Running Vista RC1 on a MacBook Pro

You’ve probably seen around the web that Vista RC1 installs and runs well on a MBPro. I found though that I spent a lot of time searching for information so thought I’ll pull together my experience and thoughts in to my first post.

Firstly the install process is very easy 🙂

1: Install Boot Camp on your MacTel. This can be downloaded from here http://www.apple.com/macosx/bootcamp/ (v1.1.1)

2: Run ‘Boot Camp’ app which is now hiding in your Utilities folder and simply follow the instructions which is basically, partition your drive (mine is a 60Gb Windows/20GB Mac), create a drivers dvd/cd (cd is big enough) and then install Windows. When Boot Camp asks you where to install Windows choose the C: drive which in my case will be 60GB in size.

3: Pop the Vista DVD in the drive and Windows installs just like a regular PC. It takes around 45 minutes for a clean install and you end up with a 4.1 rated Vista machine.

Now the sticky stuff:

4: Don’t install the Apple drivers that are on the DVD/CD you created – not yet anyway.

5: The first app to install is Input Remapper, a great app from Erik Olofsson available for download from here http://www.olofsson.info/index.html?inputremapper.html (v0.9.19 Beta)

This adds in CTRL, ALT, Delete – it’s amazing the number of times after you’ve rebooted having just set up your user accounts that you realise your external keyboard is at the office!

Input Remapper also adds in controls for:

  • fn+Eject = PrintScreen
  • fn+F1 = Decrease Brightness
  • fn+F2 = Increase Brightness
  • fn+F3 = Toggle Mute
  • fn+F4 = Decrease Volume
  • fn+F5 = Increase Volume
  • fn+F6 = Toggle Num-Lock
  • fn+F8 = Toggle Keyboard Backlight
  • fn+F9 = Decrease Keyboard Backlight
  • fn+F10 = Increase Keyboard Backlight
  • fn+F11 = Media Play
  • fn+F12 = Media Stop
  • fn+Up = Page Up
  • fn+Down = Page Down
  • fn+Left = Home
  • fn+Right = End
  • fn+Ctrl+Alt+Backspace = Ctrl+Alt+Delete
  • Eject = Eject all optical discs
  • Enter = Right Click
  • This works great for me apart from the ‘eject’ disk function – for this I have to select the disc in Vista and eject manually. In the prefs app that installs in the system tray I’ve set my right Apple key as right click, and the enter key as delete.

    You might also want to check out this app from Dmitri, http://dmitri.v.googlepages.com/macbooktraytools (v0.3 Beta) which adds back the ambiant light sensor.

    6: You now have a usable MacBook Pro however a few things such as sound won’t be working, if that doesn’t matter then your good to go otherwise read on…

    7: Now it’s time to add back some of the drivers. Copy the driver installer from the CD/DVD you made earlier to the route of your C drive and rename it ‘drivers.exe’ (it’s just easy to find here). Click on the Vista logo bottom left and in the search window type ‘CMD’ the command prompt now opens up. Type ‘cd..’ press return, you might need to do this a couple of times until the prompt is a plain old ‘C:\>’ now type ‘drivers.exe /V /a’

    This will uncompress the files into your C directory in two main folders a ‘System 32’ folder at the root level of C, and a folder called ‘Macintosh Drivers for Windows XP’ in the Program Files folder. NOTE: When you do this it will look like it is going to try and install the files, it won’t , it just expands them into these locations. I cancelled it three times before I realised it wasn’t just going to do a blanket install.

    8: Type ‘device’ into the search bar you used earlier and open the device manager. Now you can manually add in the drivers that are missing. Audio in is the only important one. You can also add the iSight driver – but it doesn’t work yet so save yourself the hassle and at this stage I haven’t bothered with Bluetooth I’m going to wait for the VIsta release before setting that up.  Everything else should be working out of the box. If you have any issues then choose the device and point it to your new drivers folder.

    9: Video drivers is next – out of the box everything should work well. If you start fiddling with the video drivers things will start to go, well, less well – that’s what I found anyway. And if you *cough* delete the video driver thinking you’ll be able to get a better working solution you’ll end up with a 1024 resolution and a standard VGA driver as the driver that gets deleted is the Radeon WDDM driver that you need for the Aero interface.

    So LEAVE ALONE 🙂 If you do want to display on an external monitor at all resolutions, both mirrored and extended, I did, then you need to install the Cataylst ATI drivers from here http://ati.amd.com/support/drivers/vista32/common-vista32.html

    This allows you full control of your monitors. I have had the odd blue screen since installing these drivers. This has only ever occured on boot though, and a restart aways brings the machine back. I guess beta video drivers, on a beta OS, on a beta Apple software is occassionally too much.

    NOTE: If you’ve got an external monitor plugged in you can pretty much guarntee that the MBPro will bluescreen on reboot. Just unplug, reboot, plug back in and everything resyncs nicely.

    10: Final thing to be careful of is ‘sleep’ mode. There does seem to be a fight between the sleep mode of Vista and the hardware, quite often I’ll come back to a very hot sleeping MBPro, sort of snoozing rather than sleeping. Hibernate works everytime though.


    I’m running this as a full blown work machine, ie all normal software installed, all IT controlled software installed and the machine has been (now looking for a piece of wood to touch) been rock solid in everyday use. It also gets a Vista rating of 4.1 only the beta video drivers slow it down, processor and RAM get 4.8 ratings and the data rate gets 4.9. The MBPro is a great Vista machine.


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