View Full Version : Now Macs Do Windows

04-05-2006, 05:59 PM
Boot Camp Turns Your Mac
Into a Reliable Windows PC
April 5, 2006 2:20 p.m.
For mainstream computer users doing typical tasks, Apple Computer's Macintosh models have huge advantages over the prevalent Windows computers from companies like Dell and Hewlett-Packard. The Macs have better, sleeker, hardware designs; a superior operating system; much better built-in software; and virtually no exposure to viruses and spyware. Apple's flagship model, the iMac, is the best consumer desktop on the market.
Apple's Boot Camp software lets newer Mac machines run the Windows operating system.

But, there's a big barrier for Windows users tempted to switch to the Mac: software. While there are thousands of programs for the Mac's operating system, called OS X, potential Mac buyers often find they have one or two Windows programs they must use that have no Mac equivalent. These range from custom software required by their employers; to niche programs for specific industries or hobbies; to games.

On Wednesday, Apple took a historic, and potentially huge, step to remove that obstacle to switching. It introduced free software that makes it easy to install and run Windows on the latest Mac models, as a complement to the Mac operating system. With this new software, called Boot Camp, you can turn your Mac into a fast, full-fledged Windows computer for those occasions when you must run a Windows program. That makes the iMac, the Mac Mini, and the MacBook Pro laptop the only computers in the world that allow mainstream users to run both operating systems at full speed.

I've been testing Windows on a new iMac for several days, and, except for a couple of trifling annoyances, it runs perfectly, just like a stand-alone Windows PC. I was able to install Boot Camp, and Windows XP Pro, on the Mac in under an hour. After that, I installed 15 Windows programs, most unavailable in Mac versions, and all ran properly.

In Windows mode, the iMac was blazingly fast -- far faster than my two year old H-P Windows computer. And every function of Windows I tested, including Web browsing, email, and music playback, ran flawlessly.

In fact, I wrote this column in Windows on the iMac, using the Windows version of Microsoft Word. And I emailed it to my editors using Outlook Express, the built-in email program in Windows. When I was done using Windows, I just restarted the Mac, and the machine turned back into a regular Macintosh, running the Mac operating system, and Mac software.

Boot Camp (downloadable at www.apple.com/macosx/bootcamp), allows you to "boot up", or start up the Mac, in either operating system. You can designate which one gets loaded when the machine boots up. Or, by simply holding down the Option (or Alt) key while starting or restarting the computer, you get a screen showing icons for the two operating systems. Click on the Mac icon, and the machine runs the Mac OS. Click on the Windows icon, and it runs Windows.

Each operating system gets its own dedicated portion, or "partition," of the Mac's hard disk, so they don't interfere with one another. Programs you install in each operating system, and files you create with them, are stored in the part of the hard disk devoted to that operating system.

All of this is possible because the latest Macs use the same Intel chips as Windows machines. Boot Camp only runs on these new Intel-based Macs, which have been available since January. Older Macs can also run Windows, in a fashion, but only via a clumsy Microsoft program which creates a painfully slow "virtual" Windows computer that can't handle some demanding programs, like games. By contrast, with Boot Camp, the new Intel-based Macs can become true, fast, full-fledged Windows computers that are essentially identical to standard Windows computers, yet still retain the ability to operate as normal Macs.

It's important to note that Apple isn't abandoning its OS X operating system, or adopting Windows. The company says it won't sell, pre-install, or support Windows. In fact, while Boot Camp is free Apple software, anyone using it must supply his own copy of Windows to install. Boot Camp is technically beta, or test, software. But, in my tests, it operated exactly as advertised. It will be built into the next version of the Mac operating system, called Leopard, which is due in early 2007.

You can't run both operating systems at the same time. Switching between the two operating systems requires you to restart the Mac, and the operating system you're not using is shut down. That makes switching a little slow, but it also means that each operating system runs like a separate computer, with full control of the hardware. This allows Windows to run at full speed, and protects your Mac files from the effects of Windows viruses.

With Boot Camp, you could choose to run a Mac solely as a Windows machine, with good results. But Apple doesn't expect many people to do this. Instead, it assumes that Boot Camp users will still use the Mac operating system and Mac software 90% of the time, switching into Windows mode only when necessary to run a few Windows programs. Some customers may never use Windows at all on their Macs, and may see Boot Camp as a sort of insurance policy that allows them to switch to the Mac without fear that they'd lose future access to Windows programs.

Apple's move is only the first in what will likely be a series of new programs that allow the Intel Macs to run Windows. On Thursday, a small Virginia company called Parallels Inc., plans to release a beta, or test, version of its own software to run Windows on an Intel Mac. It's called Parallels Workstation for OS X and will cost $49, plus the cost of Windows itself. Unlike Boot Camp, Parallels creates a "virtual machine" that simulates a Windows computer inside the Mac OS. I haven't had a chance to test this product, but may do so in coming months.

And, last month, two hackers caused a stir by posting online their own method for running Windows on the Intel Macs. But, unlike Boot Camp, this method requires technical skills far beyond those of the average user, and it doesn't enable all of the Mac's key hardware in Windows.

These efforts are necessary because, although the new Macs use Intel chips, there are subtle hardware differences between them and standard Windows computers that make it impossible to simply buy a copy of Windows and install it. Apple's Boot Camp allows Windows to overcome these hardware differences. It also includes "drivers," -- hardware-enabling programs -- that allow Windows to work smoothly with Apple keyboards, video systems, and networking hardware.

Because the Mac becomes a true Windows computer when in Windows mode, it is susceptible to all of the viruses and spyware that plague regular Windows machines, but which don't affect Macs running the Mac operating system. While these viruses can't infect the Mac side of the machine, you do have to install antivirus and antispyware programs on the Windows side, just as you would on a normal Windows computer.

To install Windows on a Mac with Boot Camp, you first must upgrade to the latest version of Mac OS X and perform what's called a "firmware update." Both are easy.

Next, you download the Boot Camp program, and install it. Boot Camp first guides you through the process of burning a CD with driver software you will later install in Windows. Then, it lets you divide the hard disk into separate Mac and Windows partitions. Finally, it starts up your Windows installation disk.

After that, Windows installs itself as it would on any regular Windows PC. Once Windows is up and running, you insert the driver disk created with Boot Camp, and this disk automatically installs the drivers that allow Windows to control the hardware feature of the Mac. For instance, on Macs, you eject CDs and DVDs using a keyboard key that Windows computers lack. Boot Camp tweaks Windows so this key works.

In my tests, this whole process took 57 minutes, of which 40 minutes was claimed by the Windows installation disk, which has nothing to do with Apple.

After I had Windows running, I browsed the web and received and sent email, using both a wired and wireless connection. I installed and used an H-P DeskJet printer. I played a DVD. I used a USB thumb drive to transfer files to Windows. All worked well.

Next, I installed 11 Windows programs which aren't available for the Mac. These included Microsoft Access, Outlook, and Publisher; ACT!; Adobe Photoshop Album; Microsoft Money; Family Tree Maker; Microsoft Flight Simulator; and Microsoft Age of Empires; AVG antivirus; and Spyware Doctor.

I also installed the Windows versions of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. And I installed the Windows version of Quicken. These four programs are also available in Mac versions, though in the case of Quicken, the Windows version is much better.

I used these 15 programs for anywhere from five minutes to a few hours, and all worked perfectly.

So what are the annoyances and caveats about running Windows on a Mac with Boot Camp?

You have to reset the clock every time you start Windows, because the Mac hardware keeps time differently than Windows computers do, and this confuses Windows. In my case, Windows also kept asking me to install my printer every time it started, even though it was already installed. Apple says it is working on these issues.

Also, you must buy your own copy of Windows to install. This must be a full version, not an upgrade version, of Windows XP, Home or Pro, with "SP2" included. The Home version costs around $199, the Pro version $299.

In addition, you cannot use an Apple Bluetooth wireless keyboard or mouse, at least during Windows installation. You must use a wired keyboard and mouse. And the Windows side doesn't work with Apple's iSight cameras and some other peripherals.

You also have to adjust to some differences in keyboard layout. On an Mac keyboard, there are "Apple keys," which become the Windows keys while running Windows. The Apple Option key becomes the Alt key. But you can also just plug in a standard Windows keyboard if you prefer.

Finally, there's one dangerous and tricky step in the process of installing Windows. In one of the screens of the Windows installation disk, where you are asked which hard drive partition will be used for Windows, you must select "C." If you choose wrong, you could obliterate your Mac operating system. I recommend downloading and printing out Apple's Boot Camp Installation Guide, which carefully guides you through this screen, with pictures.

But these are minor issues. All in all, Boot Camp works really well. Now it's simple to run Windows on a Mac. So, if you're thinking of switching, your decision has been made much easier. Whether you want to run Mac or Windows programs, an Apple computer may be the only computer you'll need.
•* Email me at mossberg@wsj.com.

Formula Jr
04-07-2006, 04:37 PM
Jobs doesn't want to make computers any more. He has said this.
He's mading a concession to reality. System X is really no different than Fedora 4.
There isn't a reason anymore to follow the proprietory software. Buy an Apple if you wish. They are now linux machines like the Intel boxes.
Jobs went to an in house version of Unix with X. And that was he's only mistake. Ahead of his curve is a huge library of neat stuff. That people said should run on Intel machines. And so the chip change.

I love being able to put a general use soft OS on everything. With out crap on it. We, won. With out the worry of the licence. This makes me happy today to think that. We are back to the way it use to be. You have to be very old in Computers to understand this and why this is neat. It is neat. Gates was always a plug to what people wanted to do. Now that is off now.

You don't know the history. If the MAN had lived, We would be 10 years ahead, of where we are. But he would have liked this. As a way.

04-08-2006, 09:04 AM
Jobs doesn't want to make computers any more. He has said this.

I haven't heard that Jobs doesn't want to make computers, do you have a source?

What about using Mac OS X on non-Apple hardware? Will Apple allow that?

The answer is no, as long as Steve Jobs is in charge. Don’t look for Apple to turn into just a software company. Jobs believes that one of his company’s strengths, and what makes Apple highly competitive and innovative, is the fact that it makes and sells the whole widget. Keeping the amount of hardware Mac OS X officially supports (through Apple) guarantees complete hardware and software parity.


You don't know the history. If the MAN had lived, We would be 10 years ahead, of where we are. But he would have liked this. As a way.

I know most all the history so what are you referring to?
Apple II, Lisa, I bought the second Mac ever made the "Fat Mac", with 512k of memory.

Who is the MAN?

Formula Jr
04-08-2006, 12:22 PM
Gary Killdall was the Man.
The plan was always to cross platform X. And get out of the hardware game.
The hichup was the Ipod and where that went. Three years lost on mp3s.
Do you know the backgound on that? That it was developed before the compression soft? So it would play straight Wav. files it had a hard drive in it.

But doing anything with System 10.X is a dumb idea now with Linux being as developed as it is. Apple has always played with AUX. System X is Apple AUX. Its just too late.
And Billy should be worried about Open Office. Its aces high and he's holding low cards. But bill isn't part of the scene any more, and this is good.

been here since the digital Pdp 8.

saw a two gig USB portable drive the other day. It was 2 by 2 inches and 1/4 inch thick. It wasn't even high end. This stuff still amazes me.
I've held a 128K disk stack. Oh My, we have come a long way......