Preface: I wrote the bulk of this text nearly two weeks ago. I was going to wait and publish a single large post about the entirety of my experience, but I am still unhappy. I’ve decided to post what I have so far, and call it “Part 1.”
I have a desktop iMac computer, 2011 model. I have been dual-booting into Windows so I can play PC games (mainly Battlefield 3). Windows XP doesn’t have drivers for my Mac hardware, so Windows 7 or higher is required to dual-boot via BootCamp. My copy of Win7 is a paltry 32-bit, so it can only see 2 GB of my 12 GB of installed RAM. How Battlefield even runs on 2 GB of memory is a mystery to me. It has to be maxed out.
Through the end of January, Microsoft was offering Windows 8 Pro for only $39. I decided to jump on it and I bought it. I figured I owed them that much for using borrowed copies of Windows in years past. Plus, I need a 64-bit Windows OS to power my gaming needs. I didn’t particularly want Windows 8, but the sale offered a cheap long-term solution and I bought it.
Here’s the rub. In order to purchase and download Windows 8, you must first run an upgrade advisor program on a Windows machine. I did that from my Win7 OS and purchased the program via download.
I then erased my Windows partition and created a new, larger one from scratch. I completed the OS installation, only to find out afterward that my shiny new Windows 8 is also 32-bit. I was furious.
I began to read up on the matter and it turns out that you aren’t allowed to upgrade to 64-bit if you run 32-bit currently. It’s not allowed under “upgrade” pricing. At no point was I told this or warned what I was actually buying. I felt like I was ripped off.
On top of that alarming discovery, while I was setting up Windows 8 and tinkering with settings, the entire OS crashed on me and required a hard restart. I fumed.
I began an online chat with Microsoft live support and asked for a refund. To fulfill that request, I was told that I had to call Microsoft support on the phone. I called them and was on hold for about 10 minutes. I spoke to a rather pleasant woman and I explained everything to her and that the product I paid for is worthless to me and that I don’t want it. She asked if she could put me on hold for a few minutes while she worked out a solution to try keep me as a customer.
She came back on the line and told me that if would satisfy me, Microsoft will mail me a physical DVD with 64-bit Windows 8 Pro to my house. I had not expected the offer and I accepted. I had to pay shipping on the disc.
I went on to tell the support rep that Windows 8 should never have been made as a 32-bit OS to begin with, and that these days 32-bit OSes are finished. She replied, “I see.” Well, what could she say, it really isn’t her problem. I just wanted to vent. I did ask her if they’d received a lot of support calls over this upgrade matter. She chuckled and said they had.
I’m not yet jumping for joy over this. I’m still curious how this is going to perform and whether Battlefield will play nicely in Windows 8 (online performance reports differ.)
As for the unexpected Windows crash: In hindsight, I think the system crash was driver related. I had not installed the Apple driver package for Windows that puts all the correct drivers in place for the system. Out of the box, Windows liked my Logitech mouse, MS keyboard, HP printer, and D-Link USB hub, but it scoffed at some of my computer internals such as the Bluetooth receiver, iSight webcam, and others. Once I installed the Apple-issued Windows driver package for the hardware, it appeared to function correctly. Truth be told, I’d be hard pressed to tell you what components are powering this machine.
We shall see what comes once I get the DVD, which should take 3-5 days shipping. Ugg! Then I have to delete my Win partition and start all over again from scratch. What a headache.
All of this to play a damn game. In the end, it had better be worth it.