Last week, while working on my MBP (mid-2010, 15 inch, OS X 10.8.3) I found out that Apple has updated Boot Camp to support windows 8 officially. I already had Windows 8 (Upgrade version) installed on my machine through older version of Boot Camp and it was working fine with Windows 7 drivers. I installed it through bootcamp by installing Vista through DVD and then running Windows 8 setup from there.

Anyhow, I gleefully downloaded the new bootcamp support software to a USB drive, booted up Windows 8 and tried to run the setup. To my disappointment, I got an error message indicating that the setup can’t be run. Annoyed, I researched a bit to found out that the new drivers (downloaded through bootcamp) only support the 64-bit version of Windows 7 and 8. And I had 32-bit version! So it turned out, the Windows Upgrade Assistant checks your host system for the architecture (64 or x86) and then downloads the appropriate ISO accordingly. Doing further research almost drowned my hopes as there were numerous posts suggesting that migrating to 64bit version isn’t viable and in order to do so, one has to get the installation DVD from microsoft or any other supplier and that the upgrade version can’t do this. After reading some comments pointing to the actual solution, I decided to give it a go and today I successfully managed to install Windows 8 x64 on my MBP using bootcamp, and that too from scratch (after formatting my existing bootcamp partition).

The Process

  1. Grab a machine running the eligible-to-upgrade 64-bit version of Windows (I used a 64 bit Windows 7 VM for that purpose). You’ll use this machine to run the upgrade assistant and to download the ISO.
  2. Search for the email that you must have received after purchasing the upgrade (through the Upgrade Assistant).
  3. Look for this phrase: This is your receipt – make sure that you print or save a copy for your records. If you need to download Windows, write down your new product key and enter it here.
  4. Click on the link to download the upgrade assistant. Make sure to use the 64-bit Windows machine to do this.
  5. Run the upgrade assistant and follow the steps to download the ISO, there are various tutorials and walkthrough over the internet so I am skipping this part.
  6. After the ISO has been downloaded, you’ll have to burn it either on a usb or on a DVD. I used a DVD since my MBP doesn’t support installing Windows through bootable USB.
  7. Download Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool. And use this to burn it on your preferred medium (USB or DVD). Here you go, you have the 64-bit Windows 8 installation medium now.
  8. If you want to install it on a Mac then use Boot Camp to create a new partition and then install the OS normally.
  9. If you own a PC, use this DVD/USB to boot up the system and upgrade/clean install your existing version of Windows.

Now here’s the important part. You CAN install Windows 8 on a formatted partition through this installation USB/DVD. I had NO problems in doing so and I DID try this method on BOTH PC and Mac. The upgrade version DOES NOT check for existing installation unlike a common misconception you’ll find throughout the internet. Both of my Windows 8 x64 installations are shown as fully activated and behaving normally. Some people do report that they encountered some issues while activating their windows after using the Upgrade version to fresh-install their OS. You can go to this link if you face that problem.

Here it is. Share your experience of upgrading to 64-bit or any other installation tweaks or guides that are helpful for others in need 🙂