Problems With Boot Camp 3.0 and Windows XP and How To Fix Them

It has been a long time since I last installed Microsoft Windows OS on a Mac and then because it was more convenient, I started using Parallels for my “Windows Needs”, but eventually axed that in favor of a dedicated Windows workstation in favor of saving hard drive space. After many issues with our big bosses Dell laptops here at work, my manager decided to bite the bullet, purchase two 13″ MacBook Pros and have me load them with Microsoft Windows XP as the full-time operating system. I’m sure some of you might be wondering why not just run Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard and install Parallels for their Windows Needs. Simple, we’re not  a Mac environment and we do not officially support Macs. Plus the end users have never used the Mac OS before and the time to get them up to speed would be quite difficult and time-consuming given their already hectic schedules.

Since it has been a while since I last used Boot Camp, I had forgotten most of the details and haven’t kept up with the changes. Since Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, Boot Camp 2.0 comes pre-installed with the OS (( When Snow Leopard was released, a new version of Boot Camp, 3.0 was introduced and integrated with the new OS (( So what are some of the problems that I experienced with trying to install Windows XP on a MacBook Pro?

Disk Error

Apparently this is a fairly common issue. You go through all the installation steps:

  1. Run Boot Camp Assistant in the Applications > Utilities folder
  2. Specify a size for your new Windows partition (which in my case was to devote 90% of the hard drive to Windows XP since the people who will be using these two MacBook Pro won’t be using the Mac OS at all) and then the Mac OS creates and configures it.
  3. Then put in a Windows XP SP2 CD and click Start Installation, the system reboots and Windows XP installation screen appears and you go through the motions.
  4. Once Windows XP finishes installing and reboots to finish the setup, you get the black screen with: “Press any key to boot from CD…” you let that one go and then immediately: “Disk Error. Press any key to restart.” but the system stalls. The keyboard doesn’t work and you’re force to do a hard power down.

Apple’s Knowledge Base support article TS1722 isn’t of much either, I tried it and it didn’t work for me. The big issue is with Step 8:

Format the Windows partition named ‘BOOTCAMP’ before continuing with the rest of the Windows XP setup process. Important:  Do not use the “Leave the current file system intact (no changes)” or “Convert the partition to NTFS” options.

I never got any option to format the Windows partition. By default, Boot Camp Assistant configures the Windows partition to be FAT32. If you select to install Windows XP on that partition you will get the “Disk Error issue”. It doesn’t matter how many times you re-do the steps (I did it 5-times), the same problem arises when Windows tries to do the last setup after reboot. I also tried deleting the Fat32 partition and create a new NTFS partition and got this error message upon reboot:

Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: <Windows root>system32hal.dll. Please re-install a copy of the above file.

I also tried three different Windows XP OEM installation CDs, but nothing worked. So what fixed the issue for me? I had to find the “right” Windows XP SP2 CD. When I put that CD in and clicked Start Installation in Step 3 from above, and when it came to select the Windows partition to use, I selected the FAT32, it immediate went to a screen with three options: Convert the partition to NTFS (Quick), Convert the partition to NTFS, and Leave the current file system intact (no changes)! I selected the Convert the partition to NTFS (Quick) and everything worked fine after that. You can read this great thread on MacNN Forums where other people had the same problem with different solutions. Also make sure the CD you are using is a Windows XP full-version with Service Pack 2 or it won’t work.



I Can’t Install Service Pack 3 on a Boot Camp Windows XP!


Try and install the Service Pack 3 add-on and you’ll get this message:

An error occured while copying file osloader.ntd.  Cannot copy file to destination directory.  Click Retry to retry the operation or click Cancel.

According to Apple KB article HT3841, the issue is that “Windows is attempting to write to the first partition it sees to install the update” and the first partition is the Mac OS partition, which Windows cannot write to. This issue only affects Boot Camp 3.0 because of the new feature in which you can access you Mac OS partition from Windows. The fix is rather simple (copied verbatim from Apple KB):

  1. Click Start, then My Computer.
  2. Double-click on the BOOTCAMP (C:) drive At the These files are hidden screen, click on Show the contents of this folder.
  3. Double-click on the Windows folder. At the These files are hidden screen, click on Show the contents of this folder.
  4. Double-click on the System 32 folder. At the These files are hidden screen, click on Show the contents of this folder.
  5. Double-click on the drivers folder.
  6. Locate the file AppleMNT (it is a .sys file) and rename it to something like AppleMNT_keep.
  7. Click Start, then click on Shut Down.
  8. Click Restart to restart Windows XP.

Then you do the Service Pack 3 installation, which should complete successfully, and then reenable this feature:

Note: Don’t let your computer restart in the middle of this step. Click on Restart Later if you get a Restart dialog.

  1. Click Start, then My Computer.
  2. Double-click on BOOTCAMP (C:), double-click on Windows, double-click on System32, double-click on drivers.
  3. Locate the file you renamed earlier, and change the name back to AppleMNT.
  4. Click Start, then Shut Down.
  5. Click Restart to restart Windows XP.

And problem solved.

How Do I Create A Boot Camp Windows Driver CD?

With Boot Camp versions prior to 3.0, you had an option in the Boot Camp Assistant to create a Driver CD that had all the necessary drivers for Windows. With version 3.0, they changed that and now you insert your Mac OS 10.6 Installation CD when in Windows and it will install all the necessary drivers for you.

Windows XP on MacBook Pro Full-time

So I’m not entirely sure how well this will work out, but I imagine it can’t be any worse than a PC running Windows XP. I’ll report back with problems I notice and observations as time goes on.

Windows XP on Mac?! Say what?!

It has been speculated for some time, even before the release, the possibility of running Windows XP on the Intel core processor Macs. Some of the Apple people I had spoke with had said this probably wouldn’t be possible because the Mac Intel processors were utilizing EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface) and Win XP depends heavily on EFI (i.e. Bios) and Microsoft even went so far as to say that the next generation OS (Vista) wouldn’t support EFI either. There had been a reported case in which a person had won an award for being able to install Win XP on a Mac Intel machine as reported by ZDNet.

Apple as of today released what they call Boot Camp, a downloadable program that allows Win XP to run on the Mac Intel machines. I would never have guessed that, of all people, Apple would release this. Apparently this software is still in beta and is unsupported, but Leopard (Mac OX 10.5) would have Boot Camp and more functionality of that built in natively. I’m heavily debating whether or not to try it because I only have about ~9GB left of hard drive space (of 80GB) and it calls for at least 10GB (not sure why). Although I spoke to someone who works at Apple and has said that the people in our Book Store has successfully been able to install, configure, and run Win XP on one of their Mac Intel machines as demo. I’m going to check that out when I can.

Got my new work laptop…MacBook Pro!

After being on order since Apple’s announcement of Intel dual core processors in their 15inch laptops, it arrive this morning into shipping. I’m currently in the process of transferring all my data from my current PowerBook G4 to the MacBook Pro. So far my observations on the new MacBook:

  1. It’s a tad bit thinner than the PowerBook (1 inch versus 1.18).
  2. It’s a bit wider, 15.4 inch as opposed to the 15.2 on the PowerBook.
  3. The display is brighter and seems more clearer.
  4. The MacBook’s screen requires a bit more force to open and close compared to the PowerBook. Not entirely sure why that is.
  5. On installation of software such as Adobe CS 2, Apple Remote Desktop, Microsoft Office 2004, etc. doesn’t seem much faster, but that could be because I’m transfering 12gb of document data while installing the software.
  6. The MacBook seems to run a bit warmer than the PowerBook, but that seems to be related reason #5. Once I start doing the same things I did on the PowerBook on the MacBook, we’ll see if it’s still warmer. After using it a bit more (i.e. more file transfering), it turns out that the MacBook is about as warm as the PowerBook. When you try to multitask too much, it gets warmer since more load is placed on the dual processors.
  7. The illuminating keyboard is much brighter. With the lights on the office, I can definitely tell the illuminated keyboard is on.
  8. The built on iSight webcam is very nice. Seems to be as good as the iSight on the new iMacs despite the size difference.
  9. The remote control is cool.
  10. The magnetic quick detach power supply is very cool.
  11. The fact that the new power supply is double the size of the previous power supply plus it’s now 85 wattage is not so cool.
  12. The keyboard doesn’t have the same nice soft, quiet feel that the PowerBook has. It’s starting to feel like a Dell’s keyboard.
  13. There is no modem jack. You have to buy a usb modem if you want/need to dialup.
  14. Instead of having a PCMCIA slot, it has an Express Port.
  15. The RAM is easier to get to.
  16. Apple Remote Desktop (ARD) does not work with the MacBook at this time, even with Rosetta. Refer to Apple’s notes on ARD and the Intel Based Processors. But supposedly ARD 3.0 is supposed to be released anytime according to Apple Insider.
  17. Apparently the optical drive on the MacBook is 4x SuperDrive with no dual-layer burning capabilities as compared to the 8x SuperDrive with dual-layer burning…although the MacBook’s drive is smaller…small comfort. Read more about it here, along with a pretty good in-depth review by MacWorld on the MacBook, .
  18. According to Dane Riley, the MacBook Pro is supposed to have a Windows-like hibernation mode in which if the battery is near critical depletion, it will dump all the RAM data to the hard drive so the next start up will bring power back to existing last state. Interesting.
  19. Apple TechTool Deluxe does not work on the MacBook Pro, not yet anyways.
  20. Any other copies of the Mac OS that does not specifically say MacBook Pro on it will not boot by holding the “C” button down.
  21. Non-Intel processor Macs cannot access, see, etc. an Intel processor Mac placed in target disk mode.
  22. WinXP can be installed on Intel based processors with the use of Apple’s Boot Camp.

The MacBook Pro that I got is configured as such: 1.83GHZ Dual Core Intel Processors, 80GB hard drive, 1GB of RAM, and 128mb video card.