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NOTE: For more recent information with workarounds, see Thunderbolt limitations of Mac running Windows: a feature, not a bug. Sort of.

Thunderbolt Boot Camp problem not limited to Ethernet adapter

Two readers responded to last week's report about a problem with Apple's Thunderbolt Ethernet adapter when the Mac is booted from Windows using Boot Camp: if the adapter disconnects, you have to reboot Windows to get it recognized again. The readers report that the problem is not limited to Thunderbolt Ethernet.

Milton Aupperle points out that MacBook Pro expansion cards have the same problem:

This is basically sounds like the same Apple bug that occurs with PCI-E Express Cards in the expandable MacBook Pros under Windows 7 and 8 (I haven't tried Windows XP or Vista).

All of the Express Cards I have (SATA, Ethernet, USB 2, USB 3, FireWire 400, FireWire 800 etc.) are only recognized if you boot up with them in Windows. If you eject that card or it gets prematurely disconnected (i.e. flimsy cable connectors like some of the FireWire / USB cards etc), then it will not be recognized it after that. In some cases it can cause a lockup up or the BSOD if a driver tries to access the device.

Thunderbolt is basically the same thing as an Ejectable Express card - and Apple simply has never fixed this issue in Express cards for Windows, so it probably carried over.

I do not know of any fix for this issue either -- the Ejection / Reconnection code is Apple's and it's up to them to fix this.

Al Pawlowski sees the same problem with Thunderbolt hard drives, has some other problems that appear to be dependent on the Mac model:

I have seen this situation with Windows 7 running on late 2011 i5 iMacs in my lab. These machines have no Mac OS installed. They are Windows 7 only with a few Boot Camp drivers (Windows 7 SP1 includes drivers for most of this model's hardware). I found the problem after buying a new LaCie Thunderbolt drive for imaging. It also does not work after installing the LaCie Thunderbolt driver for Windows. The LaCie drive does work, however, on three brand new dual-core i5 Mac minis I got set up the exact same way (Windows 7 only) - and without having to install any extra drivers. Looks like some Thunderbolt hardware difference.

The LaCie does work with the 2011 iMacs when they are running OS X v10.8 (have not tried other versions of X)..

I also have one of the 2011 iMac running Windows 8 only. It was a Windows update install of Windows 7. But I have not tried the LaCie on it.

If you've seen this problem .

For more recent information with workarounds, see Thunderbolt limitations of Mac running Windows: a feature, not a bug. Sort of.

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