Tuesday 16 June 2015

Windows 8.1 on Parallels

For running some specific I needed a newer version of Windows than XP. The software would be running on my Mac Book Pro using Parallels as Virtual Machine.

With even Microsoft having their online store, this would be an easy one I thought. Get on http://www.microsoftstore.com.hk/ order Windows 8.1, pay, download, install and run.

Ah well, nearly that is then. Select, pay and download worked easy and fast. Then the installation. Creating a specific Windows virtual machine was obviously an easy one. The next step was installing the Windows OS. The version would allow for a clean install. Unfortunately the approach Microsoft had in mind was a different one than most people had in mind.

Rather than providing an ISO file, allowing to mount it as a drive to get Parallels to install from it Microsoft in all their wisdom decided to offer an .exe file. For this to work you would need a running Windows version. No issues here as XP was running. Ah well, nearly since the file requires at least Windows 7 and if you want 8 to run in 64bit mode it can only be installed if started from a 64bit edition.

So basically one need to have a modern version Windows even if you want to do a full clean install. That was slightly different than planned for. Now the search begins, where to find a proper workable ISO file for download. In other words - time to get creative on the web and see what we can find.

After a little research - google brought me http://getintopc.com/softwares/operating-systems/download-windows-8-pro/ The site links to 2 different ISO files that once downloaded can be used to run a quick install. With the 64bit version installed, the downloaded exe installation file could be kickstarted and a proper installation done.

Before that there were a few small hurdles to be tackled though. When starting the first installation the next message popped up on the screen:

Windows cannot find the Microsoft Software License Terms. Make sure the installation sources are valid and restart the installation.

Luckily it was an easy fix. Un-tick express installation at the start of the process and continue as per http://kb.parallels.com/en/114652

Another way to get the installation going is described at http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-CLEAN-Install-Windows-8-directly-from-Hard-/ though requires a few additional tricks and still needs a modern windows version installed.