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From what I've heard, Windows 8 is only available in its upgrade form. Having never installed Windows on my Mac before, is it possible at all to dual boot Windows 8? Would using the upgrade version give me a full install if I don't previously have Windows?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

It's not clear if you are looking to evaluate things or make a permanent move, but there is a free solution to evaluate the software as long as you meet the terms for an evaluation license from Microsoft.

Win8 ISO in the virtual optical drive

  • Start up the Windows 8 container (it will confirm you are using the "Optical disk" to start the machine
  • Progress through the agreements and start buttons until this screen:

Windows Setup: Upgrade or Custom

  • Do not choose the default Upgrade since you have nothing on this "new PC". Choose Custom: Install Windows only (advanced)
  • Choose the rest of the settings as you please for making your account tied into the Windows Live email and you should be up and running within 10 minutes and a couple reboots of the software "PC".

Other than learning how VirtualBox allocates the keyboard and mouse, you should have 90 days to experiment with the new Windows OS and decide if you want to dive in with BootCamp or a commercial VM solution such as VMWare Fusion or Parallels.

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Is this also how I would go about installing the full thing via bootcamp? Just choosing the Custom install option? – charlieshades Oct 29 '12 at 22:46
Yes - the installer at that point doesn't care if it's installing onto a BootCamp partition or a VM disk image or an external drive. If you have no data on the drive, choose Custom (advanced). If you want to migrate an older setup, the first choice preserves things in that case. – bmike Oct 29 '12 at 22:47

You can find detailed instructions written by an MVP (most valuable professional) here:

  1. When purchasing the upgrade version of Windows 8 you can create your own install media which is useful to perform a clean install of Windows (e.g. in Bootcamp).

  2. If I were you, I'd create an .iso image and use Disk to burn the image onto a DVD.

  3. Then you can follow the standard guided Windows installation on a Mac using the Boot

Note: Currently, Windows 8 is not yet officially supported by Bootcamp. But I've managed to perform a clean install with the latest version of Bootcamp (5.0.0) using the Windows 7 drivers to install Windows 8 professional.

I've not experienced any driver problems. The auto-dimming was usually too low, so I disabled that feature. The media keys only work after entering the desktop mode after boot.

Arstechinca has published an article "No support? No problem! Installing Windows 8 on a Mac with Boot Camp" in which the author briefly explains how to install Windows 8 via Bootcamp with the Bootcamp drivers.

In addition, he also post information on how to get the latest drivers for your Mac hardware - which is very helpful because updating Bootcamp drivers is not one of Apple's priorities it seems.

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As gentmatt pointed out, to the best of my knowledge, at the moment I'm writing this, Apple has not announced any official support for Windows 8 in Bootcamp, and Apple is not supplying a package of Apple device drivers specifically tailored to Windows 8 on Bootcamp.

However, it seems as if people have had success with this so far, using the Apple drivers for Windows 7, and it is highly likely that Apple is working on specific drivers for Windows 8 and will be offering them in the future.

Meanwhile I am now running Windows 8 on Parallels Desktop for Mac. You have to make sure that you have the latest version, which at this writing is Build 8.0.18314 (Revision 813278; October 31, 2012). According to Parallels, no earlier version than this will work correctly with upgrading an existing Windows 7 virtual machine to Windows 8, and they recommend this version for making a new virtual machine with a clean installation of Windows 8 also.

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I have properly installed Windows 8 RTM on a Mac Mini without any issue. Just supply the Windows 8 iso instead of the Windows 7 one while installing Windows throught Bootcamp and everything works fine.

Regarding the Windows 8 availability, there is the upgrade version and there is the full one (Called System Builder).

According to you need the full version:

Unless you’ve got a Mac (in which case, yes, you do need that System Builder version)

Update There is also some indications from Microsoft on how to install Windows 8 (and the dev tools) on your Mac:

Update 2 There is yet another semi-guide about installing Windows 8 on a Mac:

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What version of Boot camp didyou use for installing windows 8? I am using bootcamp 3.04(osx 10.6.8) and cant get windows 8 to install.. – jsp Nov 4 '12 at 2:11
I was using the Bootcamp that came with 10.7.3 (or 10.7.4 - I am not very sure).The bootcamp.xml file says it's version: 4.0.4131 – Timotei Nov 4 '12 at 13:35

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