Thursday, March 16, 2006

Win XP boots on Intel Macs!

As soon as the Intel iBook (soon to be MacBook?) comes out, it may be time to make another purchase. Now that Win XP boots on Intel Macs that is. The solution isn't too bad either. Basically, you make an OEM Windows XP install CD that includes drivers for the Apple hardware, partition your make to make room for XP, then tell OS X to use a file provided with the solution to boot from. The toughest part is making the CD, and of course you have to destroy whatever installation of OS X you have on your Intel Mac. But even that part could be trivialized, using the OS X Setup Assitant you can get your new Intel Mac and just transfer everything off of your old Mac after you have it rigged for dual-boot. I have used the Setup Assistant once before, it worked fantastically. I was a little nervous about it at first because of the terrible experience I had using the Windows XP File and Settings Transfer Wizard. These two technologies are not equivalent, the XP wizard as its reveals only does files and settings, and when I used it a poor job at that. The OS X Setup Assistant migrates all Users, Applications, and OS Settings. It's almost like Symantec Ghost, but its simple to use and smart. For instance if a newer version of an OS X or iLife application is on the target machine, it leaves the new version in place, particularly important for Intel Macs. How can the Setup Assistant make life easier for anyone that has already been using an Intel Mac? You could use a second Mac as temporary staging machine, Setup Assistant everything over to it, rig your Intel Mac for dual-boot, then move it all back over after you have XP and OS X running on the Mactel. You could also use Apple's Backup application, part of the .Mac subscription, to backup your home directory, /Library and /Applications folders to an external drive, then restore when you have the Mactel ready to go.