Inside Boot Camp

by Devanshu Mehta Apr 05, 2006

In one of the biggest announcements coming out of Apple in its 30 year history, Apple has released a public beta of Boot Camp, a software that allows you to install and run Windows XP on your Mac. It provides a GUI for the entire process and will be integrated into the next major release of OS X, Leopard.

Boot Camp requires an Intel Mac with OS X Tiger with 10 GB of free space and a Windows XP installation CD with service pack 2. It will not work with the Media Center edition, a multi-disk or an upgrade version. Recently, the Windows XP was successfully booted on Intel Macs in a much publicized contest. Part of the problem that was expected in this process was that Apple uses a new standard called EFI to handle booting, which is not supported by Windows XP. According to Apple, though:

Macs use an ultra-modern industry standard technology called EFI to handle booting. Sadly, Windows XP, and even the upcoming Vista, are stuck in the 1980’s with old-fashioned BIOS. But with Boot Camp, the Mac can operate smoothly in both centuries.

The installation process (pdf) provides a graphical interface to partition the hard drive with a simple draggable slider to allocate space for the Windows install. For partitions smaller than 32 GB, Boot Camp supports NTFS and FAT. Mac OS Tiger can read from and write to a FAT drive but only read from NTFS. According to Apple, the only tricky part in the entire process is the manual selection of the C: drive; an incorrect selection could result in it overwriting your OS X files. As part of the Boot Camp process, it will burn a CD with Windows drivers for graphics, networking, audio, AirPort wireless, Bluetooth, and a few other features so that, in Apple’s words, you don’t have to scrounge around the Internet looking for them. Once installed, you can choose which operating system to boot into by holding down the option key while the computer boots up until the disk icon appears. You may also go to your System Preferences to set which operating system you would like to boot by default.

The Macintosh community has been buzzing with rumors that the Leopard would include virtualization software- that is, software that would allow multiple operating systems to be running concurrently so that a user may switch between them without rebooting. Already there is speculation that the introduction of Boot Camp strengthens that rumor and true virtualization will be supported in the next major release of OS X.

Boot Camp is an 83 MB download and is still in beta. At this point, Apple does not provide technical support for this process other than on its web site. Back up all your important information and make sure you have the latest firmware upgrades before you proceed. The Apple Remote Control (IR), Apple Wireless (Bluetooth) keyboard or mouse, Apple USB Modem, MacBook Pro’s sudden motion sensor, MacBook Pro’s ambient light sensor, and built-in iSight camera will not work in Windows, but everything else should. If you use the iTunes music store, the Windows part of your machine will have to be authorized separately from the Macintosh part.

Also, as Apple reminds us in its Word to the Wise:

Windows running on a Mac is like Windows running on a PC. That means it’ll be subject to the same attacks that plague the Windows world. So be sure to keep it updated with the latest Microsoft Windows security fixes.

We could not have said it better ourselves. If you find yourself in a situation where you do not really want Windows on your Macintosh any more, Apple’s Boot Camp provides a simple two click process to rectify the situation and regain that part of your hard drive.


  • The thing that would provide a real advantage to computer users is the possibility to run OSX on PCs.

    ediedi had this to say on Apr 06, 2006 Posts: 16
  • I totally agree.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Apr 06, 2006 Posts: 2220
  • Now you don’t really want Hell to freeze over, do you? wink

    Lionel Chollet had this to say on Apr 06, 2006 Posts: 23
  • Apple then becomes a software supplier or a high-end ‘PC’ supplier (ie might be fastest but won’t be cheapest).

    XP on a Mac makes a bit of sense - but OS X on a PC? *shudder*

    Marc Jones had this to say on Apr 06, 2006 Posts: 14
  • Hell froze over when Apple switched to Intel.  Or when Macs started booting XP.  Or when Apple sold $150 million worth of stock to Microsoft.  Take your pick.  smile

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Apr 06, 2006 Posts: 2220
  • Taking a pick would be sort of a basic instinct.

    Lionel Chollet had this to say on Apr 06, 2006 Posts: 23
  • Boot Camp opens up a big can of worms on so many different levels.  Will game makers still make games for Macs?  Will some software makers just tell you to “put windows on your machine”?  I’ve been so used to not having to worry about attacks, I don’t even know what Windows users have to deal with anymore.  I’ve been so lucky to be in an all-Mac work community, and haven’t even had to touch a PC in years, bit it looks like Apple may be bringing Windows back into everyone’s home, even mine…


    Jim Caruthers had this to say on Apr 06, 2006 Posts: 13
  • Anyone seen or heard of Parallels’ virtualisation software that they announced today?,1697,1946922,00.asp

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Apr 06, 2006 Posts: 2220
  • Will game makers still make games for Macs?

    They make games for Macs?  smile

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Apr 06, 2006 Posts: 2220
  • ^ I just bought Sims 2 for Mac smile

    Been thinking about Sim City 4 too, actually.

    These are the only kind of games I like on computers, because I have an Xbox for the ‘gaming’ games.

    Luke Mildenhall-Ward had this to say on Apr 06, 2006 Posts: 299
  • Does battlestar galactica game work on mac?Because I need a new computer and I was thinking about mac but I don’t want to loose the battlestar game.

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    star09 had this to say on Sep 29, 2011 Posts: 1
  • @ Armica - I don’t think so. You don’t need mac to play in full resolution in this game. Akwarystyka

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