Windows 8 on a MacBook Air

This one was a bit more painful than expected. Windows 8 WILL work on a MacBook Air, but there’s a few hurdles to get over.

Firstly, you can do the standard method of going into OSX and using the inbuilt Boot Camp option. You’ll have to burn a copy of your ISO and use an external CD/DVD drive (Ironic for a MBA, but also I was running Snow Leopard so this may be fixed in Lion or Mountain Lion) and follow the bouncing ball.

At the other end, you’ve got Windows 8 installed, except if you try to then install the Boot Camp tools you’ll get the lovely message “Boot Camp requires that your computer is running Windows 7”.

You’ll have to break out the free Microsoft tool Orca (available here and make one small change. Thanks to this page for advising on what that is:

Open the BootCamp64.msi file from your WindowsSupport\Drivers\Apple folder created from OSX and under the LaunchCondition entry, go to where it says VersionNT=601 and change it to 602 (or just right click and drop row to remove the check completely). Now you’ll be able to run setup.exe without getting the annoying error.

That’ll install Boot Camp, which you can then update from inside the app for a newer version without issue.

Next, you may have noticed that if you’re using the trackpad that right click doesn’t work. You can enable that in the Boot Camp software under the Boot Camp Control Panel, and ticking the Two Fingers > Secondary Click option.

The last annoyance for me was that the network dongle didn’t work either. I found the correct driver under WindowsSupport\Drivers\Asix – installing that made it instantly work.

Good luck and enjoy Windows 8!

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