Been meaning to try out a thing in the Mac OS called BootCamp. BootCamp is Apple’s tool that sets up the ability for Windows to run on a Mac.
I’d been meaning to do this for years, but since I’m a VMWare Fusion user, I never really had a reason.
Until last night.
After doing battle with glaciers on the road in front of the house. (Global Warming… MY ASS!) Two days with a trenching tool, snow shovel, and a pick! Only then was I able to get the 4” of ice cleared from in front of my driveway.
We had a county worker fall on the street and injure herself earlier in the week. She turned her ankle so severely that if she didn’t break it she’ll have gotten off lucky. Thank God she wasn’t in front of my house when she fell. Our street has a long and colorful history some of which I’ve documented in this blog so I won’t retell it in this post.
To my knowledge, this is the first time anyone had been injured
Ironically, the lady was a county employee, and since the county refuses to take responsibility for the road by maintaining and plowing the road perhaps it’s a bit of Karma. Had the county plowed the road, there wouldn’t have been ice 4” thick for her to fall on.
The ice was caused by snowplayers, driving up a dead end road (mine) so that they could play in the abomination the county calls a flood control project. (Another story!)
When you have vehicle after vehicle slowly crusing up the street, then backing down the street spinning their tires, you get ice. This is especially true when the cars and trucks are coming up before we’ve had a chance to get out to the street with snow blowers.
After two days of manual labor, my shoulders and the rest of me was pretty sore. (I’m much better today, thanks for asking.)
So I resolved to plant my ass on the couch and do nothing last night. Then I happened to go into my office and noticed a Windows 7 installation disk peeking out of its storage bin.
Hum, “Oh why the hell not? It should be pretty mindless and I’ll be curious if I don’t…”
At this point my tech friends are all saying to themselves, “Uh OH!”
To be fair, BootCamp is really cool. It provides any Mac user with a reasonably powerful machine, (ie Most Macs) the ability to create a disk partition on their Mac, then install and run Windows.
It works well and even provides the ability to boot up in the partition you’ve created (Windows in my case) OR Mac OS by default. I’m not sure why you’d spend the money on a Mac then only use Windows or another operating system, but I’m sure there are people that do exactly that.
I could see a diehard Windows fan attempting to transition to Mac OS and failing, then continuing to use the Mac running exclusively Windows. It would be a bit of a waste but at least the person would get some utility out of the Mac
Anyhow, BootCamp works and it works well. Windows installed and worked like a champ. I installed the printer drivers I needed and was planning on giving this partition thing a whirl to see if I wanted to perhaps abandon VMWare. So I tell Windows that I want to install an instance of Office.
… and that’s when it all went to hell.
Unbeknownst to me, Office 365 has some kind of problem with one or more of the HP printer drivers. Office will install then get to about 90% complete and HANG. To get around this you have to restart Windows, go to services, disable the print spooler, make sure; In my case, that the firewall and Microsoft’s Antivirus were offline, then restart the Office installation procedure.
It was at this point that things went seriously off the rails. Office claimed it was installed but wouldn’t let me sign in, nor would it reinstall. As I was fiddling with it I started getting a message that Office couldn’t access the internet, but I was looking at webpages FROM Microsoft’s Office installation help and my accounts page. Then I rebooted Windows again and things went from bad to worse.
After a couple of hours I realized the Windows installation had been damaged in some unique and interesting ways. I threw in the towel.
I have a perfectly functional installation of Windows in VMWare, I don’t NEED a BootCamp partition. I especially don’t need to go through the whole Windows installation process again, then wait for Office, etc, etc, etc.
I learned some things I didn’t know before.
BootCamp works really well.
Note to self, Install Windows, Install Office, THEN install HP printers.
Probably, not a bad rule of thumb to hold off installation of printers in general until after Office is installed and online. I have the suspicion that HP isn’t the only printer manufacturer that’s got some kind of “blocking” bug with Office. This begs the question if you’re installing Office on an existing installation of Windows, should you maybe remove the installed printers then reinstall them after the installation?
On a Mac with Bootcamp installed, the 2nd (Windows) partition is shown on the desktop.
That’s something I don’t care for. I’d like the ability to have that partition hidden unless I explicitly mount it. I know I can hide all hard drives from the desktop, but I’d prefer to have the ability to have user selectable hidden partitions.
Since the Mac OS is, at its core a UNIX system, I’m fairly sure that I could hide the partition… maybe fstab? Humm, I wonder…
In any case, I’m sticking with VMWare for my Windows needs. The single major reason is this, I can COPY a VMWare container. That container could be Windows, Linux, or other operating systems. Restoring that container is simple and VMWare doesn’t care.
Effectively, this means that I can corrupt the hell out of a VMWare Windows container and lose only the most recent changes (Or bad installation of something).
VMware is not noticeably slower than running Windows as a stand alone partition. So as the doctors say, the benefits outweigh the deficits.
This could easily have been worse. I could have trashed my Mac OS installation in the process. I briefly considered that as a possibility. I discounted the potential danger for 2 reasons. 1) I Have a couple of complete backups of my Mac OS X installation. 2) I suffer from that terrible arrogance that comes from the Mac OS being so robust.
Yes, occasionally something really bad happens, but issues I have with my Mac are generally caused because I’m monkeying around not because the OS itself is bad.
So for all of you who’ve not used BootCamp, you can continue to not use it.
If however, you decide to give it a try, you can do so with a bit more confidence. Depending on your needs, you might still consider VMWare or Parallels as options.
If you’re looking for a way to spend an evening…
There are far more interesting things you can do instead of experimenting with a computer. I can tell you even BAD sex is more interesting.
Your milage will no doubt vary.