Installing Windows Vista on a Mac

When Apple switched its Macintosh computers from the aging Power PC architecture to Intel’s PC-compatible x86 platform in 2006, the computing landscape was changed forever. No longer were PCs and Macs incompatible at a very low level. Indeed, Macs are now simply PCs running a different operating system. This fascinating change opened up the possibility of Mac users running Windows software natively on their machines, either in a dual-boot scenario or, perhaps, in a virtualized environment that would offer much better performance than the Power PC–based virtualized environments of the past.

These dreams quickly became reality. Apple created software called Boot Camp that now enables Mac users to dual-boot between Mac OS X and Windows XP or Vista. And enterprising tech pioneers such as VMware and Parallels have created seamless virtualization environments for Mac OS X that enable users to run popular Windows applications alongside Mac-only software such as iLife.

Now consumers can choose a best-of-both-worlds solution that combines Apple’s highly regarded hardware with the compatibility and software-library depth of Windows Vista.
Indeed, I’ve been using an Apple notebook running Windows Vista ever since Microsoft’s latest operating system shipped publicly.

Dual Boot: Using Boot Camp
Boot Camp is a feature of Mac OS X and is configured via that system’s Boot Camp Assistant. Boot Camp Assistant is available from the Mac OS X Utilities folder (Applications -> Utilities) and provides a wizard-based configuration experience.

The key to this wizard is the Create a Second Partition phase, where you can graphically resize the partition layout on the hard disk between Mac OS X and Windows, (Macs with multiple hard drives can be configured such that Mac OS X and Windows occupy different physical disks, if desired.) Boot Camp is available only in Mac OS X 10.5 “Leopard” or newer, and it supports only 32-bit versions of Windows XP and Vista.

After that, Boot Camp prompts you to insert the Windows Vista Setup DVD and proceed with setup. From a Windows user’s perspective, setup proceeds normally and Windows looks and acts as it should once installed. Be sure to keep your Mac OS X Setup DVD handy, however. It includes the necessary drivers that Windows needs to be compatible with the Mac’s specific hardware.

Once you have Windows Vista up and running on the Mac, there are just a few Mac specific issues you should be aware of:

• Confi guring Boot Camp: When you install Windows Vista on a Mac using Boot Camp, Apple installs a Boot Camp Control Panel application, which you can access via Start Menu -> Search by typing boot camp. This application helps you configure important functionality such as the default system to load at boot time (Mac or Windows). There’s also a system notification tray applet that enables you to access the Boot Camp Control Panel and Boot Camp Help and choose to reboot into Mac OS X.

• Switching between operating systems at boot time: While you can choose the default operating system at boot time via the Boot Camp Control Panel application, or choose to boot into Mac OS X from within Windows by using the Boot Camp tray applet, you can also choose an OS on the fly when you boot up the Mac. To do so, restart the Mac and then hold down the Option key until you see a screen with icons for both Mac OS X and Windows. Then, use the arrow keys on the keyboard to choose the system you want and press Enter to boot.

• Understanding Mac keyboard and mouse differences: While Macs are really just glorified PCs now, Apple continues to use unique keyboard layouts and, frequently, one-button mice. As a result, you may have to make some adjustments when running Windows on a Mac. Table 2-3 lists some commonly used keyboard commands and explains how to trigger equivalent actions on a Mac. Additionally, you can right-click items on a single-button Mac trackpad by holding two fingers on the trackpad and tapping the button. To scroll in a document or Web page, move two fingers on the trackpad simultaneously, either up or down.

The differences between these two types of Windows-on-Mac solutions are important to understand. If you choose to dual-boot between Mac OS X and Windows using Boot Camp, you have the advantage of running each system with the complete power of the underlying hardware. However, you can access only one OS at a time and need to reboot the Mac in order to access the other.

With a virtualized environment such as Mac OS X, you have the advantage of running Mac OS X and Windows applications side by side, but with a performance penalty. In this situation, Mac OS X is considered the host OS, and Windows is guest OS running on top of Mac OS X. Thus, Windows applications won’t run at full speed. With enough RAM, you won’t notice any huge performance issues while utilizing productivity applications, but you can’t run Windows games effectively with such a setup. Note, too, that the Windows Vista Aero user experience is not available in today’s virtualized environments, so you would have to settle for Windows Vista Basic instead.

Regardless of which method you use to install Windows Vista, be aware of a final limitation: You will need to purchase a copy of Windows Vista, as no Mac ships with Microsoft’s operating system. This is a not-so-fine point that Apple never seems to point out in their advertising.

Source of Information : Wiley Windows Vista Secrets SP1 Edition

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