28. July 2010 16:01
Broken Bootcamp Drivers
I'm in the process of converting my digital life over to a dual-boot Macbook Pro running OSX 10.6.4 and Windows 7. Although the Bootcamp drivers are nice and appear to give Windows control over all the hardware devices on the laptop, the built-in Bootcamp driver that allows Windows 7 to read the Mac HFS+ partition is really broken.
To see just how broken it is, open up a command prompt and CD to the HFS partition. The command window will die horribly, always. My primary motivation was to share my MP3 files (in iTunes on the Mac partition) with Windows Media Player under Win7. This also fails, with the cryptic message "Unavailable"-- just one of many insufficiencies in WMP (that's another story).
I fail to understand how Apple can deem this software ready for prime time. I never would have approved it out of quality control.
Anyway, searching around led me to this product: HFS+ for Windows® 8. I bought it ($40), installed it, and presto! Everything works as advertised. So far.
Using Bootcamp creates a serious problem for backup fanatics like me. Yes, Apple has Time Machine and it's really easy. But there's no real way of imaging the Window7 partition. Most commonly used imaging solutions such as Acronis True Image simply won't recognize the drive. Apparently Apple plays some of its usual games by creating incompatible partition structures.
However, there is WinClone. I'm not sure of its status, since the primary developer's website indicates that it's 'retired', and it may still have some outstanding issues with Win 7. However, I was able to back up my Windows partition using WinClone, and the result is directly mountable in OSX. I have yet to restore an image, so I can't guarantee that it really works. I'm hoping the number of Bootcampers out there will stimulate someone to enhance a "real" backup program to support Bootcamp. If they have to rely on Apple's cooperation that may never happen.