Constellation Launched!

Software upgrades are often fraught with unforeseen consequences. Upgrading my Mac to OS X Lion had the unintended consequence of making my Windows 7 Bootcamp partition unbootable. After searching for a solution on the web and finding none but to start all over, I decided to move ahead with the Constellation PC building project sooner rather than later. My old XP box, Defiant, was becoming increasingly unstable probably due to a dying video card, so it made sense to build a new box.

Using my baseline specs spreadsheet I headed off to Microcenter this morning with my wife to do some shopping. It all went much better than expected. I got most of what I wanted for less than my base estimates and had a great sales person helping me out. I’ve always gotten great service at Microcenter, which keeps me coming back.

No real problems assembling the parts, the real challenge would come with needing to install the Windows 7 upgrade version from the defunct Mac installation onto a clean hard drive. Some searching lead me to the upgrade over the upgrade technique. Basically you do a full installation from the install DVD then when it asks for the product key, leave that blank and uncheck the Activate box. Clicking Next takes you to the Windows 7 desktop. Once at the desktop, start up Setup.exe on the installation DVD again and this time pick Upgrade install. It upgrades over itself and you can pretty much complete a normal installation from there.

I still have a lot of file restore work to do, but Constellation is running well and I’m looking forward to a lot of work and play with my new ship!


Enabling Wireless in Windows 7 x64 in Mac OS X Snow Leopard Bootcamp

After finally getting 64 bit Windows 7 Ultimate running on my unibody MacBook under Bootcamp, the most vexing thing to deal with was nonfunctioning wireless. Being tethered to CAT-5 cabling when booted into Windows was a real pita. Googling turned up little help or clue to this until today. I found a forum post in which someone made it work by unpacking the BroadcomInstaller64 file from the OS X install DVD and running the installation from the local hard drive. This is essentially what needs to be done but leaves out a lot of details. So I’m writing up what worked for me.

  1. Copy BroadcomInstaller64 from \Boot Camp\Drivers\Broadcom to the local hard drive somewhere like C:\Broadcom for example.
  2. Use 7-Zip (or similar program) to extract the files in BroadcomInstaller64. Right click on the file, select 7-Zip, then Extract. I extracted these to a subdirectory called BroadcomInstaller64.
  3. Open the Windows Control Panel, then open the Device Manager. Under Other Devices, right click on Network Controller. Then click Update Driver.
  4. Click, Let me pick from a list of device drivers. Click on Network Adapters.
  5. What you see here will vary. In my case I clicked on Broadcom and then chose one of the wireless card entries. I don’t think it matters which since we’re just going to select the drivers on the local hard disk.
  6. Click on Have Disk and browse to where the unpacked drivers are located, in my case C:\Drivers\Broadcom\BroadcomInstaller64
  7. Double click on the bcmwl6 setup file you’ll see listed.
  8. From the list of adapters double click Broadcom 802.11 Multiband Network Adapter (there are also g and n listed)
  9. Windows will warn you that the driver is not signed or something for compatibility. This, I think, is why the install fails when using the installer directly. Choose to install the driver anyway.
  10. If all has gone well you should now be able to set up your wireless connection in the usual way.

So there it is, that’s what worked for me. And in fact, this blog post is being written on my Mac using that very same wireless connection enabled using the steps above. So far, I’ve had not troubles with it. So I hope this will be of some use to others who’ve had this problem.