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Apple Boot Camp: Welcome, Windows XP Recruits

Apple is making it possible to run a copy of Windows XP on an Intel-based Apple Macintosh. But most home and business users will have to buy more copies of Windows XP in order to do so.

"You can't take the Windows XP disks that came with your new machine from Dell and load it on the Mac," warns Tim Bajarin of Creative Strategies Inc. The Windows disks shipped by PC suppliers are backup copies in case the original loaded on the machine is corrupted in a crash. The backup copy is tied to the BIOS of an individual piece of hardware and registered to that machine with Microsoft for support purposes.

Home and small business users who want to run Windows on Mac machines will have to pay about $200 to buy a copy off store shelves and then load it under the installer supplied by Apple beta software, Boot Camp, downloadable from the Apple site. Apple isn't supporting the software, but plans to build it into the next release of the Macintosh operating system.

Bajarin calles Apple's Boot Camp offering "a win for Apple and Microsoft." It will result in more Windows XP licenses being sold, he notes. It will also give Windows users who have been eyeing a Macintosh for its ease of use and lower virus infection rate an excuse to go out and buy one. In the past that's meant owning two computers at home.

Boot Camp will work best for the sort of users who work with Windows at the office and would like to occasionally do so at home, but prefer a Mac for a home machine. If they weren't willing to buy two machines in order to get a Mac, "Apple is taking away that objection." The ability to run both operating systems on one piece of hardware will appeal to "parents who use Windows at work, but whose kids want a Macintosh at home," Bajarin notes. With Apple Boot Camp, they can buy a Macintosh and a copy of Windows XP off the shelf and have both run at home on Macintosh hardware.

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