installed, open it and create a new VM by clicking "New" on the top left.
  3. Select the type to be "Microsoft Windows", and select the version as "Windows 8.1 (64 bit)", then give it a name of your choosing. Click "Continue"
  4. Click continue again (it won't matter how much RAM you give it for this process).
  5. Select "Do not add a virtual hard drive". We will be creating one on our own for our purposes. Click "Create", then "Continue".
  6. Now we have to open the Terminal. Type the following command: diskutil list. From the list of disks, make a note of the disk identifier in the last column that belongs to the 30GB partition you created for Windows. We will need this in the next step
  7. Run the command sudo chown $USER /dev/disk#s#. Replace disk#s# with the identifier from earlier. Enter your password and push return. Also run sudo chown $USER /dev/disk#s1. Use the same identifier, but replace the last number with a 1. Also run sudo chown $USER /dev/disk# using the first half of your identifier (minus the s# part).
  8. Unmount the disk by typing diskutil unmount /dev/disk#s# again, using your identifier.
  9. Now we have to create the disk for the VM to use for installation. Run the command VBoxManage internalcommands createrawvmdk -filename ~/RawWinDisk.vmdk -rawdisk /dev/disk# -partitions 1,#. Replace "disk#" with the appropriate first half of the identifier from earlier, and replace the second # sign with the last number in your identifier.
  10. Unmount the disk again diskutil unmount /dev/disk#s#, using your identifier.
  11. Now you should have a ".vmdk" file in your home folder. Go back into VirtualBox, select the VM you created, and click "Settings". Select the "Storage" tab, click on the "SATA" controller and click the second "+" sign directly to right of the controller (the hover text is "Add Hard Disk).
  12. (Note: Due to a fairly old bug, you can't command+tab away from the selection window we're about to create without VirtualBox bugging out and requiring a restart of the app. Try to complete this in one step) Click "Choose existing disk", and navigate to the VMDK we just created, which should be in your home folder. Click it and select "Open". Now you should see the newly added disk just below the "SATA" controller.
  13. Click on "Empty" just below the "IDE" controller, check "Live CD/DVD", and click the little CD icon next to "IDE Secondary".
  14. (Note: The same bug applies here. Try to do this in one step.) Click "Choose a virtual CD/DVD disk file...", navigate to your ISO, and open it.
  15. Start the VM and install windows on the 30G partition.
  16. When the installation is done and you're logged in, shut down Windows and you should see the disk created by Windows appear on the desktop. You can get the Boot Camp drivers for your laptop from https://support.apple.com/downloads/DL1720/en_US/BootCamp5.1.5621.zip. Put this on a flash drive formatted as ExFAT or FAT so Windows can read it.
  17. You should now be able to reboot into Windows by holding alt down, or selecting the disk in Startup Disk preferences.

This is a long process, but I believe I've covered all the steps involved... Let me know if anything goes wrong!

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – bmike Feb 24 '16 at 13:47

Well honestly this can be done in 5 steps:

  1. Create a windows installer usb

  2. Create a bootcamp partition

  3. Install rEFInd

  4. Install windows

  5. Install Boot camp drivers

the steps are broken down here https://eraxe.com/windows-7-bootcamp/


Yes it is, I installed Windows 8.1 on my 2009 MacBook Pro that way.

Here's an in-depth How-To: http://www.intowindows.com/how-to-install-windows-8-1-on-mac-without-boot-camp/

Alternatively, view this thread: Creating A Bootable USB Of Windows 8.1 On OS X?

If you are still having trouble creating a readable USB drive, try forcing Bootcamp to create a USB: http://crshd.github.io/2014/11/16/Creating-Windows-USB-on-OSX/

The only thing it required was installing drivers found in packages available by downloading Apple's Bootcamp support software here: https://support.apple.com/downloads/boot%20camp

And manually adding the drivers, either by launching each .exe or importing them from Device Manager.

  • That's the guide I followed previously, but I'm being tripped up by the fact my MBP doesn't have the option to create an install disk via Bootcamp assistant - and the bootable Windows USB I created with Rufus will only show up in rEFInd (leads to "No bootable device -- insert boot disk and press any key") but not if I hold the Option key. – Ryan Jun 11 '15 at 0:21
  • Added a how-to link re: forcing Bootcamp to create a USB drive. It's a frustrating process, either way. – Rampant Jun 11 '15 at 0:43
  • I've gone through an array of guides stating that info.plist dribble and in every attempt Bootcamp Assistant refuses to start. – Ryan Jun 11 '15 at 0:50

If using a VirtualBox to create the vmdk, check the version you are running. If you run VirtualBox >= 3.0, then check "Use host I/O" under SATA Controller to avoid errors when trying to start the virtual machine.


The guide provided by William T Froggard did not actually work for me.

I ran into several Problems which are too complicated to explain and after several days of research I still do not fully understand the reasons. (You can read my process over on my apple discussions post.)

If you are having problems getting Windows Bootcamp running without a USB-Stick I would highly recommend using this guide: Installing Windows 7 or 10 Pro 64 bit without DVD or Flash Drive.

I used that guide to install windows bootcamp on my early 2011 macbook pro 15" and it worked perfectly.

The guide appears more complicated than it actually is and is very well written.

For those who don't understand all the code, dont worry, you basically just have to copy & paste everything.

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