I had tons of fun too screwing up my system, let me tell you! Fortunately, this intrepid geek made sure to run a last minute backup with Time Machine and already has everything important redundantly backed up locally. Normally, I would also have key stuff in the cloud but I am transitioning away from iCloud which sucks beyond belief for anything but Apple's own little applets basically in my own personal experience. That's a story for another post another time... maybe soon, maybe after this one!
Anyway, it kinda went down like this:
- Google for info
- Find and read tons of info, lots of it junk, lots of it conflicting, lots of it amatuerish
- Find wonderfully written post by a consulting professional which while not perfect was good enough to guide me despite some glaring omissions and details about issues that can and do arise often. At least, so sayeth Google searches for said issues and so sayeth me also.
- Fire up bootcamp assistant and install Windows 10 using a downloaded iso and usb stick
- Naturally, the first issue happens right here and right away. I get the dreaded can't format the partition error.
- Google for info about said dreaded error and find assorted (and I do mean assorted) info about how best to deal with it.
- I opt to try booting again using EFI boot to run the Windows 10 installer from the usb stick. This works. I successfully install Windows 10. Much to my amazement, it activates a clean install automagically without even telling me since it had previously been installed on this same hardware upgrading a WIndows 7 installation. It did prompt twice for a key along the way when installing. I tried providing the WIndows 7 key which it rejected and then I opted for the handy skip button they provided. The second time it asked for this I just skipped it again. Apparently, this does not apply in the case of a reinstall or perhaps even an upgrade install or perhaps even at all? Who knows. It worked. That's all I care about.
- Before leaving Windows, I used the Disk Management utility to create a partition for Linux. I did not bother creating a swap partition. It is ideal to have one. On the other hand, I will never notice the difference and I don't care as such. I also did not bother separating out the operating system and data (home directory) on separate partitions. I don't care about this. It's more trouble than it is worth to me. Simple is goodness. Everything of import lives in the cloud. Local data is unimportant to me aside of game saves of course!
- I attempt to reboot into OS X by pressing alt after the chime. There is no longer any OS X to choose from. Oops! It's still right where I left it but Windows screwed up the boot record thanks to the way I got around the formatting issue by booting with EFI. Oh, well. Nothing is easy, especially trying to find information online about how to recover from this simply. I believe there is a simple fix for it too but I could not find it and not knowing what I am doing messing around with this stuff, I opted to reboot with Cmd + R and see what I might accomplish there.
- I accomplished nothing running from the recovery partition ultimately. I tried running disk utility, etc. No joy.
- I reboot to Winders. I install gdisk and fix the boot record. It sort of helps things but not much. It does no harm to Windows but it does not resurrect OS X access via its bootmanager.
- Back to recovery. I mess around there with Disk Utility again and unlike before I can see all the various partitions on the disk and manipulate them. Scary stuff all things considered but I don't care. So, I move the slice of the pie that I know is my OS X install partition as if to shrink it so that the Apply button is no longer grayed out and then I move it back to where it was. Now I can click apply and hope it fixes the problem. But no! It did not. However, what it did do was make the partition visible to the OS X installer where it was not an option before.
- I reinstall OS X and blow away my old install completely.
- Test time. Yay! I now have a working 400 GB partition with a bootable El Capitan install and a 400 GB partition with a bootable WIndows 10 install and the Mac bootloader is working as normal again. That was easy!!
As mentioned earlier, whilst in Windows I created a 200 GB partition for Linux Mint. I want to try out Steam there among other things and I think I may fire up some Feral ported goodness and see how that goes. Just for fun and as a very, very simple little test I think I might install glxgears if it still exists which it probably does on all three operating systems just to compare the results of running it in each. This of course is just geeking around and doesn't count for much but then in honesty this entire exercise doesn't count for much other than being a fun time to me as I evaluate what life might be like in other worlds if you will. A goal here by the way is to go cross platform and open source where reasonable for everything. That's kind of an impossible dream but something I want to explore and maybe I will report back on all that when I have done it. That is what I am up to here basically though.
- So, back to OS X. I use Unetbootin to create a bootable live Linux Mint from iso.
- I reboot and fire up Linux Mint, mess with it for a bit and then run the installer, installing to the 200 GB partition and being careful to install its bootloader into the EFI partition for later use,
- When all is set, I reboot and of course there is no Linux Mint option in the Mac bootloader. This is not a problem.
- I open up a terminal window and run the install script for the wonderful rEFInd boot manager which does a fine job of noticing my Linux installation and installing the supporting files it needs accordingly.
VICTORY IS OURS THIS DAY!!! GLORY TO THE EMPEROR!!!
Perseverance pays off once again and this system now flawlessly boots and runs OS X, Windows 10 and Linux Mint. For more Linux distro fun, I will be using the free open source Virtual Box to see what is new and exciting with KDE and other desktops, OpenSuSE (my first Linux), Gentoo, Arch and more.
I love this game. It is so awesome. I really don't know what could possibly be more fun.