Unfortunately, this took me a few days to complete as I have other responsibilite and projects I’m working on as well as a few minor snags I got caught on along the way. But, it’s done!

I’ve got Windows XP running on a Mac mini Core Duo that will be on display in the retail store starting tomorrow. Here’s the final photo to prove it:

Look at that pretty Windows XP desktop… well… hmm… nice, I guess. Granted, it’s no Mac OS X, but they sure did pick an inviting desktop picture (or do I have to start calling it a wallpaper now?)

As I mentioned in my previous post about this, I was following the process over at OnMac.net as they’re the first to come up with a complete and working solution to actually dual-boot Windows XP SP2 and Mac OS X 10.4 on the new Intel Macs (Mac minis, iMacs, and MacBook Pros). Their instructions are decent and I was able to follow along with ease.

It’s basically a 6 step process:

  1. Creating a modified, bootable Windows XP SP2 install CD.
  2. Partitioning your hard drive and reinstalling Mac OS X.
  3. Installing the EFI boot manager and blessing it.
  4. Booting from the modified Windows XP SP2 install CD and proceeding through the DOS-based, first step of the Windows XP installation process.
  5. Rebooting and continuing with the pseudo-Windows XP-based, second step of the Windows XP installation process.
  6. Configuring Windows XP from the “Welcome to Windows XP” Wizard-thing. (Is it a Wizard if you’re not really booted into the OS yet?)

The following photos show steps 4, 5, and 6 in all their glory:

Step 1 is probably the most time consuming as individual step (after all, most of the other steps only require waiting and feeding the Intel Mac CDs). I got hung up a bit on it as I had difficulty getting mkisofs (now part of CDRecord) installed on my PowerMac G5 (even DarwinPorts failed to do so). Once I compiled it and had it working, the process went fairly smoothly.

The other snag I had was that I started the installation process with the keyboard and mouse plugged into the Apple 17” Studio Display I was using. Well, once the the pseudo-Windows XP-based install (Step 5) finished installing the drivers I’d lose keyboard and mouse control. Restarting with the keyboard and mouse plugged directly into the Mac mini had no effect, I still didn’t have keyboard and mouse control (in the Windows XP installed, the Mac OS X side was fine).

It turns out that the DOS-based portion of the Windows XP installer (or maybe the injected BIOS that are part of this hack) lock onto the USB devices’ IDs and location on the USB bus. Once Windows XP intalled drivers that supported these devices it’d try to kick over to them, but it didn’t like the USB pass-through on the Studio Display for some reason. It took a complete reinstall (all the way back to Step 4) with the keyboard and mouse plugged directly into the Mac mini for it to make it past installing the drivers.

After that it was smooth sailing. I still have not found anything I want to do with this Mac mini running Windows XP. Staring at the pretty desktop is enough for me, the thrill was in getting it installed. I’ve gotten many “Oh, cool!” comments from passersby, but almost an even number of “That’s disgusting!” as well.

You’re welcome to stop by our retail showroom to play with it, but for the time-being we’re keeping it off the Internet. It’s just not worth me having to do this again since we don’t have the appropriate Windows anti-viral and anti-adware software.

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