MacBook Pro (2009): FireWire 800 Issues Under Boot Camp > Windows

Back in early 2010, I bought a MacBook Pro.  Like my existing Mac Pro desktop it had a FireWire 800 (FW800) port, but unlike the Mac desktop that port would only function under Mac OS, not Boot Camp > Windows.  The desktop had Windows XP 32-bit while the MacBook had Windows 7 64-bit.

In a prolonged attempt (the latter half of 2010) I did a lot of searching, browsing, emailing, phoning and conversing to try to find out if it was “just me” or a recognised issue.   The main source of misleading answers to the effect that many had never had that problem was that those same people had never tried (saying that at the start would have been a more useful answer).  Or else my question got “pidgeonholed” into a standard one about booting from an external drive – something I was definitely not trying to do. Next, it seemed that some older laptops had a different chipset, by Texas Instruments, and those did not have the same problem.

One workaround some people employed was to go via a FW800 ExpressCard adaptor.  But that only works on certain models and certain versions of Windows it appears.

In conclusion, the issue appears to remain in force, it’s not “just me”, and sadly there is little prospect of it being fixed.  I had this vain hope that maybe newer macbook models or newer Boot Camp releases might have sorted things a bit.  Doesn’t look like it…

Latest Research:

    • Not new, but several people with exactly the same issue as me.
    • Confirms that there was no such issue with earlier MacBooks having Texas Instruments chipset.
    • States successful workaround using FW800 ExpressCard adaptor.
    • I tried one but it didn’t work (on Windows) since the whole ExpressCard slot doesn’t work under windows.
      • At least, “not for me”…
    • Same problem, Expresscard workaround but only works on XP etc.,
    • Snippets:
      • Point me to one person using his Unibody ExpressCard slot in Vista and I gladly ask him how he managed to do that. I only know about people who did *not* manage to.
      • Concerning eSATA there are whole threads and a website dedicated to only that problem.
      • Neither the 17″ model nor Snow Leopard bring any improvements here. Still the only way to reliably use the ExpressCard slot on an unibody Macbook Pro is to use an 8 year old competitor’s OS (Windows XP).
      • I doubt very much you’ll see any update to the firmware/drivers for the expresscard slot. Apple dropped that from the design so I suspect any future developments on the firmware/drivers has all but ceased.
      • They never, AFAIK, acknowledged any issue and I’m sure they’ll be happy to watch the expresscard slot quietly disappear.
    • Previous reports from Unibody MacBook Pro owners noted eSATA expresscards (regardless of brand/chipset) didn’t work in Windows (bootcamp/native). I posted last year I saw the same thing with 2 samples (JMB360 and Sil3132 based). I’m curious if this has changed with the newer models.  If you’ve tried an eSATA expresscard (any model/chipset) with a 2010 MacBook Pro 17in, let me know if you had better luck. Thanks.
    • {No reply was received}
  • Apart from that, all I got was my own blog, this very website.  Now that really is “scraping the barrel”….

Earlier Research:

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