Let this be marked as a black day in the history of my computing life; for this was the day I installed Windows on my Macintosh (her name is MacBeth, remember?).
Since the Intel-based days of the Mac, installing Windows has always been an option, and the presence of Boot Camp makes it a ridiculously easy process. In fact, installing Windows on a Mac is far easy than doing so on a, well, PC. Boot Camp supports the 32-bit releases of Windows XP (SP2) and Windows Vista, though I believe if one has a newish Mac Pro or MacBook Pro the 64-bit Vista is supported too.
It is quite a simple process:
- Start the Boot Camp Assistant in Mac OS (in /Applications/Utilities/) and partition the disk where Windows is to be installed.
- Insert the Windows CD (it has to be a single-disk version; I used XP Home SP2) and click on Start Installation. Extremely idiot-proof so far, because Boot Camp will be telling you what to do at each step.
- This makes the Mac reboot using the Windows CD, now leaving you at the mercy of Windows. The only tricky bit comes here, when you have to select which partition to format and install to. If you choose wrong, you will end up overwriting your Mac OS partition! Thankfully, there’s an easy way to tell — the required partition is marked <BootCamp>.
- There’s nothing much to do as Windows installs. Some items — like giving the computer a name (mine’s called “Traitor”), setting the timezone and so on might require user input. Make yourself a cup of tea around now.
- When Windows finally starts up, it might look quite ugly. Use the Mac OS X install DVD to load the proper drivers and also a Boot Camp application for Windows. And you’re done.
The first thing I did after the installation — and definitely recommend as a priority — was get security software (ZoneAlarm and Avast!) and Firefox. Oh, and one must also activate one’s copy of Windows within (I think) 30 days.
The verdict: Sadly, or perhaps fittingly, I’m altogether not happy with the way Windows XP runs on my Mac. It seems a little buggy, but that’s Microsoft Windows’ middle name. I intend to use it for nothing more than gaming, though the way it’s heating up is worrying me.
Hmm… the good thing is, Boot Camp also allows you to delete the partition and reclaim your property from Windows. In which case a copy of Windows XP will be up for sale. Any takers?