Suddenly, that dual-booting Mac isn’t looking like such a value:

Boot Camp Beta 1.1: VGA adapters, Mini-DVI adapters are not supported

Reader Robotkid notes S-Video won’t work, either.

So, in review, if you want to boot your new MacBook into Windows XP, all will be fine — unless you happen to need to connect video output via VGA or S-Video. That means you’ll need to either use all-DVI monitors and projectors, or … well, stay away from Boot Camp, basically. This sounds particularly nasty on the MacBook, which doesn’t have a dedicated output port. In fairness, Boot Camp is still beta, but if dual-booting Windows is a big factor in your purchase decision, you might want to investigate seriously.

What I find puzzling is, why would this be an issue at all? Is there something really strange about Apple’s video drivers in Windows XP? Is there something weird in Windows to begin with? If anyone has a machine with Boot Camp, please, let us know if you can test this and see what’s going on. (And does the same thing happen with Vista? Linux? Parallels Desktop, when you’re running Windows apps inside Mac OS X? I would think not the latter, but no idea on the other cases.) Thanks to Robotkid, and to Chris Breen for sorting me out.

For more information, Bart from Resolume points us to this vjcentral thread, further evidence that I really should have been paying closer attention to this issue:

macbook pro: s-video out under xp?

Maybe mankind was never intended to run both Mac and Windows. Perhaps I should rid my mind of such unnatural desires. Anyone with a clue on what’s going on, please chime in. (I mean, I know it doesn’t work, but why not, I wonder?)

Updated: Quick clarification. Apparently the DVI-to-VGA adapter does work on the MacBook Pro. (Keep in mind, the MacBook lacks even a dedicated DVI; you have to use a dongle.) So the current score is, unless I’m mistaken:

MacBook VGA: No.
MacBook S-Video: No.
MacBook Pro VGA: Yes.
MacBook Pro S-Video: No.

Still disturbing. Given that Apple is aware of the issue, it seems a fix is likely; it’s just a matter of how long you’re willing to wait and what the technical obstacles are to making it work.

  • lotech

    "Video output over Mini-DVI adapters for MacBook computers, or DVI-to-VGA adapters for MacBook Pro computers, is also not supported even if it works in Mac OS X." – Apple Support.
    Yet since Bootcamp 1.0 VGA (via DVI->VGA) support has been working fine on Macbook Pros – I've never had an issue on my 17" (2 XP installs & a 2 Vista installs) and have been gigging fine.
    No S-Video support is true but a scan converter will give you a video output of your 2nd monitor.
    If you're a VJ interested in VJing in windows, you shouldn't be considering using any Apple except the MBPro or maybe iMac – which all seem happy with VGA out. Apple is reporting this wrong and should hopefully correct this.

  • Peter Kirn

    Ah, I see, it's the MacBook Pro's lack of a dedicated S-Video that's the issue: the VJ Central folks are using MBP with a DVI-to-S-Video out.

    And that does make a little more sense, because it means the computer thinks it's connected to DVI when it's actually outputing analog signal to S-Video. (Why VGA wouldn't work on the non-Pro MacBook is another mystery.)

    I disagree that VJs should only consider the Pro for any reason other than this issue. The integrated graphics on the MacBook is the major difference (other than the new Pro Core 2 Duo CPUs), and the IMA should frankly be fine if all you're doing is video. But because of this issue, yes, you should think about running Windows VJ apps on the MacBook.

  • Dan Ashley

    I need a computer to replace my windows desktop. I've heard a Mac can be a good solution, as it can run windows now and then. Lets say I want a Mac Mini or even better a MacBook and want the option of running Windows, And using an external monitor, what do I do? The external PC monitor is a generic PC monitor. Works with all PCs. I think its a Dell or something. Maybe NEC. I have no idea about DVI, DWI or any other alphabet stuff. Do I use Boot Camp? Parallels? Mac Mini? Mac Book? What is best?

    - Dan

  • Peter Kirn

    Dan, you should check the docs on your monitor. VGA is generally still more common than DVI. Our current understanding is that the mini and MacBook Pro will work as they have DVI outs, and Apple can provide you a DVI-to-VGA adapter. Our reports say this works even though Apple claims it's not supported. The MacBook may be another matter.

    As long as your monitor is DVI (which newer monitors, even cheaper ones, increasingly DO have), it should work regardless.

  • Will

    Perhaps you should at least wait until the software (Boot Camp) is *out of beta* before you declare the sky is falling?

  • Peter Kirn

    Boot Camp is available publicly, it's widely used and publicized, and both existing owners and potential Mac buyers want to know what the current situation is. I don't see that as saying the sky is falling; I see that as sharing information. I noted in the story that the software is in beta and that it may be fixed. But at this point, we don't even know what Apple's plans for BootCamp are. So we have to look at the current situation. Beta or final release, software is always changing and (hopefully) problems get corrected.

  • robotoverlord

    If you're still confused about how to enable vga output from bootcamp xp, check out this tutorial. I'm a slow learner and the screencaps helped.

  • Dan Ashley

    Thank you!

    It looks like I'll be going with a Mac Mini then, with a DVI to VGA adapter. If I eventually upgrade to a more modern I'll make sure it has DVI.

    Basically, we are a four computer household. Used to be four PCs. Now its two Macs, the old PC with all our financial stuff etc. and my wife's PC laptop. I figure if we replace the old PC with something, it better be reliable. My guess is that a Mac is more reliable than budget PCs, even brand name budget PCs, based on our prior experience. Reliable isn't just hardware failure, its software too including expert advice on getting problems solved and glitches worked around. Thus, I want a Mac, for our Windows applications.

    So, it looks like a Mac Mini. Mac Mall is selling the 1.66 mini, with XP-Home pre-installed, with Boot Camp for $724 and with Parallels for $733.

    Any thoughts on which is better? I know there is a slight performance hit with Parallels, but it will be fine. All our old PC programs run OK on a 400 Mhz Dell, so we'll be cool with a 1.66 mini and a slight performance hit.


    - Dan

  • John C. Randolph

    Solution: use Parallels.


  • Peter Kirn

    Sounds good to me … but does full screen mode in Parallels support the use of multiple displays? Resolution switching? OpenGL in Windows? I can't find documentation, and I don't yet have an Intel Mac on which to test. Anyone with the answer, I welcome it!

  • C. Martin

    VGA->DVI works for SOME people on the MBP. It doesn't work for me and my monitor. The startup screen works fine, but once I get to the login screen the monitor goes to power save mode. DVI works fine. I've tried the suggestion of using only the bottom left and top right monitors in the config screen, but it doesn't work for me no matter what I do with it. This is my last real issue with Boot Camp – but it's a big one for my setup.

  • Jeremy Sonander

    I am using a MacBook Pro (Core 2 Duo varient) with Linux and see this problem. When in Linux I cannot drive an external VGA monitor, but external DVI monitors work fine. This is a significant hurdle since most projectors are VGA still.
    If I boot back to Mac OSX the analog monitor works, so I know the cables etc are all fine.

  • Dingle

    I have MBP and have some success with DVI-VGA adapter. My CRT Monitor accepted the signal just fine. however another LCD monitor and Projector did not. The projector saw the boot up screen but died after loading windows, the LCD monitor didn't get a proper signal, the screen was black as aposed to the no signal warning, so something was happening… but no boot up like the projector. Has anyone else had this hit or miss type results?

  • al

    I just bought a 2.16 MBP 15" and plugged a walmart 15" "balance" LCD (1024×768) via the DVI to VGA adapter and here's what I get:

    1) using the ATI driver under bootcamp XP with the monitor plugged in, the computer starts up and mirrors the windows startup screens. Once started up, the Balance LCD goes black and the MBP's screen goes into extended desktop mode. (no pull-down menus) Can't configure anything at this point. I can move the cursor toward the external monitor, but it's black, so I can't configure anything.

    2) At this point, I pull the VGA adapter out of the MBP and its screen resets. I check the display properties and it's set at 1400 wide or something. (just as under OSX) I try everything, but can't get the external monitor to light up. The only thing that works is uninstalling the ATI driver where I can run mirrored at 1024×768 on both MBP and external LCD. Video performance is SLOW and MBP looks like crap.

    3) I run Parallels too. A bit sluggish performance wise, but I'm able to run mirrored or exteneded desktop to the external LCD. To get it working correctly for me, I must set my internal monitor to 1024×768 stretched.

    Not sure where to go from here, but a $399 ACER PC is looking like a better option than trying to run bootcamp beta. Considering windows is $100-200, $399 is a pretty good deal for the OS and a completely different laptop.

    Hope they fix this problem soon. I was really hoping the MBP was the be all end all. I was previously using a MacBook and it worked fine with the mini dvi adapter to the same 15" external LCD monitor.

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  • Babette Arbacette

    Not about Boot Camp
    I am having problems connecting my MacBook ( white one) with a video projector (NEC VT58G) and a I White Board. under Mac OSX 10.4.8.
    I have to use Display prefs and go to the double screen thing. It is a hassle and the SmartBoard although displaying the image is no longer interctive.

    Is there an issue with MacBooks and Nec videoprojectors. SamrtBoards?
    My MacBook worked perfectl well when i used only an HP videoproj without a Smart Booard. Simple plug and lay.

    Thanks for help or redirection to another thread.


  • Peter Kirn

    Hi Babette,

    Well, these cards in general seem a little touchy recognizing displays, but they do work fine under OS X. I'd say it's a SmartBoard issue, yes; you'd have to go them on this one.

  • Bill Harman

    Any one figure out how to get Xp on the MB to recognize a Projector?

    I do training and this is very important to me!

  • jrawk

    No joke, I have this exact issue with a brand new 17" Core 2 Duo. Works fine with a Dell Monitor, won't work with a Projector here in the office. Shows the image fine during boot to XP, then the minute XP launches, "signal not detected"

    Is there a fix?

  • Herb Coleman

    I've had partial success with my MacBook. I can get it to extend my desk to a video projector. I just haven't figured out how to get it to mirror my desk top. If you go through the normal desktop set up (right-click the desk top and select properties> settings>advanced>) on the second monitor, I check the extend my desktop to this monitor and it worked.

  • Herb Coleman

    I got it to work on my MacBook! The key was going into the graphics card set up. It has the option to clone or extend your desktop. I selected clone and clicked apply and wah lah !

    1). Right click (2-finger click) Windows Desktop
    2). Select Graphics properties
    3). In the lower half of the window under Multiple Display, select Intel (R) Dual Display Clone
    4). Click Apply

    It works for me. You might need to adjust you output monitor resolution to support whatever your projector runs.

    Good luck (I love my Mac, I love my Mac…)

  • Peter Kirn

    Hurrah! Thanks for the tips, guys!

  • pyramus

    MacBook's indeed do support VGA under Bootcamp.
    Go into intel driver settings page & select dual display clone.

    The sad thing though is they don't support S-Video output strangely enough…

    Hope this will be fixed in official Bootcamp in Leopard!

  • Eelke

    my macbookpro (ati) + leopard upgrade + all new xp drivers from leopard dvd + dvi-svideo adapter…. WORKS! (houray!)

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  • ch4rm

    How did you get it to work on your regular macbook? I've installed Boot Camp 2.0 with Leopard and when I plug the VGA adapter in, the screen blinks black every 3 seconds or so and everything gets really slow. I'm unable to activate the second monitor in the Display Properties as well :( ! Please help!

  • alegoje

    ch4rm my Macbook displays exactly the same behaviour, extended desktop for screen number 2 never "sticks" and the screen goes into this endless refreshing cycle. Did you manage to solve your problem? I can't watch Netflix! :)


  • KingGeorge

    On a Macbook Pro running XP via Boot Camp, I could not get VGA or S-Video to work UNTIL I found the updated Mac-only NVidia driver. Then both worked like a charm.