Will Windows 10 run flawlessly on a MacBook Air Early 2015 (drivers)?

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  1. nco
    Posts : 19
    7
       #1

    Will Windows 10 run flawlessly on a MacBook Air Early 2015 (drivers)?


    This is the machine I am planning to buy now. For dual boot. I need a decent Windows machine. If I like the form factor, and the fact that it keeps its resale value better than any other makes, is a 11.6" MacBook Air a good buy for a decent Windows 10 machine as well for around $750 for the very basic model, which is totally fine for me (you often find it for around this amount on Amazon)?

    Of course, some say it's stupid to buy a Mac just to run Windows on it. Of course, I will experience with OS X too (it will be my first intro to that OS), but I also need a decent thin and light laptop for natively booting into Windows. I like the fact it is not Full HD resolution, as some legacy apps scale badly on too high res displays.

    Of course, Apple will not provide me with any drivers, will Windows' native drivers work flawlessly, including the multi-touch glass trackpad with gestures?

    (Ps. I don't need a touchscreen on a laptop and such gimmicks.)
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  2. bobkn's Avatar
    Posts : 3,609
    Win 10 X64 Pro 21H1 19043.928
       #2

    I have no personal experience with that.

    Apple's official guidance:

    Use Windows 10 on your Mac with Boot Camp - Apple Support

    At the end of the page, you'll see that the 11.6" MacBook Air (Early 2015) is supported.
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  3. lx07's Avatar
    Posts : 5,479
    2004
       #3

    nco said:
    Of course, Apple will not provide me with any drivers, will Windows' native drivers work flawlessly, including the multi-touch glass trackpad with gestures?
    I am running Windows 10 on 2 Macbooks (2006 and 2014) and both work fine.

    Apple do provide all the drivers you need - there is no longer a download link, you have to download them through bootcamp assistant in OSX.

    They work OK but the trackpad one is pretty feeble - it only supports right click and no gestures. If you want gestures you can get Trackpad++. The free version has to be re-installed every 2 weeks, you have to turn off driver verification and watch out for OpenCandy junk when installing. It works quite well if you are happy with that.
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  4. nco
    Posts : 19
    7
    Thread Starter
       #4

    @halasz

    Thanks! I gave a little thought to it:

    With generic PC hardware and Windows, you have two options:
    1 - get the drivers from the PC manufacturer's site
    2 - leave it to Microsoft to suggest you the drivers appropriate for your machine within the Windows install

    So, with your Macs, you went with route 1) I wonder if it's worth trying route 2) (if it's possible at all with the Mac), who knows? maybe Microsoft has excellent drivers for the Macs, including gestures working on trackpads.
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  5. spapakons's Avatar
    Posts : 2,891
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit 202H (Nov 2020 build 19042.867)
       #5

    Hello! You can download the Apple drivers from here. Even if they are for Windows 7 and 8, they should also work in Windows 10. Any missing driver should automatically install after running Windows Update.
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  6. lx07's Avatar
    Posts : 5,479
    2004
       #6

    spapakons said:
    Hello! You can download the Apple drivers from here. Even if they are for Windows 7 and 8, they should also work in Windows 10. Any missing driver should automatically install after running Windows Update.
    This link is for models up until 2013 and is version 5.1.

    You need to use Bootcamp version 6 drivers for Windows 10 - the 5.x (and 4.x) versions break restore point and system image creation. Version 6 you can only get through the bootcamp app on OSX.
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  7. nco
    Posts : 19
    7
    Thread Starter
       #7

    nco said:
    With generic PC hardware and Windows, you have two options:
    1 - get the drivers from the PC manufacturer's site
    2 - leave it to Microsoft to suggest you the drivers appropriate for your machine within the Windows install

    So, with your Macs, you went with route 1) I wonder if it's worth trying route 2) (if it's possible at all with the Mac), who knows? maybe Microsoft has excellent drivers for the Macs, including gestures working on trackpads.
    Thanks folks, but did you actually grasp my question in the first place?

    Thanks for trying to answer but from my non-native level of the language I concluded you talk about something completely different to what I asked about.
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  8. Ztruker's Avatar
    Posts : 13,512
    Windows 10 Pro X64 20H4 19042.746
       #8

    When I read this thread it looked to me like people were addressing the questions you asked.

    What, specifically, was not answered?
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  9. spapakons's Avatar
    Posts : 2,891
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit 202H (Nov 2020 build 19042.867)
       #9

    You asked for Apple drivers. The only way to get these is Bootcamp, Apple doesn't provide individual drivers on their site.
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  10. lx07's Avatar
    Posts : 5,479
    2004
       #10

    I'll try to be clearer :)

    nco said:
    With generic PC hardware and Windows, you have two options:
    1 - get the drivers from the PC manufacturer's site
    2 - leave it to Microsoft to suggest you the drivers appropriate for your machine within the Windows install

    So, with your Macs, you went with route 1)
    Mostly yes - see below.

    nco said:
    I wonder if it's worth trying route 2) (if it's possible at all with the Mac), who knows? maybe Microsoft has excellent drivers for the Macs, including gestures working on trackpads.
    No. Windows update will not install your drivers at all. The only driver that Windows updates for me is Intel 4000 Display adapter (and only if I install the old one from Apple which I don't).

    You will not get a trackpad driver from Windows update. Nor will you get drivers for keyboard (required for backlight, function keys as well as layout), SD card, Camera (although the generic one isn't bad), Wi-Fi etc.

    I have added the following to my Windows 10 ISO - you may need some different ones depending on your exact hardware.

    Drivers from Bootcamp version 6.0
    • AppleBluetoothBroadcom64
    • AppleCameraPre2015x64
    • AppleKeyboardInstaller64
    • AppleMultiTouchTrackPadInstaller64 (not great but I use it - you could install Trackpad++ instead if you want gestures).
    • AppleSDCardReader64
    • BroadcomComController64
    • CirrusAudioCS4206x64
    • Intel DisplayAudio

    Drivers from Bootcamp version 5.1
    • BroadcomWirelessWin8x64 (the Bootcamp version 6 causes BSOD)

    Other Drivers:
    • Intel HD4000 Display Adapter (The Apple version is old and as it is 310MB so I don't want to install it and get Windows update to upgrade it only to have to delete the old version with pnputil.exe)
    • HFS+ for Windows 8 Free Edition (Bootcamp version 6 of AppleHFS.sys causes BSOD if you use Hyper-V, earlier version cause restore points and system image creation to fail).

    Other things you need:
    Bootcamp service is required for trackpad and keyboard to work and you need to also run AppleControlPanel at least once. The easiest way by far to get this is to install it from Bootcamp setup. You can (if you prefer) add the service manually and add the registry keys directly to enable right click, keyboard backlight .etc

    So unless you are going to install a lot (on the same machine) it is far easier to install Bootcamp version 6 and then change any drivers you don't like. You can't rely on Windows update to do it as it will definitely not add these drivers for you.

    Hope this helps. I think you'll be happy running Windows 10 but you will need the Apple drivers.
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