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Wednesday
Feb102010

Bootcamp horror story

A few days ago I finally succumbed to the powers of my inner nerd. The release of StarTrek Online was too much for my LCARS loving brain to handle, so I caved. I bought the game online, booted into windows on my mac and started downloading the 8 gig installer and was ready to go...so I thought.

Unfortunately the installer required an additional 15 gigs of space on my windows disk to install the actual game and it would not install from DVD or USB disk. So I needed to resize my Bootcamp partition...and here things got interesting. OSX seems completely incapable of handling this gracefully, so it took me about two days to figure it out how to do it without reinstalling windows or OSX. Here are the steps:

  • Back up your windows partition using Winclone 2.2, which is hard to find online so google it for a while.

  • Go into the Bootcamp assistant and remove the current windows partition.

  • Try to create a new bigger partition right away, if you have been using OSX for a while this will fail.

  • If it succeeds, skip the next three steps.

  • If it fails, you are in for a world of pain. Download iDefrag and create a bootable disk. Use the disk to boot into iDefrag and use the 'compact' algorithm. This will take a while. It is useless to run any other kind of defrag or use it in 'online' mode. Bootcamp complains about the fact that it cannot move the files at the end of your partition, iDefrag compacts your disk so all the data is in the front.

  • Next boot into your OSX install DVD and run Disk Utility and repair the disk. This will fix any left over stuff that may prevent Bootcamp from partitioning.

  • Boot into your OSX install and run the Bootcamp assistant and try to partition again. This should work fine now.

  • Now restore your backup to the new (and bigger) partition. If this works out-of-the-box you are in luck and can skip the rest of this step. 
    If it fails, you have probably not shut down windows properly before your backup. Go into the Winclone preferences and enable the 'Use ASR to restore compressed images' and try again. This worked for me, but the partition was the same size as the original with the free space not allocated to windows. I used iPartition (from a boot disk) to fix this and grew the NTFS partition to use the newly freed space.

  • Boot into windows and it will run chkdsk, this is normal.

It took me a lot of heartache to figure this stuff out so I hope it helps to have a clear guide how to go about this.

 

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Reader Comments (13)

After this much effort, I'm reluctant to ask if the game was worth it ;)

Apple clearly hasn't spent any more effort than the bare minimum to allow you to run Windows on your Mac; regardless of pain or effort. In their defence, it is really hard to resize startup disks, especially when multiple filesystems are involved or while the OS is running, but the least they could have done is include some of this stuff in the OSX installer DVD.

All of this makes me long even more for ZFS adoption in Mac OS X, but I'm afraid that might never happen.

February 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichel Jansen

I'm happy to say that last week I finally reconquered my gigabytes of useless Windows 7 partition, no more Bootcamp for me, yeah! Bought a console for playing games, a 4 year old MBP doesn't run Bioshock 2 and recent releases like that anyways ;-)

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