Friday, August 14, 2015

Installed Windows 10 on the MacBook Air

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We take a lot of photos when you go on trips. (Otherwise what is the point of buying the Canon 70D?) My wife loves to sort them out in the next couple of days. Since she takes a long time, I do not want her to use the desktop PC for that. I used to setup the tablet to access the photos which are stored on the hard drives in the desktop PC over the network, but we no longer have a tablet with us.

We visited Sanrio Puroland last Monday. As usual, my wife wanted to check out the photos we took there and this time I setup the MacBook Air for her. Unfortunately, the built-in Preview application can open only one photo at a time. You cannot use the arrow keys on the keyboard to navigate between the photos. There is no provision for that in that application. So as a temporary measure, I copied all the photos to the MacBook and imported them into the Photos app in OSX Yosemite where she could use the arrow keys to navigate.

Tedious!

What if I had Windows on the MacBook Air?

That would work!

In fact, I had an early preview build of Windows 10 (build 10041) already installed using Boot Camp. I booted into it and immediately felt how unstable it was. I tried using Windows Update to see if I could upgrade it to the RTM build. Windows Update insisted that there weren’t any pending updates. Windows Update was broken! Either the Windows Update in this build was broken or Microsoft didn’t want it to be upgraded to RTM.

That’s when I decided to install Windows 10 RTM freshly on the MacBook Air. Since I don't have a Windows 10 key, I decided to install Windows 7 and upgrade it to Windows 10. (I had already used the Windows 8.1 key on my desktop PC, so I could not upgrade from Windows 8.1.)

Installing Windows 10 RTM on the MacBook Air

I first went into OSX and removed the existing Boot Camp partition. Then I downloaded the Windows 7 Pro ISO that I had stored on my desktop PC onto the MacBook Air. I fetched one of my 16GB SANDISK USB sticks (click here to read a small review of them) and started creating the Windows 7 bootable installer from Boot Camp Assistant. I partitioned the SSD in the MacBook 50%-50%. I really don’t keep much files on the drive so I could survive easily with 60GB on each OS.

Once that was done, I rebooted the MacBook and the installation of Windows 7 started. Installation of Windows 7 went without any drama. After the installation was completed, Boot Camp installed the required drivers and I finally could go online to activate Windows 7.

After activating, I downloaded the Media Creation Tool for Windows 10 from Microsoft to upgrade it to Windows 10. It managed to download the necessary files however it couldn't proceed with the upgrade. An error occurred even before starting the upgrade process. I tried it a couple of times but in every case the same error showed up. (Unfortunately I couldn’t take a screenshot of the error.)

Luckily I had the Windows 10 Pro bootable USB stick which I made for the desktop PC. I plugged it in and launched the setup from there. (I didn't boot from the USB stick because if I wanted to activate Windows 10, I had to upgrade at least once. After that I would be able to simply create a bootable stick from within Boot Camp Assistant and perform a clean install.)

The upgrade went without a problem. Windows was automatically activated when I checked.

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However a lot of the drivers were missing so I launched the Boot Camp Control Panel setup from the previous Windows 7 USB stick and it installed everything that was missing. After that I could tweak the touch pad behavior as well. Touch pad operation is not as smooth as in OSX, but good enough I suppose.

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Now can I access the photos from the desktop easily?

Let's get back to the original reason for installing Windows 10.

I changed the Network and Sharing Center settings so that I could access the desktop PC. That meant changing the following settings.

PrivateGuest or PublicAll Networks

Unfortunately, I couldn't access the desktop PC. It was visible but not accessible.

What the hell!!!!

I reestablished the LAN connection and it was still the same. A reboot didn't fix it either.

I searched the Internet for a solution and I found one to follow. It said, if the connection was set as a Public Network, we first had to change it to a Private Network for the other PC to be accessible from the LAN. Sure enough, the network connection on the MacBook was set as a public network. I did not manually connect to the LAN after installing Windows 10. It must have migrated the settings I used in Windows 7 and decided to setup the connection as a public network.

So how do you change it to a private network?

You go into Setting → MANAGE WI-FI SETTINGS and remove the existing entry for the particular SSID from Manage known networks down below. (Click on the entry and click on the Forget button that pops up)

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After that I connected to the same SSID entering the key and it was recognized as a Private network.

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Mission accomplished

After that, I could browse the shared folders of the desktop PC. Hurrah!

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I opened the photos using the inbuilt Photos app in Windows 10 and I could use arrow keys (or the mouse) to navigate between the images. I could also swipe the track pad to navigate between the images and it was very convenient.

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