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Summary:

I’m not ashamed to admit it. I run XP on my aluminum iMac. My girlfriend is ashamed of me and my brother won’t speak to me. All because of a 40gb hard drive partition and a start button. I did it mostly so that I could […]

I’m not ashamed to admit it. I run XP on my aluminum iMac. My girlfriend is ashamed of me and my brother won’t speak to me. All because of a 40gb hard drive partition and a start button.

I did it mostly so that I could play City of Heroes again (look what you’ve made me do, NCSoft! Release a Mac version already). I also like Corel’s PaintShop Pro Photo XII for quick and dirty photo editing, as I find it doesn’t require as much attention or time as Photoshop for minor changes.

Regardless of whether you agree/disagree with my reasons/excuses, there are a couple indispensable tips for those inclined to be-Windows their Macs the Boot Camp way.

  1. Do it early. One thing I learned from numerous failed attempts to use Boot Camp on my MacBook is that Apple’s OS-switcher is not fond of world-weary, crudded up hard drives. For whatever reason (maybe because it was in my  pre-AppZapper days), Boot Camp would not partition my hard drive. With my iMac I did it immediately, and it went off without a hitch.
  2. Bluetooth mouse switching sucks. In effect, installing OS X to a Boot Camp drive is like having a second computer. Which is great for some things (no sharing of system resources, for instance), but incredibly annoying for others. Like re-pairing Bluetooth mice every time you switch. Do yourself a favor and get a dedicated Windows wired or wireless mouse in addition to your BT one.
  3. Make switching easier. The tray icon in Windows is easy enough to access, but going into Preferences and Startup Disk every time I want to switch in OS X is no fun.  As a workaround, I went to /System/Library/PreferencePanes and dragged  StartupDisc.prefpane to my dock (right side of the break only). This saves a couple steps at least, and my beloved sanity.
  4. Read/Write to your Boot Camp drive. Kind of tricky, but indispensable. You may have come across this before, but this guide is definitely the best I’ve found out there. Proceed at your own risk, it’s not a perfect solution yet. But, it has saved me literally hours in file transfers.

Now, if you manage to get over the disapproving glares of your fellow Mac devotees, you’ll have a much more enjoyable Boot Camp experience.

  1. Good advice. Two comments:

    First, when Boot Camp Assistant can’t parition the hard drive, it’s because OS X has written “immovable” system files in a location on the hard drive that fragments your free space into a smaller amount than what the partition you’re trying to create is asking for. Doing a full defragment with a tool like iDefrag or something similar will defragment your free space and you should have no problems creating your Boot Camp partition.

    Secondly, BootChamp makes switching into Windows a complete breeze. I recommend it to anybody who uses Boot Camp.

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  2. Is there any way to run windows off a second hard drive?
    I REALLY don’t trust partitions at all, seems like such a stupid and clunky idea.

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  3. Regarding tip #3: You can also just hold down the option key as the computer starts up/restarts and choose your startup disk from there. I find this much easier than changing the startup disk via System Prefs before I reboot.

    Ben: Yes, you can install Windows to a second drive. This is how I have my Mac Pro configured.

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  4. It’s possible, but not easy. It requires a lot of work (removing the internal hard drive of your Mac) or having a small 5 gig NTFS partition on your main Mac HD. MacRumors has a guide here:

    http://guides.macrumors.com/Boot_Camp_Windows_XP_On_External_Drive

    It’s an “Advanced User” task, though.

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  5. Start early is a good advice. I reinstalled OSX, updated and directly installed Vista… works like a dream.
    I actually only considered buying a Mac because of it’s multi operating system possibility. I now have OSX, Vista and Linux running on my laptop, what more would one want?

    …. less spinning beach balls in OSX actually, but this aside I consider this multi system approach the strength of Apple Computers.

    Nice post btw.

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  6. #2 Strange, i don’t have to repair my bluetooth mighty mouse…

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  7. Never had to repair my apple BT keyboard either. “You’re doing it wrong!”

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  8. Also for #3, you can right click the tray icon and select “Reboot in OS X”, you don’t have to open up the control panel. “You’re definitely doing it wrong!”

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  9. City of Heroes is being released on Mac, btw, announced today – http://www.macobserver.com/gamingnews/2008/10/30.1.shtml

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  10. @segaprophet That’s great news! Thanks for the heads up!

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