With the imminent release of macOS Catalina, many of my favorite games (like Crusader Kings 2) will no longer launch because of the 32-bit to 64-bit transition. I had but 3 options:
- Stay on Mojave for as long as I could.
- Dual boot Catalina with Mojave by adding a new APFS volume.
- Or, use Windows 10 as part of a Boot Camp setup to play PC games.
For a while, I’ve been booting Windows XP as a Parallels Virtual Machine from an external SSD to use some legacy apps and had good performance out of it, so I did some more research into the third option. Installing Boot Camp externally would free me from having to dedicate at least 100 GB of the internal storage to Windows and I was pleased to learn it’s apparently a thing. Spoiler alert: None of the instructions worked perfectly and I had to do a lot of trials and errors.
The setup I had in mind is this:
Here are the steps that worked for me:
- Download Windows 10 May 2019 ISO from Microsoft’s obscure page.
- Use Parallels to create a Windows 10 Virtual Machine and connect the external SSD to it.
- Launch the Disk Management utility, delete all existing volumes, and create a New Simple Volume with File System set to NTFS.
- Use WinToUSB to install Windows 10 on the external SSD for real.
- Use Boot Camp Assistant’s “Download Windows Support Software” option to get the latest drivers. If you prefer command-line tools or want more advanced options, use this brigadier project instead. Copy the WindowsSupport folder somewhere.
- Shutdown the VM. You will no longer need it.
- Reboot the computer into Windows 10 by holding Option and select the external SSD. You might need an external mouse and keyboard before all drivers are properly installed (I did).
- Run Setup.exe in the WindowsSupport folder to install all necessary drivers and reboot.
Then the fun part began. The next steps were to get Boot Camp to work with my eGPU setup. Good thing I found this write-up by capybara.
- Download Display Driver Uninstaller (aka DDU), reboot into safe mode and use the utility to completely remove Apple’s AMD driver from the system.
- Reboot, plug the eGPU in, change the Power Settings to Performance, and disable Sleep and Hibernation.
- Install the latest driver from BootCampDrivers. Reboot as needed.
- Use Heaven to benchmark the new setup and make sure everything works properly.