Install Windows XP on 2010 MacBook Air

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This article or section is based on a forum post written by ryanL.


This article or section is based on a forum post written by snorkelman.


Only Windows 7 is officially supported for install via Boot Camp on the 2010 MacBook Air. Many users would still like to use Windows XP on their MBA as it is capable of running in a smaller footprint. Here is an incomplete/evolving guide on running XP on these new MBA.

Contents

Warning

This is not a guide for beginners. As you are performing an install that is unsupported by Apple, there is a risk at every step that you will lose data or render your MBA incapable of booting. It is highly recommended that you back up your system entirely before starting this guide, and use Winclone to back up your Windows XP partition at intermediate steps along the way so you may return to them easily should anything go wrong.

Limitations

Before we starting doing that, you have to know the limitations at the moment:

  1. No control of display brightness, so its on full brightness at all times
  2. Never, never use software like Parallels / Fusion to call this XP partition. This will result the boot looping and you have to restart the whole installation again.
  3. After your successful installation, do backup the partition with Winclone. This saves you time in future.

Tools Required

Let's see the tools required:

  1. Windows XP SP2 installation disc (XP SP3 has also been reported to work).
  2. USB SuperDrive (other USB optical drives may also work)
  3. WiFi Internet connection
  4. Boot Camp 3.0 (obtain from a retail Snow Leopard disc)
  5. Winclone software (abandonware, but still available from various locations)

Some people considered the Boot Camp drivers for 13" MBP 2010 could work as it contains drivers for Nividia 320M drivers. However, this will end up "Blue Screen" during installation process.

Installation Process

Here is the installation process

  1. Use Boot Camp Assistant to shrink the Mac partition and create an Win XP partition. Please note that your Win XP installation cannot work except using Boot Camp. Afterwards, you can use Winclone to backup the successful installation and do whatever you like. I will create the partition at minimum (20 GB).
  2. Download the drivers for Boot Camp for Win 7. You will find it useful in future.
  3. Install windows XP SP 2 as usual. I format the partition as NTFS.
  4. After the install, you will find the XP at strange resolution scale and strange movement on mouse. That's normal.
  5. Install Boot Camp 3.0 for XP and restart. This will make your WiFi works.
  6. With WiFi working, go to system update. Though you find the Nividia driver there. Don't install at the moment. Do all the updates like SP 3 and other updates as you will. This will require several reboots. Do as usual.
  7. After you have done all other updates, install Nvidia driver from Windows Update. This will result for correct resolution after reboot.
  8. Go to Start -> Control Panel -> System -> Hardware -> Hardware manager. You will see at lot of hardware with yellow exclamation mark. These are the drivers missing.
  9. Get back the files for Boot Camp for Win 7 for your MBA, go to \Boot Camp\Drivers directory. You can see all the folders. Even though Apple says the drivers only work for Win 7, many of them will also work with Windows XP 32-bit version.Some of drivers you have to install:
  • \Apple\AppleBluetoothBroadcomInstaller.exe
  • \Apple\AppleDisplayInstaller.exe
  • \Apple\AppleiSightInstaller.exe
  • \Apple\AppleKeyboardInstaller.exe
  • \Apple\AppleMultiTouchTrackPadInstaller.exe
  • \Apple\AppleNullDriver.exe
  • \Apple\AppleODDInstaller.exe
  • \Broadcom\BroadcomEthernet32.exe
  • \Cirrus\CirrusAudio32.exe
  • \Marvell\MarvellInstaller.exe

After installing those drivers, you should have cleared all the yellow exclamation marks and have a working install of Windows XP on your MBA.

Sleep

If your MBA hangs when it goes to sleep, disable all sleep settings.