With the Boot Camp tools installed on Windows, there's an option for rebooting directly to Mac OS ("Restart in Mac OS X" from Boot Camp system tray item).

But is this possible in the opposite direction? In other words, instead of the procedure 1) "Restart", 2) wait for OS X to shut down, 3) hold Option key (⌥), and 4) select the Windows partition, can I tell my Mac to restart so that Windows is selected on the next boot? Something like "Restart in Windows" which would let me bypass steps 2-4.

NB: I want to keep Mac OS X as the default OS; I'm just looking for a convenient shortcut when normally running OS X and occasionally wanting to boot to Windows.

  • 4
    Like your question. Don't know the answer but I am looking for the same thing here! Sep 5, 2009 at 14:46

6 Answers 6


The fastest way is to use Bootchamp. It adds an option in the Mac menu bar where you can just click and choose "Restart in Windows". Q.E.D.

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  • Not to sure if it works in SL though - it worked on on 10.5 on my uMBP last time. Haven't tried in SL yet, and haven't bothered installing Windows in BC too.
    – caliban
    Sep 5, 2009 at 17:57
  • 1
    Ah, someone actually read and understood my question - how refreshing! :) I just verified on a MacBook running Leopard and Win XP that this utility works.
    – Jonik
    Sep 5, 2009 at 19:08
  • Too bad about its limitations though; when starting this up there was a warning about it not working with unibody MacBook or MacBook Air, and on the website someone says it doesn't work with Mac Pro Late 2009 .
    – Jonik
    Sep 5, 2009 at 19:11
  • BootChamp works on Snow Leopard too, I just tried it.
    – Jonik
    Sep 14, 2009 at 4:52
  • That's great! I might want to use it too - been itching to play some games on Windows lately... ;)
    – caliban
    Sep 14, 2009 at 7:20


$ sudo bless -mount "/Volumes/BOOTCAMP" -legacy -setBoot -nextonly;sudo shutdown -r now

(Edit: 10.9 requires sudo for shutdown, but this can also be used on previous versions.)

  • Thanks! To clarify, is this basically the same thing that Bootchamp's "restart into Windows" does?
    – Jonik
    Jul 25, 2010 at 22:28
  • 1
    Pretty much--also what BootPicker does: apple.com/education/resources/bootpicker Of course those GUI tools don't require a password and allow you to confirm with a click of a button, but that bless command is still what's writing the important information into PRAM.
    – NReilingh
    Jul 26, 2010 at 2:25
  • Great, very useful info. (Btw, at least Bootchamp does ask for password each time you use it.)
    – Jonik
    Jul 26, 2010 at 7:51
  • 1
    This does work on 10.7 Lion, thank you very much! Bootcamp calls itself "/Volumes/BOOTCAMP" by default. For NTFS write support on Lion, you can use Paragon NTFS - in my opinion definitely worth the time I saved. Also, of course you need sudo in front of shutdown as well, but it's a good idea to try the bless command first and see what it says. About the answer: does anyone know the details of whether rebooting via shutdown -r as opposed to from the Finder has any negative effects on the OS X world - i.e. files getting corrupted or services or other apps getting corrupted by being terminated
    – Colin
    Nov 8, 2011 at 15:06
  • 2
    As of El Capitan onwards, bless no longer works, thanks to System Integrity Protection being enabled. Jun 5, 2017 at 0:18

The simple way is to use the Startup Disk preference pane in System Preferences. If you want to make it easier to get to you can find the preference pane at /System/Library/PreferencePanes/StartupDisk.prefPane. Note that this method won't work if you install NTFS-3G.

Startup Disk Screenshot

  • Sometimes simple is easier. Sep 5, 2009 at 17:04
  • 5
    Sorry, you perhaps didn't read the question carefully; it says: NB: I want to keep Mac OS X as the default OS. With the Restart button this would otherwise be a good way of booting directly into Windows but it also changes the default. So, in essence, a good answer but to the wrong question.
    – Jonik
    Sep 5, 2009 at 18:53
  • why doesn't it work with ntfs-3g? edit: found a possible workaround macosxhints.com/article.php?story=20080101043841537
    – kenwarner
    Mar 12, 2010 at 16:31
  • By far the easiest and quickest. Nothing to install, can open it in 1 second. Jan 16, 2015 at 22:22

I'm not sure if you've already found an optimal solution to this problem, but what I've done is created an AppleScript:

do shell script "hdiutil unmount /Volumes/<Windows_Partition> -quiet"
do shell script "bless -device /dev/disk0s3 -legacy -setBoot -nextonly" with administrator privileges
tell application "Finder" to restart

where <Windows_Partition> is the name of your Windows volume. Also ensure that the Windows volume is at disk0s3 by issuing a diskutil list command in the Terminal.

If you want to make it even fancier, you can use QuickSilver so that a simple hotkey combination will allow you to reboot to Windows quickly. See http://lifehacker.com/5718979/reboot-your-mac-into-windows-with-quicksilver-and-an-applescript. The script they use is slightly different from the one above and has some disadvantages, mainly that you can't use it if you have NTFS-3G enabled, and the shutdown sequence is not as safe. My script allows you to unmount the Windows partition before blessing it and then telling the Finder to reboot.

You can also bypass the password prompt by including your password in the second line of the script (replace xxxxxxx with your password):

do shell script "bless -device /dev/disk0s3 -legacy -setBoot -nextonly" password "xxxxxxx" with administrator privileges

However, it's potentially insecure since your password is plainly visible to anyone who views the script file.

  • 1
    Thanks; personally I've been happy with Bootchamp for my occasional booting-to-Windows needs. This answer seems to be quite close to yours, minus AppleScript and QuickSilver wrappers. Welcome to Super User!
    – Jonik
    Feb 7, 2011 at 19:19

There is no way to this with only BootCamp installed as it is controlled by OSX.

rEFIt is a boot manager that will allow you to select which OS to boot at startup, and also has some very handy extra features.

It replaces the normal OSX Boot Manager and when you switch on your Mac or restart your Mac it displays a list of all the installed operating systems on your machine, which then allows you to choose which one to boot.

Therefore with BootCamp installed it will show the Windows Partition as an Icon along with the Mac Partition and you can also set a default time-out for your preferred OS.

rEFIt Screenshot

  • Can rEFIt be used as a compliment to Boot Camp to get extra options like this, or is it more like a replacement to Boot Camp? (Seems like the former, but just making sure...)
    – Jonik
    Sep 5, 2009 at 15:58
  • 1
    rEFIt is only a Boot Manager, not a BootCamp replacement. AFAIK there is no other sofware that can replace BootCamp, apart from the normal Virtual Machine applications like Parallels and VirtualBox, which is NOT the same as BootCamp as they host Virtual Machines. rEFIt allows you to choose which OS to boot at Startup, and some emergency tools for when your machine doesn't want to boot. Sep 5, 2009 at 16:03
  • Thanks! One more thing to clarify with regards to the original question: with rEFIt, when on OS X, is there an option like "Restart into Windows" somewhere which bypasses the selection on next boot? (I'm asking because "select which OS to boot at startup" is not quite the same, but "some very handy extra features" might well include it.)
    – Jonik
    Sep 5, 2009 at 16:27
  • 1
    @Jonik - I think you are misunderstanding. rEFIt installs as an outside of OS utility and replaces the boot manager of OSX itself. You don't choose an OS after booting, rather you choose the OS when the machine is restarted or switched on before any OS is loaded. The handy extra features are items like Safe Mode command line etc. Sep 5, 2009 at 16:50
  • I got that; I just wanted to know if it also happened to provide tools (cf. Apple's Boot Camp tools for Windows) for what I specifically asked for. So, while rEFIt seems like a useful boot manager tool (which I might try sometime), it misses this particular question. To clarify: it may make startup a little more convenient (no need to press Option at any rate), but the use case I meant was: "when already in OS X, tell computer to restart in Windows now, with no further user interaction". I'm sorry I failed to word my question clearly enough.
    – Jonik
    Sep 5, 2009 at 19:27


sudo bless -mount "/Volumes/BOOTCAMP" -legacy -setBoot -nextonly; sudo shutdown -r now


Issue the command: diskutil list

   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:      GUID_partition_scheme                        *500.1 GB   disk0
   1:                        EFI EFI                     209.7 MB   disk0s1
   2:                  Apple_HFS Macintosh HD            420.2 GB   disk0s2
   3:                 Apple_Boot Recovery HD             650.0 MB   disk0s3
   4:       Microsoft Basic Data BOOTCAMP                79.0 GB    disk0s4 <--That disk
   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:      GUID_partition_scheme                        *1.0 TB     disk1
   1:                        EFI EFI                     209.7 MB   disk1s1
   2:                  Apple_HFS 1TB                     999.9 GB   disk1s2


hdiutil unmount /Volumes/BOOTCAMP -quiet
sudo bless -device /dev/disk0s4 -legacy -setBoot -nextonly
sudo shutdown -r now

Important make sure that BOOTCAMP and disk0s4 are your actual windows partition. Sudo commands are dangerous, I take no responsibility if you use any of this commands. It works for me though.

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