Dead MacBook Pro

Not long before I left Japan, I bought a MacBook Pro. It has been a good machine. Last year I began running Windows 7 in Boot Camp on it after partitioning the hard drive.

Problems began to appear when booted in Windows. Certain sites would crash Windows fairly reliably. Video would sometimes crash it. There were warnings about a need to update the Nvidia graphics drivers, but doing so was difficult; the one time I did, the crash was so bad I had to reinstall Windows 7. When booted into Mac, however, problems were fewer.

Then I upgraded to OS X 10.9. That was a disaster! The Mac crashed constantly, always with the same warning about a graphics CPU or something. Eventually I took the machine to the local Apple Store once an attempt to restore it from a backup failed. It turned out there had been a recall due to faulty graphics chips. However, I was told the program had ended because most of the problems were ultimately attributable to software conflicts; regardless, the recall had ended only a few weeks before I came in. I was also told people running Windows in Boot Camp seemed to be having more of these kernel panics, so I quit running Boot Camp. They were able to get my machine running, so I ran with it.

Until a few days ago when the crashing began occurring multiple times per day. I booted off backups on both USB and FireWire drives to restore from the respective backups, but the MacBook Pro crashed a few times during restoration. Eventually it would not even boot from OS DVDs.

On Friday the 12th, I lugged the MacBook Pro back to the Apple Store. This time the diagnostic tests showed one of two graphics chips were not responding. Since the chip itself cannot be replaced, I need a new logic board, which alone costs around $900, an Apple quote. However, because my problem seems tied to the recall problem, I should be able to have everything done for $310. I left the machine with them and returned home. They will contact me in another day or two if some other problem is found. Otherwise, the MacBook Pro should be back and working inside a week.

Too bad it did not crash over the summer instead. In the third week of classes has been inopportune, to say the least.

Windows 7 Stuff

Beginning steps in Microsoft Visual C++ Express 2010, which is working well. It reminds of JBuilder, what I think the IDE that I used for Java was called. My current course is for C programming, which I will likely enjoy. Writing, debugging, and tweaking until success can ultimately be quite satisfying.

As I run Windows on my MacBook's Boot Camp partition, I've had to buy some antivirus and firewall software. I also installed Apache OpenOffice, which I've used for years on the Mac. Yet it is awkward to run both OSes on one machine, especially when I wish to jump from one to the other.

Boot Camp 4, Windows 7 Installation

Today I received my copy of Windows 7 Home Premium. I had already printed out the Apple manual for Boot Camp, which allows me to create a Windows partition on my Intel Mac to boot into Windows as needed. Much of the software I'll need for engineering is Windows-only so I had no choice: Boot Camp or a second laptop; I have chosen Boot Camp for the time being.

How I went about installing Windows on my MacBook Pro:

  1. I backed up my Mac using SuperDuper!
  2. I ran Boot Camp Assistant and set my Windows partition to 100GB
  3. Using BCA, I downloaded the Windows Support files and burned them to a CDR within BCA--nice
  4. The Mac booted in Windows, so I fed in the Windows installer and ran it
  5. I ejected the Windows installer disk then installed the Windows Support files
  6. Finished installing Windows with few more restarts
  7. Windows 7 on my Mac!

So far, I have not yet tried to install anything third party, although Visual C++ Studio Express is downloading now.