The road to Boot Camp Hell! :-)

6 03 2012


LONG Rant/Novel/Epic ahead!!!

Let me share my recent hellish engaging experience in getting Boot Camp going on my late 2011 15″ MacBook Pro with you…

I recently took the plunge and purchased one of the new Intel 520 SSDs for use in my MacBook. In doing so, I decided that I too wanted to move to the dual drive setup like many others have discussed on this DL. I however, being ever the contrarian, decided to forgo the IMHO over-priced OWC or MCE superdrive caddies and I went instead with a caddy from a seller on Amazon for around a whopping $18.50 (hey…freed up some money for my  over priced SSD :D). This turned out to be a great move as the caddy was absolutely perfect and worked like a champ for taking my already upgraded 500GB Momentus XT. Installed a fresh copy of Lion onto the new SSD and did some symbolic linkage kung fu and I was humming along perfectly soon enough.

Then I decided that in addition to running my many VMs through Fusion, that because I have so many demanding games business applications, I would like to have a Boot Camp install for those times that I just wanted a clean and fast Windows experience. This turned out to be quite a challenge much to my surprise. To begin with…I thought, “hey, I can just install Windows from a USB stick!” Well, not so fast there sonny boy! Boot Camp unfortunately will not allow you to create a USB stick unless you match one of their “chosen” machines. Well! I got just the trick for that! With a little bit of sudo and a little bit of vi, I had a the plist item inside of the Boot Camp package molded to fit my boot ROM version and my machine model in no time. Whammo! I now could create the USB stick and run Boot Camp to my heart’s content. Err…well…uh…no. Not so much. Upon the reboot after running the Boot Camp wizard, the machine attempted to boot from the USB stick and proceeded to promptly present me with the “No boot device available” mumbo jumbo. “Crappage!”, I thought. Then I thought to myself, I should just go get a USB CD ROM and be done with it. Surely that would get it done. I started thinking about all of the ways to get my now removed superdrive working as a USB device, such as the one the cheapo plasticky drive enclosures that you can get on Ebay and from places like MCE, but being the superficial Mac user that I am, I thought, “Heck no. I want something that looks like it belongs with my MacBook Pro.” Of course…that led me to thinking about the MacBook Air Superdrive…

Now the MacBook Air superdrive, unlike the other trash enclosures you can get, is made of the same real aluminum that is featured on the Mac laptops. The cable is a bit short, but hey…this a Cupertino product here…looks are what matters! In any case, you’ll read all over the place that the darn thing just won’t work on anything but a MacBook Air. Well, that’s just not true. With a little magic kernel flag (mbasd=1) inserted into the /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/ file…your just a reboot away from having some external superdrive fun on your MacBook Pro too. WooHoo! Now I can finally get Boot Camping away on my dual drive MacBook Pro! Ahem…grunt…sniff…ahhhhh…no. Not a chance. Upon rebooting with the superdrive attached and filled with my Windows 7 Ultimate bounty…the macbook presented me with the infinitely blinking cursor of torture. Damnage!!! Argh!!! There has to be a way to get this done!!!!

Me being the smart-aleck intelligent VMware person that I am thought, “I’ll show this stupid ‘puter who’s boss! I’ll just use a raw disk map to the now created Boot Camp partition and install through Fusion!!!” So, I proceeded to do just that. I got Winderz installed perfectly and everything was awesome (in Fusion), so I thought, “Schweet! Time to reboot to my Boot Camp paradise!” So I reboot, select the Windoze partition at startup and… Sigh…face palm…follicle pull… The dang thing won’t boot and complains about a corrupted install that only a reinstall or boot disk will fix. RARRRR!!!!

I finally put the thing away for a bit and go get a stiff drink sleep on it for a night. The next afternoon, I start scouring the net for any sign of intelligent life that has faced this issue too. Luckily I stumbled upon this one blog post that looked too French very promising. Long story short…the process actually flipping worked. It took WAY too long, and was WAY too complicated, and required me jumping through so many hoops that I can’t see straight anymore, but in the end it worked. I now have a functioning Boot Camp installation on my no-built-in-superdrive MacBook Pro. So…if you travel down this road, hopefully some of this story haunts provides you with a bit of direction.