I’m trying to install Windows XP on my new Apple MacBook Pro using Apple’s Boot Camp utility, and I’m finding a very weird issue: when I start up the WinXP installation within Bootcamp, it goes through various steps then finally gets to a screen where it needs me to press Enter to proceed. Problem is, my keyboard’s completely dead at that point and I can’t ever proceed! How do I fix this?
Digging through various message boards and Apple discussion forums, it appears that this is a common problem with people installing Boot Camp on their MacBooks and while the most common proposed solution is to simply unplug any and all external USB devices, especially the “mighty mouse” Apple mouse, I found that when I encountered this same problem that didn’t help because I didn’t have anything plugged in!
What I noticed when I was going through the Windows XP install process was that once Windows took control of the computer, the keyboard was completely dead: even the “caps lock” key didn’t light up when pressed. At a certain point during the installation process, you see “loading (keyboard drivers)” but it still was nonfunctional. Hmm… so the problem, I figured, was that the USB keyboard built-in to the MacBook Pro was an unrecognized device by Windows. I plugged in a standard PC USB keyboard, though, and found exactly the same problem.
I solved it by borrowing a couple of different Windows XP installation disks and finding that it’s only the latest version of WinXP that includes the drivers necessary. The “post-SP2″ version, as it happens. When I tried to install WinXP “SP1″, it failed. When I tried to install WinXP “SP2″, it worked perfectly! Oh, and in case it’s not obvious, you need a “full” Windows installation package, not an upgrade.
Fortunately, you can tell by looking at the WinXP disk itself. An SP1 version says “Version 2002″ and is listed as part X08-26167. The SP2 version says “Includes Service Pack 2″ and has the part X10-52217. (yes, it’s incredibly difficult to read the part numbers on the holographic Microsoft CDs!)
Check that on your own install disk and make sure that you have a service pack 2 version of Windows XP. For me, when I switched from the SP1 to SP2 version of Windows, the entire installation of Boot Camp went off without a hitch.
And then I got that partition to work as a Parallels workspace too, but that’s another posting.