Coding with Titans

so breaking things happens constantly, but never on purpose

Fix keyboard in Windows 10 on MacBook Pro (Early 2011)

Due to corona-virus pandemic my kids stayed at home and started distance learning. I was already practicing remote work from longer period and their appearance came as unfunny disturbance. They started occupying my critical devices each morning just to check if something new to do was assigned to them by teachers. I really found this video matching my situation. Then they were playing with some on-line courses…

Instead of going and buying some used or post-leasing equipment (as suggested here) I came out with an idea of letting my kids play and do their homeworks on an old MacBook Pro 13’’ from 2011. I already put a lot of effort to make it a top quality stuff for developer (by installing Windows 10 in dual-boot on or upgrading its RAM to 16GB, not mentioning replacing HDD and internal DVD with Samsung 860 EVO disks, so even after almost 9 years, it’s still usable, hard to kill machine and powerful enough to handle their needs.

One thing was somehow faulty and broken meanwhile. Some time between version 1809 and 1903 of Windows 10 upgrades the keyboard and trackpad started to work strangely (only left button worked, no scroll, no right button, no lights under, no Fn-key combinations). Those system updates also caused the whole device to hold, sometimes reboot or even BSOD, leaving it whole unstable. Similar problems appeared on my Kruger&Matz Edge 1080 tablet, but that’s a different story. Long story short - both ended up on a shelf more than a year ago until now…

Here you can find a recipe, how I did restored this MacBook Pro 2011 and make it working fine once again. My biggest inspiration was this video, even if it’s too long, too boring and voice is terrible. I don’t recommending watching it, below you will find everything streamlined and with my comments and failed attempts.

  1. I have noticed Bootcamp 5.1.5640 installation got broken. I tried to reinstall it and it failed. It was primarily designed for Windows 8, not Windows 10.

  2. I started removing software from it, having a hope I will eliminate the conflicts and it will bring back to normal. This approach also failed, I had far too many versions of Visual Studio and some servers that were very deeply integrated into the OS, that didn’t want to be removed.

  3. Since this was non-standard installation done long ago, I had another brilliant idea - let’s remove the SSD drive with Windows physically and let’s try to install it again on the second drive, next to macOS. It succeeded, was far easier than few years ago with Windows 7, but ended up without voice. Somehow in UEFI mode (not the BIOS-style boot as I had before) the drivers for CirrusLogic audio equipment were not working. I searched the Internet and haven’t found any solution for this problem.

    Reverted back the SSD drive with the hanging/broken Windows installation. As a side not - it’s so incredible fast and satisfying those days to reinstall Windows (macOS too!) from bootable USB dongle onto SSD drive.

  4. My final attempt (due to lack of other ideas) was to reset Windows 10 to its factory settings with keeping only my files option. There are plenty guides on this subject. It went pretty well and all the non-system, non build-in applications and drivers were removed. And thankfully system regained its stability. First small success. Audio, WiFi, camera all were working fine. Although keyboard and trackpad still missed some features and I was unable (and a bit scarry to try) to reinstall Bootcamp that remembered Windows 8 times. Of course attaching external mouse was a nice workaround.

  5. Then the video I mentioned above came into play. Turned out I don’t need to install full Bootcamp. First I had to extract from following drivers:

    from internal folder BootCamp\Drivers\Apple and put them aside next to each other:


    Then run a cmd.exe (Command Line) as an Administrator (important!), navigate to the directory with those three drivers and install them via command:

    $> msiexec /i BootCamp.msi

    You are done and after a reboot all should work as expected. Keyboard and trackpad will have all the features restored.

    One note - it’s very important to run it as Administrator as otherwise it will not perform their tasks, even if on UI appear some progress bars and it will pretend something was installed.

That mostly goes to the end. After reinstalling some Office and graphic applications I could pass it to my kids. Whole family became happy.

Hope you enjoyed the story and hopefully it will help you bring this device back to life again! Have a good day!