Installing Microsoft Vista Beta 2 on a MacBook Pro

June 9, 2006

I got ahold of a copy of Microsoft Vista Beta 2 and decided to install it on my MacBook Pro using Boot Camp. I swiped this HowTo from another blog but have made revisions to it to make it easier to read/follow. Included (where applicable) are screenshots of what you will see as you follow the guide. Sorry for the less than stellar quality. They were taken with the camera in my Treo 650.

Part 1 – Installing The OS:

  1. Install Boot Camp from within OS X.
  2. Create a XP partition.
  3. Completely install XP SP2.
  4. Once XP is installed, reboot to the Vista DVD. To do this, insert the Vista Beta 2 DVD and then reboot holding down ‘the option key’. Screenshot 1 | Screenshot 2 | Screenshot 3 | Screenshot 4
  5. When you need to select which partition to install Vista on, erase the Disk 0 Partition 1 (200MB). Then select the Windows XP partition (Disk 0 Partition 2 for me), format it, then install Vista there. Screenshot 1 | Screenshot 2
  6. Reboot. And it should work. If it doesn't, re-run the install but then instead of clicking the ‘Install Vista’ button, click the "System recovery options" link. This will find the error in the boot record and fix it. After that, Vista should boot just fine. Screenshot 1 | Screenshot 2 | Screenshot 3

Part 2 – Installing Drivers:

  • Network drivers:

The wired NIC worked out of the box but Vista did not recognize the wireless card. The resolution? Plug a network cable into the MacBook and run Windows Update. It automatically found and installed drivers for the Atheros wireless card. It worked beautifully after that.

  • Video drivers:

Let me just start by saying that Vista looks great fresh from the install. No other video drivers are really needed but, if you're like me and wanna have the best experience possible, I'd recommend installing the ATI Catalyst drivers specifically designed for Vista Beta 2. Installing these will add some functionality to your system. Such as allowing you to mirror your screen to an external monitor. They are available via ATI's website. They can be found here.

  • Other drivers:

I attached the USB receiver for my wireless mouse and Vista was able to automatically install a driver for that without any problem. I suspect most USB devices would have similar results.

Part 3 – Final Thoughts:

Overall, the install went pretty smoothly. Aside from the one glitch (with the initial boot), I didn't really have any problems installing or configuring Vista. I've yet to give it a thorough test run, but so far it's not too shabby. A lot of the new features remind me of parts of *cough* OS X *cough. Such as the "sidebar" (being the dashboard), and it's "gadgets" (or widgets in OS X). Also, the new search in Vista bears a striking resemblance to spotlight in OS X. Not that I'm complaining at all! It's good to see that Microsoft can recognize greatness when it sees it. *grin*


One Response to “Installing Microsoft Vista Beta 2 on a MacBook Pro”

  1. Tom Fitz Says:

    If installing Boot camp on a fresh new MacBook Pro on a new partition do i have to install Win xp first? can’t i just install Vista?

  2. Matt Says:

    Possibly. I didn’t try. I got that part from another guide and on Apple’s website they list this as one of the requirements to get Boot Camp working:

    “A bona fide installation disc for Microsoft Windows XP, Service Pack 2, Home or Professional (No multi-disc, upgrade or Media Center versions.)”

    Since they list Windows XP SP2 specifically, I assumed that it must look for a certain version of Windows. Give it a shot though and let me know if it worked for you. By the way, that quote was taken from

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