April 5, 2006 1:47 PM PDT

FAQ: Windows on Macs

No, it's not an April Fools' joke.

Apple Computer on Wednesday released Boot Camp software that lets Mac users install Windows XP on their systems. But there are some strings attached, and the company has warned that running Microsoft's operating system on a Mac opens the computer up to the same attacks faced by traditional Windows PCs.

Some Mac users have shown interest in running Windows on Apple's "superior hardware," now that we use Intel processors, Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, said in a statement Wednesday. "We think Boot Camp makes the Mac even more appealing to Windows users considering making the switch," he added.

The software will be included in the upcoming Mac OS X 10.5, known as "Leopard." It can also be downloaded separately here. Apple will also discuss Boot Camp in August at its Worldwide Developers Conference, the company said.

Windows on a Mac--what's that all about?
Using Apple's new "Boot Camp" software, you can now install Windows XP alongside the Apple Mac OS X operating system.

How does that work?
Boot Camp creates a separate place on the hard drive, called a partition, for the Windows installation. This is done without moving any of the Mac files. Boot Camp also burns a CD with Windows drivers so the Microsoft operating system can work with the Apple hardware.

How does it run?
After installing Windows XP on the Mac, you can use the "Startup Disk" control panel in Windows or Mac OS X to set which operating system the computer should run when it boots up.

Alternately, holding down the "option" key at startup will display a menu that lets you pick an operating system.

Is this the same as a virtual machine?
No, Boot Camp allows you to run Windows XP natively. That means it runs on the Mac just as it would run on a computer from any other PC maker, such as Dell or Gateway.

What do I need?
In short, you need the latest of everything. You can only run Windows on the newest Intel-based Macs with the most recent firmware, or lower-level software, installed. It must also be loaded with Mac OS X 10.4.6, released earlier this week.

Your Mac will need a built-in keyboard or a USB keyboard, as well as a built-in track pad or USB mouse. It requires 10 gigabytes of free space on your main hard-disk drive. You also have to own or buy a CD with a full version of Windows XP Home Edition or Professional with Service Pack 2--that's the latest version of Windows.

What versions of Windows can I run on my Mac?
Windows XP with Service Pack 2. It is not possible to install an earlier version of Windows and upgrade it to XP, nor load an earlier version of XP and update it with SP2. You also cannot use Windows XP Media Center Edition.

In addition, it has to be the full version of Windows XP with SP2, not a cheaper upgrade. Amazon.com sells full XP Home Edition for $194.99, and Professional is listed at $284.99.

Will the upcoming Windows Vista work on my Mac?
Apple is sending mixed messages about that, and it declined to provide a yes or no answer on Wednesday.

Before Apple went public about Boot Camp, one of its developers said at an Intel conference that Macs probably wouldn't be able to run Vista. The obstacle, he said, was the different ways the two operating systems have of booting up.

But in its online documentation for Boot Camp, Apple hints that Vista will be supported: "Macs use an ultra-modern industry standard technology called EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface) to handle booting. Sadly, Windows XP, and even the upcoming Vista, are stuck in the 1980s with old-fashioned BIOS. But with Boot Camp, the Mac can operate smoothly in both centuries."

Will Apple provide a copy of Windows XP?
No. Apple does not sell Windows, and Boot Camp does not include XP.

Will my Mac hardware work in Windows?
Not all of it. Even after installing the drivers from the CD created by Boot Camp, some devices will not function correctly with Windows. These include the Apple Remote Control, Bluetooth Apple Wireless keyboard and mouse, Apple USB Modem, MacBook Pro's sudden motion sensor, MacBook Pro's ambient light sensor, and the built-in iSight camera.

CONTINUED: Security concerns…
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10 comments

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Joris - congrats on getting through an Apple story...
...with only a few backhanded slaps! I know the page views will probably suffer when you can't start a flame war in the comments, but the writing sure is better!
Posted by M C (598 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Can you access media across OS's?
Since you have to partition your HD to install XP on a Mac, can you access files pics, video, music, etc) located on the partition opposite the one you've booted to?
Posted by jbelzman (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Apple can read windows, but not windows...
Apple has always been able to read the file format that Windows uses. However, Windows cannot read anything that is formatted for a Mac. Therefore, in OSX, you should be able to see and access data in the windows partition along with the Mac partition. But in Windows, you will only see the windows partition. Hence the concern for vulnerabilities of malicious apple software affecting a windows partition. But with the security of OSX, I don't see that happening anytime soon. But don't expect to be able to install a windows program and then access it from OSX. It won't work. Strictly for media and file access.
Posted by Xiibo (33 comments )
Link Flag
With planning yes, but don't expect too much
If you choose fat32 the on formating option in the XP install, then mac os will see the XP hard drive and you can read and write to it. If NTFS is chosen the windows drive will be XP only.

From windows however the mac drive does not show as there is no support for the HFS+ format in XP. I thought there were 3rd party apps that added this functionality, but I cant seem to find any. Its a piy as this is the only limit to the dual boot idea.

There are 2 reasons I think this is still too cool for words. I will never let the Mac loose on the net while running windows, but the ability to run XP on the mac hardware means I can use this to play windows Games (and Very well) and most importantly my technical apps that are windows only can be run on one machine. Once I have the job finished and the results saved on my hard drive, reboot back to my nice safe Mac OS X and email them to whoever, and enjoy he stability and safety that as a mac user I need.

Now if 10.5 adds virtualisation and I can have both options ....

Ok off now to mop up the drool

Yes my next laptop will now be a Mac.
Posted by Redhats Q (34 comments )
Link Flag
With planning yes, but don't expect too much
If you choose fat32 the on formating option in the XP install, then mac os will see the XP hard drive and you can read and write to it. If NTFS is chosen the windows drive will be XP only.

From windows however the mac drive does not show as there is no support for the HFS+ format in XP. I thought there were 3rd party apps that added this functionality, but I cant seem to find any. Its a piy as this is the only limit to the dual boot idea.

There are 2 reasons I think this is still too cool for words. I will never let the Mac loose on the net while running windows, but the ability to run XP on the mac hardware means I can use this to play windows Games (and Very well) and most importantly my technical apps that are windows only can be run on one machine. Once I have the job finished and the results saved on my hard drive, reboot back to my nice safe Mac OS X and email them to whoever, and enjoy he stability and safety that as a mac user I need.

Now if 10.5 adds virtualisation and I can have both options ....

Ok off now to mop up the drool

Yes my next laptop will now be a Mac.
Posted by Redhats Q (34 comments )
Link Flag
MS OEM EULA
A reminder is due here: You cannot use the Windows XP installation CD that came with your windows-preinstalled box. That copy is to be used only with that machine and you cannot install it in your brand new MacIntel. You will need to buy a full version to be compliant with MS OEM EULA. Sure you can install the OEM version, but it's ILLEGAL. Just as a reminder, WinXP Home costs 199USD, while WinXP Pro costs 299USD (microsoft.com).
Posted by feranick (212 comments )
Reply Link Flag
re: MS OEM EULA
meh, I doubt ppl even browse through those EULAs in the first place let alone read them, but we'll see what transpires in the months to come.
Posted by ackmondual (199 comments )
Link Flag
Mac OS on x86
I think Apple are crazy not to port OS X to WinTel gear, this would be a true alternative to Windows and Linux. They must have some deal with Microsoft that prevents them, otherwise it makes no sense to limit OSX to just Apple H/W. Look at the success of iPOD - once they went PC and MAC they had a best seller.
Posted by a_harry_h (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
While I agree, I wont hold my breath .. yet
Even Steve Jobs is on record that not releasing mac OS for intel machines was apples greatest mistake, but apple now has too much to loose. Apple is a HARDWARE company. The ipod makes money, not itunes, or ITMS. the software is given away to add value to the hardware.

With dual boot apple hardware is unique in that it does both windows and MAC OS. If they open the OS, the harware advantage is gone and apple must compete with dell (where's the money in that).

Steve is no fool, I am sure its an option in the back up plans, but for now its his ace, and he's keeping it well up his sleeve.

If he span off OSX the software division would make money and the hardware division would have trouble. Besides Mac OS or not, how could you live with a room of ugly dell boxes.

The current plan is fine. Hardware that runs OSX and then when you have no choice use windows, Then back to the good life.

Steve is following the IPOD model. Sell hardware and make it work with the OS that people want to use.... Both of them. (I'm waiting for the Linux Hack)
Posted by Redhats Q (34 comments )
Link Flag
With planning partly, but dont expect too much
If you choose fat32 the on formating option in the XP install, then mac os will see the XP hard drive and you can read and write to it. If NTFS is chosen the windows drive will be XP only.

From windows however the mac drive does not show as there is no support for the HFS+ format in XP. I thought there were 3rd party apps that added this functionality, but I cant seem to find any. Its a piy as this is the only limit to the dual boot idea.

There are 2 reasons I think this is still too cool for words. I will never let the Mac loose on the net while running windows, but the ability to run XP on the mac hardware means I can use this to play windows Games (and Very well) and most importantly my technical apps that are windows only can be run on one machine. Once I have the job finished and the results saved on my hard drive, reboot back to my nice safe Mac OS X and email them to whoever, and enjoy he stability and safety that as a mac user I need.

Now if 10.5 adds virtualisation and I can have both options ....

Ok off now to mop up the drool

Yes my next laptop will now be a Mac.
Posted by Redhats Q (34 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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