My main computer is a Mac Mini that I got as a gift, and I've recently begun chafing at my inability to play Windows games. I'm cheap and not crazy about clutter, so rather than buy a whole new machine I thought I'd install Windows 8 on it and dual boot. How hard could it be?
In the end, I'm pretty happy at the result - Loadout is running buttery smooth - but getting here was quite a battle. If you dare follow me into the trench, you'll probably want to know some stuff.
But the most important thing to know is that doing it this way seems to require a call to Microsoft technical support. So there's got to be a better way. But more on that later.
My go-to how-to article was this one. But it leaves some questions unanswered. First, there's the problem of not having a disc drive on the Mini. Happily, Boot Camp let me put the Windows 8 ISO file on a thumb drive and boot from there. But how did I get the Windows 8 ISO file? Microsoft doesn't just want to let me download it.
So I went to my old not-fast-enough-to-play-games-anymore-doesn't-even-run-Diablo-3 laptop and started the Upgrade process from there. That let me download a Setup program that then let me download the ISO file which I could then copy to the Mac.
Then I ran Boot Camp as normal, but am not sure what happened because I left the computer and when I came back it was on a black screen. After waiting several minutes I rebooted and it default booted to the empty windows partition. So I manually booted to the thumb drive by holding Alt (AKA Option) at the sound of the Mac boot-up chime, and it seemed to run the Windows 8 Install correctly, but then the program told me, after I formatted the Bootcamp partition, that it couldn't install Windows there because of confusing stuff involving "bios" and "efi" and various other acronyms.
I was about ready to give up there, but just for the hell of it booted back to the Mac OS, went back to Boot Camp, removed and re-added the partition, and this time when it restarted it booted off the thumb drive just fine, and after formatting the partition (Drive Options -> Format) it let me install just fine.
(Then I forgot to run \WindowsSupport\Setup.exe off the thumb drive after Windows 8 was running. So ... don't forget to do that.)
And then I installed Chrome and Steam and played some Loadout and things seemed happy.
But I hadn't actually 'activated' Windows 8 yet. I'm not sure what happens when you don't activate it, it probably simply stops running after some grace period, but when I went to try and activate it with the code I bought on the other machine it didn't work.
After talking to Microsoft support I learned you can run "slui 3" to try to activate Windows and actually get an informative error code. Mine explained that I can't use an Upgrade version of Windows to do a clean install. Ok. But then the support people I talked to (after various confirmation steps and hoops jumped through) gave me a different code to activate my copy.
So, like I said, it seems if you try to do it this way, talking to Microsoft tech support is a necessary step in the process. At least I could do it all over chat while browsing my twitter feed at the same time.
Which makes me wonder, just how are you supposed to do a clean install? It seems like the only thing you can download is the Upgrade. Am I supposed to go to an actual physical store or something? That's ... so last century.
Still, running Windows 8 now! Woo! Time to try Antichamber.
The best superhero games of all time Game Informer Top five games of all time Yahtzee Croshaw Top five superhero games of all time MSNBC Top 100 PS2 games of all time Official Playstation 2 Magazine 1001 Games You Must Play Before You DieNomination for Excellence in Gameplay Engineering Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences
Penny Arcade PAX 10 Award Nominated for XBLA Best Original Game Nominated for XBLA Best Co-Op Game