Tech Blech

Sunday, September 24, 2006

More MacBook and BootCamp Woes

OK...I've made some progress in understanding the problems in getting the MacBook to run Windows in a stable manner. It has to do with accidentally or deliberately booting with a CD still in the drive. Windows hangs and then crashes unrecoverably, sometimes, when this happens. This does not go down this way on regular PC's, and thus I think it has something to do with the buggy Mac drivers, probably the ones not correctly certified for Windows (apparently about 4 or 5 of them).

Case in point...this time, I restarted Windows from scratch on a newly formatted NTFS partition, and everything was stable for about 8 hours. I was loading up my development tools, rebooting often to make sure everything is still kosher, and using Restore Points as my safety net. Then, while installing VS.NET 2005, I was told to reboot while the CD was still in. What to do? I knew the CD was potentially a problem, but I've installed VS.NET dozens of times on regular PC's, and I knew that VS.NET wasn't done yet and wanted to resume its install after the reboot--so I pressed Return--and it hung and crashed unrecoverably. So badly, in fact, that it blew away my Restore Points. So now I'm back in the OS blue screen trying to heal Windows XP so it will run again, and even if I do, heaven knows what state it will be in when it's done.

In retrospect, I can see that many of my previous problems had to do with this. The first time I used Boot Camp to install drivers, for example, I failed to eject the disk before rebooting (and yes, I know it tells you to, but I had just spent hours reading fine print--I saw my mistake immediately after hitting return, but there is no going back at that point--no eject button on the CD). This is where not having Ctrl-Alt-Delete on the keyboard is fatal--when the reboot occurs, you can tell that something is hung, and on a normal PC, you'd just hit Ctrl-Alt-Delete and kill the hung process and get on with life. But on the MacBook, you just have to sit there and agonize until it finally crashes or you get tired of waiting and force a shutdown, after which, your machine is, well, hosed.

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