My Mac shows a Windows recovery screen at startup. What gives?

One of the strangest things you can do with a Mac has got to be using it only to run Windows—although there’s a method to that madness, too. Apple began offering direct support for Windows-on-a-Mac with Boot Camp several years ago, allowing a more powerful option than emulation of Windows in macOS.

Some people have opted to run Windows on a Mac full time, including at least one government adviser in a previous job, for reasons of support, cost, and computational power. Apple only offers relatively powerful computers, but it backs them up with a higher level and quality of support than competing PC makers.

But one reader found themselves baffled when a used Mac they had purchased only booted into Windows. And it showed a Windows error at boot to, uh, boot. They wondered what was up.

mac911 windows recovery on a mac IDG

A reader was perplexed by this Windows error screen on their Mac.

Now, they could attempt to boot into the macOS side of things. Apple provides full instructions on managing dual-boot systems.

But because there was nothing on the system that the reader wanted to retain, the best and simplest course of action is to wipe the system using macOS Recovery. This lets you erase the drive, wiping out any Boot Camp partitions and other data, and install a clean copy of macOS, either the latest version the Mac can run or the version with which it originally shipped.

This Mac 911 article is in response to a question submitted by Macworld reader Muhemmed.

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