…onwards with my weekend of becoming a dual Windows-Mac user. (For the first installment, check out the previous blog post: How accurate are those Mac ads)

Having dabbled with OS/X, it’s time to install Boot Camp and get Windows XP up and running on the Apple MacBook Pro.

[some time later…]

Well, the process was pretty straight forward. The guide that Apple provides helps you along nicely. The one hiccup for me was sorting out the disk sizing when creating a partition for Windows. You are presented with the following screen:

I thought that gave me the options of either 32Gb or an even split between Windows and Mac OS. I wanted more than 32Gb but I very specifically didn’t want an even split because I didn’t want to accidentally chose the wrong partition during the Windows set-up process. It’s not too clear in the screen shot, but you can actually click on the dot between the two partitions and drag it along to select a custom size.

With partitioning complete, you click ‘install Windows’, stick in your CD and off you go.

Worth knowing, you have to have a full copy of Windows, it can’t be an upgrade CD/DVD. If you are installing Windows XP, it must be a CD that includes service pack 2.

Installing Windows takes just as long (i.e. a couple of hours at least) on a Mac as it does a PC. Once it boots up, you need to download the patches that have been released since Service Pack 2.

Now, as documented in my previous blog post, it turns out Apple is not immune to the need to release updates and a fresh ‘out of the box’ Mac needed 300Mb worth. But the process was pretty straightforward and completed in a single step (5 files downloaded and installed). How does Windows compare…

First you have to activate your copy of Windows, then you have to install the installer. Then you can start checking and downloading the required updates… 3 files (1/2 Mb) are considered critical to begin with – a hot fix, an updated version of the installer and the Genuine Advantage Validation Tool. Not sure exactly who the Genuine Advantage Validation tool is considered critical for…

With those three files downloaded and installed, you are prompted to reboot

Then you have to run Windows Update again. Selecting Express update (install critical files only) again, this time it finds 77 files at 60Mb.

Once that little pile is complete and another reboot later, you are up and running ready to go. Whilst the Get a Mac ‘Out of the Box‘ video might not quite be reality, life is easier on a Mac than a PC…

So, Boot camp is installed and Windows XP is up and running on a Mac. Final task is to test the dual booting and check that OS/X is still there.

The Boot Camp notes advise that you need to hold down the Option key in order to bring up the two boot options – Windows or Mac. That’s great, but my keyboard doesn’t have a key with Option (or even Opt) written on it… So, back to the manual known as Google, I receive the following helpful reply:

Ah, now I know. Option to Apple is Alt to Windows 🙂 Most helpful to get an image with the button highlighted as the top result… It seems my MacBook Pro was already gearing up to have Windows installed, because the Option key has ‘Alt’ written on it!

The next step is going to be seeing how the Mac copes with running Virtual PC 2007 on Windows XP… that will be the topic of the next post 🙂

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Technorati tag: Windows on a Mac

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