Apple releases Windows XP dual-boot solution

Following the project's early attempts at getting Windows XP to boot on Intel Macs, Apple has announced Boot Camp, its own fully supported solution to the problem. Booting Windows on Intel Macs isn't entirely straightforward, as the machines use Intel's Extensible Firmware Interface instead of a BIOS, which Windows XP doesn't support. The project successfully booted the OS on several Intel Macs, but there were still lingering problems, including a lack of drivers and missing functionality. Boot Camp features an easy-to-use installer with a non-destructive partition manager, and lets users burn a driver CD with the missing Windows drivers for their Macs. Once Windows is installed, the user can pick between Windows XP and MacOS X by holding down the option key at startup.

Boot Camp will be integrated in the next version of MacOS X, code-named Leopard, which is expected at the end of this year or perhaps in early 2007. In the meantime, Apple supplies a public beta of Boot Camp on its site, in the form of a hefty 83MB download with a set of detailed instructions (PDF). Users need a fully patched MacOS X 10.4.6 operating system, the latest firmware update for their Intel Mac, a Windows XP Home or Professional Service Pack 2 CD, a blank CD, and 10GB of free space. There is no mention of future Windows Vista compatibility on the Boot Camp page for the time being, although Apple could very well update the software for Vista once the new Microsoft OS is released in January 2007.

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