Is there any way to install Windows 10 on unsupported Mac (iMac mid 2011) without resort to various tricks with virtual machines?

  • Please ask only one question per question. To purchase Windows 10 go to Home or Pro. You may change to another MS store here.
    – klanomath
    Jan 3, 2016 at 15:51
  • If it's unsupported you might have problems with drivers so why not just run it in a virtual machine as a totally file based VM, not VM tricks to get it physically installed or instead of using Boot Camp. Jan 3, 2016 at 16:10
  • +1 I have an "old" MacBookPro 17" mid 2010 running a clean install of Windows 10 Pro 64bit running perfectly well in Bootcamp with all drivers running. Steps in next comment. Jul 10, 2016 at 21:19
  • I took much encouragement from the accepted answer below. But be aware I originally had windows 7 Pro 64bit and used the official in-place upgrade to 10 by Microsoft. Then I used Microsoft's media creator tool to create a WIndows 10 64bit installer ISO image which I burnt to DVD. I backed up my bootcamp partition with DriveImgXML and WinClone, used Bootcamp assistant in mac os to get latest drivers onto usb then booted into the install DVD I burnt. So all good! Jul 10, 2016 at 21:23
  • The backup of the upgraded 10 partition was a sensible precaution because I had no idea that the clean install was going to work so needed to be able to revert the partition to my backed up image. Be sure to deacticate and uninstall any apps that will need to be installed and activated. It's important to deactivate before the clean install as there may be a license seat limit on some apps, e.g. Adobe. so if not deactivated then the seat is lost but this can be remedied by contacting Adobe chat (I know this for a fact as I have had to do this) Jul 10, 2016 at 21:31

3 Answers 3


A different user recently posted a similar question on superuser. Since my answer was accepted as correct, I will repost it below.

The Basic steps to install 64 bit Windows 10 are as follows. I assume here that your current configuration is the default "Out of the Box" OS X installation.

  1. Download the correct Boot Camp Support Software for your Mac. Transfer these files to a FAT formatted flash drive. For your Mac, use the same software as for a 64 bit Windows 7 installation. These files can be found at Boot Camp Support Software 5.1.5621
  2. Use the Disk Utility to reduce the size of your OS X partition. In the empty space, create a FAT formatted partition with the label BOOTCAMP.
  3. Burn the Windows 10 iso file to a DVD. You can use the Disk Utility to do this. I always use a RW DVD. This takes longer to burn, but is reusable.
  4. Restart the Mac with the DVD in the optical drive. Hold down the alt/option key and select the DVD icon with the label Windows.
  5. Install Windows to the Boot Camp partition. You will have to tell the installer to reformat this partition as NTFS. DO NOT CHANGE THE PARTITIONING DURING THE INSTALLATION PROCESS.
  6. At some point during the installation, the computer will reboot. When it does, it will boot to OS X. This is to be expected. Go to System Preferences and instruct OS X to boot back to Windows. The installation process will continue.
  7. After the Windows installation has completed, install the Boot Camp Support software stored on the flash drive. To accomplish this, you will have to right click on the icon and select Compatibility Mode.

I do not consider the process to be that difficult. The most challenging step is creating the FAT formatted partition labeled BOOTCAMP. If something goes wrong, you are in danger of loosing data on your OS X partition.

  • Thanks! That worked. But Apple Keyboard stopped working after I installed BootCamp drivers. Tried to reinstall the drivers or pick them manually but it had no effect. Do you have some information regarding that issue? Jan 4, 2016 at 23:47
  • Is the keyboard wireless? I believe my 2011 iMac has a wireless keyboard. I have always used an old wired keyboard. I suppose I could find some batteries and see if it works with Windows 10. I imagine the keyboard has to be paired with the iMac. Jan 5, 2016 at 0:07
  • Yeah, Apple bluetooth keyboard. It worked until I installed bootcamp. It has to be some problem with driver. I googled a lot, but different people go with different solutions. Some delete USB3 driver in recovery mode, some just update keyboard driver manually. I tried several and had no success. Jan 6, 2016 at 9:10
  • With this method, do you still just hold option on startup to select OSX or Bootcamp?
    – Staysee
    Apr 1, 2016 at 22:25
  • 2
    @Shayan: An USB stick has be formatted with a file system that can be recognized by both Windows 10 and the Mac's firmware. FAT can mean FAT32. Also, it can mean FAT12 or FAT16. NTFS is not recognized by any model Mac's firmware. The firmware on newer Macs (and older Macs with the proper upgrade) can recognize FAT32 and ExFAT. Windows 10 can at least recognize FAT (including FAT32) and ExFAT. Often, Windows 10 ISOs contain one or more files that are to large to be copied FAT32 formatted volumes. This is not a problem when a volume is ExFAT formatted. Oct 28, 2019 at 10:11

I was prepared to follow the instructions above, but noticed Boot Camp clearly said "Install Windows 7 or later version". So I tried it and everything worked perfectly.

I installed Windows 10.1 on a mid 2011 iMac running El Capitan, using Boot Camp. The only setback was having to burn the Windows ISO to a DVD because it wouldn't let me install from a USB.

I wonder if they updated Boot Camp Assistant since this question was asked.

  • i read the official apple website seems like it doesn't allow usb3 to install the Windows 10 but allow usb2
    – Turbot
    Apr 2, 2017 at 13:36

I have an 27' Imac 2011, which according to Apple is not supported for Windows 10 install.

I just walked through the steps of Bootcamp 6.0.1, downloaded the Bootcamp support files, created the Windows partition in Bootcamp, inserted a DVD of the W10 x64 ISO that I downloaded from MS and followed the procedures.

The only problem I encountered (eventhough I was prepared for more..) was that I had to get a USB wired keyboard and mouse during the installation steps. However the install as such went smooth and when finalized the Bootcamp support drivers loaded nicely. I had to pair my Apple keyboard with the system. After that everything including sound, Bluetooth, graphics and what not worked like a charm.

Since after build 1511 of W10 you don't have to upgrade from 7 or 8.1 to get a free upgrade, you can do a clean install instead and register with a valid 7, 8 or 8.1 license key, for me that worked great.

So when Apple states that my Imac 2011 is not supported for W10, I guess it's currently more of a statement than a fact. I guess they mean that they don't put any further additional efforts into keeping it compatible onwards whenever MS decides to change W10 system logic.

However since W10 is really a polished W8.1, with basically the same "under the hood" logic, any Apple Bootcamp supported Mac up to W8.1 Mac's (like my Imac 2011) is perhaps likely to support also W10, even if Apple doesen't want to state that.

  • That makes sense. Everything works fine except for bluetooth keyboard :( Had to buy USB keyboard. Jun 24, 2016 at 9:01
  • I tried to do the same thing on my MacBook 2011. I installed Windows 8.1 on it and upgraded it to Windows 10. However, nothing worked accordingly. I had issues with the multiple displays option and the sound drive. So I downgraded to Windows 8.1. Jul 13, 2018 at 0:41

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