Dual-Booting the iMac

On Friday I finished dual-booting my new iMac for optimum gaming abilities. I bought the iMac so that I could go back to digital painting. I bought Painter 12 and hooked up my old Intuous 2: it’s a perfect recipe for true love.

However, I also have a weakness for Windows games, and so I sat around and played with that for a while. University of Chicago allows all students to have Windows 7 on their license, so it wasn’t a monetary investment for me to put Windows on it. I did, however, have to find a USB mouse and keyboard, since the bluetooth ones wouldn’t work before the installation of the new OS.

So, I have the Late 2012 iMac 21.5in; which is also known as the “New iMac” that is super-thin, optical-drive-less, and AWESOME. I have a fusion drive in my machine.

I was a little worried that the iMac’s new Fusion Drive would make partitioning difficult. Logically, the SSD portion of the drive only works in OS X, so the Windows partition does not have the snappy functions of an SSD. (Not entirely sure that matters THAT much, though. I’ve got 16gb RAM.)

A couple of weird things did happen in installation. At first, my computer told me:

“Can’t partition the drive because it’s not journalled”

I googled the error message and found a lot of really crazy complicated ideas for how to fix that on various forums.

Then I rebooted my computer, tried again, and it didn’t give me the same error message. So others who experience this problem, I suggest you try rebooting before you do something crazy to your hard drive.

Upon reboot into the partition, however, the system could not find the boot disk. I had created a physical Windows 7 boot disk with an Amazon Basics optical drive. (30 bucks, USB 2.0, excellent option for folks who don’t want to spend 80$ on the Apple Superdrive.) However, there are also drivers that Bootcamp wants to install on an external disk for installation AFTER Windows is up and running.

I don’t know exactly why it couldn’t find a boot disk. I solved the problem by re-partitioning, then ensuring that ONLY the dvd drive was connected during the initial installation. At first, I thought it would be okay to have both the USB drive with the drivers AND the DVD drive with the boot disk plugged in at the same time. Once I had ONLY the DVD drive plugged in (and a USB keyboard and mouse) it read the boot disk (same disk) and installed properly.

Then when Windows was fully installed, I manually went to the setup.exe file on my USB thumb drive to install the drivers. That connected my bluetooth keyboard and trackpad, fixed the display, and got the sound up and running, among other background things.

Now I can run my computer like this:

windows_onlate2012imacBasically, defying the fundamental laws of the universe.

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