I have a 2011 Mac mini that I have completely removed OS X from and installed Windows 10 instead.

Since Boot Camp only supports Windows 7 for this Mac, I did not use it. I just formatted the drive, stuck the Windows 10 DVD in and installed it directly. Then I grabbed the drivers from Boot Camp and manually installed each one.

My problem is the computer does not have a Startup Disk set. I have to hold option and choose Windows everytime I boot the machine up. Is there a way to permanently set the Startup Disk to Windows without OS X available and without using the Windows Boot Camp utility? The utility will not install, as it detects I'm not using Windows 7 and bails.


You should not of had to install the drivers manually. If you right click on setup.exe from the "Boot Camp Support Software", you should be able to select compatibility mode. You say you formatted the drive. It would help if you explained what utility you used to do this. My concern is for how Windows determines the drive partitioning. For your model/year Mac, Windows should be installed in MBR/BIOS mode.

If the "Boot Camp Support Software" is installed correctly, then you can select the startup disk from the Boot Camp pane on the Control Panel.

Another option which works on most later Macs, is to hold down the alt/option key on startup. When the icon labeled Windows appears, hold down the control key and select Windows. This will make Windows the default operation system.

Here Is Some Advice on the Boot Camp Support Software.

According to the Apple web site "Install Windows 7 and earlier on your Mac using Boot Camp", the proper "Boot Camp Support Software" (BCSS) for installing 64 bit Windows 7 on your model Mac is "Boot Camp Support Software 5.1.5621". According to the Apple web site "Use Windows 8.1 on your Mac with Boot Camp", your model also supports 64 bit Windows 8.1. For this version of Windows, Apple requires you to use the Boot Camp Assistant to download the BCSS to a flash drive. You can download this software without installing Windows 8.1 to your Mac.

One of the machines, I have access to, is a 2011 iMac. It uses the same version of BCSS as your Mac mini for the installation of 64 bit Windows 7. I verified that the BCSS for installing 64 bit Windows 8.1 on this iMac is exactly the same as for installing 64 bit Windows 7. I have no way of verifying if is this is also true for your Mac mini.

I thought I used the procedure given in the comments below to run the BCSS on the 2011 iMac with 64 bit Windows 10 installed. Now that I think about it, I may not of had to.

Eventually, the BCSS is released in sets of versions. As far as I can tell, only version sets 4, 5 and 6 can be downloaded from an Apple web site and/or through the Boot Camp Assistant. Older sets exist on the Snow Leopard (OS X 10.6) or older DVDs. Some (if not all) of the version 4 BCSS downloads contain a Bootcamp64.msi file. I know this to be true for 4.0.4033 and 4.0.4255. Most (if not all) of the version 5 BCSS downloads do not contain a Bootcamp64.msi file. I know this to be true for 5.1.5621 and 5.1.5640. The version 6 set is irrelevant, since Apple does not officially support Windows 10 on 2011 Macs.

This leads me to the conclusion that you are using the wrong BCSS.

You should probably install El Capitan (OS X 10.11) and download the BCSS using the Boot Camp Assistant. Or at least, you should be download "Boot Camp Support Software 5.1.5621".

  • It doesn't appear to be a compatibility issue but rather Boot Camp is specifically checking the OS and refusing to run i.imgur.com/rPtrihO.png – Matt Greer Jul 9 '16 at 4:18
  • Holding down control seemed promising, the up arrow below the WIndows drive turned into a circular arrow. But alas rebooting my computer leaves me with no OS. Interestingly, if I do a hard shutdown (hold the power key down until the computer turns off), then start it up again, it will boot into WIndows. But from within windows, neither restart nor shutdown then turn back on will not. – Matt Greer Jul 9 '16 at 4:20
  • You must have made a error during installation. Do you know if you installed windows using the MBR/BIOS method or GPT/EFI method? Do you know how to determine this? Do you have a Boot Camp icon on the Control Panel. The OS X command to set the default startup partition is called bless. If you have another Mac running OS X, then you can create a bootable flash drive. You can then boot your Windows only Mac from the flash drive and run the bless command. – David Anderson Jul 9 '16 at 4:35
  • Expand again how exactly you acquired the "Boot Camp Support Software". If you downloaded from a Web site, post the URL. I know you posted a picture showing your failure, but you probably are not trying hard enough. I have a 2007 iMac and 2011 iMac, both running Windows 10 Pro 64 bit. It was a challenge to get the Boot Camp Support Software to install correctly, but I was able to. – David Anderson Jul 9 '16 at 4:52
  • I downloaded Boot Camp using github.com/timsutton/brigadier -- it grabbed the MacMini5,1 version of Boot Camp straight from Apple. How did you get Boot Camp and Win 10 installed on those iMacs? I just tried downloading Boot Camp for MacBookPro10,1 and it also refuses to launch saying "This version of Boot Camp is not intended for this computer model." (which is not surprising) Not sure how I can work around the checks Apple put in setup.exe without directly modifying the binary. – Matt Greer Jul 9 '16 at 5:00

Easiest answer should be to power on your Mac, hold down the Option Key and let the Startup Manager populate itself with your bootable volumes.

Highlight the Windows volume and hold the Control Key down, you should note the icon changes to an arrow going around in a circle, while still holding Control down press Enter.

Congratulations, you have now set the default startup volume to be that volume.


  • Sidenote: You can hack the latest BootCamp drivers to not check for the model of Mac you're using: johnny.chadda.se/install-windows-10-on-a-mac also as you have done use Brigadier, github.com/timsutton/brigadier But specify Macmini7,1 as the model identifier so you get the newer boot camp software. – David Baverstock Jul 10 '16 at 12:09
  • Anyone reading the above comment should disregard it. The user that posted the question needs to download drivers for mid 2011 Mac mini. (This model has the identifier of Macmini5,1 or Macmini5,2, depending type of graphics). Specifying Macmini7,1 would provide drivers for the wrong hardware. Also, 2011 model Macs install Windows using the legacy BIOS/MBR boot method and partitioning scheme. This includes Windows 10. The Boot Camp Assistant installs Windows 10 on the late 2014 Mac mini (Macmini7,1) using the EFI/GPT boot method and partitioning scheme. – David Anderson Jul 10 '16 at 18:52
  • @DavidAnderson You're right that I instructed to get the Boot Camp software for a 2014 Mac mini. This is because it is compatible with a wide range of Macs and is guaranteed to be a later version compatible with Windows 10. Hence my note to hack the installer so it'll let you install. The 2011 Mac mini boot camp software is for Windows 7. – David Baverstock Jul 10 '16 at 22:41

If you can access recovery mode by holding down Command + R when you boot into your machine, you should be able to press the apple icon in to top left hand corner of the screen and select start up disk and then choose your startup disk.

enter image description here

Hope this helps :)

  • I was able to get into recovery mode and the Choose Startup Disk utility. From there I selected Windows and clicked Restart. But it restarted into no OS. What's interesting is if I hard shutdown the machine (hold the power button in until it shuts off), then turn it on, it will boot into Windows on its own. But from within Windows, neither restart nor shutdown then turn on will not boot into Windows. It's bizarre. – Matt Greer Jul 9 '16 at 4:21
  • oh thats weird, sorry this didn't help. – Nate Jul 9 '16 at 8:16
  • yeah there seems to be something really wrong. Probably headed to the Genius Bar at some point. Thanks for the help. – Matt Greer Jul 9 '16 at 8:19

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