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XP on Bootcamp & VMWare Fusion, take 2

Time to re-install XP

My setup until yesterday was Bootcamp partion that was running as a VM using VMWare Fusion. The Bootcamp partition was set up as FAT32, because I NTFS came up as readonly when mounted under Mac OS.

Then I started up another VM (Fedora Core 7, although i have since noticed it's not what OS you run, but just a second VM). Maybe it's not enough memory, maybe it's a VM running from bootcamp plus a VM running from a disk image, but while it had worked previously, this time, it locked up my Mac hard. I finally had to hard boot the Mac. When I got back into th VM, I noticed things were broken. Now, I've had to hard boot XP many times and I've never seen this. An indeterminate number of files were corrupted. I noticed one XML file that halfway through turned into binary garbage, so I assume that the other systems failing were suffering from similar corruption. Basically it was hosed, because there was no way to determine what had been corrupted. Time to re-install.

Bootcamp & VMware install

Looking at my post from last time, it was clearly written with the frazzled recollection of a day of trying to make things work, since i once again ran into problems. This time I'm making sure I write the resolution down.

  1. Imaged the old partition, because you always realize that you forgot to back up some vital file.

  2. Removed the old partition and created a new one (using the Bootcamp tool), this time large enough for more than just fallback use (since it's used daily under VMWare). This creates a FAT32 partition.

  3. Inserted my install disk and Bootcamp restarted to fire up the windows install. Important note here, this has to be a real XP install disk. I first tried to use my MSDN DVD with the chooser for picking what OS to install. However, the Mac keyboard doesn't seem to work when you get to the menu. So I used an XP Pro w/ SP2 CD and rebooted. Now the installer ran just fine

  4. Formatted the partition using NTFS. Even if you use FAT32, re-format, don't use the Bootcamp formatted partition. At least for me, using that prepared partition didn't work and created an unbootable image. I know NTFS cannot be written to by MacOS, but it doesn't really matter, since once I boot it as a VM, i can always transfer files via loopback file sharing. I'm going NTFS to get a journaling file system. Theoretically that should prevent the corruption I got last time.

  5. After the install completes, pop in the Mac OS disk and let it install the Bootcamp utilities. This gives you full support for the Macbook Pro hardware.

  6. Activate Windows and reboot into Mac OS X.

  7. Fire up VMWare Fusion. Bootcamp partition should be listed as a VM. Since I previously had a bootcamp partition, I had to go into Library::VMWare Fusion::Application Support::Virtual Machines and remove the old Bootcamp partition folder. Fusion will then do its magic and prep the Bootcamp partition to run as a VMWare Image.

  8. Activate Windows again. That should be the last time you have to do it.

Let's hope this doesn't turn into a bi-monthly process :)