WinToGo 10 with a thunderbolt drive on MBP late 2018

There is a good article for WinToGo setup on MBP2018, along with this article and my old post for MBP2012, but just good for USB drive only. If you want to do that with a thunderbolt3 drive, several days of rebooting is ahead.

First, WinToUsb won’t list thunderbolt drives, therefore the old ways of imagex/dism and bcdboot to make the bootable install drive is your friend. But Win10 boot setup always fails with mysterious error “Windows setup could not configure to run on this computer’s hardware” during setup spinning interface. Nothing googled directly helps, including the popular “msoobe” command hack. After hours of trials, this post gives the correct steps for disk partitions setup. Actually the first article above mentioned the hack to format with “EFI System Partition”, which will do the same trick to create msr partition automatically, but new windows 10 seems not to create the correct partitions, causing the preparation setup error.

Second, the Windows 1803 version won’t install on thunderbolt3 drive with MBP 2018. It always fails with DMA Access Violation crash blue screen, which is related to storage driver. Since MBP 2018 came out in later half of the year, Windows 1809 version will have the correct thunderbolt3 drivers included.

Third, Windows 10 will finally boot, install, and freeze if boot camp drivers are added into the install media previously. It might be related to the AMD Radeon drivers and ReLive settings app. The answer is to boot setup without add-driver step, which will force to use external mouse and keyboard to continue the setup process, as the built-in keyboard with touch bar and trackpad won’t work without boot camp drivers.

Finally, WinToGo 10 can install and run successfully now. Afterwards, boot camp drivers install might take quite a long time and hang for the USB XHCI controller. Anyway, it doesn’t matter for an unrecognized mass storage device after a forced restart. Everything works with super fast speed including AMD display card, thunderbolt drive and USB devices!

Several Updates:

The unrecognized devices listed in Win10 Device Manager should be T2 related, which are unaccessible in Windows. Because ACPI power management is also controlled by T2, Win10 by present uses standard Microsoft driver for power management, which will show strange battery behaviors like discharging even if power is plugged-in. The only hope is new BootCamp drivers.

Fix Office365 Activation 0xD000FFFE error

Just migrate my old rMBP 2012 to new MBP 2018 with Migration Assistant. Everything seems as good as old one, but Office is not activated. When activating Office apps, it always fails, reporting unknown error 0xD0000FFFE.

Apparently, it is related to some migrated existing license. After Googling, some solutions like deleting folders under ~/Library/Group Container will also remove your Outlook inbox folders, which is surely unacceptable. This post has the correct official software to remove existing license and then re-activate Office365 will succeed happily.

Disable BTT accessibility popup

Just updated BetterTouchTool to V2.645 and found that the accessibility permission warning popup cannot be dismissed as the close icon of the popup panel is now missing. Actually BTT can work well for touch/click functions without accessibility permissions.

After some searching around, one github issue has some useful hint:

defaults write com.hegenberg.BetterTouchTool BTTDisableAcccessibilityCheck YES


Only valid for High Sierra and previous OS X versions, Mojave will force to enable the accessibility for BTT.

Workaround MX Master pairing with High Sierra

Apparently High Sierra has well complained issues with bluetooth. My Logitech MX Master mouse also suffers from random disconnection. Today when I tried to disable bluetooth and reconnect, the mouse just won’t connect.

So I deleted it from MBP’s bluetooth devices, and found out that MX Master cannot pair any more again. Just like some other guys’ video shows, it keeps connecting and disconnecting when pairing.

My old tricks in Yosemite did not work again,  resetting the bluetooth module and remove all devices got no help after restarting the machine. Finally a glimpse of some words in some forum threads googled just saved my morning: complete shutdown, not restart.

Oddly enough, after a shutdown and fresh booting, my 10.13.6 High Sierra successfully pairs with MX Master!

Fix to delete time machine backups for no-responding finder

Just compelled to upgrade to OSX High Sierra, because XCode 9.3 is only available for 10.13 to support development over iOS 11.3!  The system seems quite the same except for the new ridiculous Chinese Translation of UI.

As usual, a Time Machine backup was made before the upgrade. But since NAS disk is quite full, some history backups need to be deleted after everything runs OK. Well, the new finder is frozen during the Time Machine deleting process and un-escapable from that UI. After a hard reboot and some googling, the following steps might help:

  1. connect to target Time Machine Sparse Bundle
  2. ensure that /Volumes/Time Machine Backup/Backups.backupdb shows
  3. sudo tmutil delete /Volumes/Time Machine Backup/Backups.backupdb/YOUR-MAC/SOME-DATES
  4. eject Sparse Bundle
  5. sudo hdiutil compact TARGET-SPARSE-BUNDLE

Fix MBP High Kernel_Task CPU in Sierra

Just encounter strange high cpu problem of kernel_task in Sierra on my rMBP. At first, it seems like some software problem, especially when opening atom editor, which causes long opening time. After closing atom, it does lower the cpu for a period, but running other task heavy software afterwards will also boost the kernel_task cpu percentage to 80%. It may suggest some underlying hardware problem there.

Comments in this post give the reason: temperature and fan control. Since it’s summer and super hot, the osx on my mbp is reducing cpu speed for temperature compensation, causing kernel task to take more cpu to consume. Resetting SMC in this article brings the fan control back and fixes the kernel_task cpu problem.

Fix MX Master Mouse Lag and Freeze Problem

First thought is some bluetooth problem, tried everything related but not working at all. After a few trial and inspection, it seems that the thumb button is stuck in between causing the mouse pointer not able to move smoothly.

Disabling the thumb side button in Logitech Options won’t help. It sounds like a hardware interference not a software driver setting.

This Inkandescent’s post and this operation guide will help fixing it. The pull-up workaround in the previous thread doesn’t work very well, so buying the T5 screw driver and loosing the thumb button board screws is the final solution.

WinToGo 8.1 on rMBP mid 2012

This blog has detail instructions to install USB WinToGo for Mac. But things won’t go that smooth on pre-2013 rMBP.

Firstly, diskpart from Windows cmd within Virtual Machine seems to have limitations, especially for Win8.1. Partitioning can work sometime but formatting will probably fail. Therefore, diskutil in Mac is the solution for disk handling. But another problem occurs. FAT32 partition is tried but found to cause errors during imagex transfer due to large file size restrictions. But disktuil doesn’t support NTFS. At last, NTFS partition is formatted with diskutil with the help of Paragon-NTFS 14 in El Capitan.

Secondly, “bcdboot /f ALL” will create EFI boot mode for usb drive, under which Win2Go can be successfully installed but instantly turns into black screen when installing bootcamp/nvidia drivers. It’s because that pre-2013 MBP is not fully compatible with UEFI crashing the graphics/audio drivers under EFI boot. The solution is to boot with CSM-BIOS mode. That means when booting MBP with alt, “Windows” is the only menu choice not “EFI”. Clearing the boot partition and “bcdboot /f BIOS” for BIOS boot mode section. However, the “none system disk” error shows when booting the “Windows” option.

Finally, this article sheds the light. “bootsect /nt60 x: /force /mbr” to force using the win8.1 bootmgr will boot your MBP into Win8.1, with all bootcamp drivers ready to be installed.

Enjoy the Win2Go, thanks for the almighty Google and a whole day of rebooting!

Rescue Black Screen Fusion VM

My windows 2003 vm in vmware fusion turns into a black screen after an OSX crash. The guest system seems bootable but starts with total blackness. Fortunately safe mode works. Event log shows it’s unable to load vmx_fb.dll, which is the graphics driver of vmware tools.

The paradox is that vmware tool is unable to install in safe mode, which will always fail even though MSI service can be enabled with this method. Then manually deleting vmx_fb.dll and vmx_mode.dll in system32 folder also not works.

It seems the only way is to roll back vm to 2-month-ago snapshot losing all the intermediate stuffs. But this thread is the rescue. Additional vmx_svga.sys in drivers directory should also be deleted. Then the guest 2003 system can be started with the default vga driver.

Now enter the vm, reinstall vmware tools, and make a new snapshot for such emergency case.

Fix 10.11.4 mysterious trackpad reset problem after reboot

Just encountered a mysterious problem after upgraded to 10.11.4 that every time MBP reboots and logins, my trackpad settings like tap-to-click are lost. It’s mysterious because during the very beginning time after login it worked as normal, but a few minutes later trackpad settings were reset automatically. It also affected the Mac AirPlay to AppleTV which would not work except for the first few minutes after reboot.

Googling the airplay problem leads to login items. But removing all of my existing login items doesn’t fix the problem. (Of course, the trackpad plist is the first try which also doesn’t work.)

And the console log during possible resetting trackpad has messages like “kernel[0]: Sandbox: CommCenter(3359) deny(1) file-read-metadata /Library/Developer” and “otherbsd[4246]: Could not submit LoginItem job com.XXX.XXXYYY: 119: Service is disabled”;

More googling doesn’t find much useful info. Similar keyboard reset problem exists but has no fix yet. When analyzing the details of the console logs, one interesting thing is that there’re two login window app started msg around that time, when the failed login items are all at the second login window session and possibly kill my trackpad settings and airplay.

Then why on earth exists another login window session? The culprit is _xcsbuildd. As 10.11.4 upgraded Mac Server, with XCode server service included, which will run as user _xcsbuildd at background. The upgraded service’s second login session breaks some login items which seems indeed killing airplay and resetting the trackpad settings.

Simply disable xcode service in will not remove _xcsbuildd related stuffs. Use this methods to totally get rid of it.

Finally reboot and enjoy the hassle-free trackpad and airplay again.