Apples Boot Camp Could Enlist More Users

Review: eWEEK Labs was impressed by how well the program's startup process went, but a potential snag is that Windows XP doesn't support the Mac's default file system and Macs don't fully support the NTFS file system.

A few weeks back, a hack surfaced on the Internet that let users of Apples new Intel-based computers install Microsoft Windows XP.

It was probably more trouble than it was worth for most users, but Apple has come around with its own, much smoother pathway to Windows.

Indeed, as with most hacks, the Windows-XP-on-Mac-hardware workaround was a tricky one, and its tough for many (eWEEK Labs included) to grasp why Mac users would care to fuss with the firmware innards of their shiny new Apple Tiger boxes to run an OS that installs quite happily on nearly all the worlds desktop PCs.

On April 5, however, Apple strengthened the case for Mac Intel users switching from OS X to Windows XP, at least some of the time, with the release of an initial beta of Boot Camp. During eWEEK Labs tests, the beta software guided us smoothly through the process of turning an Intel-powered Mac mini into a dual-boot Windows XP SP2/ OS X 10.4.6 box.

We were impressed by how well the process went: In our previous experience with dual-booting systems—such as with Windows and BeOS or Windows and Linux—weve found serious potential for system breakage.

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We started Boot Camp by updating the firmware on our Mac mini and downloading and installing all available updates for the machine.

We then launched the Boot Camp application, which offered to burn for us a CD that contained all the Windows drivers wed need to operate Apples hardware under Windows XP.

We rebooted with a Windows XP SP2 disk (Boot Camp supports no earlier Windows version) and began installing Windows normally.

/zimages/5/28571.gifClick here to read more about Apples Boot Camp.

Once Windows was up, we installed drivers from the disk Boot Camp had just burned. We were then in business, just as with any other old Windows machine.

Performance was a non-issue—nothing seemed noticeably faster or slower than what wed expect on a processor in this class—an Intel Core Duo 1.66GHz.

One potential snag for dual-booters is that Windows XP doesnt support the Macs default file system and Macs dont fully support the NTFS file system, which is the default for Windows.

We couldnt view any of our Mac files while in Windows.

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