I haven’t done any sort of computer projects in awhile. For the sake of getting one under my belt and not being rusty, I decided to install the Windows 10 Technical Preview on my 2012 Mac Mini using the Boot Camp Assistant. This wasn’t without it’s hangups, but I’m posting this from the Windows partition just fine.
I chose to Boot Camp rather than run a VBOX (Virtual Box, Virtual Machine, etc.) because I want the peak performance I can get out of any computer. Running Windows in a window will hurt everything performance-wise overall. This is no bueno.
Starting this I figured it would be a walk in the park, however it was not to be. Whenever we work with Windows on a computer we have to be ready to figure out the workarounds and deal with the issues that arise. Using Mac hardware, this should be foreseeable.
Now that it’s all over and done and the system is working normally I can give you the steps I took to install the Windows 10 Technical Preview on my Mac Mini. Please don’t do this if you aren’t a computer person. There may be dragons. Things may be broken. This isn’t a daily driver operating system.
The Good Stuff
- A Mac. I used a 2012 Mac Mini with a dual core i5 and 16GB RAM. If your system varies, you may have problems I don’t describe here. Don’t fret if you do, just figure them out the way I did and post a guide on the internet for other folks.
- The Windows 10 Technical Preview ISO. Get it from a legitimate source.
- A USB drive that has at least 8GB of storage. Decompressed the ISO is over 6GB in size.
- Time. If you don’t have a few or more hours, don’t bother with this.
- Patience. As Chef Boyardee says, good food takes time. So does working on computers.
- Download the Windows 10 Technical Preview. I used the Microsoft Insider site as my source for the ISO. Do yourself the favor and don’t download operating systems from sources that may not be legit.
- Format your USB drive. It really doesn’t matter how as it will get reformatted later. I just like to be on the safe side. I used Disk Utility to format it to ExFAT.
- Start Boot Camp Assistant.
- Click continue and on the next step, ensure all the boxes are checked. This is very important.
- Continue through the prompts. When prompted, select your Windows 10 Technical Preview ISO.
- When prompted, select the amount of space you would like to dedicate to the Windows partition on your hard disk. Ensure you leave enough space on your OS X partition to continue using that but also allow some elbow room on your Windows side. I am using a 256GB SSD and gave 100GB to Windows. YMMV.
- Allow the wizard to continue and restart the computer. This is where the fun may begin.
- Attempt to install the Windows 10 Technical Preview. Do not choose Upgrade unless you already have a Boot Camped version of Windows on the drive.
- If you do not choose upgrade, select the volume in the Windows Disk Utility (FDISK) that corresponds to the size you selected for the Windows partition. If all goes well,CONGRATULATIONS! If not, please continue reading this guide. All didn’t go well for me. If you are met with a message stating Windows needs a NTFS partition the next few steps are likely useless, but try anyway.
- Try using FDISK to format the partition. This is probably futile, but it’s quick and worth a shot for an easy fix. If it works that’s great, but it probably won’t.
- If this fails, shut the computer off. Reboot holding the option key and select your Mac OS X drive to get back into a computer that’s actually usable.
- Launch Boot Camp Assistant again and select the option to remove the Windows install. This is ok to do, it won’t harm your USB drive.
- Launch Disk Utility and click on your now recombined hard drive. Don’t click on theVOLUME click on the DRIVE ITSELF which should be at the very top.
- Click on the Partitions tab and make a new partition equal to the amount of space you were going to give the Windows partition during step 6. ENSURE YOU PARTITION THIS AS EMPTY SPACE AND NOT IN ANY FORMAT.
- When that’s done, reboot the computer holding the option key and select EFI BOOT for your boot option.
- You should now be able to select the stand alone Windows install and install it directly to the empty space.
- After the Windows 10 Technical Preview boots up and finishes installing, things will probably be pretty broken. They were for me. I didn’t have Wifi or several other drivers. On that USB stick you made there’s a bootcamp folder. Go to that in file explorer and run the setup file there. That should fix all that nonsense.
- Enjoy having a reason to boot into OS X. Windows isn’t as bad as it used to be, but it’s no Mac.