How to install Windows XP SP3 on Mac OSX Mountain Lion and get drivers, too. [updated 3/2/16]

This has been far and away my most-read article ever. Thanks for reading! If this saved you a couple bucks of your time, consider donating via Paypal or via Bitcoin to 16FCWbn1wSpgn3a5mcjXRAYGYRQ5MW3qv5.

I considered various triple and quad boot options for my new (to me) MacBook Pro, but eventually decided on a simple dual-boot, OSX Lion and Windows XP.  If you’re reading this via a Google search, you likely ran into some problems too.  If you have been trying to do this without involving Boot Camp at all, bear in mind that even with all the drivers technically working you’re not going to be able to do things like use the multi-touch trackpad, use the function keys on the keyboard, etc.  Don’t worry though, this is an end-to-end guide on what to do to get XP running on a machine running Lion, complete with download links.

5/2/2012 Edit: From the comments I can pretty safely say this doesn’t work on  2011 Macbook Pros. Sorry, it’s likely due to them using new hardware not accounted for in the Leopard driver pack. If you can find a way to make it work, please leave a comment.

9/7/2012 Edit: It sounds like this works for Mountain Lion as well, as it should. This should work for all OSX releases for the foreseeable future, but will likely not work on newer hardware. We’re using hardware profiles from Leopard, and many chips and cards used since simply didn’t exist then.

3/2/2016 Edit: Hoo boy, this thing still gets traffic. Since Windows XP is no longer supported, and is a positive magnet for malware now, I really don’t recommend you do this anymore. Only if the XP installation is not going to access the Internet. However, the links to the driver packs and such aren’t going anywhere. This probably won’t work on anything newer than 2010 gear.

Things you will need:

  • Bootable Windows XP disc.  I’m using a TechNet XP SP3 disc, but any full, non-OEM option should work.
  • Access to Disk Utility from something other than your active partition.  This can be via your Mac Install Disc, Install USB drive, etc.  I had a Lion USB drive.
  • Boot Camp 2.1, i.e. the version that shipped on Leopard retail discs.  Use Leopard install disc 1 or download it here.

Quick Guide:

  1. Use Disk Utility from your bootable media, partition off however much space you want to use and make sure the format is set to “MS-DOS (FAT)”  (which is actually FAT32)
  2. Install Windows  on your new partition.  You can choose to re-format your partition as NTFS if you want, which is more efficient than FAT32 but only allows read access to the Windows partition from OSX, where FAT32 is read/write.
  3. Download the Leopard version of Boot Camp here. (same link as above)
  4. Run setup.exe, don’t bother trying to drill-down into the Drivers folders manually.  The setup catches it all.
  5. Reboot; if you have sound, you’re finished!  If you don’t have sound,  go to Device Manager, expand System Devices, disable “Microsoft UAA Bus for High Definition Audio”, then uninstall it.  Verify Realtek High Definition Audio is also gone from Sound, video and game controllers (disable and uninstall if it is still there).
  6. DO NOT REBOOT, run WDM_R268.exe provided in the driver 7z file or here.
  7. Done, reboot to finish audio driver install.

Step-by-step Guide:

  1. Boot to your OSX bootable media by inserting the disc (or plugging in the flash drive) and holding down the Option/Alt key once you hear the startup chime.
  2. From the Install Menu, choose Disk Utility and hit continue.
  3. Click on your hard drive, usually the top-most item in the list of devices, and in the main pane hit the Partition button.
  4. On a default Lion install, it takes up the entire hard drive.  Provided you aren’t using all of it, select the partition and click the + button beneath it to create a new partition.  Name it what you want, set the size in GBs that you want to give to your Windows installation (I set mine to 120 out of 500, so I have room for XP-friendly games.).  In the details on the right side of the main pane, change the format of your new Windows partition from Mac OS Extended (Journaled) to MS-DOS (FAT).  This is actually FAT32, not standard FAT with it’s 4GB file limits and whatnot.  FAT32 has a downside here in that it makes 32KB clusters, which can be wasteful at large sizes (partitions above 32GB).  The advantage to formatting as FAT32 and not NTFS (which is possible later on) is what you’ll have read AND write access to your Windows files when booted into OS X.  NTFS is read-only to OS X.
  5. When everything looks correct, hit Apply and wait for your partitions to be modified.  If you get an error at this point, select the Mac partition (not the hard drive itself), select First Aid (losing your changes to the partition table, unfortunately), then hit Repair Disk.  If you still have errors, repeat this step but choose Repair Disk Permissions.
  6. Once your partition is set, put your Windows XP disc in the Mac and reboot, again holding down the Option/Alt key to choose your boot device.  You should see the typical Windows XP setup process begin.  After a few minutes of loading, you should be able to begin the installation.  Hit Enter to begin the installation and F8 if you agree to the license terms.  At this point, you should see your Windows partition, two [Unknown] partitions and possibly some unallocated space.  Make sure you install to your newly created partition.  You’ll be given the option to format to NTFS.  Again, NTFS only allows Read-Only access to your files from OS X, but is more efficient space-wise than FAT32, which you can read and write from in OS X.  Make your decision according to your needs and proceed with the installation.
  7. If you’re used to installing Windows XP on computers, bear in mind this is not an unattended installation; every time the machine reboots you’ll need to be there to hold down Option/Alt and tell it to boot to your Windows partition (NOT the disc, which would start the setup process over again). So hold your computer’s hand through the installation process.
  8. When setup finishes, you now technically have a working dual-boot setup.  But there are a lot of missing drivers and a lot of things you won’t be able to do.  The big one would be your lack of network drivers, which means no way to get online to get your other drivers.  So now grab Boot Camp 2.1, with it’s sweet cache of Windows XP drivers, here.  You will need 7zipto unpack it.  The files in that archive are copied directly from my Leopard Install Disc and 7z’ed with Ultra compression.  Be patient.Again, download the driver pack for getting XP working on Lion here. Get 7zip here if you don’t have it.
  9. Once you have the driver pack downloaded and unpacked to your XP installation, run setup.exe to begin the Boot Camp installation process.  It will ask to install the Apple Software Updater first, which I went ahead and did because iTunes is going to install it anyway.  Watch as the Boot Camp installer finds and installs all the drivers for you.  Once it’s done, it will ask to reboot.  Don’t forget to hold down Option/Alt to get back in when it does.
  10. When XP comes back up, you may find that your video looks like it didn’t install.  On nVidia systems, Go to Start -> Control Panel and double-click nVidia Control Panel.  It should immediately ask to adjust your resolution.  While you’re in here you can make any changes to the color, etc. that you need.
  11. Test if you have sound by clicking the speaker icon in the system tray on the bottom right, dragging the volume slider all the way to the top and releasing.  You should hear a tone.  If you do, go to Start -> Control Panel -> System -> Hardware -> Device Manager.  If there are no exclamation points, red Xs or anything of the sort then you’re done, enjoy your XP-on-Lion goodness.
  12. If you do not have sound, Boot Camp has probably installed a Realtek audio driver that is incompatible with Service Pack 3 of Windows XP.  Go to Start -> Control Panel -> System -> Hardware -> Device Manager.  Expand System Devices by clicking the + next to it, find “Microsoft UAA Bus for High Definition Audio” in the list of entries, right-click it (on a Mac laptop, you can now right click by placing two fingers on the trackpad and clicking the mouse button over what you want to right-click on) and click Disable.  It will ask to confirm you want to disable it, click Yes.  Right-click it again, and click Uninstall.  Hit yes to confirm uninstallation.
  13. In the big driver download there is a file in the root called WDM_R268.exe.  If you didn’t download the pack (because you already had Leopard Discs, for example), download just the audio driver here.  Run that exe and it will install working audio drivers.  You should hear the “fwop” of a Windows message in the system tray on installation saying a reboot is needed to complete installation. At this point, everything should be working on your system.
  14. You’re done, Boot Camp now sits in the system tray as a gray diamond.  You can use it to determine which OS gets run by default.  If you see a boot selection prompt when you’re booting to Windows, having you choose between Windows XP and “Unknown boot on drive C” or something to that effect, go to Start->Control Panel->System->Advanced->Settings under Startup and Recovery.  Make sure Microsoft Windows XP is your default Operating System in the dropdown list, and uncheck the box immediately below it that says “Time to display list of operating systems”.  I leave the second box checked in case I do want to boot to Safe Mode after a loss of power.

Hopefully that’s all it takes to get you up and going, please comment if this helped you out, or if this doesn’t work for you (likely if you have a 2011-2012 machine).

9/7/2012 Edit: Commenter Mark writes: “I can confirm that I have boot camp installed with Windows XP and Mountain Lion. Everything is running smoothly on my late 2009 24″ iMac. The only problem I experienced was with windows update installing an incompatible nVidia driver which prevented my wired ethernet from working. Rolling back to the previous driver cured this and hiding the offending updated driver from windows update should prevent future issues.”

Daniel Tharp

43 thoughts on “How to install Windows XP SP3 on Mac OSX Mountain Lion and get drivers, too. [updated 3/2/16]

  1. Hi, I’ve been trying to get this to work unsuccessfully (on OSX Lion). I’ve installed bootcamp using the copy of your leopard disc on the window’s partition, and whilst the installation process is running, the drivers seem to get installed. However, after it’s complete and I’ve restarted the computer there are still a great many necessary drivers missing (including internet, audio, etc) according to the device manager. I’ve tried installing on both service pack 2 and 3 to no avail. Your guide was very helpful, do you have any ideas what went wrong? Thank you!

  2. I couldn’t say what in particular has gone wrong, but a tip would be to look in Device Manager and find the ones that didn’t take, right-click them and hit properties. Under the Details tab, choose “Hardware Ids” from the dropdown. You will probably see a few strings, what you are looking for specifically is something that reads “VEN_XXXX&DEV_XXXX”. Do a google search for that string and you’ll come up with the right driver more often than not.

    Out of curiosity, what Mac are you using, and what year is it?

  3. alright, I’ll try that momentarily. I’m using a 2011 Macbook Pro, v. 10.7.2
    Thanks again!

  4. Glad that worked for you. Would you be willing to help me out by exporting all your drivers and uploading them to my server? I can walk you through it.

  5. You need to download Double Driver from and run dd.exe on the MacBook. Click “Backup”, then “Scan Current System” and then hit “Select”, then “All” from the drop-down. Now hit “Backup Now” and set the location as you want it. For the output method, choose “Compressed (zipped) Folder”. Once it’s done it’s thing, shoot me an email at and I’ll tell you where to upload it.

    Thanks for helping out with the guide!

  6. I’m having exact same issues as Daniel. I’m also using a MacBook Pro Version 10.7.4. Would you be willing to send me the drivers he sent to you?

  7. I actually never heard back from the previous commenter, sorry. But if you’re having the same problem you may have luck with my suggestions I recommended for him.

  8. plz tell me how to install drivers like vga,trackpad and isight wireless internet and other i have done ur provided procedure above but still missing essential drivers plz help

  9. Sorry it took me so long to get back to you Daniel, I’ve been busy with work. I only actually managed to find a few of the drivers, mainly those necessary for the graphics card and the network adapter. Most importantly, still missing the sound driver. Your advice really helped, but it’s been exceedingly difficult to locate the correct drivers with the “VEN_XXXX&DEV_XXXX” strings online. Do you have any additional advice? Also, I’m going to try one more time to find a few more, then I’ll upload the ones I could find. Thanks again.

  10. I realize I forgot to explain that the bootcamp solution that worked for you didn’t seem to do anything for me. I tried installing and uninstalling bootcamp, but unfortunately realized that the drivers that showed up missing in device manager didn’t change at all. I’m beginning to wonder if maybe something went wrong overall, given the success you’ve had with this solution, and the lack of success I have had. Lastly, I’ve tried to fix the lack of sound utilizing your advice and it hasn’t worked. Also of interest, the speaker icon which you reference doesn’t show up in my toolbar whatsoever. Thanks again for your continued help.

  11. Worked great! Thanks so much for the post!

    As I stand here on Windows’ 4 partition limit, I wonder what would be the consequence of creating a fifth (or higher). Have you any word on this?

  12. The Master Boot Record limits you to 4 primary partitions, but you can have many more extended partitions. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

  13. I’m facing the same issue. Luckily I have original DVDs of Leopard and SL but unfortunately they are at my parents house so it will take a week or so to get them. I’ll tell you wether it worked or not.

  14. Just a quick thank you for taking the time to post this information. I can confirm that I have boot camp installed with Windows XP and Mountain Lion. Everything is running smoothly on my late 2009 24″ iMac. The only problem I experienced was with windows update installing an incompatible nVidia driver which prevented my wired ethernet from working. Rolling back to the previous driver cured this and hiding the offending updated driver from windows update should prevent future issues.

  15. Hi Mark, thanks for the information. I’m glad to hear it’s working for Mountain Lion as well. I’ll update the post with your information. Thanks. :)

  16. I have just bought a retina display MacBook Pro to replace my old MBP. I’ve also updated the OS to 10.8.1. I also use a desktop iMac, with 10.6.8 OS.
    I’m just getting the hang of the new OS, but I want XP on the new machine like I had on the old one. But the new machine doesn’t have a DVD drive, so I can’t put the XP disc in!
    I don’t recall it being hard to install Bootcamp on the old machine, but this Bootcamp assistant seems to want to install Win 7, which I DON’t want!
    Have you any suggestions, please?

  17. Right, Boot Camp from Lion onwards doesn’t give you the choice to install anything but Windows 7. You can probably make a bootable Windows XP flash drive.

    I have absolutely no idea how well Windows XP will handle the high resolution of the Retina display, I suspect the driver pack I have provided will not be very much use as so many pieces of hardware in the 2012 MBPs are brand new, so fair warning.

  18. Thanks for your help. I am using slimwareutilities slimdrivers free program to correct the faulty drivers and it seems to be working. Saves me having to go through each of them manually and find a fix.

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  20. I have found you can skip booting from external media etc IF you have a Windows7 disk. I borrowed Win7 Home from a friend. To get started I simply:

    1. Run the ML version of Bootcamp with the Win7 disk inserted.

    2. When your Mac reboots the first time hold down option key until the list of boot devices comes up. Hit eject to remove the Win7 disk and insert the WinXP disk. Boot from the WinXP disk.

    3. Proceed as outlined above in step 6 from where you should see the WinXP setup process begin.

    I realize this requires a Win7 disk but driving to a friends house and back with a Win7 disk just to get over the ML Bootcamp hurdle takes a tiny fraction of the time setting up a thumb drive with SL/etc does.

    ps. Thanks for the XP drivers list! So Helpful!

  21. Ive been update my IMAC late 2009 in lion. i already install xp3 on it all i need to install is the drivers but the problem i lost my snow leopard cd included on my mac i tried retail one but its always eject any one help?

  22. If, like me, you’ve come across this problem while erasing and reformatting an old Mac from scratch, there’s an easy solution which you might have overlooked (I did, initially). And that is to install an old Mac OS to begin with (I still had my Snow Leopard disk in the cupboard), then install Windows XP through Boot Camp, then upgrade both the Mac OS and Windows systems. This just replicated what I’d done on the same machine over the previous five years!

  23. I’ve been tried what you say reinstalling snow leopard on my mac before i upgrade into lion. the problem is its always eject when installing the bootcamp drivers.

  24. Good guide, thank you.

    For people’s knowledge, the reason this doesn’t work on all computers which did not ship with Leopard and Snow Leopard (Early 2011 Macs and older) is that the drivers contained on these discs, and the download link provided, may not be compatible with all of your hardware in your newer mac.

  25. I followed your guide and installed XP on a 2008 iMac running Mac OS X 10.8.3 with perfect result. Thanks a million! Except for the bluetooth driver for my wireless mouse that I have to wake up everytime I start up XP, this method works perfectly.

  26. Thanks Dan for your blog about installing Win XP on MacBook Pro. Windows runs very well on a Mac :)

  27. A big thank you for the information and links. Been messing about with this for a day… well you saved it…

    Thank you!

  28. Hi I carried out this method as described on my Macbook Pro 2011. Installing Windows XP was tricky of course on this version of Macbook, but most drivers were located and installed using driver navigation utilities. The only driver not installed in the audio one which is important of course. The hardware string is: HDAUDIO\FUNC_01&VEN_1013&DEV_4206&SUBSYS_106B1D00&REV_1003

    I managed to find some software on the hardware vendors site, yet i am still having issues finding support software to install. Any suggestions on this matter?

  29. Hello,
    I followed the tutorial to install Win XP on a MacBook Alu (not Pro)
    Everything went correctly except for drivers, luckily I had my CD.
    I can send it if it can help.
    Thanks for sharing knowledge. ;)

  30. Hi,
    thanks for this great tutorial !
    Just installed XPSP3 on my Mid2011 mini with 10.8.4
    Unfortunately it did not install video, audio and network drivers.
    Video card is from intel, not nVidia, network and audio is apple stuff.
    Do you know where to find drivers ?
    Thanks !

    Best regards, Patrick

  31. (Follow up from below)
    I have the Macmini5,1 with Intel HD Graphics 3000 .
    Tried an XP driver from Intel, but did not work

  32. Hi, I’ve been trying to get this to work unsuccessfully (on OSX Lion). I’ve installed boot-camp using the copy of your leopard disc on the window’s partition, and whilst the installation process is running, the drivers seem to get installed. However, after it’s complete and I’ve restarted the computer there are still a great many necessary drivers missing (including internet, audio, etc) according to the device manager. I’ve tried installing on both service pack 2 and 3 to no avail. Your guide was very helpful, do you have any ideas what went wrong? Thank you!

  33. I have a Late 2008 Macbook Pro 15″, running Mountain Lion, and I ran into similar problems and found similar solutions. I followed the instructions above, installed Windows XP, and ran the Boot Camp 2 drivers posted here, but several things did not work. As suggested in the comments, I searched for “VEN_XXXX&DEV_XXXX” and found 3 drivers to fix the wireless, the motherboard, and the graphics. I also had to do a trackpad update so that I could click and drag.

    Here are the links:
    Network Controller:
    Video Controller:
    Trackpad Update:
    SM Bus Controller:

  34. Thanks for the tips and drivers – worked in getting XP SP2 on an old first-gen Macbook Air. Keyboard and trackpad went awol after the first post-driver-install reboot, but a couple of reboots later came good (power button worked fine to shutdown) of their own accord (!?).

  35. wow, i love the first part of the tutorial!
    The one with few steps.

    I love the link to the file.
    Very Very Nice.
    It worked for me like a charm.
    Thanks too for keeping the link to the boot camp image alive.

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