How to Dual Boot Windows 11 & macOS Sonoma?

Dual-boot Windows 11 and macOS Sonoma on a MacBook or other Apple computers opens up a world of possibilities, allowing you to harness the strengths of both operating systems. This seamless integration empowers users to switch between the two environments, each optimized for different tasks.

In this guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step process, ensuring a smooth setup without compromising any existing data. By the end, you’ll have a versatile system that caters to your specific needs.

Related: Dual Boot Windows 11 and any macOS

Related: Dual Boot Two macOS on Mac

Prerequisites to dual boot Windows 11 and macOS Sonoma

Here are the prerequisites to dual boot Windows 11 and macOS Sonoma on any Apple computer:

1. Sufficient Disk Space: Ensure you have enough free space on your Mac’s storage drive to accommodate both operating systems. You will need at least 150 GB of free storage to run both Windows 11 and macOS Sonoma.

2. Backup: Always back up your important data before attempting any major changes to your system.

3. Bootable Windows 11 Installer: Create a bootable Windows 11 installation USB drive.

4. macOS Sonoma Installer: Make sure you have access to the macOS Sonoma installer, which can be downloaded from the Mac App Store.

5. EFI Boot Manager: Familiarize yourself with EFI boot management to select between macOS and Windows during startup.

6. Compatible Hardware: Confirm that your MacBook or other Apple system is compatible with both Windows 11 and macOS Sonoma. Check for any specific hardware requirements.

7. Patience and Technical Know-How: Dual booting involves several technical steps. Make sure you’re comfortable with advanced computer operations.

And also remember, it’s crucial to follow each step carefully. Otherwise, you might experience issues while performing dual boot.

Dual Boot Windows 11 & macOS Sonoma

We will begin the dual booting process after you’ve installed macOS Sonoma. Once the installation is complete, you are going to dual boot Windows 11.

And since macOS Sonoma is installed, most of the process involves preparing for and installing Windows 11.

dual boot Windows 11 macOS Sonoma
dual boot Windows 11 macOS Sonoma

Here is a simplified step-by-step guide to dual boot Windows 11 and macOS Sonoma on any Apple computer:

Step 1: Backup Your Data

Before proceeding, ensure all your important data is backed up to an external drive or cloud storage. This is necessary and you should create a backup to be ready for any situation.

Step 2: Create a Bootable Windows 11 Installer

For this step, you can use any system with Windows OS inside or even with macOS. Begin the process by downloading the Windows 11 ISO file.

Then you are going to use third-party tools like Rufus (on Windows) or Boot Camp Assistant (on macOS) to create a bootable USB drive. You are going to use them to make a bootable USB of Windows 11.

Step 3: Prepare for Partitioning

Now let’s create a partition for your Windows 11.

Open Disk Utility on macOS and select your main drive.

Click on the Apple menu in the top-left corner of the screen. Select Utilities and then Disk Utility.

disk utility on macOS Sonoma
disk utility on macOS Sonoma

Now you will create a new partition for Windows. In Disk Utility, you’ll see a list of drives and partitions. Select your main drive (usually labeled as “Macintosh HD” or something similar). This will be used for installing Windows.

Step 4: Partitioning of Drive

Click on the Partition tab at the top.

Here you will see a visual representation of your drive with your existing macOS partition.

Click the + button and adjust the size of the drive.

You’ll want to allocate enough space for Windows, keeping in mind the space requirements of both operating systems.

You will give the new partition a name. You are recommended to label it something like “Windows” for clarity.

From the Format dropdown menu select ExFAT as the format. This format is compatible with both macOS and Windows. Click on Apply.

A confirmation prompt will appear, click on Partition to confirm.

Disk Utility will now create the new partition. This may take a few minutes.

Once the process is complete, you will see the new partition listed alongside your existing macOS partition in Disk Utility.

Now you have successfully created a new partition for Windows. When you go through the Windows installation process, you will be able to select this partition for installation.

Step 5: Select Windows 11 in Startup Manager

Shut down your MacBook and insert your bootable USB of Windows 11.

Start your MacBook and boot from the Windows installer USB drive. As the MacBook starts, hold down the Option key on your keyboard.

This will bring up the Startup Manager, which displays all available bootable drives.

In the Startup Manager, you’ll see icons representing available bootable drives. Use the arrow keys to select the Windows installer (it’s likely labeled as “EFI Boot” or something similar). Select Windows 11 using the Enter or Return key.

Step 6: Install Windows 11

Once you’ve selected the Windows installer proceed with Windows Installation.

The MacBook will now boot from the Windows installer on the USB drive.

  • Choose preferences like Language, Region, Keyboard, and click Next.
  • Click Install Now.
  • 4. Enter the Product Key.
  • 5. Accept License Terms.
  • 6. Choose Custom Install.
  • 7. Select partition, and click Next.
  • 8. Install and set up your Windows 11.

You’ve now successfully installed Windows 11 in a dual-boot setup with macOS Sonoma.

Step 7: Install Boot Camp Drivers

After Windows is installed, boot into Windows 11 and run Boot Camp Assistant to install the necessary drivers.

Installing Boot Camp drivers is an essential step to ensure that Windows functions properly on your Mac hardware. These drivers provide support for various components such as graphics, audio, networking, and more. Here’s how you can install Boot Camp drivers:

Download Boot Camp Assistant or insert a USB with Boot Camp inside.  

Open the application. Boot Camp Assistant will inform you that it’s going to install software that enables Windows to work with your Mac’s hardware.

Click Next.

Boot Camp will now install or repair the necessary drivers for your Mac. This may take some time. After the installation is complete, you’ll be prompted to restart your MacBook.

Once all necessary drivers are installed and working, your MacBook is now set up for dual booting with Windows 11 and macOS Sonoma.

Step 8: Set Default Boot OS (Optional)

In macOS Sonoma, go to System Preferences > Startup Disk and select the default boot OS.

To set macOS Sonoma as the default boot OS, follow these steps:

Open System Preferences and go to Startup Disk Preferences.

Now locate and click on Startup Disk.

You may need to enter your administrator password to make changes.

Now you’ll see a list of available bootable disks. Here you will click on the disk that corresponds to macOS Sonoma.

And then click the Restart button.

Now, your MacBook will automatically boot into macOS Sonoma unless you manually select Windows during startup.

Step 9: Boot into Windows

Restart your MacBook and hold down the Option key to choose between macOS and Windows.

boot macOS Sonoma or Windows
boot macOS Sonoma or Windows

In the Startup Manager, you’ll see icons representing available bootable drives.

Select Windows for running Windows 11 and macOS to run macOS Sonoma.

The MacBook will now boot into Windows.

This way, you can easily switch between macOS and Windows on your dual-boot MacBook.

Related: Dual Boot Windows 11 and Windows 7

Related: Dual Boot macOS Big Sur and Windows 10 on PC

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