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MacBook Air BootCamp, XP

I had read some very interesting stories around the internet about installing windows on a Mac...some good...others not so good...However, the reports were pretty consistent in that the Macs were the best hardware on which to run Windows. I needed the functionality for work...given some unique working requirements. So, I took the plunge and installed. Now, on day 3, I can honestly say things are stable...I think...

OK, so here are some lessons I learned during the install:
1) Make sure you have enough room on your BootCamp partition because you can not resize it. I started out with 5 GB. After installing Windows XP SP2 (which was an adventure itself, slipstreaming from a previously purchased CD) and adding the 130+ updates, I was left with only about 1 GB. I had not even installed Office applications or other utilities...Resizing was in my future...However, this is not as simple as resizing an Apple partition, even thought it was formated FAT32...This is what I had to do to resize:

* I had to use Disk Utility to make an image of the exisiting XP drive...this was easy since I chose to format it in FAT32.
* I opened Disk Utility, selected the XP drive, and selected "New Image"...
* I saved the file to an external USB drive.
* Using the BootCamp Assistant, I made the drive one again...this deleted the Windows partition.
* I went back into BootCamp and started over, chosing a little bit larger 12 GB size this time...this seemed about right given the MacBook Air's drive is only 74 GB and was getting quite few.
* Since Apple does not make its partition bootable, you still have to use the SuperDrive to format the drive and copy over the install files.
* When the machine reboots after the formating and before the official install starts, make sure you hold down the "Option" key and launch into the OSX partition.
* After logging in, I deleted everything on the new XP partition.
* I then was able to open the image from the USB drive and copy over everything. I could have used Disk Utility to restore, but this seemed OK.
* I rebooted again, held down the "Option" key and selected the XP partition this time. It worked well. I proceeded to install Office 2003, Windows Live Components, Windows LiveOne Care, Bonjour, iTunes, QuickTime, Java, Acrobat, Flash, and Firefox.

2) Do not use Firefox...OK, kidding here, but it surely caused many problems. I use Firefox on OSX and thoroughly enjoy it. In fact, I was hoping to use my bookmarks interchangeably with the add-ins. However, Firefox decided to crash numerous times and shut down the system. Every time the system shut down, and I launched into XP, it went through chkdsk...this was time-consuming and a pain.

3) Change what happens when Windows crashes. Make sure you prevent Windows from restarting after an error. From what I can tell, besides this latest build of Firefox, this is what caused some errors on the install and chkdsk. To change this:
* I right-clicked on "My Computer"
* Chose the "Advance" tab
* Under, "Startup and Recovery," I chose the "Settings" button
* In the "System Failure" area, I deselected "Automatic Restart"
* Clicked "Apply" and "OK"
Things seem to be well...

4) Tapping on the trackpad does not work to select items. You need to use the click button on the mouse. You can still scroll down web pages with two fingers on the trackpad which is cool, but having grown accustomed to selecting answers with a simple tap, this will take some getting used to...

5) Speaking of getting used to...right clicking without an external mouse is interesting as always, but not too bad...you can put two fingers on the pad and tap the button...which is never the same...

6) The battery life is not as good...well, I can be honest, I did not play with any energy-saving settings. However, I was only getting about 2 hours 30 minutes to 2 hours 45 minutes of battery life using XP...a far cry from the 4 hours + I was getting recently with OSX.

7) Parallels using the BootCamp partiion...well, that is for another post...originally, it crashed my machine and corrupted my partition...I will cover that soon...

I will continue to update progress and usage as I encounter it. I am writing this right now in the XP BootCamp partition of my MacBook Air, so all is good and things are playing nicely...



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