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I have heen trying to install OS X & Windows XP on an Apple Macbook with a third, data partition. This structure is not negotiable.

So far I have been able to install OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard and use bootcamp to install Windows XP Pro. Then I used Disk Utility to nondestructively resize the OS X partition to be about 20 GB. So I have a disk with 20 GB for OS X, 75 GB of free space and 15 GB fpr XP. At this stage everything works & boots properly.

If I use Disk Utility to create a Fat32 partition in the 75 GB of free space, then XP doesn't boot properly. It will load normally for about 6-7 seconds, and then it will reboot with no error message displayed. When I use Disk Utility to remove the data partition, everything works just fine again.

What do I need to do to make XP co-exist with the data partition?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Ok, so I was able to get this to work.

I started over with a single OS X partition. I then used Bootcamp to partition the drive into a large OS X partition (the size of both the data and os x partitions), and a 20 GB Windows partition. Then (without rebooting or closing Bootcamp) I opened disk utility and split the OS X partition into two OS X partitions - the first the 20 GB size I want the final OS X partition to be, and the second 80GB that will become the data partition. Both are still formatted HFS+ (Journaled)**.

I then closed Disk Utility, went back to Bootcamp and installed Windows as normal. Then, after XP was set up, I booted back into OS X, opened Disk Utility, and erased the 80 GB partition, renamed it DATA and changed its format to Fat32.

Now I am able to boot and access the data partition from both OS's.

** When I tried doing this procedure and formatting the data partition as Fat32 prior to installing Windows XP, windows wouldn't install properly.

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I don't really know a lot about Bootcamp, however Windows XP should not have a problem in this sort of configuration.

It sounds to me as if it has lost what disk should be active or some of the boot files.

If you have nothing important, I would simply set up the disk structure how you want it and then install Windows XP as this should get rid of any of the problems you are having.

If you can't reinstall now, I would see if you can set active disks inside your disk utility and set the Windows XP Primary partition as active then cross your fingers it will work... If it still doesn't, put in the XP cd and go to recovery console and type fixboot as this should be able to rebuild the boot sector.

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I tried your suggestion to just partition things the way I wanted and then installing XP, and Windows wouldn't even finish installing. (Even after formatting the XP partition again using the windows setup) – jawilmont Nov 20 '09 at 20:48

Part of the issue is that Windows is very picky about the partitions on the hard drive. Boot Camp does alot, but Windows is quite fussy.

It sounds like you have been able to install correctly, but what happens if you don't format the Fat32 partition as Fat32? Try formating it as NTFS... There are size limitations to the Fat32 format, most of them are exposed during Setup of Windows, but it could be that the Fat32 partition is causing issues for Windows during startup.

You cannot format a volume larger than 32 gigabytes (GB) in size using the FAT32 file system during the Windows XP installation process. Windows XP can mount and support FAT32 volumes larger than 32 GB (subject to the other limits), but you cannot create a FAT32 volume larger than 32 GB by using the Format tool during Setup. If you need to format a volume that is larger than 32 GB, use the NTFS file system to format it. Another option is to start from a Microsoft Windows 98 or Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition (Me) Startup disk and use the Format tool included on the disk.

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