Who wants to run Windows on a Mac?

It looks like Apple have decided to make it easy to install Windows on your Mac with their Beta release of their new Boot Camp product. You can download a public beta today and try it out if you have an Intel based Mac and are running the latest version of OS X (10.4.6). This functionality will be included as standard in the next version of OS X – codenamed Leopard.

Once you’ve completed Boot Camp, simply hold down the option key at startup to choose between Mac OS X and Windows. (That’s the “alt� key for you longtime Windows users.) After starting up, your Mac runs Windows completely natively. Simply restart to come back to Mac.

I have to question – who really wants this? Seriously, why would you want to run XP on your Mac? I have XP Pro and Virtual PC installed on my Mac and I can’t remember the last time I ran it – and its functionality is waaaay better than the dual boot is going to be because with Virtual PC, you run the two OSes simultaneously, you can share disk, use a shared clipboard and swap between the two OSes as easily as switching between any two running apps – no re-start required.

This probably means Riya will never come out with their loooooong promised Mac uploader now!!!

17 thoughts on “Who wants to run Windows on a Mac?”

  1. I have two boxes under my desk, my next Power/whateverMac upgrade and that’ll become one. When you factor in that 80% of Apple’s revenue is from hardware anything which sells more Macintosh systems is a *good* thing. Since every Mac ships with a copy of OS X installed that’s a two for one. Even if it ends up running Windows it counts as an in the field copy of OS X.

    As for Riya, what you need is for the competition to support OS X. Ventrilo promised a port of the Vent client for a good two to three years, less than a week after a TeamSpeak client appeared for OS X the Vent guys rushed out a “Preview” of their OS X client.

    Only competitive threats get things moving in the Mac software market.

  2. I only have PCs, but something like this will help tempt me into getting a Mac myself.

    I doubt Boot Camp is for experienced Mac users.

    It seems to me it is for people like me who only really use PCs, as an incentive to take the plunge and buy a Mac, safe in the knowledge that we can still use software we are used to.

  3. Its not about actually running Windows. It about “Compatibility” ! That thing the Windows IT guys use as a last resort to keep from having an additional item added to their job description.

    There are many people who use their Macs for everything except work. Not as a choice but because of a corporate IT mandate. Although MS Office and most Suite products are cross-platform compatable. With the ability to install XP on the Mac the argument ends.

    There are many propriety software programs that do require Windows, but as more and more software is run through a browser the OS will be a personal preference. Drive a Chey or a BMW, they both work on the same road to the mall.

  4. run benchmarks on your ‘virtualPC’ and compare the results with an adeaquate windows pc. this would be the only reason for me to have xp installed on a mac. if you want to take advantage of the the full performance of a windows application, you’re better of with a native windows installation.

    not that apple gives a hoot about the performance of win apps (nor will they offer windows xp support – ‘hello, apple helpdesk, how can i help you?’ ‘well, iexplore has encountered an error and needs to close’ … lol), for them it’s yet another ‘marketing coup’.

  5. @Mark – why two boxes? Why not a Mac with Virtual PC?

    @Dan and Steven – I suspect you hit on the heart of the matter – this announcement is no big deal for Mac owners – it is aimed squarely at people looking to get a new PC – now they can get a Mac and PC in one box.

    @mattie – I agree absolutely that Virtual PC runs slow on Macs – however, having to re-start the Machine to switch between OSes is even slower! And you lose out on the shared clipboard (and drag and drop copying across OSes).

    I’m not a huge fan of Virtual PC (hence I haven’t run it in six months or more) but it has to be better than dual boot.

  6. Well i switched from Windows to MAC just over a year ago , the main reason, being hit with constant Updates, Virus etc..e.tc…..
    I dont think ill ever use Windows on my MAC as im very happy with what ive got but i do agree with Dan Kerins, this is simply to attract Windows users to switch to MAC, as now with the current delay in Windows Vista , the growing fustration with Windows OS , now is the time to get more users to make the move and still feel safe.
    Well done to Apple for such a clever and bold move.

  7. Why two boxes? Because you can’t run PC games which require 3D support in Virtual PC. Yes I’ve reduced Windows to being nothing more than the OS for videogames and Outlook but I can’t reduce it down any further.

    Having used VPC for a long time I’ve found it to be a work around not a solution as you’re still buying, or are supposed to be buying, a Windows license and if you’re going to be buying a Windows license you might as well step up and buy some performance (A PC) to go with it.

    Boot Camp on Intel powered Macintosh hardware pretty much reduces VPC to legacy status and unlike what the Windows flapheads are starting to say it won’t cause any big Mac user conversion to Windows as having bought my first PC in nearly a decade just recently the Windows experience is still horrible for those of us who are used to get stuff done right out of the box.

  8. @Mark – Ah! Games, gotcha now – that makes sense alright. Interesting – I wonder how those games will run under Windows on a Mac…

  9. To be fair, you’d want to run XP on your Mac is you actually wanted a Mac but were prevented from buying one because of software your company uses.

    I’ve come across this a few times while evangelising Mac’s to colleagues. For example, Sage accounting package won’t work through Virtual PC. And yes, there are accounting packages, a whether or not they’re better or worse is irrelevant – it’s what the company has already paid for, and is not going to change because someone wants a Mac!

  10. That’s a good point too Ed.

    I think, as I mentioned above, this is only news for non-Mac owners (and the odd Mac owner like Mark!).

  11. Games will now run like someone with their hair on fire. Previously we had to use specific Mac compatible GPUs which had distinct differences from their PC counterparts in order to support the Apple designed PowerPC motherboard chipsets.

    That’s no longer the case; indeed it was interesting to see Apple ship the MacBook Pro and the iMac with near top of the line GPU parts. Usually we’ve always been a generation or half a generation behind the cutting edge, now we’re capable of matching the performance of even the highest end PC rig.

    The downside to this new performance parity being that the days of the G5 leaping ahead or AltiVec providing a key advantage are now over.

  12. Yes it does Tara, but it might actually help other people to get the point of the Mac.

    It’s a level of investment protection switchers never had before, ever.

  13. Tom, this will make me get a Mac simple as that. I won’t turn my back on Windows there are a number of apps that I can’t use on Mac. For example MATLAB. Also I’ve a load of EDA software that cost me quite a bit, even at the student rates I got them at so I’d quite like to keep using them.

    Finally you’re forgetting that I’ve invested in a lot of Windows software over the years, sure when I upgrade those packages I’ll get the newer Mac versions but for the moment I can’t justify upgrading all those packages in one go.

  14. Dave – yup, I get that now. In fact after reading some of the comments on this thread, I rang a friend of mine who has wanted a Mac for some time (after seeing mine and what I can do with iMovie, iPhoto, etc.).

    When I rang him to bring this up again he explained that his difficulty was that the company he has has just rolled out a new Dealer Management System which only runs on Windows.

    I explained Boot Camp.

    Problem solved!

  15. Indeed Tom, the problem is solved. If you read John Gruber’s post from yesterday he makes the point that now all computers run Windows but a special subset of computers run Windows and Mac OS. When you present it like that buying a Mac is almost a no brainer. The only caveats that remain are the higher prices (not that bad, usually offset by the lower cost of ownership with Mac OS) and possibly in the laptop market that there are more lightweight notebooks out there.

    For me though, this is definitely a tipping point. My current machine is getting quite sick in it’s old age so I’m looking to upgrade and a MBP looks like the sensible option. You can even get an OEM copy of Windows for about €80.

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