operating system high school drama

I want to play video games on my Mac. In particular, I want to play some of the games I’ve invested in that are currently available via Steam on the Windows side, because they are ten gazillion times better than games available for Macs Except Valve, props to you Valve. But other than Valve (and Blizzard, you know I love you, Blizzard) pickings are pretty desperate for Mac games. Mac has a program called Bootcamp that allows slices of the hard drive to be partitioned off into different operating systems in a fairly painless way. Including Windows. So you can run Windows on your Mac.

What I had was my Mac, the Lion OS, and a Windows 7 Upgrade disc. Makes sense, right? Use Bootcamp to make a partition for Windows 7, install that, bingo.

Well, it’s been a journey.

PARTYThe Windows 7 upgrade disc is…an upgrade disc. It’s terribly insecure and can’t be alone. It needs it’s ugly friends, XP and Vista, to work. Even technically it functions without them. It just keeps reminding me how lonely it is: “I’m not meant to be alone! I work best when compared to an ugly predecessor!”

So, I could install XP on Lion to satisfy Windows 7s whining. Except that Lion (which I upgraded to like 2 weeks ago) doesn’t like XP at ALL. It is SO DONE with XP, it is like “XP? Not even. I have to put up with your buddy Windows 7, fine, but XP?” and then makes rude noises.

So I need to go back to Snow Leopard, the kinder, more understanding older sister of Lion. Which is OK with XP, not great, but gets along.

Which is fine, except to go back to Snow Leopard, you have to completely get rid of little snotty Lion. Since I couldn’t see any real benefit to Lion, except things that I didn’t need or use, I backed everything up, and reinstalled Snow Leopard.

Then I tried to install XP. And Snow Leopard was like “Look, I’ll come clean, I don’t really like XP, I like his cousin, XP SP2, so if you can bring him to the party, you’re cool, but don’t come alone. I’ll totally freeze and act like I don’t know you.” Which it did.

But I have XP. Plain old XP Home Edition straight off eBay. Probably wears its pants too high. Tucks in T-shirts.

As it turns out, there’s a very handy Frankensteinian process call slipstreaming that allows you to download SP2 (or SP3), slap it onto XP like a new haircut and jeans, and burn it onto a new CD as XP SP2. So that’s what I did. Here is the first and second tutorial I followed, here is the software I downloaded to use an ISO, and here is the software I used to burn a bootable DVD. Here’s the screenshot that made the difference for me in burning the bootable disc:

be sure to set the Cheetah CD Burner settings to the XP disc mode
note the Windows XP preset – this fixed some problems for me

So far, Snow Leopard let XP SP2 into the cool club and has allowed me to now upgrade to Windows 7, which is like replacing the cool cousin with his European poet/ninja/computer genius cousin. Snow Leopard just flocks to him. If that works, and by tomorrow night I’m able to actually run programs on Windows 7 on the Mac, I’ll consider myself a happy man. I’ll also never install another operating system on the Mac unless it promises me rubies made of kitten dreams. What a pain.

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