Welcome to Mac OS XP: Hands on with Boot Camp

Today's Shuffle Song:
Oingo Boingo - Dead Man's Party - Weird Science
Weird Science by Oingo Boingo

For those of you who don't surf the tech web or RSS a major news site, Apple announced some fairly significant news today. They're releasing a public beta test of one of the features that will be included in the next release of Mac OS X (codenamed Leopard). For now, they're calling the feature Boot Camp and it allows you to dual-boot Windows XP on Macs that have Intel processors. Many are already speculating that Leopard may also have the ability to run Windows in virtualization along side OS X, and even that said technology may be called Chameleon.

Either way, I'm glad I already have tickets to WWDC.

I've already downloaded Boot Camp and used it to install Windows XP Professional SP2. I thought it may be nice to share the experience for those who are less aggressive about adopting new technology than I am. The experience can be summed up as such: "Wow, that was easy."

I'm a nut about playing video games. I've got an Xbox 360. I've also got several late model PCs that help satisfy my obsession. One is a Dell, and the other two are DIY boxes that I hand-built. Install XP on my MacBook was way easier than doing so on the other PCs. It's not even close. Apple's got a clear guide on their site, but here's an overview of the process:

  1. Download Boot Camp.
  2. Install Boot Camp.
  3. Run Boot Camp Assistant.
  4. Follow the onscreen instructions.
  5. Insert a blank CD when promoted to create a driver CD.
  6. Insert an XP CD when requested.
  7. Install XP. You'll have to decide between NTFS and FAT32.
  8. After XP is installed, insert the driver CD to load all the needed drivers.
  9. Dual-boot to your heart's content.

So far, the only major problem I've seen is that the MacBook has no right-click functionality. That's a bigger problem than you'd think. Contrary to what Apple claims, Bluetooth works fine, at least for me.

Performance is quite good. I ran Second Life and Half Life 2 via Steam. Both run well enough, factoring in that this is a mobile GPU. Of course, CPU performance is great. I'm thrilled because I was thinking about getting a Wintel notebook to game on the go. Now, I don't have to.


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