My apologies for the delay. As you know, I was inspired to try to install Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 natively on a Macbook Pro 15" (the non-unibody kind) in order to, eventually, do some server 2008 R2 firestarter events on the box (which requires hyper-v).
In the previous entries on this blog, I chronicled installing Windows 7 and experimenting with XP mode.
In this belated entry I am going to chronicle installing Server 2008 R2. There were some significant differences in the experience. Specifically, I had installed Windows 7 32 bit without giving it much thought in my first experiment. And it did work wonderfully.
However, Server 2008 R2 comes only in 64 bit, and the installation of 64 bit Windows is a little different on a Mac.
(To start, if you have a Mac OS already installed on the laptop, you will need to hold down the "c" key during the boot process to tell the Mac to boot to DVD, otherwise it’ll just keep booting into the existing OS, making you crazy.)
In my adventures, I had a copy of Server 2008 R2 on a DVD given to me at TechEd. So I tossed it into the Mac, held down the "c" key, and waited for the install to begin…
…and saw this:
?! What the heck does that mean? Is it a bad disk? After trying it out on a few different machines, I discovered this; the disk was fine, other machines could boot to it and see it’s files fine.
It turns out that there is a known bug with the Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 64 bit disks on EFI machines. There is a line in the properties of the ISO that does not follow the ISO standards properly for UEFI, and causes a failure.
I wonder how many innocent Mac owners out there assume that Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 64bit just simply can’t install on their machines? I wonder if maybe it was on purpose, hmmm?
Anywho, I used Jowie’s instructions
, which require you to dowload and use a freeware/shareware version of imgburn to create a different ISO, minus the bug, and burn it. Then that new ISO is good to go for any EFI product.
If you prefer a command line, non-third party work around, try using "oscdimg.exe -n -m -bd:\boot\etfsboot.com d:\ c:\windows7x64.iso", assuming "d:\" is your cd rom drive where the DVD for the OS is. I culled this advice from here
These ISO fixes apply to both 64 bit Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2.
With my newly burned Server 2008 R2 iso, I started the install process again. It started with the boot loader stating that the disk could only support doing a Windows Setup with EMS support,
Then I got the windows loading line,
Then Windows Started, and I was able to choose my locale/language/keyboard, start the install by choosing my OS, partitioning my drive (I deleted existing partitions, chose the whole drive, was warned that two partitions would be made (one is a device partition, basically a boot partition, the other is the OS partition, containing the OS files),
Once my partitions were set up, the installer could easily start installing the OS –the usual expanding files,
rebooting into the OS itself to continue…
then starting services, completing install,
preparing the computer for the first use, assigning a password, and setting up the desktop
And finally, the Server 2008 R2 (RC) desktop appears, all ready to go.
And there you go. Now the image is fuzzy, but in the system tray, you can see that internet access is not working (although it’s aware that the computer is using wireless), also sound is disabled.
This would lead you to assume that at least the wireless NIC drivers aren’t working, and possibly the sound drivers as well. They both work (although the sound drivers could use some work), but in the server OS, they need to be explicitly enabled to work.
To enable the wireless NIC, go to the server manager, add features, and in the features box, scroll down and select "Wireless LAN Services." This is supposed to allow the server to be wireless aware so it can provision clients with the wireless connection info, manage them, etc. But for my purposes, I just want to give the laptop internet access.
Once that’s done, you will be able to use the wireless NIC for internet access.
To enable sound, I just clicked on the audio as if I were trying to turn it up, the OS asked me if I wanted to enable sound, I indicated yes, and there I went. I had sound. Not great sound, but it still worked.
There were still some problems though. Just as with the Windows 7 install, I don’t have any right clicking capability or scrolling with my mouse. Also, backlighting on the keyboard and the extra functions (volume, brightness, etc) for the function keys didn’t work.
Time to break out the bootcamp drivers. But there’s a catch. The bootcamp drivers that came with my laptop are 32 bit only. They don’t really work with 64bit windows. I tried looking online, and this is what I found. Find someone with a unibody Macbook Pro or newer, and get the BootCamp64.msi file– actually, more importantly, get the drivers that come with the bootcamp file. If the bootcamp64 file won’t run for any reason (I had to try it twice to get it to work, finagling the compatibility settings, running it as admin, rebooting, etc), you can run the installers for the separate devices– especially the keyboard, trackpad, and isight. Just be sure you’re in the x64 folder.
((My adventures with driver installing was pretty varied and extensive and likely will get their own blog entry in the future))
After I installed the 64 bit Bootcamp drivers, I also did all the updates I needed for the OS– which included some nice driver updates for my wireless NIC (atheros), and the firewire 800 device drivers.
After an install of all the drivers and updates, I had a laptop with Server 2008 R2 (RC) installed on it, the keyboard, trackpad, audio, network card, video, USB/Firewire, and more all work.
So to recap:
— You can install Server 2008 R2 on a Macbook Pro.
— Yes, there is a problem with the ISO that needs to be worked around, but the OS itself works on an intel Mac just fine.
— Be sure to use 64 bit drivers. I found it easiest just to let the bootcamp installer do the work for me (with some hiccups, but that’s more 2008 R2’s problem than the driver files themselves…).
— If you are using a wireless internet connection on your laptop, and you want server 2008 to use it to, you must enable the wireless lan services feature, otherwise it won’t work no matter how many times you reinstall the driver…
So that’s it, 2008 R2 on a Macbook pro. That much closer to being able to do firestarter events. Up next is getting hyper-v to work. Stay tuned….