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The Joys Of Dual-Booting

On April 6th, 2006, Apple changed the world. With several of its product lines transitioned over to Intel processors, the computer maker surprised the world by releasing a little product named Boot Camp into public beta testing. Boot Camp allows Windows XP SP2 to be installed alongside the standard Mac operating system, OS X, on Intel-based Macs.

The shockwave from this announcement was felt around the world. While some of the most fervent Mac faithful have rejected the notion of installing Windows on their machines, many Mac users see Boot Camp as a way to run that one required application that only runs on Windows, instead of having to have a separate machine. And many Windows users, myself included, see this as a door finally swinging open, allowing us access to the two most popular operating systems on one single machine.

A Word Of Explanation

There continues to be a bit of confusion over what Boot Camp is and isn't. It is not an emulation of Windows XP within the Mac operating system. It is a dual-boot option for Apple hardware that takes advantage of the fact that the firmware on Intel-based Apple products has been upgraded to allow support for Windows XP. While dual-booting is new to the Mac universe, it's a rather familiar experience in the PC world. Anyone who has installed Linux alongside Windows on his or her PC will find Boot Camp similar.

I've been a Windows user since version 3.0, but, like many, I've been Mac-curious for some time now -- especially after I had the opportunity to edit some home video on a borrowed iBook a few years back. So I took the announcement of Boot Camp as a sign that it was time for me to buy an Apple laptop but still keep one foot in the Windows world. I chose a MacBook Pro with a 15-inch widescreen display, 2.0Ghz Intel Core Duo processor, and 1GB of RAM. I also bought a separate Windows XP license and a CD with Service Pack 2 already rolled into it. And, of course, I downloaded Boot Camp.

The Joys Of Dual-Booting

•  Installation

•  Making It All Play Nicely

•  Everyday Dual-Booting

Since then I've been living a dual-boot life. Some things have gone smoothly, while others took a little tweaking to get right. But after a month of having it all in one machine, I wonder how I ever survived with only one operating system.

Editor's Note: If you're thinking of moving to a Mac, be sure to check out the comprehensive "Switching To The Mac: A Guide For Windows Users."

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