Although most of you are interested specifically in running Solidworks on a Mac, which is exactly was set me down this path, I figured regular posts about even setting up the machine would be good.
the Macbook Air, 13″, arrived on Friday. Being as I ordered it online, estimates for an arrival date had me not expecting the hardware for another week. Lucky me, I get to set up Windows on the Macbook over the weekend. As expected, the Air showed up in a plain cardboard box with all the good stuff inside.
The first challenge…installing Windows.
Since this will be primarily a work machine for me, BootCamp is the only way to go. Virtual machines through Parallels or VMWare Fusion I find only slow down the hardware. After all, why run two operating systems at the same time. My aim is to strictly run this as a Windows machine, so BootCamp makes sense. If I really want to switch up operating systems, the extra RAM and SSD drive make switching back and forth just as easy.
I purchased an OEM package of Windows 7 Pro from a local computer supplies shop. On sale, still $145.
Work has that cost covered. An external DVD drive was also purchased with the rationale that the $30 for the drive should save me a least an hour or two of swapping between desktops and USB sticks over the next few months. With that disk popped out of it’s plain packaging and into the drive, I was ready for BootCamp.
And just like that…Windows was loading up on a Macbook Air. about 5 minutes into the install, a selection pane popped up asking for country and keyboard preferences. At that point I realized the keyboard didn’t work. Trackpad wasn’t working. Reaching for that USB keyboard stashed for the last few years under my bed…I plugged that in and also found no working. Hmmm….
So a little internet searching. I am not the type of guy to instantly call tech support (although I am very fond of the dedicated service Apple provides with each new machine…it’s much more than I ever received from my last PC). A little searching for “Windows 7 install Macbook Air keyboard not working” might seem like a bit of a long set of search terms, but this ever evolving search engine of Google’s found me a couple of posts in an Apple Support forum. Here were a few other individuals who had run across the same keyboard not working issue.
If you have arrived here by chance with the same issue, you’re in luck. I fought with trying a few times to install Windows via DVD only because I didn’t want to create an .iso file. It’s the stupidest things we choose not to do sometimes. The simplest instructions are as follows:
- Get, or create, an .iso file of your Windows disk. Disk Utility can create a .cdr file for you which you can rename as a .iso when the file is complete
- Start BootCamp and select the first two boxes, and make sure you have a USB stick formatted and ready to become your boot stick! I used the ugliest 8GB stick I could find. I apologize for the grainy nature of the photos…low light and using my phone camera instead of a screenshot. Look for image updates in the future.
- Reopen BootCamp and just do that second checkbox…with your ugly bootstick still in place.
- Finally, reopen BootCamp once again and select only that last box. Let your Macbook do all the work.
After about 10 minutes…your Windows install is good to go. I did 70GB for Mac OSX and 180 for Windows 7 Pro. You know with all the Windows updates coming with any fresh install that any extra drive space will be very quickly eaten up.
So our next task is to complete the work install with the rest of Microsoft Office, and all the other usual PC based programs required to get through a regular workday. Tomorrow, we’ll give installing Solidworks 2012 a go, just to get a feel for it.