Can I install XP on a Macbook without OS/X

Posted on 2009-04-19
Last Modified: 2013-11-24
A friend is on a working vacation here for 3 months and has dropped her Macbook breaking the HDD.

She doesn't have any installation or software DVD/CDs with her - I have no MAC experience but plenty of Windows - I thought as a temporary measure I could replace the hard disk and install XP Pro for her until she gets back to the States where she can get it restored to its former glory.

Is there any reason I can't do this? Does a Macbook need OS/X to install XP?
Question by:chrisfixit
    LVL 39

    Assisted Solution

    If the MacBook is an Intel processor version then YES, you can install Win XP on it .. the only issue are the drivers ... for the MacBook components such as WiFi, graphics, etc.  

    These drivers may be possible to track down online .. or someone else on EE may be able to suggest a location.
    LVL 28

    Assisted Solution

    As the other export points out it is indeed possible to drop XP on an Intel-based Mac and run it bare metal.  However, you do need the drivers which will come with any OS X Leopard (10.5.x) disk.  If you can locate someone else who is running Leopard on their Mac, you should be able to use their disks to accomplish this.  Install XP normally like you would on any computer and once it's done and you are at the desktop, insert the Leopard install disk 1 and it should automatically fire up and install the bootcamp drivers which are necessary for running Windows successfully on a Mac.  

    As he has also suggested, it may be possible to find the drivers on the Internet, but I am not aware of where you would get them from.
    LVL 2

    Assisted Solution

    Because the macbook does not have a Native BIOS, it requires the bootcamp assistant which is only found in OSX in order to install the neccessary partitioning to emulate a BIOS off the EFI. So yes the macbook requires OSX in order to get windows onto it, least for anyone without any high level of technical skill.  

    The only other option would be to burn a rEFIt CD and patch the drive prior to installing windows, and then have to boot off rEFIt each time you needed to run windows.
    LVL 2

    Accepted Solution

    You also need the original OSX disc that came with the machine to get the bootcamp drivers (If you have a second machine and a thumbdrive you could download bootcamp drivers from apple.).
    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    Can I re-install OS/X from any disk or is one disk tied to the machine ?

     I mean if I get hold of an OS/X disk that I can install, there's no point in me installing XP.
    LVL 2

    Assisted Solution

    A retail OSX Disk (you'll likely want Leopard 10.5 if its a macbook, especially if you plan on dual-booting windows in the future) will install on to any compatible mac.

    The disk that originally comes with the macbook will only install to that type of machine.

    So if you are in the market for a used OSX disk make sure its not a machine specific disk, but instead a retail DVD. OSX 10.5 retails about 120$ brand new which is far cheaper than say Windows XP Pro or Vista Pro.

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