Install Windows 8.1 on a Macbook Air no DVD drive

This video will show you how to Install Windows 8.1 on a MacBook Air without a DVD drive.

Hi All,
In this article you will find the steps, on how to install Windows 8.1 on a MacBook Air and any Mac without DVD drive.
This process was done on MacBook Air 2013 model and we will also use an ISO file or DVD image rather then a an actual DVD.

If you are looking for the video How to install Windows 8.1 on a Mac running OS X Mavericks you can find it here.
This video will show you how to install Windows 8.1 with a DVD.

What will you need to make this happen?
1. MacBook
2. 8GB USB stick or higher
3. Windows 8.1 ISO file, you can find a copy on the 123myIT download page here
Or you buy a full version of Windows 8.1 recommended under the Store.

4. Once you have done the above, the next step is to run the Boot Camp Assistant. You can do this by going into finder and the type boot camp, or click the Desktop then click on Go, and then select utilities Boot Camp Assistant.
Boot Camp Assistant

5. Once you have this started up simply follow the video above and pretty soon you will have Windows 8.1 up and running on your MacBook Air.

6. If you are having problems during setup where you can move your mouse or type anything on the keyboard, you can try plugging in a USB keyboard and mouse for the initial setup, and then after Windows is installed go to the Boot Camp Drivers page here and download the correct drivers for your model of Mac which should solve this problem.

NOTE: Key points to remember, if your Mac doesn’t boot into the Windows installer screen then you can find the boot menu by restarting the Mac and holding down the ALT or option key.
For more information you can check out the Official Apple Boot Camp page here.

160 thoughts on “Install Windows 8.1 on a Macbook Air no DVD drive

  1. Thank you for these instruction on running windows using boot camp but I have tried twice and the files is stuck half way through the process in copying them.

  2. hallo, my iMac stuck in first setup windows 8.1 because my wireless keyboard and magic mouse can’t connect to windows
    how i should doing?
    sorry my english

  3. Hi 123myIT, when I got windows running I didn’t find boot camp in system and security or get any dialogue from bootcamp at all. I’d be really grateful for any insight on the matter.


  4. Worked like a charm. Took a little longer on all the loading.. but worked out perfectly. Any tips on upgrading Windows 8.1 Pro Preview to Windows 8.1? Or just purchasing a Windows 8.1 License/Key?

  5. Hey mate, while im installing windows 8.1 it asks for a product activation key, and in your video you said you can find it in 123myit website, whereabouts is it?

  6. I have tried this, and where it says choose ISO file and then continue..after a while I get the message an error occurred while copying the windows files. What did I do wrong? I downloaded the Windows 8.1 Blue for Macbook Pro from your website.
    thanks Simone

    • HI Simone
      Sounds like the files are not copying across to the USB correctly. Can you try a different USB drive to test?
      Also try downloading the Windows 8.1 iso file again. It may have become corrupted when it was downloaded.

  7. i recently replaced my superdrive with the original HD and add SSD to the main drive. the OSX system is in the SSD and i planned to divided my hd for OSX and WIN.

    i add a partition in HD via Bootcamp and delete the bootcamp drive in Disk Utility then restart the computer to run the WIN 8 ISO in usb after i disconnected the SSD. (Don’t know why the system didn’t allow me to install WIN 8 in the BootCamp Drive created by BootCamp. ) But after i successfully run the WIN 8 installation, the computer said the window can’t update and restart the computer and cancelled the installation.

    i restarted the computer and the system said that there is missing BCD file and got an error 0xc0000034…

    i’ve tried the WIN8.1 ISO downloaded from ur site, still have the same problem…

    the MBP is 2011 late and the BootCamp Assistant is 5.1.2 version…
    i’m wondering if the problem of installation can be fixed or not…

    • Hi Olivia
      Try running the boot camp again removing the bootcamp partition. Restart the Mac, run a disk repair on your ssd. Reboot your Mac again. Then try running the boot camp again and see if it will install.

      • thx a lot for your reply but i’m still a bit confuse as i don’t know much about computer…
        do u mean i run disk repair on the hard drive ?

        my osx system is on SSD but i want to have a storage disk for mac and WIN system on my second drive.

        do i need to install another osx system on the second drive for bootcamp?

  8. I got all the way until the part where I choose where I want to install windows. When I click format and then next, it says “we couldn’t create a new partition or locate an existing one.” I’m not sure what to do?? I haven’t seen this happen anywhere else

    • HI Nathan Reinhart
      Do you have any other SD cards added? If so remove any other SD devices or USB drives that are not needed and try the process again.

  9. Hi Matt,

    Thanks for your help video, very helpful so far! But I get this error message on partitioning my disk:

    “An error occurred while partitioning the disk”

    I’ve ‘verified’ my disk using the disk utility tool and I can’t figure why it won’t work..


  10. Hey i just did your step by step and once its near the end i get message saying could not connect to net to download somethings i think? can’t even 100% remember now but do i need to be connected to internet? wired not wireless?

  11. Thanks I have done all the steps on the video and works well and finally have windows working but I have a legit product key that i want to activate but it won’t accept it, even when i click the online option it doesn’t do anything, it just says activate at a later date. If you no anything about this like how long it will take or another way to put my activation key in please let me no.


  12. Hi Matt, sorry one more quick question, now that iv activated windows can I use the bootcamp installer (and where abouts is it) to get the sound, keyboard settings again


  13. Hi, ive tried installing 8.1 on a macbook air a few times now and at the very start of the windows install i get a bluescreen with Recovery Your PC needs to be repaired the os couldnt be loaded because the kernal is missing or corrupt

    Error code: 0xc0000098

    any ideas?

    • Hi Farhad
      Sounds like you might have some hardware issue there.
      First of all try running a hardware test.
      Details below.

      Using Apple Hardware Test on computers with OS X 10.7 or later

      Mac NoteBook and Desktop computers shipping with OS X 10.7 or later have a partition on the hard drive or flash storage that contains AHT. To start AHT on these computers please follow these instructions:
      1.Press the power button to turn on your computer.
      2.Press and hold the D key before the gray startup screen appears.
      3.It takes a minute or so for AHT to start up and inspect your hardware configuration. While this is taking place, an icon appears on the screen:

      4.When the process is complete, select your language and click the right arrow. If you aren’t using a mouse, you can use the up and down arrows to select a language and then press the Return key.
      5.The AHT console appears. You can choose which sort of test or tests to perform:β€’To perform all of the basic tests, click the Test button or press the “T” key or the Return key.
      β€’To perform a more thorough diagnostic test, select the “Perform extended testing” checkbox under the Test button before you click the Test button.

      Note: Your test results will appear in the window in the bottom-right of the console.6.To exit AHT, click Restart or Shut Down at the bottom of the window.


      • Hi Matt thanks for the reply. Thinking it would solve the problem i purchased parallels (great bit of kit btw) but it didnt. So i re-downloaded and re-made the windows.iso file and hey presto it worked. So im thinking the bootcamp method would have worked no problem. Typical microsoft!

    • Hi Tom
      Are you using the Windows preview version? I think you might have to upgrade it to a real version before it gives you extra features like that.
      Let me know.

  14. I have downloaded the 64 bit ISO file but when I try to make the bootable USB drive it says I need the 64 bit ISO file even though I have it selected. I have tried to use the 32 bit but i receive the same error message. Any ideas?

  15. I recently purchased Windows 8.1 and was wondering if I can download your ISO file but use my product key of the Windows I recently purchased?

  16. Hey there.
    I downloaded Windows 8 with no Jiffy. The only problem is after I clicked Install during the part where u choose how much GB your partition will be, my MacbookAir Mid 2013 13 inch restarted to normal O S X. It did not start up windows even though it says it did. Can you please help me and tell me what I can do?


    – Jascinta

  17. Hey Matt. When I go to run bootcamp, the check box that is marked “install windows 7” is grayed out. I ran through bootcamp once already and it made a wininstall drive out of the usb i was using. It never went on to install windows. What do I need to do?

    • HI Cameron
      When the wininstall drive is created it creates both a windows install and a Windows drivers on that usb.
      If this was created successfully you should be able to hold down the ALT option key on your Mac when restarting and
      It should then boot you into a screen where you can select the Wininstall usb drive and install Windows.
      Have a look at this video should give you some idea of what I am talking about.
      Go to 54seconds in.
      Fix GPT Error: Windows cannot be installed to this disk

  18. hi I have bought a new 15inch macbook pro with 16gb ram memory and I downloaded the windows 8.1 preview using boot camp,, additionally i installed autodesk revit on it, however this revit program is running slow and horrible and laggigng,, is it because its a preview copy?

    thanks Omar,

  19. it saids that The Windows support software could not be saved to the selected drive.An error occurred while saving the Windows support software.

    • Hi Jason
      Just make sure you can write to the USB drive. Maybe format it.
      Also make sure you Mac is working on the internet and that it has good wireless signal. It needs to download the software from Apple.

    • Hi Jason
      Just make sure you can write to the USB drive. Maybe format it.
      Also make sure you Mac is working on the internet and that it has good wireless signal. It needs to download the software from Apple.

  20. Hello,
    I have macbook air late 2010, my macbook air only supports up to win 7. When I open boot camp, I have no option to create disk (the option is not there, it’s not like other ppl who have that option there but they can’t choose it, i don’t even have that option in my boot camp). What should I do? Im running OS 10.10 yosemite

  21. Hi,

    Thanks for the great videos!

    I have some questions: this preview version of W8.1 will only allow me to upgrade to W8.1 pro? The pro version is a bit expensive for my needs (playing a couple games that I can’t play on OS X) and I’d prefer the basic one.

    What is the best way to get an iso of the basic one? Do I need to buy the downloadable version from microsoftstore on a friend’s PC an create the .iso file from there? Isn’t there any other way which does not require to use a PC?

    This would be my first Windows boot camp install ever and I have a late 2013 27 inch iMac (without any cd/dvd burner).

    Thanks in advance.


    • Hi Alex
      Totally understand what you are asking.
      If you upgrade the preview version it will only allow you to run Pro.
      In this case your best bet would be to buy a copy online. Preferably through the 123myIT website link below. πŸ™‚
      123myIT Store
      There you can get the cheaper versions.

      Once you have purchased a copy give Microsoft a call and ask them to post a DVD or you might even be able to get the iso file from the download. I always advise to have a DVD copy though, as you can create a iso file from that and it just good to have a hard back up of.
      How to create an ISO file on a Mac

      Once you have that DVD create your iso if you need too or use the DVD to install Windows on your Mac.
      Good luck and let me know how you get on.

  22. I downloaded the 64 bit blue off your website with no problem on my early 2014 mac air. Now, days later I want to purchase windows. The 8.1 pro is $200.00, is that the only choice I have? Is it possible that I can purchase a home edition that will work with preview I downloaded?

    2nd question. I am going to buy a version of windows before my 30 day preview is up. where can I go and pls give me instructions on how to do this.

    • Hi Kevin
      You can check out the different Windows flavours on the website under the heading Store.
      Click here STORE.
      You probably want the Windows 8.1 version for $119. There is also a student version if you are a student for $69 however I am not sure if the student version will work with the process below.

      You may have to do a reinstall of the software or you could try upgrading it with a USB. I have not tried this so you would be my guinea pig πŸ™‚
      Create installation media for Windows 8.1
      So after you buy the Windows 8.1 or Windows 8.1 pro, go to that URL above. This will download the version of Windows that you purchase and install it to a USB. Its pretty cool I tested it already and it works.
      Once downloaded and installed onto the USB. Run the setup.exe file from the usb and it might upgrade your Windows preview version. This is the part I have not tested. Worse comes to worse you can remove the Windows preview version and reinstall it with the new created USB.

      Sorry for the long winded reply. Let me know how you get on.


  23. hi 123myit,

    i have a macbook air mid 2013, and i am trying to install windows 8.1, i have the iso file ready and i did everything you said in the video, but it always stops at the part it downloads windows support software and it gives me an error.

    i tried more than once, with 3 different usb drives and i get the same thing



  24. i have macbook pro MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Mid 2014) with os x yosemite v 10.10.1 while using boot com assestant shows these The Windows support software could not be saved to the selected drive.An error occurred while saving the Windows support software. plz help me to solve this

  25. I’ve tried installing Window using bootcamp two times and each time after it sets up the drive on my USB it tells me to “Install this windows support software after installing windows.” Bootcamp isn’t showing the same menu as in your tutorial. Any idea on what’s going on? Thanks!!

  26. I got past the part where you customize your settings in windows and then it goes back to boot camp to install the drivers for the buttons to work with windows. There was an error in the process so now my keyboard works, but the sound buttons and the right click doesn’t work so I’m kind of stuck in windows on my mac. If you know how to maybe reconfigure so all the buttons and things work I would really appreciate it.

    • HI Sabrina
      First of all if you want to boot back into OS X, restart your Mac and hold down the ALT option key and this will give you a menu you boot back into OS X or Windows if you prefer.
      Second if you want to fix the issue with sound buttons you need to download and install the boot camp drivers, start on the link below.
      Boot Camp Drivers
      Lastly if you want to set a default start disk you can watch the following two videos.

      Start up disk Mac
      Start up disk Windows
      Good luck

  27. Will I be able to install windows on my mac with a copy purchased and downloaded from microsoft? I’m a college student and would like to get the student discount as it’s a pretty substantial drop in price. Would that copy download as an ISO image, or would I be able to make one from the file that I do get?

  28. Hi

    I have macbook air OSX version 18.9.5 with 4GB memory. I want to install window 8 . It seems I need to have 8GB memory. Is there any ways I can download it ? It is possible to have a window ?
    It would be appreciated if you could get back to me.


  29. Hi, I am trying to Install Windows 8.1 via ISO file. But it is saying that USB Drive could not be created.. I have already tried with 3-4 usd drives and 2-3 different ISO files. can you please help?ο»Ώ

  30. Hi, I am trying to install windows 8.1 pro (student edition) from the Microsoft’s website. It downloaded as an iso file. Everything went fine till it got to entering the product key in order to activate it. I kept on getting a message like this: cannot be verified. check the installation media.
    I’ve restarted the laptop and tried to install the windows again but I keep on getting the same answer. What should I do now?

  31. Hi,
    I installed windows 8.1 successfully on my 13″ Macbook Air (2014). Installation went super, no problems or error messages. Installed with/through Bootcamp
    Booted into Windows, Ok, Speed was great Graphics super absolutely no problems.
    Mac on the other hand was so Slow I had tears running down my face.
    I uninstalled windows after 2 days of hoping it would get better..

    I love Mac OS, however. I need windows just for 1 program.

    Can you please Help?

    Thanks and best regards

    • ……… Oh, Almost forgot….. After windows Deinstallation, my Mac stayed Slow with the Beach ball alway hanging around… I had to reinstall Yosemite OS X in order for My mac to be healthy once more….


      • Hi neana
        The install wont effect OS X speed as they are two separate installs. However something you could check is the disk space. How much free space do you have on the Mac hard drive after the install? If you have taken up to much space on the OS X side it might slow it down.

  32. Hi Matt I have tried 3 times to download windows 8.1 blue from your tutorial onto my daughters new MacBook Air. (She needs windows for school applications)I have followed your instructions and swapped subs but it appears to stick about half way through the ‘copying the windows files’ phase. Does this take over 1 hour to load onto the USB? I have ADSL 2 internet so general fast. Thanks julia

  33. Hi, Thanks for the reply.
    I did not take note of that, unfortunately.
    I do however remember I had 30GB for windows, 90 for Mac..
    How much GB should Win. 8.1 need exactly?
    I am trying the install once more and thinking of 16Gb or 20GB for windows……??

  34. Hey Matt,

    So i bought windows 8.1 pro dowloaded the file and burned into a disk. it is an iso file. I have an external drive i bought to play movies etc. so I’m following your steps and the path i chose was where the cd file was was located. also i have a usb drive plugged in and now its been about 20 minutes and stuck at the “Copying windows files…” is this normal? Im hearing some movement in my cd drive but thats about it

    • actually i got passed that part and for the past hour have been stuck on downloading windows support software. I have internet connection but nothing seems to be running any more. usb isn’t flashing and no sounds coming from the external drive any more

      • HI Jose
        See my comment below.
        HI Jose
        Let it run it might take some time. It need to download Windows support software which is 1GB in size so just make sure your internet connection is ok ?


  35. Dear,
    would like to know how to install window 8.1 on MAC Air Version 10.10.

    For me, don’t want boot camp. I wish to use only windows OS on mac.

    Please guide to me how to install. Thnaks.

  36. it’s not working. Boot camp assistant is saying It is only compatible with the 64 bit iso file but thats the one I downloaded. It will not create the bootable USB drive.

  37. Hi,
    I installed windows 8.1 enterpriese successfully on my 13β€³ Macbook Air (2014). Installation went super, no problems or error messages. Installed with/through Bootcamp
    Booted into Windows, Ok, Speed was great Graphics super absolutely no problems.
    Mac on the other hand was so Slow I had tears running down my face.
    I uninstalled windows after 2 days of hoping it would get better..

    I love Mac OS, however. I need windows just for 1 program.

    Can you please Help?

    Thanks and best regards

  38. hey…i really trying hard to bootcamp my 13 inch macbook air
    but when ever its saving the windowsBlue-ClientwithApps-64bits on the USB flash drive i get an error warning saying file couldn’t be saved to drive…pls what do i do


    • HI bawzy
      Try a different usb. Try a different usb port on the Mac. Move the iso file to the documents folder.
      Let me know if that helps. Make sure your usb is 8gb?

  39. Hello, thanks a lot for this instructions πŸ™‚
    It works great but i have a problem which is : when i start playing games online juste few minutes like 15 i lose my connexion / there is no prob with cables or anything because when i use Macintosh system i never lose my connexion / any Help please /
    MY MAC : mac book pro (13- inch, mid 2012)
    processor : 2.5 GHz Intel Core i5
    Memory: 4 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
    Graphics : intel HD Graphics 4000 1024 MB
    i need a solution for this pro plz πŸ™‚

    • HI Papel
      Lose connection that’s a bit weird.
      Check your device manager in Windows and make sure you don’t have any yellow ! marks in there.
      Also look up the download drivers for your Mac link below.
      Mac Pro Drivers.

  40. Hello,

    I am using:
    OS X 10.10.3
    mac book pro (13- inch, mid 2012)
    processor : 2.5 GHz Intel Core i5
    Memory: 4 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
    Graphics : intel HD Graphics 4000 1024 MB

    because i bought my Windows 8.1 Pro online i have only the License Key, i have gone onto the Windows site, used a windows 8 PC to create a bootable USB 3.0 8GB, i have done this using my key, then i have partitioned my Macs HDD into 2 sections, my Windows partition is formatted to MS-DOS with about 130GB of space.

    When i run the boot camp tool on my Mac OS X, i cant create a bootable USB because a. it has already been done using the windows tool, b. i dont have a windows .iso file i only have the extracted files ready to use as a bootable USB, so i don’t check any of the boxes on bootcamp apart from create windows partition, it goes through the steps of live partitioning and reboots. this is were the trouble starts…

    when the reboot happens, 1st a white screen, then it goes black, and stays black, nothing to do with installing windows 8.1, i have left my mac like that for a whole 24 hrs until i turn it off, reboot and run the mac OS X…

    not sure what I’m doing wrong but help either converting all these uncompressed files on my USB into an .iso, or anything you can suggest…

    many thanks

  41. I keep getting stuck at the windows install. Says the compatibility report: The computer started using the windows installation media. Remove installation media and restart your computer so that Windows starts normally. Then, insert the installation media and restart the upgrade. … etc

  42. Hello,

    I have a macbook pro early 2011, i have followed all your steps above, however I still get the screen were it says insert windows installer disk, can you please help me with this step?

    Thank you

  43. Hey guys.

    Not sure if this is still open for comments.
    I tried to do a partition on my iMac desktop yesterday (got the iMac saturday.
    I got to the point where you need to put in the Windows product key. I didn’t have the key so stopped the installation. I now have the key but have no idea about how to get back to the screen to install the key. I tried the same route as last time but that makes Mac want to erase the last installation. I tried to erase it but it won’t do it for some reason.

    Could you please get me to the point where I have to add the product key?

      • Hey bud. I tried that yesterday and it couldn’t do it. Today however it worked just fine.
        Thank you very much for your assistance. Now lets see if I can reinstall it!!!

      • Ok so got the partition started. Put in the product code and then it kept giving me an error that it could not find the disk or information (can’t remember the exact fault and I have now had to scratch the partition again. I am obviously missing something important.

        • Hi Craigh
          Can you get the exact message?
          The drive needs to be ntfs and also you will need 100 meg partition?
          That’s if you are stuck where I think you are.

          • Hey Bud.

            Actually that sounds familiar. The ntfs thing.
            How do I do that?
            Sorry bud. Im not that good with computers obviously πŸ™‚

          • ok so reformatted my HD. then deleted the partition and redid the installation.
            Now I am getting a message saying

            “Compatibility report:

            the computer started using windows installation media.. remove the media and restart your computer so that windows starts normally. Then insert the media and restart the upgrade. ”

            I tried to unplug the HD and then restart the computer and add the HD but nothing is happening now. What do I do and what have I don’t wrong?

            I pulled the ISO file onto the HD and tried using that. Should I rather download different files and save them on the HD? Any ideas?

          • Hi Craigh,
            So you run the boot camp assistant. IT then should create a Windows USB with the boot camp drivers on it. Once this is done it should format the hard drive for you and allow you to install Windows from the USB drive?
            If you are getting nothing on start up now. Try holding down the Alt Option key on start up and the Mac should give you some options ?

  44. hello
    help guys am trying installing windows 8.1 using boot camp now there is a place it says select task nw there optional of create a window 7 or later version
    if i click continue in it needs an iso image which i have it in my flash but its in zip folder so i need to an zip it or kz have tried to install they way it is but its refusing

  45. Hello,

    I’m having trouble formatting the partition on my Mac, after following the steps, I get an error saying that this partition isn’t valid or something because it’s isn’t NTFS. Is there a way I can delete the partition and restart and format it so that it is NTFS?

  46. hi there i upgraded to macOS Sierra 10.12 and now i am having couple of issue with this
    1: i want to install windows 8.1 64bit but when i run bootcamp i can only see it support windows 10 or later and i dont have iso i only have dvd.

    2: i have projector 1715 and also extended monitor i want to use them as extra monitor but i can’t when i go to display setting its say mirroring but i can’t see anything .

  47. Hi!
    So Im having a problem, when I select the partition its says that windows cant install there and something about NTFS.

  48. hi have downloaded windows 8-64bit for Mac book air from Microsoft but am not able to find product key, could you help me out where can I get product key

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