Boot Camp (not)

After literally 6 try’s (“ The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”) to install Windows 8.1 on my 2011 MacBook Air using Boot Camp, as a way to get to Windows 10 (had it running for a year before losing it to installing dosdude1 patcher), I am starting the adventure of attempting to install Win10 without using Boot Camp. Thank goodness for Apple’s network based recovery. Have had to recover High Sierra twice in last 3 days.

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You won’t need Windows 8 any more if you’ve activated Windows 10. The digital entitlement is stored with your Microsoft account. I still have my Windows 8 retail box and haven’t touched in years through multiple installs and hardware changes on my PC.

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Unfortunately, Boot Camp on an older MBA will not let you install Win10. Last time I did it, I installed Win8.1, then upgraded to 10 within Windows 8.1.
I can’t get beyond installing Win 8.1 this time. Updates doesn’t work, and when I try to fix that , run into other roadblocks.
And, after running Boot Camp so many times, managed to damage the entire Mac SSD disc structure.

Yes, Bootcamp allows bare metal Windows, and thus better performance, but I would only go that route for gaming. If you’re doing it for any other reason, consider a virtual machine instead. VirtualBox is free and more than up to the task for running a Windows guest. If you have a valid Windows license key, you can probably use it to install Windows in the VM and activate it. (No harm trying.) Just boot the VM on a Windows 10 image, and at the point where it prompts for the license key, just enter whatever key you have. You’ll know soon enough after it finishes installing whether MS will let you activate Windows 10 that way. If that fails, you may still not be done, because you can probably call MS and talk to a phone robot and/or human and get it activated. The command you would need is to press Windows-R (for [R]un) and type “slui 4” (without the quotes.) It should give you a phone # to call and a bunch of alphanumeric codes to enter. It will ask you how many machines you have the license active on. The answer is ALWAYS 1. Assuming that goes well, it will give you back a bunch more alphanumeric codes to finish the job.

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Thanks for the advice.
Unfortunately, I’ve gone the VM way before, and became very discouraged with how slow both the “bootup” and operation of the OS were. Used VMWare for about 4 years, and got tired of paying them for a new version every time the MacOS upgraded. Then went to VirtualBox. I used to have Windows XP, 7, 8.1, and several Linux distribution VMs available. But, I wanted to run Win 10 as a full time system, and I’m too cheap to go buy a PC. These are the tradeoffs one has to make if not willing to accept “slow” behavior, or able to buy new and better hardware.
I will copy the Microsoft activation advise. Looks like something I will get some use from.

How much RAM is involved? Windows needs at least 4G for reasonable performance, and maybe more depending on how you use it. My experience has been that yes, it is a little slower, but normally not so much so as to discourage me, but then again you’re talking a laptop form factor, and laptop CPUs are rarely very performant. If it were for desktop only use, I’d encourage you to build a mini-pc like the one I “reviewed” A review, of sorts, of the Asrock DeskMini A300 but of course that’s hardly a “free” solution.

MBA has 4gb ram. I came to the conclusion that running Windows as VM “shared” this 4gb, whereas using Boot Camp, I would get to use it all. Win 10 was really running well on BC until I managed to break it playing with dosdude1 Catalina. All my fault. Tend to be a bull in a china shop when it comes to playing with computers. Funny how I made a career of this type of behavior.

Correct conclusion. Too bad the Mac didn’t have 8G cause that could work much better for a VM.

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Believe me, the next Mac will have at least 16gb if I can get it.

To have Windows 10 run decently, you really need 8GB. Unless the drive is an SSD - I have found 4 to be way too slow. My laptop has 6GB or RAM… And while it was fast in the beginning when new - after updates and that patch for the processor to fix that fatal flaw - the damn thing is slow as molasses.

I do not think I will buy another WIndows computer, now with the Chromebook option. But, if I do - nothing less than 8GB of RAM.

I recently did a fresh install on my son’s computer - he has the exact same one as me. After updates and what not - it is slow too.

The updates slowing it down could be the fact of the Spectre and Meltdown fixes. They’re said to cost 40% on some models of CPUs. (I don’t know that they’re applied, or can be applied, on a guest inside a VM, as they would expect to exist on the host, so that may actually help a VM appear faster, but I don’t know enough about the technical details.)

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Is there a Genius badge for Discourse? If so, I nominate @PHolder for the badge.

I have finally succeeded in getting Windows 10 up and running as a separate OS, without using Boot Camp. Apple feels Windows 10 will not run correctly on some older model Macs, so they build in restrictions in Boot Camp. My previous method to get around this was to install Windows 8.1, then upgrade to Windows 10 from within Windows. Unfortunately, I kept running into road blocks this time, where Windows 8.1 could not run Windows Update. Tried all the fixes I could find online, but never got there. Even tried to manually download updates from the Windows Update Catalog, but the Windows built in application to install the updates would not work. Man, I was really getting PO’d. So I tried finding a way to create Windows 10 installation media on my Mac. Again, everything I tried failed. Murphy had me at every turn.

@PHolder reminded me about running Windows as a VM using Virtual Box. Now, I have, correction, had reasons for not wanting to run it as a VM. But, his comments got me thinking about installing Win 10 as a VM so I could use the Microsoft Media Creation Tool. And, tada, here I am typing on the standalone, not VM version, Windows 10 installation on my MBA. Still have to find the driver for the trackpad, but happy. The VM version is Windows 10 Home, and the dual boot version is Windows 10 Pro. Both came up as activated.

The standalone version is definately faster than the VM. But, I also remembered the other reason I got tired of using the VM. I had VMs for Windows XP, 7, 8.1, and 10, plus several Linux distributions, but only 256gb of storage. The time to copy different VMs to and from external sources was really unacceptable. So I gave it up. But, now I have upgraded the MBA to 1tb SSD, so can have several VMs if I so desire.


:blush: Thank you for the compliment. I am happy to hear things worked out well for you. :tada: