(Incomplete) Guide for running Windows XP on 2010 MacBook Air

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by RyanL, Nov 16, 2010.

  1. RyanL macrumors newbie

    Nov 16, 2010
    Dear all,

    This is my first post here. As English is not my native language, please forgive me in case anything wrong in English.

    Apple has officially dropped the support for Win XP for Boot Camp on the 2010 MacBook Air. However, a lot of users would like to use Win XP as this saved much more space than running Win 7. A lot of users would like to use XP instead. Here is an incomplete guide on running XP on these new MBA.

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

    1. Brightness control is not working. I write this guide and hope other members can make the brightness work.

    2. Never, never use softwares 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.

    Let's see the tools required:

    1. Win XP SP 2 installation disc in CD.
    2. An USB CD ROM / DVD Rom.
    3. WiFi Internet connection.
    4. Boot Camp 3.0 (you should find somewhere else)
    5. Winclone software (freeware)

    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.

    Here is the installation process

    1. Use Bootcamp to shrink the Mac partition and create an Win XP partition. Please note that your Win XP installation cannot work except using Bootcamp. Afterwards, you can simple use Winclone to backup the successful installation and do whatever you like. I will create the partition at minimum (20Gb).

    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 Nividia 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 ! 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. Though Apple tells you that the drivers only works on Win 7 but most of them works on your XP with the 32-bit version.

    10. Some of drivers you have to install:


    Afterwards, you will clear all the ! marks.

    It sounds not for the beginners. That's true. As there is a risk for every step. After you install Win XP SP 2 successfully. I highly recommend you to do backup before each step with Winclone. Of course, it is time consuming but in case you have any problem, you can just restore to the last step without further pain.

    Hope anyone around can assist in fixing the Brightness issue. Thanks!
  2. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
  3. RyanL thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 16, 2010
    Thanks. But will it be better to have others trying first to confirm it works before putting to Wiki?

    Just my 2cents.
  4. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    The MR guide document is alive/dynamic. We can change it as folks confirm it or not and if an easier way comes along. This way We have something to point to when the next folks come in and ask how to do this when this thread is long gone from the first page of threads in the forum.

  5. snorkelman macrumors 6502a


    Oct 25, 2010
    cheers for this much appreciated

    Touchpad is now much improved over earlier workarounds, right click is now supported as is two finger tap to right click

    keyboard based vol mute/up/down now works

    oh and standy mode no longer causes the machine to hang :D

    crying shame we don't have brightness control (the hot keys now work and the overlay is shown on display but panel doesnt reduce its brightness) Here's hoping someone comes up with a fix for that
  6. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    I corrected the guide based on your comments.

  7. snorkelman macrumors 6502a


    Oct 25, 2010
    thanks, I'm off to have a play from clean drive thru now :)
  8. snorkelman macrumors 6502a


    Oct 25, 2010
    Time for bed so I'll clean this up in the morning good news is that I now have right click, keyboard control of volume and finally brightness :)

    MBA 11.6 4GB RAM 64GB SDD running with rEFIt as boot manager

    I opted to try and proceed without having Bootcamp take care of the drive partitioning (20GB is OK minimum for windows 7 but a bit excessive if all you want is XP and access to one or two apps)

    1st ran bootcamp assistant to restore the drive to a single Mac partition (d already had it download and write the MBA bootcamp drivers to a disc previously)

    2 next instead of running Bootcamp again to create a new (minimum 20GB) windows partition, I ran disk utility to create an 8gig MSDOS FAT partition..

    3 XP SP3 install disc in the drive reboted the machine and told rEFIt to boot off the CD drive

    4 Once XP text mode setup got thru its initial shuffling around I reached the choosing the hard disk partition to install onto stage.

    I picked the FAT partition I created in disk utility and choose to reformat as NTFS (quick is fine) Do not choose to leave the filesystem intact or format as FAT 32 when you try to reboot you get a disk error and only OSX is bootable

    5 once XP text setup completed I let the machine boot up from CD drive again, when the XP CDs boot loader 'says press any key to boot from CD' ignore it.

    6 Graphical XP setup continued with the 8 gig NTFS partition its target

    Once XP completed installing succesfully I shut down and booted back into windows

    Next I inserted the Snow Leopard 10.6.0 retail disc into the drive and let it autorun thru its bootcamp driver and bootcamp utility installation. This got the 3.0 Bootcamp Control panel installed

    By time it was done going thru the motions I had brightness control (via the slider in bootcamp assistant)

    At this time I still has all the unrecognised devices in device manager and no direct hot key control of brightness..

    So it was time to remove the SL 10.6.0 retail disc and replace it with the MacBookAir 'windows 7 bootcamp utilities' stick I got bootcamp to prepare previously

    if you run the setup directly on that it'll complain you arent instaling onto a windows 7 machine, instead I pickedthe individual files I was after

    From the Apple directory those were:

    Bluetooth support - AppleBluetoothBroadcomInstaller

    Hot key support for brightness - apple keyboard installer

    Right click and tap to click support
    - Apple trackpad Installer
    and Apple MultitouchTrackpadInstaller

    back out of the apple directory now, in the Cirrus folder I got

    Audio - CirrusAudio32

    back out of there and into the NVidia folder I got

    SMBUS HD AUDIO and CoProcessor - (these were via the installer inside the NvidiaChipset32 folder)

    At this stage I still had no wireless ethernet or graphics card drivers (I wanted to leave the graphics card drivers and AppleNullInstaller.exe till last given the brightness was working thus far)

    none of the wireless ethernet drivers on either retail SL10.6.0 bootcamp drivers or the MBA windows 7 bootcamp drivers would currently play ball, and attempting to install any of them manually always gave the message no hardware to install

    soooo trip onto the net to dig out

    Boot Camp Software Update 3.1 for Windows 32 bit from apples site together with a copy of WinRAR via google search

    Grabbed these with the desktop machine as the MBA had no net access under XP..

    Installed WinRAR used it to extract the .msp file from within 3.1 update

    ran the extracted .msp file from there and chose the 'repair' option

    After it completed its repair I restarted

    I now had wireless (and brightness/audio control from keyboard still functioning)

    Finally I downloaded the latest nvdia drivers from their site:


    as per above extracted the contents of this .exe to a folder of its own

    this wont install via its installer so I manually forced it using the usual have disc procedure (will detail tomorrow for anyone who isnt already aware of it)

    everything still working fine

    after that was just a case of:

    making sure Sleep/Standby mode is never tripped (edit power settings)
    setting page file down to 256MB fixed size
  9. anu88 macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2010
    incomplete formatting

    Hey friends,

    actually i was formatting my system and due to some problem in the cd the setup didn't proceed....
    so i removed the cd and forcefully shutdown my system...after some time i got a better formatting cd i thn inserted it and tried to format but its not working...

    Plz help......
  10. alexjohnson macrumors member

    Nov 22, 2010
    snorkelman: can you expand? i started with the FAQ post and then started to see your experiences, which matched mine. Yes, you need NTFS - it's not a choice. You can get Wireless working just by updating to Boot Camp 3.1 within the Apple Software Update.

    BUT I am having trouble with the nVidia drivers. Could you expand? I have downloaded the file and WinRAR and extracted the .exe's and .msi but I am still stuck at 1,084 x 768 on the 11" 1368 x 768 screen. What is the"have disc procedure"?
  11. snorkelman macrumors 6502a


    Oct 25, 2010
    go to device manager

    find the video card entry double click on it to view its properties

    choose update driver

    in the dialog that appears when asked if yuo want windows to search for a driver choose 'no not at this time'

    click next

    choose install from list or specific location

    choose dont search I will choose the driver to install

    click have disk button

    click Browse button

    find the extracted 'Display.Driver' folder amongst the stuff you extracted from the nvidia install exe, navigate into that folder and you should see a list of .inf files

    chose the nvao.inf

    this will being up a list of cards to choose from choose the first nvidiaGeForce 320M from the list it provides

    hit yes when it warns that driver hasnt been tested etc

    should then install a couple of dozen files at end of which you'll be ased to restart the computer

  12. alexjohnson macrumors member

    Nov 22, 2010
    Thanks! That was very helpful.

    However I found 8GB too small - XP fills that almost completely and I am going through all of this to put Civ 5 on it. I'd also played with it a little and wanted to WinClone with a "perfect" install, so I've gone for 20GB and I'll shrink it later.

    There is no need for the WinRAR though: in going through the endless Windows Update, look at the Custom installs. Under "Hardware, Optional" it will suggest NVIDIA MCP89-EPT. The first Google result shows that this supports the 320M. I was sceptical it would work given the failure from NVIDIA's own site but it does. And if you do this it also installs the NVIDIA control panel and its icon in the system tray. I suspect that may make it easier to apply any updates.

    As I mentioned above on the other WinRAR suggestion, Boot Camp 3.1 adds the wireless drivers automatically. I have the ethernet adapter so was wired for the first Apple Software Update to 3.1, but could switch to wireless after that. 3.2 seems to take care of most of the Air-specific updates.

    So, you can do all of this with standard installs but having Boot Camp 3.0 on Snow Leopard retail and the ethernet adapter will make it easier. My XP is slipstreamed from my old copy of Office 2004 with Virtual PC so it's somehow pleasing to be able to continue to use that. That said, one round of updates had 75 "critical" items and another 35, and I think there were five rounds in all before I got to zero updates. I don't know why anyone would use this if they had a choice!

    Thanks again to everyone who has submitted guides.
  13. InfoTime, Dec 12, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2010

    InfoTime macrumors 6502

    Jul 17, 2002
    I'm following this guide to install XP on an 11" MacBook Air. After I install Bootcamp from the Snow Leopard retail disk I lose the ability to use the external optical drive. Good thing I made a Winclone backup. I restored the Winclone backup and went through the process again to confirm that that was what cause the loss of the optical drive.

    After that I went to Add / Remove programs and removed a device Apple ODD and rebooted and the optical drive worked again.

    Everything working fine following tips in snorkelman's post (#8). Brightness controls were working for a while. Lost them somewhere along the way.
  14. InfoTime macrumors 6502

    Jul 17, 2002
    About to give up on running XP on the new MacBook Air. I'm getting constant BSODs on startup after installing software or updates and rebooting. The error is typically:

    STOP: 0X000000CE

    After disabling the Apple Multitouch driver I'll get the same error with "applemtm.sys".

    The usual tricks to get Windows to boot don't work with this problem. Sometimes it will boot, but thank God for Winclone! I've restored the working image several times!

    A bit of research leads me to discussions going back several years with people getting this error, Apple acknowledging it but not fixing it. On an Apple board someone is complaining that they can't believe nothing has been done. That post was in mid 2009.

    Maybe I need a different (older) driver? The one driver I noted the version for was "Apple Multitouch"

    Anyone else having these issues? Any ideas?
  15. natallica macrumors 6502

    Mar 7, 2005
    Fairfax, VA
    I'm having the same problem after running Windows Update for the first time after installing Win 7 32-bit.

    -- N
  16. InfoTime macrumors 6502

    Jul 17, 2002
    I removed the two multi-touch drivers from the Add / Remove Programs control panel and the machine has been solid ever since.

    Of course there's no right-click button and no multi-touch scrolling or anything fancy with the trackpad. But, it doesn't blue-screen anymore.

    To get right-click there's a Windows keyboard shortcut: Shift + F10. On the MacBook Air you have to hold down "fn" + Shift + F10. If you don't then you're turning up the volume.

    Remember: Winclone is your friend. Once you get a working install, boot to Mac OS and make a Winclone image.
  17. InfoTime macrumors 6502

    Jul 17, 2002
    I found a better way to do this. The problem is is that it's not consistent. Windows doesn't know where you're trying to right-click so you'll get different context (pop-up) menus. Not to mention pressing three keys.

    The solution was to use Control - Click to get a right click. The way to do that is to use a free open-source program called AutoHotkey and a script. Details on how to do that can be found here:

  18. mashi, Mar 5, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2011

    mashi macrumors newbie

    Mar 5, 2011
  19. Madman12 macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2011
    I'll try to get XP on my 2011 MBP. The best I've found so far are these instructions.
    Regarding step 5 in the installation process;
    If I can install XP drivers for the ethernet and/or WiFi by just downloading the drivers, and install them manually, would that work?
    In that case, I could drop B.C. 3.0?
    I'm new with Mac, don't have the hang of B.C.
    Have a nice weekend!
  20. InfoTime macrumors 6502

    Jul 17, 2002
    I'd get a copy of Winclone and install that on the Mac partition. Then, after each successful step in the XP process boot into the Mac OS and make an image. As I noted above I had several instances where the trackpad drivers would make the XP partition unusable and Winclone saved the day.

    You could probably install the XP drivers for ethernet and / or WiFi by downloading them. But, you wouldn't be able to download them on the MBA running XP since you wouldn't have network connectivity without a working network adapter. You could download them under Mac OS or on another computer and save them to a flash drive though.
  21. Madman12 macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2011
    Thanks InfoTime. I got Boot Camp 3.0 now, so will try that. Then plan on downloading/installing 3.1, and finally 3.1.3.
    I believe I only risk the XP-partition.
  22. Madman12 macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2011
    Not able to load XP with S.P 2. CD goes in and stays at "checking configuration" or something like that(translated from Norwegian).
    I wonder if the Boot Camp Assistant is the key here. Mine is version 3.0.4 (324).
    What version do those late 2010 MBA's have?
    If that's not the clue here, I'll give Snorkelman's method a try.
  23. Madman12 macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2011
    Still not working. It stops at Snorkelman's step 3. Screen stays at "setup is checking system......". So maybe not to blame "Boot Camp Assistant". And I've tried XP SP2 and SP3.
    rEFIt works. W7 also installs painlessly. But, that's not what I want. Unless nobody finds a solution.
    Maybe a reinstall of the whole OS, using DVD's from the previous MBP is the way to go? Might not be possible, don't know enough.
  24. webcom2 macrumors newbie

    Jun 29, 2012
    Hi guys, excellent thread! :)
    I have a MBA 13" 2010 too and I tried to install Windows XP SP3 via Boot Camp.
    Everything works fine but there's a little problem with the video card NVIDIA GeForce 320M. I've found a working driver on the web (198.05) with a modified inf and it seems to work nicely aswell.
    The only problem is that I'm not able to modify the brightness at all. Through the control panel and also via the Boot Camp app I can't modify the brightness manually.
    In the meantime, is there someone here that solved this problem?
    If yes, which drivers did you use to do it?
    If I go to windows update, there's nothing about the video drivers and I tried to download the drivers from the NVIDIA website but no one will install.
    Any help would be much appreciated! ;)

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