Installing Windows 8 on MacBook Pro experience

|  Posted: October 27, 2012  |  Categories: General Technical Windows
Tags: Windows8

windows 8 pro

I started using MacBook as my main laptop since 2007, the moment Apple announced their switch to Intel based processors and started supporting running windows on Mac. It’s the perfect hardware you can have to run Windows.

When you are relying on your laptop for everything these days, upgrading the core OS always takes some guts. But at some point you need to take the plunge.

Upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 8

In the past, whenever I did an OS upgrade I always used that opportunity to clean up the system and did a fresh clean upgrade.  When you are using you laptop as main developer machine there are tons of things you install like Visual Studio, SQL Server, bunch of SDK’s, third party tools etc., So, this time I decided to attempt an upgrade to save myself the hazel of rebuilding the whole machine from scratch.

There are few different editions of Windows 8, I’ve chosen Windows 8 Pro.

The top level steps

  1. Download and burn your Windows 8 ISO into disk. Make sure you have the Key ready, the setup wont proceed without the key. Also make sure you have at least 20GB free space, else setup won’t proceed.
  2. Insert the Windows 8 disk like any other normal disk in your DVD drive and double click on the setup.
  3. The Windows 8 installation wizard will popup, after some initial preparation it will highlight whether all of your applications are compatible. In my case, it asked me to uninstall Microsoft Security essential.
  4. You need to decide whether you are going to keep “Windows settings, Personal files and apps”, “Just Personal Files”, and “Nothing”. I wanted to keep everything, so chosen first option.
  5. At this point you are fully set. It didn’t require any more user intervention and took slightly over 1 hour doing the following steps “Preparation”, “Installation”, “Migrating the settings”. It took an hour mainly because of all the existing settings.

The system did install correctly, but unfortunately there were few issues with the Boot Camp software and started experiencing blue screen of death. Whenever I click on the boot camp icon in the system tray, it will crash the system. Also on the explorer all the favourite shortcuts like download, desktop etc. were broken. Track pad didn’t work, the screen brightness was dim.  The system didn’t feel right for me, so I decided to do a clean install.

NOTE: I attempted to uninstall and reinstall Boot camp. But I made a mistake here, instead of preparing a fresh boot camp DVD using the boot camp assistant via Mac OS X, I simply inserted the Mac OS X DVD and try to run the boot camp installer. The installer started with compatibility issues and had a pre-requisite OS check for XP SP3 or Vista, so didn’t proceed any further.  Only later when I did a clean install, I prepared a brand new disk, downloading latest Boot camp (4.0) and everything went smooth.

Clean Windows 8 Install

Clean installation of Windows 8 is fairly straight forward and much quicker, took only 20 minutes for the whole install.

The top level steps

  1. Login to your Mac OS X, open Boot camp assistant and by default it will show the option to “Remove Windows”, uncheck that one and select the option to “Download latest Windows support software from Apple”. Click the continue button, once downloaded burn it to a CD/DVD.
  2. Insert the Windows 8 disk into the drive, restart the computer. Keep pressing your left ALT key. A boot screen will pop up option to boot either in Mac OS X, Windows, or from Windows CD. Choose the Windows CD option
  3. You will see the option to upgrade or custom install. Choose custom install, select drive option and format your disk
  4. Proceed with the wizard and install should be completed in 15-20 minutes.
  5. Once the installation is complete, simply insert the boot camp CD/DVD you prepared in step 1 and double click on the setup.exe. Go through the wizard, and all the drivers should be installed and your system should be up and running.

The only problem I faced was around screen brightness. Even after keeping the brightness to maximum, the screen was very dim. After some search it turned out to be an issue with adaptive

Click on Battery icon in system tray> Select More Power Option> Select Change Plan Settings> Select Change Advanced power settings > Expand Display> Under Enable Adaptive Brightness> Set the option to off for both On battery and plugged in as shown below.

advanced power settings

Apple Trackpad Issues

After the install everything was working perfectly, some 10 days later my Apple TrackPad started to behave bit in a funny way. I was not able scroll using two fingers, very useful/important on the new start screen with 10’s of applications. and I was not able to right click at all (I know how to right click in a TrackPad :-))

There were few suggestions on the forum, like wait for new drivers, replace drivers in certain folders manually etc.

But in my case since it was working earlier without issue, I thought it must be something to do with recent updates (either Windows or Apple), so I simply reinstalled the bootcamp (run setup.exe, choose “Repair” option) and after that everything seems to working as normal.

I’ll keep updating this page as and when I find something interesting with marriage between MacbookPro and Windows 8.

Running both Windows 7 and Windows 8 on the same MacBook Pro

After a month I ended up in a situation where I needed Windows 7 for some of my day to day activities. You can read the complete article how I set up the MacBook Pro to run both Windows 7 and Windows 8 without compromising much performance.

 

Author: Saravana Kumar

Saravana Kumar is the Founder and CTO of BizTalk360, an enterprise software that acts as an all-in-one solution for better administration, operation, support and monitoring of Microsoft BizTalk Server environments.

  • Osama

    i have macbook pro 13 inch i5 processor and i’m concerned about the screen resolution 1280 x 800 and the windows 8 requires a higher resolution of 1366 x 768 can i get your help in how changing the resolution ?? and install windows 8 on my macbook pro, thanks

    • I also installed it on one of my old 13 inch MacBook (white) without any problem and it’s working perfectly. I don’t think 1366×768 is mandatory. After all the design goal of Windows 8 is to run every where (tablet, phone, desktop) so I don’t think you’ll have a n issue

      • Aldrin

        but, wil the Windows Apps on Windows UI run with the MacBook Pro’s resolution?

  • YeSooF

    Hi i have a 2010 Mac Book Pro with a 2.4GHz Core 2 duo and a 4 GB RAM. I just recently bought the windows 8 pro and I was wondering, can I still install it even though I never had any windows OS installed into the Mac. Thx.

    • Yes, you should be able to install Windows 8, just follow the “Clean install” procedures from the above article.

  • Thank You 😀

  • cg

    finally, a straight forward installation guide to getting windows 8 onto a macbook. I haven’t found a single one that addresses clean install. They are always just updating from windows 7 or whatever. I have a question though, does the traditional windows 8 disk allow you to install windows 8 on multiple computers?

    • Probably you should not install Windows 8 on multiple computers, normally the OS licenses are on per PC basis.

  • Scott

    Thank you

  • Wilbur

    Hi there. I am planning to buy a macbook pro 13 inch built on 2012 for university because of its hardware. However i am looking forward to installing windows 8 on since i do not like the experience i have with osx. Are there any underlying issues? Like bugs or issues of the trackpad? Looking forward to hearing from you. ( ps. I do plan on buying the dvd spftware for it.)

  • li max joy

    Saravana i installed the Windows 8 on my Macbook Pro by using the boot camp application. I am not able to activate the windows 8 with the license given by Microsoft when i bought it online. The windows 8 is already installed on another laptop of mine. But i am not able to do it over here . when i started activating the windows with this key it says its for upgrading purpose not for clean installation . If i buy again a license will it work. please comment .

    • The best thing to do is to call Microsoft support and verify it before spending any money. Looks like you might have just bought the upgrade version (which is cheaper) instead of the full version.

      • li max joy

        Yes i bought the upgrade version will it work or do i need to buy another full version key or what

        • Upgrade version as the name suggests is for upgrading from previous versions (Windows 7). If you already had a boot camp with Windows 7, you could have used new disc to upgrade it. If you are doing a clean install, then you’ll require a full version. This is just my suggestion, please do you research before spending.

          • li max joy

            i contacted the windows technical support and they did not gave me a good answer . First they said if i buy again another license of upgraded one it will work. When i went online i am not able to buy the 40 dollar upgraded version license .

  • Ruben

    Hi Saravana, thanks for the insightful information regarding Windows 8 on the Macbook Pro.

    I’m planning of doing the same thing, and I’m wondering if there are still issues regarding this, or if everything is working perfectly now?

  • Tashi

    Hi,
    I am using Macbook Pro 15 inch. I tried installing clean windows 8 pro after I installed parallels desktop 9 for mac. Now I am again getting this weird activation message, activation key which came in with windows 8 pro doesn’t help for the second time. Windows is running but I still get this message
    .

  • Mode Kiva

    Hi, Savanna, thank you for this straight forward installation guide. I am using MacBook 4.1 Mac OS X Version 10.5.8.; Processor 2.1Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo; Memory 1gb. HDD 160Gb. I intend to do a clean install of Windows 8 Pro on the spared Windows partition. But when I try to expand the Windows partition to 40GB, I get the error saying that some data cannot be removed, recommending to backup my hard disk and delete the existing partition into one partition and then try to create another partition. Unfortunately I don’t have the Lion installer DVD, doing backup of HHD so far is not of important to me unless for OS itself as I have already removed all my data. I am asking your suggestions, if I agree to delete those partitions, then the next action will not demand the Lion installer to proceed?

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