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 ((http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1656)). When Snow Leopard was released, a new version of Boot Camp, 3.0 was introduced and integrated with the new OS ((http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3777)). 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.

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

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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.

How to Remote Desktop on Mac OS 10.5 Leopard to Windows 7

I do a lot of my work on my MacBook Pro and occasionally I need to access resources, files, or check something on my home desktop which is running Windows 7. One solution is to use VNC, which is great, but I rather install as few software on the machines as possible. Previously on Windows XP, it was really easy to enable Remote Desktop. On Windows 7 and Windows Vista, the way to enable Remote Desktop is a bit more buried in the newly redesigned Control Panel. I struggled with it for a bit, searching Microsoft’s support site, I came about the post to my answer. So here’s how you can connect from a Mac OS 10.5 Leopard machine to a Windows 7 machine via Remote Desktop.

Configure Windows 7

These directions are copied verbatim from the Microsoft site and reprinted here for future reference. These directions will work for Windows Vista also.

  1. Open System by clicking the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking System and Security (System and Maintenance on Vista), and then clicking System.
  2. In the left pane, click Remote settings. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  3. Select one of the “allow” options under Remote Desktop. For more information about these options, see What types of Remote Desktop connections should I allow? [Note: To be able to Remote Desktop into a Windows 7 machine from a Mac, you need to select “Allow connections from computers running any version of Remote Desktop (less secure).]
  4. Click Select Users.
  5. In the Remote Desktop Users dialog box, click Add.
  6. In the Select Users or Groups dialog box, do one or more of the following:
    • To specify the search location, click Locations.
    • To specify the types of objects (user names) that you want to search for, click Object Types.
    • In Enter the object names to select, type the user name that you want to search for.
  7. When you find the correct name, click OK. The name will be displayed in the list of users in the Remote Desktop Users dialog box.

Connect via the Mac

Make sure you’ve installed either Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Client for the Mac or CoRD, which is what I use. I’ve used both, but I prefer CoRD for its simplicity and easier GUI.

Type in the IP Address or computer name and connect.

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500GB Of Storage Bliss On My MacBook Pro

After almost two frustrating years of dealing with “your Mac is almost out of space” or your computer is running critically low, etc. etc., I finally took the dive and upgraded.

My 15.4 inch MacBook Pro now sports a shiny new Samsung 500GB 5400 rpm hard drive versus my old 100GB 7200 rpm hard drive. Why did I go with the Samsung model? It’s the only model (I know of) in the 500GB flavor that is 9.5 mm thick. The 15.4 inch MacBook Pro can’t take drives that are thicker, unlike it’s larger brother, the 17 inch. Continue reading 500GB Of Storage Bliss On My MacBook Pro

MacBook Pro Woes

The keyboard and trackpad on my 15 inch MacBook Pro has been going in and out for the last month or so now. Originally I was thinking it was an issue with Leopard, as some people have been having the same issue after upgrading to Leopard. But I figured it had to be a hardware issue because when I plug in a mouse or keyboard, it works fine. Same thing when I use a wireless keyboard and mouse. Continue reading MacBook Pro Woes

National Geographic 2477 Bag Review

So after finding the perfect shoulder camera/laptop bag, the National Geographic NG-2475, and then having to return it because it couldn’t fit my 15.4″ MacBook Pro, fortunately Bogen (yes, the same company that makes tripods) makes a slightly larger version: the National Geographic NG-2477. The new bag is a few inches wider and is identical in design and layout to the NG-2475 except for the buckles and the addition of luggage straps to easily attach to a rolling luggage handle. Continue reading National Geographic 2477 Bag Review

MacBook Pro With Intel Core 2 Duo

Seems like Apple just released a nice follow up to their MacBook Pro Intel Core Duo processors: a MacBook Pro Intel Core 2 Duo, hardly surprising considering it was only going to be a matter of time this was going to happen. Those who waited for this, I’m sure it was worth the wait.
I do like the slight improvements they have made: introduction of a 2.33 GHz processor, up to 200GB hard drive option, firewire 800, gigabit ethernet, a 6x double-layer DVD burner, 3GB RAM capabilities…and this is just the available options for the 15.4 inch!

This brings back tech-envy nostalgia I’ve hadn’t had since I was in high school trying to build the fastest PC with the newest parts available.

MacBook Pro (5 Month Review)

Time for a long term review of the 15 inch MacBook Pro. So I’ve had the MBP for 5 months now and I must say that I still very much like it. The Intel Core Duo processors are wonderful. At times I find myself spoiled and not realizing it until I’m using an older Mac. And by older, I’m not referring to G3s, but PowerBook G4s, PowerMac G5s, etc. Occasionally I get friendly reminders of how fortunate I am. For example, recently, my friend at work was griping about how slow Adobe CS2 is on his Titanium Book. I told him, “I know how you feel.” His response was: “No you don’t know how I feel. If I had your MacBook, I would be in Heaven right now.” Continue reading MacBook Pro (5 Month Review)

17inch MacBook Pro

I finally received the two 17inch MacBook Pros for my work lead and my Director. They look nice. They look very similar to the 17inch PowerBook with the obvious exceptions. The height of the 17inch versus the 15inch is miniscule. The width difference is obvious.

Haven’t had much chance to play with them, but once I find more out about the 17inch, I’ll post about it.

Adobe CS2 And MacBook Pro

So I’m experiencing some problems with Adobe CS2 and my MacBook again. Seems the latest problem was, I think, caused by a grip load of recent updates for CS2. About 95% of the updates installed fine, with one particular program not updating correctly. My luck, it happens to be the one program in the CS2 Suite that I use most often: Photoshop 9.

So the problem is that I can’t update Photoshop. When I use the Adobe Updater, it tells me that my Photoshop is outdated and so I run the updater. Then it, oddly enough, asks me to direct it to the Adobe Photoshop folder, which I do, but I can’t select the actual program so thus I can’t do an update. Now since everything else was able to update fine, I think its conflicting with Photoshop. I can open/edit/save all my pics as before, but when I try to upload it to here, the pictures won’t display. Apparently Photoshop is saving in a way that the decoders can’t read. I’ve tried resetting my Photoshop settings to default a few times in hopes that it would resolve it…nope. I’m about ready to do a fresh install…

Mac OS X: Adobe CS2 and Apple’s Security Update 2006-03

So for the second time, I’ve had this problem: my MacBook would not get past the load up page (the one after the grey Apple with the spinning wheel) after applying Apple’s Security Update 2006-03. The first time, I had to reinstall the entire OS. This time, after searching around the web, it appears I’m not the only one to experience this problem. So for future reference, I decided to add this to our webpage.

The issues lies with some incompatibility with Adobe CS2 Version Cue that loads up in startup and the latest security update. The solution is to remove Version Cue from startup.

Solution:

  1. Boot up in safe mode.
  2. Go to “Macintosh HD” and “Library”.
  3. Do a “Get Info” on the “StartupItems” folder.
  4. Expand the “Ownership & Permissions” tab and select “Details”.
  5. Click the lock and enter your password (if you have one set) and switch the owner from the “System” to your user account.
  6. Rename the folder to “StartupItems.old”.
  7. Change the “Ownership & Permissions” of “StartupItems.old” back to the “System”.
  8. Reboot and you should be able to get into your system again.