I've created an USB with Windows 10 from where I can boot:

  1. Restart pressing option.
  2. Select USB EFI partition.
  3. Windows starts.

When EFI password is active it will be asked when booting pressing the option key, and unless I know the password I can't boot using a different partition.

I tried to set Windows as Startup Disk using System Preferences, but end up with this error:

remove disk or other media press any key to restart

Is there any alternative to boot Windows from USB without pressing the option key, but behaves the same way and I'm not asked for the EFI password?

Here are some details, I'm on a MacBook Air (13-inch, Mid 2013) running OSX El Capitan 10.11.3 (15D21). Booting using a USB 3 with Windows 10.

  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it appears to be a question about the Microsoft Windows operating system.
    – IconDaemon
    May 6, 2016 at 11:43
  • 2
    I've made edits to your question replacing "alt" with "option" as it's the paradigm Apple uses. See: Startup key combinations for Mac Additionally, there is no reason the enlarge and bold the question, as readers will see it just fine written normally! May 6, 2016 at 11:46
  • 3
    @IconDaemon, While this question is about booting Windows, nonetheless it's being asked in the context of doing so on Apple Hardware and therefore IMO is not necessarily off topic since Apple and OS X do support installing Windows via Boot Camp Assistant and running Windows on Apple Hardware. May 6, 2016 at 11:50
  • @user3439894 - agreed.
    – IconDaemon
    May 6, 2016 at 12:07
  • Is your objective to always boot to Windows on the external drive when first starting your Mac? If your answer is yes, then have tried using the bless command. If so and that failed, have you tried using rEFInd installed to your EFI partition. May 15, 2016 at 7:45

1 Answer 1


What you are asking for is not a common configuration. I can confirm my answer works on my 2011 and 2013 iMacs running High Sierra and Mojave. I can not guarantee success on a 2013 MacBook Air running El Capitan. You would have to try the solution.

The basic steps are given below.

  1. Allocate space for new small partition that is FAT formatted.
  2. Install rEFInd in this new partition.
  3. Edit refind.conf to configure rEFInd to add boot options for Windows and macOS.
  4. Add a Startup application to macOS
  5. Add Startup application to the dock. (optional)
  6. Launch Startup application to select default operating system.

An example of the Startup application is shown below.


You can install rEFInd in a small FAT formatted partition and application on

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