BootCamp Drivers – Direct Download of BootCampESD.pkg for Macs to Run Windows 7 or Windows 8

Do you find that BootCamp assistant download is stuck or or fails or could not continue?

The brute force solution: it’s a darned large download, so physically take your machine to somewhere with a very fast internet connection that can download 600MB – 1GB in a couple of minutes. There, you’re done.

For the rest of us, there are 2 options:

The simple solution – recommended – is to use this list of Windows driver download links for Macs with OS X Mountain Lion (which includes all retina display macs) or Lion, Snow Leopard or Leopard. That’s about everything back to 2007.
There are also older links here, but they appear to be redundant — the Mountain Lion file covers Mac models going back to Leopard.

Finally, the DIY solution: Work out for yourself which download link you need.

The DIY way to find your BootCampESD.pkg download link from the sucatalog

Not for the faint-hearted.

  • Apple software update uses an sucatalog file, which contains a link to a BootCampESD.pkg file which contains the drivers. The sucatalog file in question contains several different links to bootcampesd.pkg, fordifferent Mac models. How to find the right one for your machine?
  • Tim Valenta did instructions in Nov 2011 that nearly worked for me in June 2012 at http://blog.timvalenta.com/2011/11/19/boot-camp-driver-downloads/ except that again, 6 months on, the catalog file seems to be laid out everso slightly differently; and the file downloaded is now in an easier to use format.
  • My steps to download the Lion or Mountain Lion drivers were as follows:

    How to Manually Download Windows Drivers for Macs Running BootCamp 4 or BootCamp 5

    1. Download from apple the http://swscan.apple.com/content/catalogs/others/index-mountainlion-lion-snowleopard-leopard.merged-1.sucatalog file. Don’t double-click it, that won’t help.
    2. Instead, open it in a text editor or word processor.
    3. Search for each occurrence — as at August 2012 there were 6 — of BootCampESD.pkg. For instance, the one I needed is http://swcdn.apple.com/content/downloads/33/54/041-2011/pRtCDYcWShMLxFggy3TzFzmfnnWQNFQBfJ/BootCampESD.pkg
    4. Notice in each such URL, the /041-2011/ or similar /041-XXXXX/ bit of it.
    5. Below each such occurrence, notice a URL for a file with the same 041-XXXXX in it and ending in English.dist, e.g. 041-2011.English.dist
    6. Paste the URL for each such English.dist file into your browser and open the Url. Here’s a list of them:
    7. Search for the Model Identifier for your Mac. For instance MacBookPro5,2 or Macmini4,1 or whatever
      • For instance the 041-2011 file contains these models: MacBook2,1 MacBook3,1 MacBook4,1 MacBook5,1 MacBook5,2 MacBook5,3 MacBook6,1 MacBook7,1 MacBookAir1,1 MacBookAir2,1 MacBookAir3,1 MacBookAir3,2 MacBookPro2,1 MacBookPro2,2 MacBookPro3,1 MacBookPro4,1 MacBookPro5,1 MacBookPro5,2 MacBookPro5,3 MacBookPro5,4 MacBookPro5,5 MacBookPro6,1 MacBookPro6,2 MacBookPro7,1 MacBookPro8,1 MacBookPro8,2 MacBookPro8,3 MacPro1,1 MacPro2,1 MacPro3,1 MacPro4,1 MacPro5,1 Macmini2,1 Macmini3,1 Macmini4,1 iMac5,1 iMac6,1 iMac7,1 iMac8,1 iMac9,1 iMac10,1 iMac11,1 iMac11,2 iMac11,3 iMac12,1 iMac12,2
      • How do you know your Model Identifier? Open System Information, and look in the Hardware Overview section. i.e. click Apple menu -> About this Mac -> More Info… -> Report -> Hardware -> and now read down the Hardware Overview looking for “Model Identifier:”
    8. Having found your 041-XXXXX number, download the BootCampESD.pkg url that has your number in it. I try to keep the page at bootcamp-driver-download up to date with all the pkg download URLs.
    9. Be patient as it’s probably 600MB.
    10. Once your pkg is downloaded, double click it and install to a folder on your hard drive so you know where to find it.
    11. The folder contains a nest of folders, the last of which contains a dmg disk image file. Double click to open. Voila. Here are your Windows installer files. Again, the page at bootcamp-driver-download has pictures to help.
    12. Copy them to a thumb drive or a burnable CD or something. The point here is that you need the somewhere that a new install of windows with only minimal drivers can read them. NB, it’s still 660MB or more, so it’s a full CDs worth of burning time.
    13. You can now proceed with Boot Camp assistant Windows installation, which will eventually reboot your machine for startup in Windows.
    14. Once you’re in Windows, run the installer that you saved to CD or thumb drive.
    15. Done. Marvel as all your Apple hardware now works nearly as well as it does in Mac OS X.

    44 thoughts on “BootCamp Drivers – Direct Download of BootCampESD.pkg for Macs to Run Windows 7 or Windows 8

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    4. Goetz

      maybe stupid question but 041-xxxx – 041 is the version 4.1 for Bootcamp? Got 4.0 running with Windows 8 but still got issues with the sound and function keys.. worth giving it a try and upgrade to 4.1?

      Reply
      1. Chris F Carroll Post author

        Yes, I would definitely go with the very latest version drivers for Win 8. If you think about, Windows drivers shouldn’t depend on what version of OS X you’ve got. But note that the latest catalog file describes itself as ‘Mountain Lion Lion Snow Leopard Leopard merged’ so that sounds good to me for BootCamp 4.0 too.

        Reply
    5. Bill Herman

      Thanks, this was SUPER helpful. Everything went smoothly until the Windows installation was complete, then it rebooted and just hung on a black screen. Powered it down & restarted it, same thing.

      As is usually the case, I wasn’t the only one with this problem, so I looked around. Just hold down the eject key while it’s booting up & kick out the disk, then it boots into OS X. Power down and restart holding the ‘option’ key, and boot into Windows. It’ll be a little clunky b/c it’s not set up properly for the hardware, but in my experience, it’s at least serviceable. For instance, I had the BootCamp files on a USB flash drive, and Win 7 was able to mount the device just fine. (If the drivers aren’t working at least that well, one could boot into OS X and drop the files into an easy-to-find folder in the Windows partition.)

      Drag the BootCamp files to the hard drive, then run the ‘setup’ file. A reboot later, I’m running Win 7. The OS updates are downloading as I type this.

      Thanks again! This was really, really helpful.

      Reply
    6. Richard

      Hi Chris,

      Great Post – all going well until I run the setup.exe in Windows 7 Pro.

      Error – This Software is incompatible with this version of windows, check to see if you need x86 (32Bit) or x64 (64bit)

      any suggestions ??

      The install of Win 7 is 64bit …. that I have installed…

      Thanks in advance

      Reply
      1. Chris F Carroll Post author

        Hi Richard,
        First, check your model is listed on this page http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1846?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US
        Not all models support 64 bit.
        If your model is listed there; and you got the right download link; then your installer should, I think, automatically install the 64 bit drivers. If desperate you could open the ‘drivers’ folder and then manually choose the 64 bit drivers in each subdirectory and see what happens.
        Or give up, and re-install 32 bit windows?

        Reply
        1. Richard

          Hi Chris,

          The exe, does not even run, so not sure if thats a model based prob. Its seems like the setup.exe I have from the ESD, only supports 32bit.

          I’ll try another ESD package…

          Reply
    7. Bongo

      Everything is fine for me except this part:

      “You can now proceed with Boot Camp assistant Windows installation, which will eventually reboot your machine for startup in Windows.
      Once you’re in Windows, run the installer that you saved to CD or thumb drive.”

      After finishing with Boot Camp Assistant, and rebooting, I can’t even install Windows because all I see is scrambled or corrupted video when the system boots off the Windows USB. It feels like my Win7 from 2009 doesn’t have a video driver for my MBA 2012 with Intel 4000 graphics. Comments?

      Reply
      1. Chris F Carroll Post author

        Hmm. I though that Windows without drivers would default to some lo-res SVGA screen mode which pretty much all graphics cards could handle. Could you plug in a external monitor and see if that helps?
        How about : http://www.google.com/search?q=start+windows+7+in+safe+mode+or+command+line — if you can get to a visible command line you should be able to run the driver setup file?
        Second thought: If you’ve got a new MBA you should be able to get help from Apple since they officially support Windows 7 under bootcamp?

        Reply
    8. Hansa

      Thanks a lot for the post, I have been looking for this more than one Month.
      In the last few steps are not really clear, took about 10 minutes to figure it out.
      btw really appreciate of this post

      Reply
      1. Chris F Carroll Post author

        Hi,
        Yes, but not on this page – I do update the page linked above, http://www.cafe-encounter.net/p682/download-bootcamp-drivers when the sucatalog file is updated *but* I haven’t yet got an automated trigger or update process, so I’ll lag behind by a couple of weeks sometimes. That page does have a last updated date, my prompt to update it is usually when someone asks where are the links for a new model launch. Cheers, Chris

        Reply
    9. servile

      Just likes Damián says:

      Thank you so much for this post!
      but, I’m not find bootcamp driver for MacBookPro10,1 15″ 2.6Ghz Retina.
      I’m planning to install wind764bit. Please help this one, Thank you

      Reply
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