The Startup Disk cannot be partitioned

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by Apples555, Dec 21, 2013.

  1. Apples555 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2012
    #1
    I run 10.6 and recently installed 10.9 as a dual-boot. Both work well and I boot into the smaller 10.9 partition by default.

    I needed to install Windows XP for some old applications so I started boot camp, except now it says "The Startup Disk cannot be partitioned or restored to a single partition. The startup disk must be formatted as a single Mac OS Extended (Journaled) volume or already partitioned by Boot Camp Assistant for installing Windows." Boot Camp worked fine before Mavericks was released and I only had a single Snow Leopard partition.

    Both the 10.6 and 10.9 BCA say that. Switching the startup disc doesn't change anything. My startup 'disc' (Mavericks) is a single HFS+ volume, as is Snow Leopard.

    What does this mean? What am I missing?
     
  2. Quackers macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 18, 2013
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    Manchester, UK
    #2
    I don't think Bootcamp will work if both your OSX installations are on the same drive.
    Bootcamp needs a basic drive setup to do its partitioning - i.e. one OSX partition using all of the drive (except for the EFI partition and the recovery partition).
     
  3. Apples555 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 4, 2012
    #3
    That must be it. Any way around to get Windows? I've never understood how the Apple BIOS interacts with the Windows installer.
     
  4. Quackers macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    As far as I know there is no way to use Bootcamp.
    What you could possibly do with a later version of Windows (8 or 8.1 would be best) is partition the drive yourself and install Windows in EFI mode, but that's a wholly different proposition and may depend on your hardware.
    You would still need to download the appropriate support drivers from Apple.

    You could perhaps install Windows to an external drive but I'm not 100% sure whether Windows likes that.

    Time for some Googling I think.
     
  5. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #5
    Apple doesn't use a BIOS.

    Boot Camp means that Windows is installed on a separate partition, and you have to restart your Mac to boot up into Windows.

    Another method that many people use is a virtualized environment for Windows using an app such as Parallels, or VMWare.
    Win XP is not supported from boot camp in 10.9, so another good reason that a virtual machine would be a good thing, with the additional bonus that you don't have to restart your computer just to use your Windows apps.
    Here's more info on that…
    http://lifehacker.com/5861391/the-best-virtualization-app-for-mac-os-x

    The article is a couple of years old, so all the apps have been updated, but the purpose remains the same.
     
  6. Apples555 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 4, 2012
    #6
    I prefer booting into Windows, my MBP isn't powerful enough to run VMs well.

    I need XP for some video editing software. Can I create a partition in disk utility and run the Windows installer? What will the installer do to the MBR? I've had an XP partition on this machine before and it ran great.
     
  7. Quackers macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    That might become a bit of a lottery.
    The hybrid MBR created by disk utility can only recognise 4 partitions. You are likely to have at least 5, maybe more.
    I don't know which of these partitions would be included in the MBR.

    If you have recoverable systems you could try it but it's not something I would recommend.

    It might be preferable to delete one of your OSX installations and try again, though I'm not sure XP is still supported, so drivers may be a problem.
    Maybe somebody more familiar with that could comment.
     
  8. Apples555 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 4, 2012
    #8
    I have 3 partitions (10.6, 10.9 & recovery) right now. Drivers aren't a problem, I still have the Snow Leopard CD with the Boot Camp drivers. The point is to get Windows (XP or 7, doesn't matter) booting without messing up the Apple MBR. I don't have Windows 8.

    What does Boot Camp do when it restarts into the Windows installer? From what I remember, it creates an environment where the installer only sees the boot camp partition of the hard drive. Will the installer even work? I think I had to load a SATA driver on a different computer for XP.
     
  9. Quackers macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    If you 10.6, 10.9 and a recovery partition you will also have at least one EFI partition, thus totalling 4 already.
    Windows would make 5 (at least) hence potential MBR problems.

    Apple doesn't use a MBR to boot, it uses the EFI partition.
    Windows in CSM(bios) mode does use the MBR to boot. MBR can only handle 4 partitions, one of which should be the EFI partition.
    ergo potential problems.
    It's not a great setup for installing Windows and is fraught with danger, not to mention unsupported by Apple.
     
  10. murphychris, Dec 26, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2013

    murphychris macrumors 6502a

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    #10

    The EFI firmware includes a Compatibility Support Module which presents a BIOS to Windows. This is why there's the long running massive thread on natively EFI booting Windows, to get around the limitations of CSM-BIOS booting. When Windows is BIOS booted, it requires the boot drive use MBR partitioning. When Windows is UEFI booted, it requires the boot drive use GPT partitioning. Apple has a hybrid MBR-GPT, created by Boot Camp, which from OS X 10.7 and newer means four partitions: EFI System partition, OS X, Recovery HD, Windows. MBR can only have four partitions, so the hybrid MBR-GPT is maxed out upon installing Windows with Boot Camp Assistant. If Disk Utility is used to add another partition, it will remove the hybrid MBR, and Windows will become unbootable and there are no OS X included utilities that can fix it for you.

    So the problem is that the drive already has too many partitions to support the creation of a hybrid MBR, and therefore Boot Camp Assistant is refusing to partition it further.

    Also, OS X 10.9 Boot Camp Assistant does not support Windows XP at all. Given that, and the layout of your drive, you should use a virtual machine for running your legacy software.

    ----------

    The EFI System partition isn't visible. But it's there. So you have four partitions in the GPT. MBR is limited to a maximum of four partitions, therefore Boot Camp Assistant is refusing to create a hybrid MBR.

    With your current layout it isn't possible without esoteric amounts of knowledge of hybrid MBRs. There are thousands of forums posts strewn all over the internet from people who have tried to create additional partitions, and totally lost Windows and in some cases OS X as well in the attempt. If you insist on running Windows XP natively, you'll need to repartition the drive with a single partition, reinstall OS X 10.6, and use its Boot Camp Assistant to create the partition to install Windows XP on.

    Quoted from Boot Camp Setup & Installation Guide
    The disk on your Mac must be a single partition, formatted as Mac OS Extended (Journaled). If
    the disk already has more than one partition, you must repartition it
     
  11. Apples555 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 4, 2012
    #11
    Why does Boot Camp care if you use 7 or XP or 95? Does it do something different for each OS with the MBR?
     
  12. blueroom macrumors 603

    blueroom

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    Toronto, Canada
    #12
    Device drivers.
     
  13. murphychris macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 19, 2012
    #13
    No.

    It's simply that Apple doesn't want to support XP anymore with current software or hardware. Apple doesn't support much of anything, even their own stuff, beyond 24 months. XP is 13 years old. In a few months Microsoft is no longer going to support it.

    It's possible to manually partition the drive (maybe with Disk Utility, but lately I trust it exactly zero when it comes to partitioning so I do all of this with command line tools) to receive Windows XP without using Boot Camp Assistant at all. And then download the older bootcamp.exe drivers for older hardware that originally supported XP. In this fashion you can run OS X 10.9 with Windows XP.
     
  14. Apples555 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 4, 2012
    #14
    I don't understand, I had to load the drivers from my Snow Leopard DVD when I installed XP. Does Boot Camp install additional drivers as well?
     
  15. murphychris macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 19, 2012
    #15
    Recent versions of Boot Camp Assistant incorporate driver installation, rather than it being a separate process, and therefore it checks what version of Windows you're trying to install, and since OS 10.7 will simply not allow installation of Windows XP.

    You either need to reinstall only OS X 10.6 on a single (visible) partition, to use the older version of Boot Camp Assistant that supports XP; or you go down the rather path of figuring out how to do this manually without Boot Camp Assistant, in which case from within XP you'd apply the drivers found on your 10.6 DVD media.
     
  16. Apples555 thread starter macrumors regular

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