The Goal: I want to migrate my existing install of Windows XP from an old desktop to a BootCamp partition on a new MacBook.* †
The Hardware: The PC is a 'frankenbox' that has two hard drives that can dual boot Ubuntu (Linux) and Windows XP with various storage and backup partitions.
The MacBook is the last gen MacBook4,1 version (2.4 Ghz Core 2 Duo)
The Issue: My web search yielded lots of topic similar to this but not exactly what I was looking for. (Like migrating BootCamp -> BootCamp; migration using VMware or Parallels; etc. etc.).
I decided to take a crack at it using the tools at hand, and hope this may be of use to others AND that if anybody has another method or knows of other postings or resources they will add them here for cross reference purposes.
The Short Version:
What ended up (mostly) working so far is the following:
1. Create a new BootCamp partition on the MacBook and quit at the point it asks to install Windows.
2. Boot the MacBook into FireWire Target Disk mode and attach it to the Desktop PC via FW cable to a FW PCI card. The BootCamp Partition appears as a mounted drive on the PC. (Note: not sure if removing drive from Mac and attaching it to PC via USB enclosure would also work).
3. Run XXCLONE (freeware) to create a copy of the booted C Drive on the PC to the BootCamp disk that mounted on the PC. I used the 'make target bootable' option in XXCLONE before running, not sure if that is necessary or not.
4. After clone completes, boot into the new BootCamp partition and install the BootCamp Windows drivers from a 10.6 Snow Leopard CD.
This process appears to have successfully (mostly)º done what I wanted it to do.
The Longer Version:
When I first tried this, I cloned the Desktop's D drive, which was a bootable backup of the C drive, to the BootCamp partition. When I tried to boot off the BootCamp Partition it yielded an error that I was missing a .dll file required for booting. I'd seen this before with XXCLONE, so I decided to try again from the C drive a week later when I had time to try again.
In the interim, I had done some cleanup of the C Drive, installed Windows Updates, installed Simplify Media and MacDrive. When I then attached the MacBook via FireWire, it mounted as a "Removable Drive" with no accessible media and thus had no way of seeing the actual harddrive contents. Even after removing Simplify and MacDrive, the drive still mounted as removable.
Crap. So, to just see if the BootCamp thing was working at all, I re-set up a fresh BootCamp partition and did a fresh install of Windows XP SP2 from my install DVD. NOTE: At this point I selected to format the BootCamp partition as NTSF. It installed and booted and I was able to install the Windows BootCamp Drivers from my OSX 10.6 DVD.
So at this point I again attached the MacBook via FW to the Desktop PC in hopes the BootCamp partition (now formatted as NTFS instead of FAT32) would mount as a normal drive and not an inaccessible "Removable Drive" containing no accessible media. It still mounted as a "Removable Drive". Crap again.
I then realized that the backup D drive on the PC still contained a bootable backup of the C drive from around the time I had first mounted the BootCamp partition via FW successfully. So I re-booted the Desktop PC from the backup D drive (which, of course, then becomes the current C drive in Windows) and shazzam! The MacBook in FW Target disk mode attached to the Desktop PC mounts the BootCamp partition as a regular old disk in Windows.
I then try running XXCLONE again. I select the current C Drive (previous D Drive) as the source and the NTFS formatted BootCamp Partition as the Target. f/y/i I Selected the 3 checkboxes in 'make bootable' options provided by XXCLONE, as well as the 'speed boost' options in that tab, not sure if that is necessary/good/bad or not, but that's what I used.
After Cloning completed I again remove the MacBook from the PC, insert the OSX 10.6 DVD and boot into the BootCamp partition. On the first try, BootCamp booted windows but would not let me enter my password or move the cursor at the Windows Log In window. Crap yet again. I try attaching a USB keyboard, still no access. So I try booting again and this time the MacBook's keyboard and trackpad are working and I am able to log in to windows. I then try to install the Windows drivers from my OSX 10.6 DVD which did not autorun for some reason. It installs iSight and then stalls for some reason, I re-boot and try to install the drivers again and this time it appears to work. Yay!
After all this the BootCamp partition appears to be a functional clone of my old PC Desktop. I will note that Networking is functional via Ethernet, but WiFi will not connect as windows wireless networking claims to 'not be activated' as there may be third party software. This may be because my PC desktop had a USB dongle providing WiFi access with 3rd party drivers from (RailLink, I think?) handling the connection. I'll mess with that later.
Notes, Lessons Learned, and Open Questions:
- Not sure if selecting the 'make bootable' option from XXCLONE is necessary or good
- Not sure if reformatting the BootCamp Partition from FAT32 to NTFS helped this process
- Not sure what the hell caused my Desktop to stop recognizing my FW Target Mode MacBook as a 'real HD' and instead a 'removable HD with no media'. But it is clearly a software issue. (Even the Munged C Drive still recognized a regular FW drive as a real drive though, odd).
- Not sure if this process could also be done by removing the HardDrive from a Mac and attaching it via a USB enclosure to the PC. That was going to be my next step if FW failed again, but I didn't have to go there. (If anyone tries, please post the results!!)
- I haven't done heavy testing on the BootCamp install, so not sure if WiFi, is the only issue. I'll update if I find anything. Also not sure if there is a significant performance hit from doing this the 'right' way, i.e. a clean install from scratch.
- Note: I had to 're-activate' windows on the Mac because Windows found 'Significant hardware changes from my last boot'
PLEASE post any questions, comments, or experiences with this process as I'd love to hear other results. Please post any links to posts that may better explain or have duplicated this process, or have a significantly better methodology for achieving the goal with the basic resources used.
* License fanatics, for the sake of argument lets say I de-commissioned my Desktop PC Windows install or bought a new license and never used it. That eliminates any nefarious license overlap, k?
† For the love of all that is good, back up anything and everything on the PC & Mac of value before doing this, as it is certainly not the prescribed install route!!
º See notes and long discussion for issues so far