OK, So Which Version of Windows 8.1 Do I buy?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by Sublimaze14, Nov 8, 2013.

  1. Sublimaze14 macrumors newbie

    Nov 8, 2013
    I have a simple question that after 3 days of searching am still unable to answer. I apologize if this has been asked and answered many times before but have searched the communities and not found anything recent.

    My question is this:

    I have a MacBook Pro with an optical drive (mid 2010) that has never had Windows on it. I am running Mavericks and would like to use Bootcamp and install a brand new version of Windows 8.1.

    What Microsoft product do I need to buy to accomplish this? It is my understanding that I need the DVD and cannot just download a full, clean install of this version of Windows but the choices are ridiculously complicated and confusing. Half of them say "this version for Windows 7 users, blah blah...". Then there is "OEM" and "System Builder"...WTF??

    All I want to do is take a Mid 2010 MacBook Pro, with optical drive, that has no previous version of Windows of any kind and have it up and running 8.1, you would think this would be simple but I have found it ridiculously difficult to find the answer, including asking those brainiacs at Microsoft help, which was about as useful as sharp stick in the eye. Obviously this is why I have a Mac in the first place, unfortunately need Windows to run some software that will not work on OSX.

    Will the Windows 8.1 DVD give me a brand new, complete install of Windows on my Mac via bootcamp?

    Thanks in advance,

  2. Thalin macrumors member

    Dec 30, 2010

    I've just installed Windows on my rMBP. I've read about ways to do a clean install of 8.1, but I just downloaded a clean ISO file of 8.0 from a Microsoft Repository site, purchased Windows 8, installed it with the key that it came with and then just upgraded to 8.1. I'm not sure why it's confusing :confused:
  3. Sublimaze14 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 8, 2013
    Thanks, that seems like the best way to go as far as I can tell, however, my understanding is that on a MBP with an optical drive you need a bootable DVD to install.

    Additionally, where do you get this Windows 8 download? I can't find one anywhere, everything is 8.1.
  4. Thalin, Nov 8, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2013

    Thalin macrumors member

    Dec 30, 2010
    No just grab an ISO file from here http://softicle.com/ I checked the hash tag of the file and it all appears legit. Go into bootcamp, stick in an external hard drive of some sort, and point Bootcamp toward the downloaded ISO so it can make a bootable drive. There's an option to downloaded the Bootcamp drivers at this stage too so grab them. Then it'll do all it's own work. At least that's what I did, and it's all worked fine!
    I searched for 'generic Windows 8 Pro' key on Google to check everything would install correctly before I purchased it, this basically allows you to install but not activate it (you can still use Windows though). Then I just popped in the key that came with the one I purchased.

    Edit: It's funny you say you can't find Windows 8 ISOs anywhere, I had the opposite, I couldn't find 8.1 ISOs anywhere! I would have preferred doing a clean install of Windows 8.1 but I felt more comfortable doing it this way. I just upgraded from 8.0 to 8.1 using the Windows store. It cleared over 10gb of space after the upgrade, I was amazed considering it still kept all the junk apps which I swiftly removed!
  5. Sublimaze14 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 8, 2013
  6. lazrus1 macrumors newbie

    Oct 1, 2014
    I had the same problem!

    Hi Sublimaze14;

    yes, I had the same problem. I am changing from a nice (but fragile) Sony Vaio VPCZ to a 2014 13" rMBP. It is a very nice machine, not perfect (dictation not working). But I wanted to install Win 8.1 via Bootcamp to retain some old Windows programs. But yeah, which version of the Win 8.1 install do I buy? The "System Builder's edition?" The Windows 8.1 "for students" (which turns out to be, deceptively, only an upgrade and requires one to have a computer with some version of Windows on it). In fact, almost all versions you can be require a previous version of Windows on your machine, which is left unsaid in the blurb for the versions. Trying to find the correct version, and decipher the sense (-lessness) behind the labeling of the versions has confirmed for me why I have left Windows PC's for a mac after using Microsoft OS's since I was a kid, with MS-DOS. Windows is not totally horrible, it is powerful, and CAN be logical and easy to use- sometimes. But most of the time it is soooooo user unfriendly. An example being Windows 7 file / folder permissions. That feature is way overbuilt! Why do I lose the ability to see my files / folders when I transfer data from one drive to another? It took days for me to transfer 30GB of old data from one computer to this mac I am using- because of having to assign new permissions to all the files I was transferring. And my batch operation didn't work - I had to bring it in to a computer data recovery place. Thanks Microsoft for the extra $50 charge. And then at least $100 for Windows 8.1 for my bootcamp installation. Thanks again. Yes, Apple charges ridiculous prices for accessories in its store, but it all evens out. And it's UI is easier than Windows.....
    All to say, NO, your question about which version to install is right in line with MS technical obfuscation. I had the same question. I ended up getting "Windows 8.1 Pro Full Version" I hope that is right.
  7. grandM macrumors 65816


    Oct 14, 2013
  8. macenied macrumors 6502a


    Aug 20, 2014
    Go for the W8.1 Pro version. Later you can update to Windows 10 Pro without Problems.

    Yes, with the DVD's you can do brand new and complete installs. In case your MBP mid 2010 is a 13", you will have some additional work to do to get it working with BootCamp. This model is already "unsupported" by Apple for W8/8.1. However, it's a no-brainer ;) .
  9. STVA macrumors newbie

    Mar 9, 2013
  10. doynton macrumors 6502

    Oct 19, 2014
    Or buy a Windows 8 OEM and then upgrade to 8.1 for free - that is perfectly in line with EULA. A full retail license is required to install 8.1 directly and is also required if you want to move to new hardware.

    As for Pro vs non-Pro the only reason to get a Pro license is to allow you to join company domains. Everything else (bitlocker encryption, media center, remote access etc) can be achieved using free alternatives.

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