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Install Windows XP on a Sandy Bridge Mac Install
Installing Windows XP through Bootcamp on a Sandy Bridge Mac is not easy. Apple decided to limit the Sandy Bridge version of Bootcamp to Windows 7, so no XP drivers are available. There are ways of tricking Bootcamp into installing XP, but they all fail for the lack of a decent video driver. The default video driver is flakey, and crashes on boot up.

There is a way to have XP on a Sandy Bridge machine. Get a copy of VMWare's Fusion 4 and install it. Fusion can do a clean install of XP or work from your Bootcamp partition. I used the Bootcamp option which took about 10 minutes to set up. XP boots and runs flawlessly. There are no missing drivers in device manager. Windows boots faster in Fusion than it did from the Bootcamp partition, probably because it's not searching for drivers.

I know, I know, XP is ancient and over a decade old, but some of us need it to run old software. If you have a new Mac and need XP this is the way to go.

[crarko adds: I presume you could do the same with Parallels. I admit to never being a huge fan of Bootcamp, with good VM options available. Now Apple, please let us install Snow Leopard legally in a VM on Lion (or Mountain Lion).]
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Install Windows XP on a Sandy Bridge Mac
Authored by: haralds on Feb 24, '12 08:07:12AM

This does not resolve the issue of booting natively. Which machine are you running on? You might be able to get video drivers directly from the vendor.

The reason why VMware works is that it presents its own set of virtual devices to the OS.

Except for extreme gaming, I found VMware to be plenty fast. In fact, for "classic gaming" of older vintage games, it has worked better for me than native Windows 7.

If you are planning on only using VMware, it would be advantageous to import the boot camp into a virtual drive, and merging the BootCamp partition back with your OS X drive. There are a number of advantage to this scenario:
- The VM will be faster. Disk IO is faster than native IO to BootCamp.
- Using sparse drives (VMware's default), you will make more efficient use of disk space.
- It becomes easy to move and duplicate the virtual machine.
- You can encrypt the virtual machine, if security sensitive information like financial records are kept in it.

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Install Windows XP on a Sandy Bridge Mac
Authored by: cosmotic on Feb 24, '12 12:20:11PM

VMWare also doesn't work when you have unusual USB peripherals. I could not get it working with my IOGear Wireless USB Hub.

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Install Windows XP on a Sandy Bridge Mac
Authored by: xplora on Feb 24, '12 06:42:18PM

The whole point of using Bootcamp is to not have to use a virtual environment to boot Windows into. This article is saying what Apple is saying, Bootcamp no longer supports Windows XP, a virtual environment such as Parallels, VMware, Virtual Box, etc is required.

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Install Windows XP on a Sandy Bridge Mac
Authored by: jizokun on Feb 24, '12 06:44:48PM

I just bought a mid 2011 iMac (21.5 inch Core i5) with OS X Lion, and installed XP on a partition (I need to use a program on XP for work). I can boot into it without problem. The only thing is you'll need a copy of the Snow Leopard install CD to get the XP drivers (they might still be available on the Apple site but I'm not sure).

Create a FAT partition using disk utility, then insert the XP install CD into the drive and boot from the CD, follow the instructions to install XP. After it's installed, boot up in XP and insert the Snow Leopard CD to install the Boot Camp drivers.

Bluetooth, USB, hard disks, DVD-driver, etc. all worked fine with the drivers from Apple. But for the chipset, ethernet, wifi, audio and FaceTime camera drivers, the ones available here worked for me:

The graphics driver didn't work for me so I went straight to the source and installed the Display Driver+Catalyst Control Center available from AMD here:

After all that, I now have a fully functioning and bootable Boot Camp XP partition.

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Install Windows XP on a Sandy Bridge Mac
Authored by: zane on Apr 29, '12 10:47:44PM

This comment is in fact the best (and only) way that I know of to get XP installed via. Bootcamp. However, using the gray restore disc that comes with your Mac should install all the drivers you need. Although I should note that my restore disk is Snow Leopard (10.6.4).

To summarize:

1) Create a FAT32 partition using Disk Utility.
2) Insert your XP installer disk.
3) Restart holding the Option key.
4) Select the XP installer disk when the boot menu appears.
5) Install XP via. the normal Windows installer.
6) Once XP is installed, insert the gray Mac OS X Install DVD that comes with your Mac.
7) The Bootcamp installer loads and prompts you to run it. Go ahead and do that.

After the Bootcamp installer completes, you have a fully-functioning Windows XP with all hardware working. Now you can boot either into either OS X or Windows at startup using Option, or via. the Startup Disk System Preference.

I can confirm this works from having just done it today - at least for machines that originally come Snow Leopard-equipped.

For those wondering, I use XP for web development browser testing (required for IE7).

Hope this helps.

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Install Windows XP on a Sandy Bridge Mac
Authored by: poenn on Feb 25, '12 03:44:12AM

Sorry, but this is no hint. It would be if the author found a way to boot XP natively which he did not. He just states the obvious. Using virtualization you can run Windows 3.1, DOS and whatnot...

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Install Windows XP on a Sandy Bridge Mac
Authored by: windowstomac on Mar 01, '12 06:33:56AM

Using any kind of VM has a clear advantage over Bootcamp anyway - you don't need to reboot all the time. If you don't want to pay for Parallels or VMWare you could use Virtual Box - problem solved.

Good luck

ben at

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