I have recently wiped my hard drive and partitioned my hard drive like this:

/dev/disk0 (internal, physical):
   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:      GUID_partition_scheme                        *251.0 GB   disk0
   1:                        EFI EFI                     209.7 MB   disk0s1
   2:                  Apple_HFS Macintosh HD            143.4 GB   disk0s2
   3:                 Apple_Boot Recovery HD             650.0 MB   disk0s3
   4:       Microsoft Basic Data WINDOWS                 40.0 GB    disk0s4
   5:       Microsoft Basic Data Linux Boot              999.3 MB   disk0s5
   6:       Microsoft Basic Data Linux Swap              17.0 GB    disk0s6
   7:       Microsoft Basic Data Linux                   48.8 GB    disk0s7

As you can see partition 1 is the EFI partition (default when choosing GUID)
Partition 2 is my El Capitan partition
Partition 3 the El Capitan recovery partition
Partition 4 is where I would like to install Windows
Partition 5 is where I am going to be able to boot Linux from (tutorial here)
Partition 6 is going to be the Swap partition for Linux
And finally partition 7 is going to be where the Linux (mint) OS is going to be installed.

Due to having this layout (created by doing diskutil partitionDisk /dev/disk0 GPT JHFS+ First 10g JHFS+ Second 10g JHFS+ Third 10g JHFS+ Fourth 10g with different file formats then the ones shown above), I now get this error when clicking continue from bootcamp:

enter image description here

The startup disk cannot be partitioned or restored to a single partition

The startup disk must be formatted as a single Mac OS Extended Journaled volume or already partitioned by Boot Camp Assistant for installing Windows.

I cannot seem to get past this step. Does anyone know how I can install Windows 10 without BootCamp due to this error? I already have the Windows 10 ISO file.

I do not want to have to reformat my computer again (I know that is the easy way around this issue). I want to work my way through this issue.

  • Wouldn't using virtual machines be so much easier? Do you already have the Windows 10 Boot Camp Drivers? If yes, then there are plenty of tutorials on the Internet on how to make a Windows USB Installer. If you don't have the Windows 10 Boot Camp Drivers you might have to use a different Mac to get them via Boot Camp Assistant. Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 12:42
  • Try unetbootin. Worked in the past for me when creating Windows 7 USB drives.
    – thibmaek
    Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 13:01
  • @user3439894 I don't have the Windows 10 drivers, otherwise I would already know how to do this. :) I want it as a physical machine because I will either be using it by its self for college, or I will be updating firmware on some devices (which is easier using a physical machine due to when it disconnects.
    – iProgram
    Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 18:34
  • @Thibmaekelbergh UnetBootin doesn't work for me. Thanks for the suggestion anyway.
    – iProgram
    Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 18:53
  • I take it you can not create the USB flash drive installer using the Boot Camp Assistant? I assume you are going to install Windows using the legacy BIOS/MBR method. If so, you may find that you must install Linux first, before Windows. This happens if the linux installer disagrees with Apple's hybrid partitioning scheme. In other words, unless you use a tool like gdisk, you will have to temporarily format the Windows partition "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)" to create a pure GPT partitioned disk. After linux is installed, reformat Windows MSDOS (FAT) to return to a hybrid partitioned disk. Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 20:37

5 Answers 5


You can simply click past the error, but when you try to install windows, you'll get an error that it's in the wrong partition style. You can create the bootable USB drive, it's just telling you that you won't be able to install windows unless you decide to do that.


The latest Windows 10 ISO file (October Update) is over 4GB in size, so you have to partition the USB drive to exFAT on Mac before burning. If not, you will receive waring message in Boot Camp Assistant.

Actually, there are a few good ISO burner apps (Ether, UUbyte, DiskMarkX) out there than Boot Camp, which does good in creating dual boot on Mac. If the Windows 10 bootable USB will be used somewhere else, just skip Boot Camp.


You will likely have to install Windows 10 without the benefit of the BootCamp installer. Which means that you will have to create a bootable Windows 10 USB installer. If I recall correctly Microsoft will allow you to do exactly that with a Windows 10 download. Once that is created you should be able to boot the Mac from the Windows 10 installer and install it on the desired partition. Once that is done you can get the actual Windows drivers out of the Boot Camp installer and install them manually.

This is all going from supposition and doesn't take into account that you also want to boot Linux. From a very basic level the procedure I have outlined above should work. A Windows Installer should be able to boot a Mac and then should see the available partitions and install on the one you want. But there are so many variables to take into account, not the least of which is the number of partitions you have on the drive (which might make Windows, Mac OS and/or Linux not able to boot at all).

you are going down an experimental road. A few folks here might have some experience with doing it this way and might be able to help, but it will likely be a bumpy path filled with boot managers, re-partititioning and the general tearing of hair that is involved when anyone attempts doing things non-standard with a Mac.

Not trying to discourage you, just pointing out that, if you succeed, it may take a while and you may end up with a configuration that you started out not being thrilled about.

  • Thank you for the advice. This is also experimental. I don't mind risks like this since Ive had to format my drives before due to problems. The hardest part of formatting and reinstalling El Capitan and the other partitions was using the new version of Disk Utility (It doesn't work as good as previous versions) so in the end I ended up having to partition by using terminal!
    – iProgram
    Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 18:37
  • Do you know what I should use to create the bootable installer then? I tried 'sudo dd if=/path/to/windows/iso of=/dev/{disk identifier} bs=512m' however it is not recognised when trying to boot from it.
    – iProgram
    Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 18:54
  • There is a utility that I used to download a Windows 10 installer. there was a version to create a thumb drive. It was right after Win10 was released and though I have the thumb drive I don't remember the exact location, but it was from Microsoft.com and not using "dd" Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 21:04

As far as I know you CAN use BOOT CAMP to create a USB stick with the neccessary drivers from a Windows ISO without having to partition or format your HDD ... at least with Booot Camp 6 it should also have a EFI boot on the USB stick.

So simply use Boot Camp for creating a USB installation medium and then BOOT FROM IT WITHOUT USING BOOT CAMP TO PARTITION YOUR MAC !

  • 2
    can you please edit your question, so it contains less upper-case? it's not good way of formatting.
    – Farside
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 11:12

Not completely the answer as this fix works with Boot Camp. But it fixes the problem: I cannot seem to get past this step.

What I did: remove the extra (non-OS X/Windows/Linux -> 4,5,6,7) partitions and merge them into the main Apple OS partition(2).(using diskutil)

Start Boot Camp Assistant and it will not give the error you got and continue (telling you how to) install Windows.

Afterwards, resize Windows partition (in Windows) , resize Mac partition (in OS X), and create your Linux partitions (diskutil).

Handy program to help with booting from USB/partitions is rEFInd , an Apple EFI boot manager (it saves trouble with other boot managers)

I had the same problem trying to install Windows (7,now upgraded to 10) on a MacBook 2009 El Capitan, deleting (and merging) the extra partitions made bootcamp work flawlessly.

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