Recently I wrote an article “When it’s Time to do a Full System Erase and Install” as I was having trouble isolating what was causing a performance problem. Doing this I was able to find the culprit and relatively fast.
However, the kind of Erase and install involved my putting all my applications back on my drive rather than doing a data migration back. One additional benefit this provides is you have a nice, clean system and so it does run incredibly well.
However, I forgot one thing. I was not backing up my Windows/Parallels virtual machine due to the amount of storage and time this would take. As a result, it meant that not only was I doing a clean system install of OSX but of Windows too. This actually turned into quite the hassle but had quite the benefit.
With Only a Product Key
I had installed my Windows 8.1 virtual machine quite some time ago. The ISO file I needed to install this file, something akin to a Mac DMG file, I had misplaced.
I didn’t think this such a big deal. I had my product key and Microsoft Tech Support to back me up. I went to the store to get my Windows installation for that file and I found that I could build an ISO image using this setup.exe file first.
Of course to do that you need Windows. A few calls to Microsoft Tech Support and I found that all I could get was the setup.exe file. This is going to sound a bit dumb on my part but after many hours of calls to Microsoft a tech rep said do you have a Windows machine configured of which I did. I told him my MacBook Air has Windows on it. He asked if I had a spare USB stick and I immediately saw where he was going. He suggested I just build my ISO file on the Windows machine on my spare USB stick. I was amazed this hadn’t occurred to me hours ago but I think I still had Clean Erase and Install Post Traumatic stress disorder syndrome.
One ISO Image Later
I was able to successfully and easily build my ISO file from the Windows setup.exe file using my spare USB stick. From that, the installation of Windows 8 and then upgrading to Windows 8.1 was a breeze. However, only with my key.
If you need help installing Windows specifically on a Mac using an ISO file do a Google or Bing search for “Installing Windows 8 from a product key only” and you‘ll get the exact info you need.
One Last Step – Installing Office 365
In terms of my clean install this was easiest part of it and that was installing my whole Office 365 system. I simply went to the store where now it said I had x number of installs as the one that got erased from the clean install was gone. I chose install Windows 365 Office Suite and I just had to wait for the download and the configuration of 365 and I was back in business.
Windows Full Clean Install with a Product Key Only
I wouldn’t wish this on anyone but on the other hand there is nothing that will enhance the speed of your Mac like a clean install. All these tools on the market that guarantee enhanced speed help somewhat. Yet they can’t compare to a clean install and that also goes for Windows.
The simple reason is it’s like you’re starting with a brand new computer. There is not cruft that has built up in the system and no useless stuff has been left behind from a uninstall.
Not only did I end up finding my problem with my Mac in terms of what was affecting performance, I ended up with a system based on clean install. The system is noticeably more responsive.
Microsoft Still Needs to Get Mac Friendlier but they’re getting There
However, because I didn’t back up my Virtual Machine, I had to install Windows as a clean install. This was something I wasn’t anticipating and was some work to accomplish yet, like my Mac my Windows running on Parallels is based on a clean install. It too is more responsive as a result.
The key with doing a clean install of your Windows Operating system is having your product key and an ISO file. I do believe Microsoft should make it easier for Mac users to create an ISO file rather than having to have another Windows Machine as many Mac users would not have this. Instead, Microsoft should provide a link to the ISO file directly.
I certainly will not loose my spare USB stick with that ISO file on it as it is definitely not a spare USB stick. It’s critical should, for some reason I have to do another clean install of Windows. With it safely tucked away I can now enjoy the benefits of a clean install of Mac OSX and Windows 8.1. Both machines are metaphorically now flying which is the way you want them.