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August 01
Installing Windows 10 on MacBook Pro – My experiences!

Let me start this blog by saying – 'Windows 10 seems to be a bit shaky, but I believe it is superior to its predecessors!'

“This post is very specific to those individuals who are using (or willing to use) MacBook Pro (MBP) hardware and Windows OS as host”. Others readers are more than welcome to read.

Being a SharePoint Developer/Designer/Architect, I admit, I am a Microsoft/Windows/SharePoint fan and my day-day activities involve hands-on development and heavy usage of SharePoint and Office. And to run all the memory heavy apps, we all wanted an amazing machine with XYZ requirements etc. that I am not going to bore you here. So, last year like many others I moved to MBP. Ever since, I am using VMWare Fusion to run Windows 2008 R2 Server and the all-in-one SharePoint 2013 Developer Machine.

Like several SharePoint colleagues mentioned in their blogs, SP 2013 runs smooth like butter on MBP though it has max memory limitation of 16GB. While OSX was always host, I never tried running Windows on MBP as a host. With Microsoft releasing Windows 10 on July 29th 2015, I started to investigate the 'Host' option and here are my findings.

Preparation

My MBP is fully loaded - 16GB RAM, 1TB HDD, Retina etc. So, I have the liberty to play with the amount of disk space and my goal was simple – Can I use MacBook Pro hardware + Windows 10 OS?

“To clarify before I go further – I did not (and not recommend) remove OSX, instead used dual-boot. I used "Boot Camp" on OSX to install Windows.”

  1. Search (Command + Space) for Boot Camp on your MBP and launch it. Click on 'Continue' button on the Introduction screen.
  2. On the 'Select Tasks' screen, there are 3 options.
    1. Create a Windows 7 or later version install disk – This is the procedure which is used by OSX to create install disk.
    2. Download the latest windows support software from Apple – You will be using MBP hardware for Win10, so, there are several drivers, software's required to run it smoothly. This option will essential keep those ready during and after installation.
    3. Install Windows 7 or later version – This step will begin installing windows.

For 2.a, 2.b you will need USB stick (this is mandatory) of at least 8GB space. 2c requires Windows 10 ISO to be downloaded first and referred. Download Windows 10 from MSDN and in particular, Windows 10 Multiple (x64) ISO. This contains Windows 10 Pro edition. You can perform 2a, 2b together and later 2c or all of them together.

If you experience errors, failures and trying to re-install, uncheck 2a, 2b subsequent times because it takes a long time.

  1. Next step is 'Create a Partition for Windows'. I strongly recommend to use this option in boot camp only. Do not create partitions using 'Disk Utility'. This step is overridden by Boot Camp anyways. Again, you can choose the partition storage as you wish or use 'Divide Equally' option. I choose Windows partition more than OS X, and it's my personal decision. 
  2. Click Install. This will initiate the partition procedure and will prompt you to enter admin credentials etc. Simply follow the instructions on the screen and you will be good to go.
  3. At this time, your MBP will reboot and will start Windows 10 installation procedure.
  4. During the installation, make sure you select the drive that is marked 'BOOTCAMP' as installation drive for Windows 10.
  5. Relax, sit back until the installation is complete and Windows 10 loads.

“Don't rush for a coffee, MBP hardware is extremely fast and installation finishes only in minutes.”

  1. During initial loading Win10 will seek to create local account and I preferred this option since I am only trying to get my feet wet. I don't trust new OS yet! J
  2. Wi-Fi Sense – There is lot of unrest on this feature right now. Uncheck it for the time being. For more details, here is the information (Courtesy – Jon Hassel).
  3. You are almost done except few admin jobs mentioned below.
    1. Installing Boot Camp on Windows – The first thing you will see after Windows 10 is installed, is setup for Boot Camp. There is no choice here and you will need it.
    2. After installing Boot Camp and a subsequent reboot, you might need to adjust mouse controls. Since I use right click 'Bottom Right Click' option, I had to configure it the first time. Launch Boot Camp Control Panel that you will find under system tray. Under Trackpad tab, check the option 'Secondary Click' and choose whatever you prefer.
  4. Cortana – Were you impressed by Cortana videos? Let me tell you, unless you add your Hotmail/Microsoft account, the option of Cortana is not available! I personally feel this feature must be opened to types of accounts, but again it's me.
  5. Windows Account Activation – Do this, if not, some options are turned off.
  6. Edge Browser – its modern and ultra-fast! There is a very little learning, but you will get there.
  7. Multiple Partitions – for better management, I always have separate partition to store my VM's. This way, just in case when I need to reinstall OS, it wouldn't effect formatting my drive/partition where VM's exist. With OSX, you can only make 2 partitions. One for OSX and one for Windows. So, don't attempt to make more than 2 in OSX by any means. Trust me, I spent several hours of wasted effort. And don't use Disk Utility as mentioned earlier. So, how do you achieve it?
    1. After installing Windows, use 'Disk Management' under Computer Management.
    2. Right click on the BootCamp partition (now C:\ drive) and select ‘Shrink Volume’.
    3. Select how much space you need and it will shrink your C:\ drive accordingly, leaving the remaining space to be created and formatted to use as extended partition.
    4. Here is an important step > When you format the new extended partition, if you want to share and edit that between both OSX and Windows, then you need to choose that as eXFAT. MSDOS FAT will not help since there are file size limitations on that. If you choose NTFS, you will not be able to update the files on the drive from OSX. So, I ended up choosing exFAT.

Alright lets now see issues I encountered.

Issues

Windows 10 is a new born baby. But unlike rolling, crawling first, in my opinion its already standing! Well, it needs to run and so there might be initial glitches here and there. The below issues that I am posting are not completely related to Windows 10, there are either installation related or co-existing with OSX.

  1. Day 1 – Installation went well. I was able to switch between OSX and Win 10. I was also able to access the drives (I have now 3 drives, OSX, Windows Boot Camp (C drive and extended partition that I did in step 7.4). I added couple of text files, accessed them, modified them from both OS’s. Great! Then I moved my VM (SP 2013) that I created using VMWare Fusion to the extended drive from with in OSX, which is about 54GB. Then I rebooted to Windows to access it. #Fail! I cant access the partition anymore and seems to be corrupted. I first thought Windows did it. So, I formatted partition again (exFAT), switched to OSX, copied the files and rebooted machine. But this time, I booted back to OSX. Now, I cant access the partition anymore again. OSX changed the file format and also drive letter and made it inaccessible.
  2. Continuation – I switched to Windows, recreated the partition and continued to install other software’s, essentially Office 2016 Preview and VMWare Workstation 11. Later during the day, I switched back to OSX to work on other stuff. Once I tried to switch back to Windows, I never was able to. Guess what? #Crash! Now, I cannot get to Windows, nor the partition even with in OSX. The worst part was Boot Camp does not even recognize these drives and rejects to install Windows again. #Fix: I had to use Disk Utility this time, format them as OSX drives and then remove them (make them single partition). Boot Camp wouldn’t allow to repeat all the above steps until the fix is done.

Atlast, I am able to install Windows 10 again and its been good. No crashes so far (fingers crossed) and performance is pretty good. I am going to write about my running SharePoint on VMWare Workstation on Windows 10 and experiences next.

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