Installing XP without a CD?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by mkgm1, Nov 30, 2008.

  1. mkgm1 macrumors regular

    Jun 2, 2007
    The Superdrive in my MBP is not working. It cannot read most discs (it sees them as blank when they most certainly are not) and cannot write any. As a result installing XP through Boot Camp is proving to be quite difficult!

    I tried a similar strategy to the one I used when I wanted to install Leopard - I restored the disk image to a spare partition and attempted to boot from it. However, this did not work. I've installed rEFIt which doesn't seem to be doing anything of any real use. It lets me boot from a 'Legacy HD' but despite my attempts to boot from both a USB flash drive and a separate partition with XP on I have been unable to get to the setup screen.

    Any suggestions? I've been trying to follow various tutorials for making bootable drives but they all involve having access to a windows machine with administrator privileges, which I do not have.
  2. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    Go to the Apple Store and have them replace your SuperDrive.
  3. mkgm1 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 2, 2007
    That's really a last resort. My MBP is my one and only machine and I'd rather not be without it for a week.
  4. RiceCream macrumors newbie

    Dec 1, 2008
    I'm in the same situation; the superdrive is non-functional and my applecare has expired.
    on one forum, I read it was possible install XP on a partition using VMware Fusion, however I find this unlikely but would be really content if it was in fact true. I have .iso files of both WindowsXP SP3 and Mac Drivers for bootcamp. can anyone shed any light on this?
  5. chrishch macrumors member

    Jan 26, 2007
    As far as I can remember, both Parallels and Fusion support installation of guest OS from an ISO file.

    I have done it with Windows XP, Ubuntu and Fedora.

    As long as you have a proper ISO of Windows XP and the legitimate product key, you should have no problems installing it with Fusion or Parallels. You will be given a choice of using a real disk or an ISO file when creating the new virtual machine.

    However, with BootCamp, you don't really have a choice, as it needs to boot from the CD. You may be able to connect an external CD/DVD drive to the USB port, press the Option key when you turn on your Mac, and then it will let you choose which drive to boot from.
  6. chscag macrumors 68030


    Feb 17, 2008
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Well, if you have a "proper iso" of XP with a valid product ID code, you can use Disk Utility or another program to burn it to a CD. It'll work and install the same way as a normal XP CD.

  7. Radio Monk33 macrumors 6502

    Dec 4, 2007
    And that's not the issue.
  8. akbc macrumors 6502

    Jul 11, 2008
    There are some ways to make bootable USB-stick XP images. Although I'm not too sure if MBP is going to be able to boot from it. This USB-XP method was what I used to install XP on my optical-drive-less Acer AspireOne.

    My SuperDrive was also broken and I had to get it replaced, it took an authorized Apple retail store 2 business days to order it and replace the SuperDrive. I live in Canada.

    Anyways, good luck getting the XP installed. In the long run, replacing your SuperDrive is probably the best idea.
  9. zap2 macrumors 604


    Mar 8, 2005
    Washington D.C
    USB DVD/CD drive...thats cost a little dough, but it easy enough

    And there are deffly ways to do it off USB flash drives, but I've yet to do so myself..
  10. Radio Monk33 macrumors 6502

    Dec 4, 2007
    I don't think either one of those works for bootcamp because before you put in the CD there are no drivers to use for using USB connected CD drives or even reading flash drives..the only thing bootcamp is built for is to read the CD in the OEM CD slot/tray.
  11. akbc macrumors 6502

    Jul 11, 2008
    Actually, bootcamp can boot up from the USB CD/DVD Drive. When my MBP's SuperDrive was broken, I was still able to boot from the USB CD/DVD Drive and install XP Professional. And USB and stuff should still work without any drivers in the Windows. At least the modern ones.
  12. johnnj macrumors 6502a

    Dec 11, 2008
    Not here
    I went through this after I replaced the Superdrive with an Optibay-mounted HD.

    I had a USB flash drive-hosted XP installer that I previously used to set up a netbook and it did NOT work on the Mac. It wouldn't boot off of it.

    The only way I was able to get XP to install was using an external USB LaCie DVD drive, which worked great.

  13. Infrared macrumors 68000


    Mar 28, 2007

    I'd be interested to hear how you did it with Leopard.
  14. neilhart macrumors 6502


    Oct 11, 2007
    SF Bay Area - Fremont
    Well I was able to install XP to a bootcamp partition (on MacBook Air first gen) using an USB to IDE adapter and a loose PC internal CDROM drive.

    And my Unibody MBP will see a bootable CD in a USB (buss power) external DVD drive. Just hold the option key during startup for a long enough time that the system will discover the USB drive and the CD.

    The point is that you can work around your non-functional superdrive.

  15. mkgm1 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 2, 2007
    Thanks for all the responses. :) I completely forgot about this thread because for some reason I stopped getting email notifications. :eek:

    I basically managed to fix my superdrive by running a lens cleaner through it. I picked up a CD/DVD one from my local supermarket and attempted to put it in my superdrive. It thought about reading it for a few seconds before spitting it out again. I repeated this a few times and voila - it seemed to work. A few weeks on and it's still going strong. ^_^

    The approach from that thread looks really interesting actually. Definitely going to try it next time (let's face it, reinstalling Windows on a regular basis is basically inevitable :p ).

    With Leopard I just took an image of the Leopard DVD and used the Restore function in Disk Utility to restore the image to a spare partition on my hard drive. It booted without any fuss. Trying to get Windows to do the same was a proper pain though, and tbh I really had no success. I was just lucky that the lens cleaner worked, otherwise I'd still be stuck in Vista! :S

    Wish I'd thought of that earlier myself as my workplace has tons of old computer bits and bobs lying around - I could have cobbled together a similar solution in no time.

    With the option key thing - so you just keep holding it down, even long after the boot menu has already appeared, until the usb device appears? I never tried that - I normally released the option key straight after the first thing appeared... Maybe that's something for next time too. :D

    Cheers everyone. :)
  16. Alorain macrumors newbie

    Oct 20, 2007
    hate to have to resurrect these things!

    I've seen ppl telling you to use an external USB CD drive to bypass the broken superdrive, would a fire-wire lacie drive work too?! My LaCie drive only connects by firewire, not USB :confused:

    If that wouldn't work, could I use my brother's laptop's working drive connected to my computer to read it?
  17. mkgm1 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 2, 2007
    I have no idea I'm afraid - there's only one way to find out. :p Although saying that, some googling turned up the following response:

    Obviously I'd first try it without any of that open firmware stuff, and see how far it gets you.

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