Bootcamp, Take Two

Bootcamp logoI’ve had my previously-documented problems with Apple’s Bootcamp and silently cursed everyone from Redmond to Cupertino in my casting about to find someone to blame. In a fit of pique, I angrily deleted the NTFS partition Bootcamp helpfully created for me – someone or something had to be punished for my suffering. Surely, surely the blame lay with either software provider, hardware provider or both!
As should be obvious to anyone with an appreciation for foreshadowing, the problem was neither software nor hardware; rather, it was the wetware, or, to use an old sysadmin acronym, it was a PEBKAC issue. You see, the Windows XP media that I swore was patched to Service Pack 2 was, in fact, nothing of the sort. It might not even have been Service Pack 1. I humbly submitted a purchase request for XP SP2 media and re-created the Windows partition (formatting it as FAT32 this time so as to allow OS X to write to the partition if necessary). The media arrived a day later and I began the install anew.
This time, the install went flawlessly; well, as flawlessly as an install of Windows can be. I was struck by just how ugly the standard XP install is, from the blue ncurses-like text mode beginnings through the low-color “GUI” portion of the install, post-first-reboot. With the OS installed, I slid the Apple-provided driver disc into the MBP’s Superdrive and installed all of Apple’s “not-official” official drivers, rebooted and was quickly greeted by the default Playskool n’ Rolling Hills of WinXP. The urge to reboot into the safety of OS X was almost overwhelming, but I resisted. Valiantly did I download Firefox, AVG Free and Steam, and patiently did I wait while Half-Life 2 preloaded.
My impressions? Well, the hardware support isn’t quite there in the Apple drivers yet (hence the “beta” status, I guess), as the trackpad doesn’t work for two-fingered scrolling, the digital audio out is always on, the speakers do not turn off when you plug in headphones and there is no way to right-click without a second mouse button (or the help of a freeware utility). HL2 runs well, although not too well, which could be related to Apple’s reported underclocking of the MBP’s ATI graphics card.
In any event, the MBP makes a very attractive Windows laptop and one that easily stands with the best Dell, hp and Gateway can offer. Now if only someone could convince me to stay in Windows-land…