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10.5: Boot Camp 2.0 and Answer files don't mix System 10.5
I was tearing my hair out at this one.

If you use an answer file to install Windows XP, you might find your install completely fails. This is mainly because Apple does some funky stuff to the partition map, and doesn't format the partition properly. As a result, you may get errors about a corrupt hal.dll if you repartition to NTFS, or a disk error if you use the default FAT32 partition that Apple creates.

The solution? Rip out the answer file and do a reformat of the Boot Camp partition before you install.

[robg adds: I had no idea what an answer file is, so I included the link to Wikipedia's entry on the subject. An answer file seemingly automates the Windows XP installation process.]
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10.5: Boot Camp 2.0 and Answer files don't mix | 7 comments | Create New Account
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10.5: Boot Camp 2.0 and Answer files don't mix
Authored by: diamondsw on Nov 06, '07 01:32:17PM

Apple doesn't do "funky stuff to the partition map", it's just that Windows doesn't know how to deal with EFI and GPT disks properly. The firmware update that allows Boot Camp to run added a compatibility mode that emulates the traditional BIOS and MBR so that legacy systems like Windows can boot.

Simple solution - once you partition the drive on the Mac side, don't mess with it on Windows - it will not work.

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10.5: Boot Camp 2.0 and Answer files don't mix
Authored by: kainewynd2 on Nov 06, '07 02:52:01PM
This is a pretty big non-hint. As the person before me mentioned, Apple doesn't do anything "funky" to the partition map. Also, in the Boot Camp manual, it suggests you reformat your Windows partition using the Windows installer disc otherwise you will encounter HAL.dll errors. If you partition using the Windows installer, be prepared for HAL.dll errors at the best and complete data loss at the worst.

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10.5: Boot Camp 2.0 and Answer files don't mix
Authored by: brookmeow on Nov 06, '07 06:29:39PM

In fact, I think it's a bug of Boot Camp.

I did not read the stupid manual. If I need to re-format the Boot Camp partition, why do I need Boot Camp assistant?

There's no such a stupid problem in Boot Camp 1.4b. The partition made by Boot Camp 1.4b just goes smoothly. Who knows the formal v2.0 bundled with whole new system is much buggggggier then an old beta? Apple rotten?

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10.5: Boot Camp 2.0 and Answer files don't mix
Authored by: mike458 on Nov 07, '07 11:09:31PM
ok, this needs a better explanation. I ran into this exact same problem and it took a while to make sense of what was happening.

With Bootcamp and a retail XP install disk, you can proceed through your installation, formatting your XP partition with FAT32 or NTFS, performing the install and rebooting. Insert your Leopard disk, install the wndows hardware drivers from it and bootcamp is ready to go.

However, some IT departments set up windows XP to install automatically with predefined details using UNATTEND.TXT (the "Answer File" they talk about)


If you have an XP disk that has been modified and it contains UNATTEND.TXT, you might skip the necessary prompts where you can format your partitions, and end up with the fat32 partition created by Leopard -- it's somewhat broken because it's not bootable. The windows installation will proceed, but when it finishes and tries to reboot, XP never comes up because the XP boot fails.

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10.5: Boot Camp 2.0 and Answer files don't mix
Authored by: jesuitx on Nov 14, '07 06:48:04PM
The answer file must not be the only issue here because I'm using an OEM windows disk with no answer file and I'm having the same problem. After reformatting at NTFS (not using Quick format), no joy.

But more importantly, let's try to be realistic. It's not Microsoft's job to support EFI in XP because Apple wants to offer Windows booting to Mac users. If they don't care, they're under no moral or ethical obligation to do so. Boot Camp Assistant must format a disk that's going to work with Windows as is without reformatting. If they aren't capable of doing that, then they need to make it clear in the Boot Camp Assistant, not just the manual. Furthermore, it HAS to work with NTFS, because everybody uses it.

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10.5: Boot Camp 2.0 and Answer files don't mix
Authored by: horvatic on Jan 07, '08 11:11:59PM

It seems Boot Camp 2.0 is getting hal.dll errors on many Macs running leopard 10.5.1. Nothing to do with the answer files.
It's not the XP CD because I used the same CD to install on previous versions of Boot Camp and they all installed perfectly fine. Other people I know are also having the same issue with known good Windows discs they used on previous versions of Boot Camp. I believe something in the latest version of Boot Camp isn't quite right at this point in time.

I hope Apple will correct the issue when they release 10.5.2. It puzzles me that they have Boot Camp working perfectly and then broke it somehow.

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May be due to non-canonical install disk
Authored by: herbertbrubaker on Jan 08, '08 09:41:10PM

I had this problem and it was due to the fact that I was using an install disk customized by my employer. The fix was to create a new install disk identical in every respect except for deleting a file called WINNT.sif. There may be an all-Mac way of doing this, but I ended up using a Windows box and the free ISOBuster app to extract the 'MICROSOFT WINDOWS.img" file at the top level of the CD. After that, you put that file together with the rest of the files from the CD (except I386/WINNT.sif) and create an ISO using mkisofs. After that, you can burn a cd from the ISO that mkisofs generates, using Disk Utility. This is a rough outline, please ask me if you need more info.

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