When you are using a Macintosh and need to run Windows programs, what is the best way to run Windows 7 on Mac? What are the problems for which you need to prepare? How do you exchange files between Windows and Mac? How do you assign hard disk space? How do you change the allocation after installation if needed? Here choices that work great.
Some of the Windows programs I needed would not run in virtualization mode. VirtualBox, a free emulator by Oracle is quite good, but I needed the actual installation of Windows 7 on the hard drive of the Macintosh.
How To Run Windows 7 On A Mac
Bootcamp is included with the operating system in the Utility folder, and the procedure for installing is straightforward. You need a Windows DVD installation disk. A basic or manufacturer’s installation disk is fine. Next, print out the Bootcamp instructions and partition your hard drive to make space for Windows. Bootcamp will reformat the partitions on your existing hard drive with no loss of data. To minimize the chance for irregularities during this procedure it is a good idea to run a couple of maintenance utilities. I used Cocktail to clear caches, run maintenance scripts and repair permissions. Then I ran Disk Warrior to rebuild the existing directory on the hard drive to ensure it was in pristine, perfect condition with zero errors prior to proceeding. The directory file structure is a map of all the files on the hard drive. These are optional safeguards. At a minimum, restart the Mac with shift key pressed to start up in safe mode and check the system files. Then restart and use Disk Utility to verify the disk structure for safety.
While slow, the installation proceeds smoothly. Just remember to hold down the Option key on Mac and select the new Windows disk on each restart during the setup. After you start up in Windows, use the Macintosh Software Update control panel to update everything from the Windows side. I also installed MSSE – Microsoft Security Essentials, a free anti-virus program. The problems began a few weeks later when I noticed my hard drive was running almost constantly when using Windows.
I had allocated 27 GB, around 10 GB over the minimum, but with both Apple and Microsoft installing “important” and “recommended” updates my free space was down to approximately 1.5 GB, less than ten percent of the overall drive capacity leaving little working room for the files to be written.
How To Add Space to Bootcamp Without Losing Data
There are two ways to address this:
1) Reformat from the Mac side with Bootcamp by restoring the drive, losing all Windows data, partitioning and starting over.
2) Use Paragon CampTune 9 to add space to Windows without losing any data.
I chose the second method.
After purchasing and downloading CampTune, burning the program to a CD went smoothly. I was able to remove free space from the Mac side of the partition, but when trying to add space to the Windows partition the following message appeared: “Operation failed. The file system has allocation errors due to cross-linked files. Run OS built in tools for checking and correcting this kind of errors. Error Source: Hard Disk Manager Error Code: 0x10018.” The developers are native German speakers, so the English aren’t flawless.
I was left with lost disk space on my Mac, and the same space shortage on Windows. I contemplated going back to step one, erasing and starting over. Fortunately, when filling out a service ticket online, the FAQ gave me the answer. The instructions showed three things:
1) How to use disk utility on the Mac to check the file structure for errors. I knew these files were fine for two reasons, Disk Warrior had rebuilt everything even though there were no errors, plus CampTune had successfully removed free space from the Mac partition showing a file check as one of the steps.
2) How to reclaim the unallocated free space on the drive. This was very useful. You open up Disk Utility on the Mac, click Partition, and just drag the image to enlarge.
3) How to check for file errors on the Windows partition. This was what I needed, but it required command line instructions: chk disk c: /f. Command line instructions are fine but they make me nervous because sometimes you can do real damage if you’re off by one space or punctuation mark.
Chkdsk is a command to have Windows run the built in check disk routine and repair any damaged files. Fortunately, this can also be run from the Windows Control Panel. Select Computer, then the Bootcamp disk, the Properties, and Tools, and select Disk maintenance. You can then choose repair files only, or repair files and try to recover any damaged blocks. Since the command line was only for file repair I picked that.