Bootcamp related Mac white screen of death 43

Posted by Tim Connor Sun, 04 Mar 2007 01:13:00 GMT

DO NOT attempt to install a pre-SP2 version of Windows XP on your Bootcamp partition. I don’t know if this happens to everyone, but I definitely found a number of forum and blog posts about it. It may be coincidence and actually be due to a hardware failing, as Apple claims, but it seems like a lethal software bug from my experience and reason.

I don’t even know how this could actually be true, because I didn’t know that SP2 messed with the installer that much, but some some of our experiences validate the theory. The trail to the bug starts when one boots into the Windows install sequence, and it won’t detect the partitions right. Instead of seeing the main partition and a (in my case) 32 GB partition the Windows installer claims there is one 132 GB (or so). Not wanting to mess up their entire computer, most people take the logical step of backing out of the Windows install and rebooting.

At that point I was greeted with a lit but blank screen. Not even the apple logo. Just white nothingness. I rebooted a million times, with different install disks in and different command sequences held down. I cleared the PRAM. I did everything that support would later ask me to do, to no avail. If you hold down the Alt/Option key to get the boot menu, you get the slightly off-white sceen, with no choices on it, just blank. If you hold down ‘x’ to force a boot into OS X, you get a black screen. Nothing works – call support and then they’ll tell you to take your computer in for service.

It seems to me, and others in my camp that Bootcamp is messing with the boot loader to tell it to boot into Windows for the install, and when you back out, due to the non SP2 misreading the partitions (this isn’t a bug exactly, since the requirements tell you to use SP2 or later), it refuses to boot into anything else. Since you didn’t install Windows, though, it can’t boot into that.

Now it’s possible this theory is entirely wrong. Maybe it is actually a hardware problem that prevents the drive from being partitioned correctly, and the Windows install disk was reading it correctly. That, of course, wouldn’t explain why it wouldn’t run the install from the external drive they tried at the Apple Store.

Of course, I could test this by attempting to install from the same Windows disk when I get my computer back, but I think I’ll play it safe and not. And before anyone suggests Paralells, I already have it. I wanted to use the new feature where you can run the VM from the Bootcamp partition, so you only have to maintain one main install, both for running natively through Bootcamp for performance reasons (like if you want to game), or virtually with Paralells.