Windows Bootcamp frustration 😡
The emoji says it all….
But just in case it doesn’t, here’s what happened to me and how I fixed it. So I’ve been running Windows under Boot Camp on my MacBook Pro for something I have to do at work. Now this is a REALLY cool thing Mac offers right out of the box, so I’ll praise it first briefly before getting into my troubles. It helps you through the setup process of installing and running several versions of Windows right on your Mac. You need have some things in place before this will operate smoothly (enough memory on your computer, a Windows license, etc in the link above), but you can run a fully functional version of Windows. Cool!
Now with cool tech comes some growing pains and challenges. First and foremost, after finally getting used to using a Mac from a UX perspective (hot keys, trackpad features, scroll direction, the friggin’ ⌘ key,etc.) going back to Windows felt foreign and frustrating at times. Especially before I plugged in a Windows USB keyboard. Oh and a mouse, because I kept trying to use the trackpad and Windows didn’t like that.
Here’s where I ran into some issues. I don’t know if this is an issue with running Windows on the Mac or a problem with Windows itself. Normally, when I’m done using my Mac, I just shut the screen and know it will be fine and maintain most, if not all, of the battery power it had when I closed the screen. When I do that while running Windows, the SOB kills itself. Whatever, right? Not a big deal, just plug it and turn it on? WRONG!
This is probably a very specific situation, but hopefully this helps someone. When I’ve been using Windows on my Mac, I’ve been using an external monitor and since I was only looking at the external monitor, I dimmed the screen on my actual laptop all the way to off to conserve battery. Since I was using a second monitor when the computer died, upon rebooting to Windows, I guess it still believes there’s a second monitor hooked up? I’m not totally sure what happened. But it would show me the Windows icon, the little spinning dots that show it’s loading, and then the screen would go pitch black.
I couldn’t tell exactly what was happening. I thought the computer was crashing when it tried to load for a while. I kept rebooting and the same thing. I tried turning up the brightness, CTL+ALT+DEL, pushing the CTRL key, etc. Couldn’t find the mouse. Went through this for a while before plugging in a second monitor. Eventually I realized I could move the mouse off the black screen of my laptop to the now extended external monitor. The second monitor was black too, but at least I could see the mouse cursor moving!
From here, I must’ve looked at two dozen articles about ways to solve this issue. Eventually what I realized is my laptop monitor had the brightness stuck to zero, but I couldn’t turn it up from the screen I was on from my mac keyboard nor from the external monitor. So once I booted up, and was able to see the mouse cursor on the second screen, I read that if you push the Control key, that will move the text input into the password box on your login screen. Once you’re in the input box, type your password and push enter. Hopefully you get some sort of affirmation that your login was successful. It was only once I did that did I see Windows open up on the second monitor. Success! Almost, but not totally. Everything was still stuck on the main monitor, so I couldn’t actually do anything. If I tried to open up settings to click “clone display” or anything, I couldn’t see it because it would open on the first monitor that was pitch black.
After toiling around for another 10 mins or so, I tried again to turn the brightness up, and that finally worked. THANK. GOODNESS. I saw all the windows and stuff that I had opened from the external monitor.
So to recap the issue and the fix –
Issue: Start Windows on my Mac. See the Windows Icon and load screen, but it goes pitch black. Can see mouse on second screen but can’t login or anything from second screen.
Fix: Once it loads, even though you can’t see it, click “control” to move into password input field. Enter password and push Enter. Turn up brightness.
Lesson Learned: Shut down Windows properly before closing it or don’t mess with the brightness 🙂
Until next time,
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