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January 11, 2006 10:17 AM   Subscribe

This may be slightly premature, but would it possible to install Windows onto one of the new Macintel platforms and so have an OS X/XP dualbooting machine?

I realize the computers in question aren't exactly released to the public yet, but if anyone is familiar with the hardware inside (and hence are aware of Windows' ability to drive those components) I would really like to know whether it's possible. It being Intel architecture, I would assume that it's at least feasible, but since Apple is preventing OS X to be used on generic PC systems by way of a hardware security block, I was wondering if anyone had heard of a similar restriction on running other OSes on a Apple box (or, whether the use of proprietary components inside an Apple would prevent this anyway).
posted by Tikirific to Computers & Internet (20 answers total)
posted by jeb at 10:20 AM on January 11, 2006

Not quite yet, although I'm sure somebody will hack somthing together. The most promising method of running Windows on a Mac, at least to me, is concurrently (kinda like the Classic environment), by using Virtual PC or VMWare-like virtualization. In the past, Virtual PC has had to emulate the Intel architecture that the Windows code was written for. This is no longer the case, so Windows code will be able to run with native code at native speeds.
posted by pmbuko at 10:21 AM on January 11, 2006

In theory you can, but the new Macs use Intel's new EFI architecture. Microsoft doesn't have a version of Windows with an EFI bootloader (except XP 64 bit, which the new Macs aren't). So someone needs to write an EFI Windows bootloader before this wll work.

The answer for now then is no. But it should change pretty quickly.

since Apple is preventing OS X to be used on generic PC systems by way of a hardware security block, I was wondering if anyone had heard of a similar restriction on running other OSes on a Apple box

Phil Schiller, Apple VP:
"That's fine with us. We don't mind," Schiller said. "If there are people who love our hardware but are forced to put up with a Windows world, then that's OK."
posted by cillit bang at 10:23 AM on January 11, 2006

meant to say more... So with virtualization, you'll be able to run Outlook 2003 inside your virtual Windows environment while your Mac apps are happily humming along in OS X.
posted by pmbuko at 10:23 AM on January 11, 2006

You have to scroll down to "notes and tips" and "Dave Schroeder" – no anchor tags or permalinks on this site – but here's an informative bit (that supports what pmbuko has said).
posted by furiousthought at 10:54 AM on January 11, 2006

The other thing to keep in mind is that it should now be possible to get Wine running on these Intel iMacs and MacBooks (although, I have no idea how much work that would entail with Wine itself).

VirtualPC for an Intel Mac would be a much nicer beast, but I'm not sure Microsoft is going to do it. It will require a complete rewrite of the software, it seems to me. But maybe not, I'm not up on all that snazzy virtualization software -- maybe it only entails ripping out an emulator. And if MS doesn't update VPC, somebody else will write another program. And VMWare is already working on an Intel Mac port.
posted by teece at 11:08 AM on January 11, 2006

The reasons I don't use VirtualPC are:
1: Memory, it takes a huge walled-off block of memory.
2: Video card support. It emulates a basic SVGA card with no hardware acceleration.

I'm hoping in a year there will be a virtualization system that can handle both of these problems. Personally, I'm not holding my breath.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:30 AM on January 11, 2006

VirtualPC might not be all that interesting on an x86 box because it is a PC emulator. VMWare, though, just virtualizes devices and passes most of the opcodes directly through to the native x86 CPU. I don't see an announcement for VMWare on OSX/x86 yet, but they have Linux/*BSD versions, so it shouldn't be long.
posted by b1tr0t at 11:31 AM on January 11, 2006

also i think there is a project called "DarWine" which is a port of wine to Darwin (which is the core of OSX, and already was available for x86 long before today. its just another flavor of BSD unix.)

hopefully darwine will really take off now. not everything runs under Wine but most simple programs do.

also, yeah, hopefully VMWare will step up now. though their new strategy seems to be all about server virtualization and they probably arent that interested in the desktop, let alone the OSX desktop.
posted by joeblough at 11:38 AM on January 11, 2006

joe, DarWine is now largely obsolete. It was just Wine, with a PPC emulator. The emulator is no longer needed, so it's just Wine compiled for Darwin. Which is really just a makefile and some #defines here and there.
posted by teece at 11:42 AM on January 11, 2006

Microsoft sells operating systems and Office programs, not hardware. I'm sure they will be happy to produce Windows versions that will run natively on Apple's x86 hardware. That just more customers buying Windows.

As for the reverse, there are already instructions and disk images floating around on the web for installing OSX on generic hardware.

Apple would probably gain more users by selling OSX for generic PCs, except they make more money from the hardware sales than from the OS sales. I expect that some enterprising hacker will find and post a method to bypass the Apple hardware lock in the near future. People are going to do it, legitimately or not. Heck, I'd be interested in dual-booting, just for the hell of it...
posted by caution live frogs at 12:08 PM on January 11, 2006

Here's a betanews article to corroborate what cillit bang said above regarding EFI incompatibilities between Windows XP 32-bit and the Intel processors in the new Macs. Vista will be the first 32-bit Windows OS with EFI support. With its planned release at the end of the year, I'm wondering if anyone would be willing to make the effort to rush out an EFI boot loader for Windows XP before then.
posted by junesix at 1:19 PM on January 11, 2006

As for the reverse, there are already instructions and disk images floating around on the web for installing OSX on generic hardware.

Yeah, for the Developer Transition Kit-installable OS. However, the "release" version (10.4.4 and up) will be expecting an EFI-capable Mac, and I doubt it will install on anything with an older legacy BIOS.

I've got the hacked DTK DVD image OS (10.4.3) installed on a Dell behind me (for kicks), and I tried installing the 10.4.4 update this morning. No go, obviously. Playing with it gave me a good idea of the speed of the new machines however.
posted by mrbill at 1:52 PM on January 11, 2006

teece: cool. i guess i was thinking that DarWine would do some Quartz stuff, but since apple ships X11.app i guess you are right, regular wine would work. also i didnt know regular wine would compile on OSX...
posted by joeblough at 3:15 PM on January 11, 2006

Thanks for the useful information, all.

mrbill - How'd it run? Zippy, sluggish? Just curious.
posted by Tikirific at 4:10 PM on January 11, 2006

well, this isnt really an answer to the question, but i was going to go to macworld today, though i ended up having to work instead. all my work friends did go however, and they reported that the x86 iMacs and "powerbooks" are definitely Teh Snappy. the iMacs were running 720p HD H.264 video (24fps, i think) and using maybe 35-40% of each cpu.
posted by joeblough at 4:43 PM on January 11, 2006

efi is the dealbreaker for 32bit xp
32bit win2k3 and 32bit vista support efi

if you need multiboot then wait (and run the pre-efi osx dev-releases on cheap hardware)
posted by suni at 6:52 PM on January 11, 2006

I'm guessing this move to Intel will for the first time seriously expose OSX to the kinds of hack attempts, unauthorized patches and security workarounds that Windows has been subject to for years. Sure the 10.4.4 install won't go right now, but give it a week and there will be a hacked patch for the pre-release version.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:05 AM on January 12, 2006

huh? its not the underlying processor architecture that lends itself to hacks, etc. its the software. OSX will continue to be pretty safe as long as its sufficiently obscure.
posted by joeblough at 10:56 PM on January 15, 2006

Apple's Boot Camp

"More and more people are buying and loving Macs. To make this choice simply irresistible, Apple will include technology in the next major release of Mac OS X, Leopard, that lets you install and run the Windows XP operating system on your Mac. Called Boot Camp (for now), you can download a public beta today."

posted by blueberry at 6:50 PM on April 8, 2006

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