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Windows on Mac Q&A - Updated March 22, 2010

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What exactly is Boot Camp?

As described in the original press release, Boot Camp:

Allows users with a Microsoft Windows XP installation disc to install Windows XP on an Intel-based Mac, and once installation is complete, users can restart their computer to run either MacOS X or Windows XP. Boot Camp will be a feature in 'Leopard,' Apple's next major release of MacOS X.

Essentially, Boot Camp provides similar functionality to the third-party "XOM hack" that was released earlier, but provides "a simple graphical step-by-step assistant application to dynamically create a second partition on the hard drive for Windows, to burn a CD with all the necessary Windows drivers, and to install Windows from a Windows XP installation CD."

As promised, on October 26, 2007, Apple introduced MacOS X 10.5 "Leopard" which included Boot Camp 2.0 as a standard feature with full driver support and support for Windows XP as well as Windows Vista. The subsequently released MacOS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard" includes Boot Camp 3.x with support for Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7.

Also see: Which Intel Macs are capable of booting the 32-Bit and 64-Bit versions of Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7? Which are supported by Apple's Boot Camp?

What versions of Windows are supported?

The final version of Boot Camp 2.0 provided with MacOS X 10.5 "Leopard" was designed to support Windows XP Home and Pro with SP2 or later as well as all versions of Windows Vista. The subsequently released MacOS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard" includes Boot Camp 3.x with support for Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7.

Also see: Which Intel Macs are capable of booting the 32-Bit and 64-Bit versions of Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7? Which are supported by Apple's Boot Camp?

Does Boot Camp install Windows drivers?

Yes. Boot Camp installs Windows drivers automatically, including video drivers, which were sorely lacking in the "XOM hack" solution. The beta versions of Boot Camp lacked support for some functionality -- IR and Bluetooth, for example -- but the final version of Boot Camp 2.0 provided with MacOS X 10.5 "Leopard" provides more complete driver support.

The subsequently released MacOS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard" includes Boot Camp 3.x with support for Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 and full driver support for some models. Other models can be supported as well by tracking down compatible drivers.

Also see: Which Intel Macs are capable of booting the 32-Bit and 64-Bit versions of Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7? Which are supported by Apple's Boot Camp?

How do I change the size of the Windows partition created by Boot Camp after installation?

Officially, you cannot increase or decrease the size of the Windows partition after it is created with Boot Camp, only remove it entirely. However, bloggers have discovered how to non-destructively change the partition size using Unix tools and iPartition.

Please remember to absolutely backup everything before experimenting with changing the size of the Windows partition. Doing so is not supported by Apple and consequently is not recommended.

How do you install Windows using Boot Camp?

Apple has posted a "Boot Camp Installation & Setup (Manual)" document to the Apple Support Site with detailed instructions regarding the process for Boot Camp 2.0 with MacOS X 10.5 "Leopard" and another updated document for Boot Camp 3.x with MacOS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard".

First, backup everything, print the appropriate manual for your operating system, and follow the step-by-step instructions.

Also see: How do you install Windows 7 on an Intel Mac using Boot Camp, Parallels Desktop for Mac, VMWare Fusion, and VirtualBox?

How can I uninstall Windows using Boot Camp?

Page 22 of the original "Boot Camp Installation & Setup (Manual)" explains how to remove Windows and the Windows partition from your Mac. First, backup everything you want to keep from the Windows partition, because this process will erase everything related to Windows.

Apple's instructions are provided in five easy steps:

1. Start up in Mac OS X.
2. Quit all open applications and log out any other users on your computer.
3. Open Boot Camp Assistant.
4. Select "Create or remove and Windows partition" and click Continue.
5. Either click "Restore" if the computer has a single disk or "select the disk with Windows on it, and
then select 'Restore to a single Mac OS partition' and click Continue" if the computer has multiple internal disks.

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