BootCamp – “I don’t know but i’ve been told…”

Posted: January 17, 2008 in Apple, Mac OSX, software, Windows
Tags: , , ,

I’ve been using Parallels Desktop for some time now, and really had no issue with it. There are a lot of updates to the program, but that is to be expected with a program that is emulating other OSes. It was working perfectly fine, but i wanted to have the ability to run WinXP natively as well, so i decided to try out BootCamp and use that partition with Parallels so i could have the best of both worlds, at least that’s what i had heard, so being a bit of a doubting Thomas i figured i better find out for myself.
A word of warning –
I’m not one to actually read manuals, especially if they are PDFs and have to be printed first, which is evidenced by the number of “
spare parts
” i end up with when i build something from a kit, but I did break with tradition and glance through the manual as i was installing BootCamp and setting up the partition, unfortunately i looked at it too late and had to go back a couple steps. I didn’t change the formatting of the new partition before i started the windows XP install which it warns out about in the manual, but i’m getting ahead of myself, lets start from the beginning…

The first thing to do is to make sure you have the room to partition our harddrive, depending upon which OS and what programs are going to be used, you may need anywhere from 5 gig to 30 gig. To set the size you want there are a couple of presets 5 gig and 32 gig, or if you look closely you will notice the little radio button in between that you slide to get the size you want. (look at the image at the top of the blog and you’ll see the slider i am referring to) Apparently it’s easy to miss, at least according to a cohort of mine, so look closely. (I made sure i pointed it out to him when i partitioned my drive, and don’t worry i tried not to be too mean about it, but i did have a good laugh since he ended up partitioning 32 gig because 5 was not big enough. haha.)

The creation of the partition can take a while depending upon how fragmented your drive is and how full, so make sure you have a couple hours to spare before starting the process. If you get part way through and it doesn’t finish but gives you an error instead, run the CRON scripts, empty any caches and trash etc and restart. It should work the second time, mine did. The rest of the install is fairly easy, but as i mentioned read the manual – you’ll want to make sure you format the drive as you install your OS, i went with NTFS but there doesn’t seem to be a reason you couldn’t do FAT32 if you prefer. From then on it was just a case of watching a typical windows install, slow and painful and really dated looking, and of course many restarts and then many updates, and then more restarts… And at the end of it all you will need to install the drivers from the Mac OSX Leopard install DVD to finish the process and make the trackpad, isight, remote, etc work properly. Like i mentioned, the manual is well written but do pay close attention to the process and follow through step by step, if you do, all will be well with your install and you’ll be up and windozing in no time. If not, it’s not the end of the world, you can just use the Bootcamp installer to remove the partition and start again. I did, just to see how it worked, and it works like a charm.

Once you are done partitioning and installing you will get this screen, or something like it when you boot up your mac and hold the option key. You simply choose which OS you want to start by clicking on it and clicking the arrow beneath it. Simple. Clean. Sweet.

Next was setting up Parallels to use the BootCamp partition as its VM, which the people over at SWsoft have nicely detailed for you on how to do. (go to
and read the pdf, specifically chapter 14) It again was relatively painless and easy and i now have the ability to start up in windows under BootCamp or use that same BootCamp partition in parallels if i just need to do something simple and quick and don’t need the full speed of running windows natively.
So far all is working well and i have no complaints, a minor grumble is the fact that you have to shut down your WinXP VM every time you exit Parallels Desktop, but that is so BootCamp can use that same partition. It takes a bit more time that way since you can no longer just suspend your parallels VM, but its not much of a drawback in my opinion. As far as i am concerned, two thumbs up. After all, BootCamp is an Apple program, so even though it is running windows, it works like any Apple product, easy to understand, stable and intuitive.
Happy Camping,

P.S.- just a follow up to my last blog about the big UNDO button, i did run into further issues with a couple more programs not functioning properly which i am again chalking up to Monolingual, so i ended up using Apple’s built in UNDO button – “Archive and Install” retaining network and user settings, and all is right with my Mac again. whew.


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