When we manually deploy dual-boot Apple devices, this sequence of steps works well:

  1. Install OS X image over the network
  2. Use Boot Camp to prepare the disk for Windows
  3. Use a Windows XP installation disc to install vanilla Windows
  4. Stop the installation where the setup wizard begins
  5. Format the Windows partition and install our WIM image with ImageX

Why are steps 3 and 4 necessary? Why can't we just install our WIM? In fact, it would seem easier just to use Disk Utility to create a second partition and install Windows there. In this case, there wind up being three partitions, including a 200MB partition at the front of the disk.

Update: Just reproduced this again. Here are the steps so far. If anyone wants to chime in on why this behaves this way, I'd love to hear your theories.

  1. Installed OS X image
  2. Ran Boot Camp Assistant
  3. Selected "Quit and Install Later" rather than inserting a Windows disc
  4. Rebooted into WinPE
  5. Applied my WIM
  6. Rebooted to BootPicker screen
  7. Selected the Windows installation
  8. Machine reboots (to disk0s3 per BootPicker) to a black screen with blinking cursor.

Booting with the Option key held does not list a Windows volume.

In Diskpart, the volumes are all listed and the appropriate files are on C:. I checked boot.ini and ensured that it was configured correctly and set the partition as active.

  • 1
    It's an Apple, you can't really be expecting it to work right with non-Apple configurations? :-) – Brian Knoblauch Jun 3 '09 at 14:08
  • I just want to understand why it behaves this way! The root of my question is, "what does the Windows XP setup process from my XP media do that I'm not doing by applying the WIM with ImageX?" – Doug Chase Jun 3 '09 at 14:14
  • I take it that rEFIt didn't fix it, then. – Clinton Blackmore Jun 23 '09 at 20:00

The XP install disk puts the needed magic spice in the MBR on the disk. Until this is done the windows bootloader never runs.

  • Is that something I can do myself in script or otherwise without going through all the hassle of faking the computer out by half-loading XP? – Doug Chase May 29 '09 at 18:21
  • And what's that extra 200MB partition for? Is that where the MBR resides? – Doug Chase May 29 '09 at 18:23
  • 1
    Oh, is that it. rEFIt ( refit.sourceforge.net ) includes tools to analyzed (and fix) boot record issues. It might be able to resolve the problem. – Clinton Blackmore May 29 '09 at 19:26
  • Thanks Clinton! I've used rEFIt before but not for that purpose. I'll dig it out. – Doug Chase May 30 '09 at 15:01

Winclone from TwoCanoes software is what we use for deploying XP images, and it works flawlessly with no Boot Camp required.

  • I'll give this a shot now (but I'm still curious about how this stuff works). – Doug Chase Jun 3 '09 at 14:54
  • The Casper Imaging Beta documentation ( jamfsoftware.com/products/imagingSuite.php ) briefly mentions that Casper can deploy a dual-boot Mac, using a Winclone disk image; it must therefore be possible, and it would seem that Winclone would do it. – Clinton Blackmore Jun 23 '09 at 20:10

Just ran into this today while experimenting with dual-booting using our WDS server. Had to pop in an original XP media, run the recovery console and run the fixmbr command. That worked, now if I can figure out how to bring the fixmbr command over to my PE environment...

  • I've looked into that too, but couldn't figure out how to do it. If you find out let us know! – Doug Chase Jun 23 '09 at 18:50
  • This seems to work, sysint.no/nedlasting/mbrfix.htm, someone's self-made MBR program. Used that program's fixmbr /vista and fixbootsector dos6 options worked for me, should be easy enough to script in PE – David Jun 24 '09 at 19:58

I have now been using DeployStudio to apply both sides of these machines with great success for a couple months. Really great product and I can't recommend it enough for those of you deploying dual-boot Macs!

  • I've recently started using DeployStudio (but only for single-booting into OS X). It is really slick. – Clinton Blackmore Aug 5 '09 at 15:44

Are the third and fourth steps really necessary? I'm familiar with neither ImageX nor WIM, but assuming it's a bootable disk, you can just use Boot Camp to create the Windows partition, and then boot from ImageX instead of the Windows disk.

When you reboot after creating the partition in Boot Camp, the partition is empty. It seems silly to begin installing Windows, only to format the partition later.

  • Nah, that doesn't work for some reason! Hence this question. – Doug Chase May 29 '09 at 18:22
  • Can you use WIM/ImageX on non-Apple computers without having to resort to the XP installation medium? – Zr40 May 29 '09 at 18:35
  • Yep, if we wipe out, say, a Dell box with diskpart/clean and apply the WIM, it works fine. – Doug Chase May 29 '09 at 19:18
  • Since diskpart /clean erases the MBR, having it work means it does install the boot loader. Strange that it doesn't work if you apply the WIM after going through Boot Camp. But note that creating the partition with Boot Camp is different than creating the partition with Disk Utility. Macs use a GPT partitioning scheme, which AFAIK isn't compatible with Windows. Boot Camp creates a mirrored partition scheme in the MBR format, so it works with Windows. Are you sure you went through Boot Camp before applying the WIM, rather than creating a partition in Disk Utility? – Zr40 May 29 '09 at 19:33
  • Yep... but I should try it again. I'm going to try to recreate it on my bench and see if I can interrogate it more thoroughly. – Doug Chase May 29 '09 at 20:12

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.