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So basically I've got a Macbook Pro 2013 / 2014, I'm not sure which. It has a completely wiped hard drive, and I'm trying to install Windows on it. I have a Windows 10 Installer USB drive that works fine on other computers. By this I mean in other computers, the BIOS lists the USB drive as a boot option and works as expected.

But in the Macbook Startup Manager (accessed by holding the option key while the computer is booting), it is not an option.

If I use a live Linux USB (I've tried arch and debian) it works as expected, debian installed on the Macbook with no problems.

What can I do to fix this? Also keep in mind there is no operating system installed on the system, so I can't use any OSX utilities, but I can use Linux utilities.

  • Glad to help, but first let us get some terms correct. Your model Mac does not have a BIOS. Apple eliminated the BIOS on the MBP models by 2013. Your Mac does have a EFI. I do not think Windows has a Live version of Windows 10. I think you mean a bootable Windows 10 installer flash drive. When you hold down the option key, you are booting to the Startup Manager. – David Anderson Dec 28 '17 at 23:20
  • Was the Windows 10 installer USB drive created by using the Windows 10 download tool? In other words, do you need copy the files from this installer to another flash drive that will boot on a Mac? Or, do you have a Windows 10 iso available? I ask because the iso file is easier to use. I have never tried converting a flash drive, but if necessary i could test to see if it is possible. – David Anderson Dec 29 '17 at 0:03
  • @DavidAnderson I've got the ISO – BWG Dec 29 '17 at 0:10
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Here are the steps I would use to install Windows 10 your Mac. I assume you have a Windows 10 iso file.

  1. Install the current macOS operation system to your Mac. Currently this High Sierra version 10.13.2. The accomplishes two tasks. First, you will get all the logic board firmware updates. This is done in the background, so you will never know if a firmware update occurs. You used to have to manually install firmware updates, but as you can see from the legacy firmware update site, Apple now does update automatically. Second, you will get the latest version of the Boot Camp Assistant application. You can use this application to create the USB Windows 10 installer flash drive.

    Note: The newer Macs can install Windows 10 without the use of a USB flash drive.

  2. Use the Boot Camp Assistant to install Windows 10.

    If you do not want macOS installed on your Mac, then you can delete macOS during the installation of Windows 10. If you reach the window shown below, select "Custom: Install Windows only (advanced)".

    x80

    Next, remove macOS by deleting all the partitions. The result should be the same as shown below.

    x81

    With the unallocated space highlighted, select "Next". The windows installer will automatically create the correct partitions.

The answer to your question

You Mac will not boot from the flash drive because the drive is not FAT formatted using a MBR partitioning scheme. If your drive is FAT formatted using a MBR partitioning scheme, then the firmware on your logic board is not up-to-date.

  • Thank you for the answer. The Rufus USB imaging tool I use does have an option to format in FAT32 with an MBR label. I'm pretty sure I've tried that though and it still didn't show up. (I'm reflashing it right now) How would I re-download the MacOS? That seems like the easiest option. – BWG Dec 29 '17 at 0:13
  • see: support.apple.com/en-us/HT204904 You should use macOS Recovery. If the installed version is not 10.13.2 then update using the App Store application. The upgrade should be free. – David Anderson Dec 29 '17 at 0:38
  • I updated my answer based on the posted comments. – David Anderson Dec 29 '17 at 8:51
  • Thanks for the answer. I was able to find a macOS iso somewhere and reinstall it on the Macbook (my recovery partition was erase), and then install windows in the normal way. I'm sure finding a random iso is not the official way to do it but it worked for me. – BWG Dec 30 '17 at 19:03

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