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Apple's MacBook Pro Boots OS X & Win XP

Windows On A Mac, What Works, What Doesn't

While getting Windows installed on the MacBook Pro is pretty easy, there are some problems. OS X is customized for the MacBook Pro system; the drivers for Windows XP are not as mature and not fully functional at this point. Apple could have done this on purpose, but I would rather think it is an issue of short term growing pains. These growing pains are sometimes obvious and sometimes hard to detect. One of the easiest to detect is the lack of a backlit keyboard in low light conditions and, while this works excellently in OS X, it is totally lacking in Windows XP. The Windows display brightness tool caused the system to reboot on many occasions. This is unacceptable.

The time is always correct in OS X but sometimes is off in Windows XP. This could be an issue reading the EFI, the replacement for the BIOS that Apple uses (read more here) or perhaps the problem is related to a sleep or power issue. I also had trouble with drivers for unknown USB and PCI devices. While it might be possible for a user to track down and resolve these problems, I would rather that Apple supply the correct drivers on the drivers disk.

Another issue relates to slightly higher battery power consumption under Windows XP than OS X. [Editors Note: Perhaps this is related to the Windows XP USB device battery power drain problem reported by Gear Digest. There are also some strange power events that happen when suspending under Windows XP, for example when the power plug is removed the laptop wakes from suspended mode. Apple needs to update the drivers responsible for problems such as this.

Finally, Apple's famous missing mouse button might confuse some, but the problem is overcome by placing two fingers on the touchpad while clicking the mouse button. This brings up an added feature of the Apple touchpad. When you are browsing the web, placing two separated fingers on the touchpad lets you scroll up and down. So some missing features are replaced by others, and while there are clearly some flaws, overall I found it easy to work with Windows XP on a MacBook Pro.

Applications such as Microsoft Office, Nero, and VMWare Workstation loaded under XP without a hitch. The apps ran exactly as expected, causing no unforeseen issues. DVD videos look great on the high quality screen and watching an entire movie was not a problem. Overall, VMWare ran fine in VMWare under XP. However, there were times when disk access was so high it was impossible to do anything until one or more virtual machines was restored from a suspended state. This also is an issue on many XP PCs, but it was surprising to see on such a speedy system. Perhaps more memory will resolve this problem.