I've been looking around and haven't found an idiot proof guide to partitioning my mac to run windows 8. Unfortunately, that's what I need as I have not knowledge of any of the required software/firmware or OS's in general.

I'm running OS X 10.10.3 with bootcamp v 5.1.4 and I also have virtualbox 4.3.28

I have ownership of a copy of windows 8.1 student from the microsoft store but the only thing I've been able to download there is an .exe file.

I think the problem is that I don't have a bootable usb or iso from which to boot. Is there any way for me to install windows on my machine?

Also, what would be better for uses like CAD on the windows partition: virtualbox or bootcamp. I'm running entirely on a solid state drive (MB pro) so rebooting isn't a huge issue but I wonder if it's worth it in terms of performance to use bootcamp.

Sorry for the long-winded two part question.

  • I suppose you could download a iso of Windows 8.1 enterprise for a free 90 day trial. Install using either virtual box of directly using bootcamp. Once installed you could run your exe to download the purchased Windows 8.1 software. Jul 17, 2015 at 4:33

2 Answers 2


With just having an .exe file you'll need to run that under Windows to create either an USB Installer or an ISO Image or both as they can be used for either Boot Camp or in a VM using VMware Fusion, Parallels Desktop or VirtualBox.

To install in a VM you can use an ISO Image.

To install using Boot Camp Assistant and creating a USB Installer you need an ISO Image to create the USB Installer if the one created under Windows will not work.

If your Mac has an Optical Drive a DVD can be used, creating it from the ISO Image.

  • My issue is that I don't have an ISO image, I don't have an optical drive, and I don't have a computer currently running windows from which I can run the exe. Do I have another option in your view? Jul 16, 2015 at 2:06
  • As I've already said, "With just having an .exe file you'll need to run that under Windows to create either an USB Installer or an ISO Image" as that is what the .exe file is capable of doing. I know it'a a Catch-22 in your situation however that's what's required under the circumstances unless you can come up with an ISO Image or USB installer some other legitimate way. Jul 16, 2015 at 2:38

I would reckoned running boot camp to take full control of your machine, but with the proper VB settings, you could optimize it to be near perfect.

As for the first question, the only possible way to boot camp it would be to burn the ISO to a disk or USB flash drive. You would achieve this by inserting the blank media and then opening disk utitiliy and burn the ISO to the disk. Making the USB bootable can be achieved by a quick google.

However, VB does not require a physical boot disk. Set up the VB like you would for a DVD. But instead of booting up, go to that virtual machines settings and go to storage. Press the add putt on at the bottom right of the storage tree and add your ISO. Bow you can boot as normal and it will work.

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