Can't install Windows 8.1 on MacBook Air (2013)

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by PinkPig, Aug 30, 2013.

  1. PinkPig macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2008
    #1
    Hi folks,

    I'm trying to use bootcamp to install the Windows 8.1 preview on my new MacBook Air 2013.

    I get as far as booting onto a USB stick and formatting the bootcamp partition. But then Windows 8.1 setup refuses to continue and says 'Setup was unable to use the existing partition because the system volume does not contain the required free space.'

    I've tried holding down option while booting and choosing the 'EFI' option instead of letting it boot the USB stick automatically but this doesn't make any difference.

    Has anyone come across this problem before?

    (obviously I know Windows 8.1 isn't released yet or officially supported, but it sounds like other people have got it working)

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
     
  2. ItHurtsWhenIP macrumors 6502

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    'Merica!
    #2
    What size partition did you create for it?

     
  3. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

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  4. PinkPig thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 26, 2008
    #4
    80 GB. I tried again with 75 GB and 85 GB in case there was something magically wrong with 80 GB.

    The error message seems to be talking about the 'system volume' which I guess means something other than the partition I'm trying to install on - maybe it's talking about the EFI boot partition?

    Can't find much by googling so I'm a bit stumped right now.

    ----------

    Neither the Bootcamp wizard or the Windows 8 installer gave me any option. I'm pretty sure from past experience the Windows 8 installer just automatically uses NTFS.
     
  5. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

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    #5
    There should be an option to format the partition NTFS during the Windows setup process, when you pick the drive to install it on. Bootcamp doesn't do it automatically, and the installer will not format the partition automatically either without you confirming it.
     
  6. ItHurtsWhenIP macrumors 6502

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    #6
    80GB is plenty of room. I used a 50GB partition and about 20 was used up by Win 8 Pro.

    When I partitioned and got to that format screen for the Bootcamp partition, I just hit Format, I don't think there was an option. I certainly didn't pick one or the other because that would've involved another 20 minutes of me searching this forum for which to pick and I didn't have to do that.

    When you create a Windows 7 Boot Disk, at the start of Boot Camp, it knows it's going to be a windows partition anyhow..
     
  7. PinkPig thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #7
    I've installed Windows 7 and 8 lots of times on various systems and never been given any file system options, so I think that's normal.
     
  8. ItHurtsWhenIP macrumors 6502

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    #8
    I wonder if the 8.1 Preview has a problem with EFI?

    I think I remember reading that's the only way to install Windows 8 on the 2013s, but could be wrong.
     
  9. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

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    #9
    http://wiredwide.com/2013/06/30/how-to-install-windows-8-1-on-a-mac-using-boot-camp-5-drivers/

    "Before the install process starts, Windows will prompt to select a hard drive to install the system. The right one is named “BOOTCAMP” in capital letters and has a dimension a little lower than the GB you gave it when partitioning the HD. Anyway, you can’t proceed since it is doesn’t have NTFS file system. Click the “Format” button and begin installing the software."

    [​IMG]

    It's the option called "Drive Options (Advanced)

    http://gigaom.com/2011/09/15/how-to-install-windows-8-preview-using-boot-camp/

    "Follow the instructions on screen. When the installer asks you where to install Windows, select “Disk 0 Partition 3 BOOTCAMP” and then click Drive options (advanced). Choose Format from the options that appear to format the partition to NTFS, the file system Windows requires."
     
  10. ItHurtsWhenIP macrumors 6502

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    #10
    That screen doesn't let you pick HOW it's formatted, it automatically formats it to the proper format for Windows. He said he's installed Windows before so I'm sure he knows to format the BOOTCAMP partition. This was my first time and I knew to pick the BOOTCAMP partition..I think we can rule that out.



     
  11. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

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    #11
    Yes it does. When you hit advanced you will be shown the options to format.

    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/clean-install

    Look at steps 6 and 7.
     
  12. PinkPig thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #12
    I did of course choose the BOOTCAMP partition. I didn't explicitly do this (drive options, choose NTFS). But I'm struggling to believe that the Windows installer might randomly decide not to use NTFS by default.
     
  13. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

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    #13
    Windows installer will not format a partition for you automatically. Bootcamp Assistant created the partition for you, but its RAW. You need to specifically tell it to format NTFS. This is done to avoid destroying your data (if there was any). You may want to install to a different partition. Installer doesn't know that.

    Since the partition Bootcamp Assistant created is RAW, Windows installer cannot install to it because it reads it as 0GB regardless of size. Go and format it like the Windows instructions I linked to say, and you will be able to install it.

    Trust me, I've done this multiple times.
     
  14. PinkPig thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 26, 2008
    #14
    I just checked and there isn't a 'Drive options (advanced)' option at all. Looks like Microsoft have simplified the menu by having the 'advanced' options appear automatically. The format button doesn't give you a choice of file system. Again that's because Windows 8 only supports NTFS so there's no point in giving you a choice.

    Anyway I have finally solved this by following the instructions here: http://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/57597/how-to-fix-broken-efi-partition.

    For future reference in case anyone else finds this thread:
    - somehow my EFI partition was really full - 2MB free out of 200MB.
    - neither the bootcamp assistant or Windows 8 setup are capable of making any changes to the EFI partition
    - as far as I can tell Mac OS X doesn't really use the partition at all except as temporary storage for firmware updates
    - so I followed the instructions above to delete and recreate the EFI partition, using newfs_msdos even though that article says it's a gamble. I'll report back if it causes any problems.
    - so by this point I had a new empty EFI partition and Windows was happy to install

    The remaining mystery is how the EFI partition ended up full anyway - I tried to mount it and read the contents but didn't have much success. I used internet recovery to reinstall a few days ago so my guess is that this left it in a bad state for some reason.

    Anyway all looks good now.
     
  15. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

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    #15
    So Microsoft changed the setup from 8 to 8.1? Interesting.
     
  16. mr.thedaniel macrumors regular

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    Feb 15, 2010
    #16
    I had read that there are issues for some users installing windows under bootcamp, when the partition in the disk list is the third or 4th option (numerous partitions exist already, not just macHD, EFI, and bootcamp).

    I wish I remembered the details of why...but perhaps removing and recreating your EFI partition solved the issue by pushing the new partition on the end of whatever "list" is used to track partitions.
     

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