If you read the Wall Street Journal, you will know that on Wednesday, Apple released software called Boot Camp that allows users of the Intel processor Macintosh computers to dual-boot with Microsoft Windows XP and Mac OSX.
Naturally, this interested me. I downloaded the software and repartitioned my drive, allocating 10GB for the Windows partition. Next, I had to get a copy of Windows XP with SP2 already on it. I had my class slipstream SP2 onto an installation disk so I was prepared to slipstream it but Ian had a copy already so I just burned the disk. I had my own CD key to use.
The next step was to burn a CD of drivers that would allow me to use the Mac features within Windows XP. This also provides support for the Mac hardware including the wireless Airport card, Bluetooth adapter, and other devices.
I then started the Windows XP install just as you normally would do on a PC. The installation was the part that took the longest. After installing, I updated to get all the latest patches, I joined it to my domain and then installed a game to try out the graphics card.
The graphics adapter is amazingly adaptable. (no pun intended) I was able to adjust the amount of system memory it uses. I have it using 256MB but I might decrease that. My entire system has 2GB of RAM in it. My bottleneck is the GPU, not the RAM so the additional RAM is not helpful. I ran Battle for Middle Earth 2 (BFME2) and the graphics did look pretty bad. I was able to adjust a few things to clean it up but it certainly does not look as nice as Justin’s machine (3.5GHz AMD Athlon 64, 256MB Graphics card). Another issue is the fact that my widescreen resolution is not supported in-game. I can, however, utilize the 1920×1200 resolution in the OS.
To switch between Windows and MacOS Tiger, hold down the Option/Alt key as the computer boots. It will then give you a selection screen. The screen does not look anything like the boot loaded in Windows. This is a graphical menu that you click on. Is this functionally any better than the one included with XP? No, but it does look nice.
I do wish that the two systems could share data on the file system. MacOS uses the HFS+ file system and Windows uses NTFS. I was hoping that Apple would write some drivers to allow the XP OS to read from the HFS disk and vice versa. This is not a large inconvenience though because I primarily use network storage. There is 1.2TB of storage on the network that I can take advantage of.
The process was fairly simple and I do not miss the other 10GB so I am happy to have tried this.