I spent the best part of the weekend trying to install Star Wars: The Old Republic on my MacBook Pro (early 2011 model). Why did it take me the best part of the weekend? You’ll find out in a bit, but it was in part to me not knowing what the hell I was doing, and the scatters of info spread across the net to fix all the little problems I encountered along the way.
What you’ll need:
A Mac (I’m running Lion – don’t know how similar this is on the other versions)
Genuine copy of Windows 7 (has to be 7 if you are using Lion… I think) on DVD or USB stick.
Blank DVD or USB thumbtack
At least 50GB free HDD space
The best part of an evening
A SWTOR subscription and a copy of the game.
Step by step:
Back your stuff up (or chance it – your call, don’t blame me if this goes tits up).
Tap “Boot Camp” into spotlight and it should come up with “Boot Camp Assistant” (you’ll find it in Applications>Utilities if not).
Follow the instructions through – you’ll need the blank disc or the USB to create a Mac drivers install disc thing (don’t worry, your Mac will do it all for you, you just need to sit and wait).
You’ll be asked to create a partition for Windows. If you just want to run SWTOR on Windows you’ll need at least 40GB (I went for 50 to just play it safe… well the second time around I went for 50, I learned this lesson the hard way).
Your Mac will split your HDD and ask you for your Windows install CD.
It will restart, and then start installing Windows. About half way through it will tell you your HDD isn’t in the right format; simply select it, click advanced and then tell Windows to format the drive.
BE CAREFUL HERE THE LAST THING YOU WANT TO DO IS WIPE YOUR OSX (I should point out I don’t know if thats even possible, but either way be careful).
Follow the Windows install bits all the way though, and when it asks tell it to do a clean install of Windows.
If you get to the step where it asks you to validate your Windows CD key and it won’t take the code for whatever reason just delete the details off and hit continue, you can register it later when you’re in Windows.
Let it finish (it will turn on and off loads during this process).
Ta darrrrrrrrr, it installed Windows! (If you are anything like me this is where you’ll have the “OMG what have I done to my shiny, shiny mac” moment).
Install the disc with the drivers on your Mac created an age ago (I had to do this twice because some drivers didn’t stick – Google searches suggested this is normal).
Get your copy of Windows to validate (or check that it has) Start menu > “ctrl+click” on Computer, scroll down and hit validate. It should show a big blue Microsoft badge if it has, or a link to validate it if not.
This bit you might not need… if you managed to validate jump to number 20.
If you have trouble validating Windows, telling you the key is incorrect, it could be because you are using an ‘Upgrade Edition’ (no that’s not code for pirated – it is an actual version of Windows 7). If this is the case you need to install Windows again (yeah I know it’s bollocks – I can explain why and how this trick works but the long and short is that you’ll need to do this if you want it to validate).
Download this file from Apple http://support.apple.com/kb/TS3172 and run it (I know it says Windows Vista – just trust me).
During the install of that file from Apple it might crash and tell you it’s not compatible or something, if so just find the file in your downloads folder or wherever you saved it and right click, ‘run as administrator’, then it should work fine.
Pop your copy of Windows 7 back in and run it from ‘My Computer’ within Windows.
Sit and wait while it does the thing all over again.
Taaa darrrrrr, you’re back in Windows wondering if this is really worth the headache.
Now validate your copy of Windows.
You’re good to go and download the SWTOR client (or install the discs – does the box copy even have a disc in it?).
Play Skyrim while it installs and downloads – seriously this will take forever!
Thats it you are now ready to play… Enjoy.
A Few Things I Found Out
Lion will only allow you to go to Windows 7 (not sure about other OSX versions).
If you need to get back to OSX during any of this just switch off and after the “dong” hold ‘alt” (or ‘option’ depending on your keyboard) and select the disc you want to boot from.
Don’t panic if it looks like you Mac is having a fit turning off an on while its trying to boot into Windows – just leave it and let it finish.
See thats only… twenty odd steps!!! (urghhhhh)
Despite the monumental ballache of it all it is worth it, and if the lovely people at BioWare ever do bring us a Mac client you’ll have a head start on all your Mac buddies, and you can lord it over them next time you’re in Starbucks (just don’t let them see the Windows desktop or hear the noise when it turns on). I’d hit all sorts of bumps on the road to SWTOR on the Mac and read a lot about other people’s Boot Camp woes – granted I’m no expert but this is how I did it and it worked for me. If you do get stuck post a comment below or tweet me and I’ll try help if I can.