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Monday, January 21, 2008

Windows Goes Native on Macs

When Apple announced that new Macs would have Intel processors rather than the traditional Motorola chips,
speculation began about the possibility of being able to run the Windows operating system on a Mac machine. Hackers were able to do that quite quickly, but their methods were fairly complicated.

Now Apple has made running Windows on a Mac easy. They have introduced a new program called Boot Camp, which allows Windows XP to run on an Intel-based Macintosh computer. This program is not an emulator or a virtualization engine like previous software that allowed Windows programs to run on a Mac. Instead, it is a program that configures the Macintosh drive so that it can boot to either Apple's OS X or Microsoft's Windows XP. This allows Windows programs to run natively giving them the full power and performance.

Although the Boot Camp program is still in its Beta testing mode, it is available to anyone for free download at the Apple website. Early testing shows that it is stable and fairly easy to install with only a few minor glitches. Currently Apple is not supporting the installation or use of Boot Camp. We may, however, find that it is a part of Leopard, the next Mac operating system upgrade, which should make its appearance sometime in late 2006 or early 2007.

Boot Camp requires the separate purchase of the Windows XP operating system. Yet it is being hailed as a wonderful tool that will allow computer shoppers to purchase a Mac, use the Mac OS X operating system, and still be able to run PC games and other software that may be unavailable in a Macintosh version.

With only a 2.3 percent share of the U.S. PC market last year, Apple is hoping that being able to run Windows on a Mac will increase sales.

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