Windows 8… on my MacBook

So I don’t do too many techy posts but I feel like this deserves one.

Not too long ago Microsoft unveiled the release preview of Windows 8, and I decided it was worth BootCamping my MacBook to give it a go.

Before I explain how it’s all done it’s probably worth me pointing out that I’m working on a late 2010 model MacBook (the discontinued white model) with an Intel 2.4Ghz dual core processor and 8GB of RAM, but the preview is likely to work on any modern MacBook capable of BootCamping Windows 7. It’s really important to bear in mind that this is a release preview, so there are still bugs and it’s not fully functional just yet. Backing up your data is advisable (although I didn’t actually bother).

So the first step is to grab the ISO image from the Microsoft website. http://windows.microsoft.com/en-GB/windows-8/iso

You’ll need the 64 bit version, and don’t forget to write down the product key, (I do mean write, because you’ll need it during the installation process and you won’t be able to access any Sitckies or note taking apps during the installation process). The full download is 3.3GB so it will take a while.

Next you either need to burn the ISO image to a DVD using Disk Utility or if you have 4GB or larger USB drive which you’re prepared to have formatted you can make a bootable USB with the ISO image. You can use the Boot Camp assistant to create your bootable USB. If like me you’re running OSX Lion and you have a computer WITH a DVD drive you’ll have to follow these instructions to get the USB option to show up in the Boot Camp Assistant.

Next simply follow the instructions in the Boot Camp Assistant progressing as if you were installing Windows 7 and Windows 8 will be installed for you. A little word of warning make sure you give your Windows partition enough space, I set mine up with 20GB and after the installation I was left with around 900MB of usable free space. Shrinking my OSX partition and extending my Windows partition solved my problem though.

Make sure you install the Apple Windows support files once you’re set up otherwise you’ll be missing a hell of a lot of functionality.

First thoughts on the operating system are that it’s pretty nice, it finally feels like Microsoft are seriously thinking about the user experience and they’ve successfully put together a slick new operating system. I’m a big fan of the Metro UI but on the MacBook the multitouch gestures aren’t available just yet so it can be a little fiddly in places. There is a reasonable learning curve but the more you use it, the more you get used to it. I quite like it though, in fact I’m using it right now to publish this article, and I’ll be using it as my second operating system of choice for debugging and gaming.

Give it an install and let me know what you think in the comments.

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Richard Lartey Written by: