“Just remember Mitch… you are coming into an environment where people love their Macs and their Linux. As long as you don’t come in and try to convert them, you will do well here.”
Yes, when I had my initial conversation with the leadership at Kobo I was told something very much like that. Obviously with my history as a Microsoft Evangelist that could be a concern, and I was glad to reassure him that I was not coming in to change anyone… at least, not on the desktop side.
Funny enough, the only reason I was excited that head office had assigned me a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 was because I would be able to carry it in my messenger bag, and would not need to start carrying a larger bag. Yay.
On my first day in the office we realized I was missing a couple of things, all of which might be easily resolved. For one, I needed a USB Ethernet dongle to connect to the corporate network. The only problem: they were out of Windows-compatible dongles… all they had left were a few white ones with Apple logos on it. We tried it out, and sure enough… nothing. Windows did not even detect it.
There was a time when that would have been the end of it; however as hardware becomes more and more compatible between the two platforms, I decided to see if there was a solution to be found.
It didn’t take long to realize I was not the first person to encounter this issue, and there was a known solution: Boot Camp.
Five years ago I bought a MacBook Pro, and I wrote a series of articles on installing Windows 7 on the device. The best solution at the time was a piece of software called Boot Camp, which allowed you to create a dual-boot partition, and then install Windows.
The relevant part of the discussion is that the Boot Camp Support Software (a free download at http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1638) includes all of the drivers necessary to run Apple hardware from within Windows (because it is obviously not included in the default Windows 8 installation).
It was different five years ago, but with today’s smaller computers (including the MacBook Air) dongles are a big part of day to day functionality. While the Boot Camp support software assumes you will be running Windows on Mac hardware, all it really knows is that you are running Windows and need a driver for the dongles.
So we downloaded the support files (currently version 5.0.5033), and then followed the following steps:
- We extracted the Boot Camp package on the Surface Pro 3;
- We navigated to the directory <root>\BootCamp5.0.5033\BootCamp\Drivers\Asix
- We executed the package AsixSetup64.exe.
It took less than a minute, and it worked!
When I first got my Surface Pro 3 (mine, not the corporate device) I was told that I needed to buy all of the Surface branded dongles. Before I spent the money I tried out a few of my own dongles (some Lenovo branded, others generic) and was delighted to see that they worked. It was not a stretch to assume that the Apple dongle would work too, but since Apple very often uses their own proprietary hardware, it stands to reason that you would have to download a driver. I am glad that the two platforms work, and I can use the dongle as hoped… and who cares if it is white?