A couple of years ago, I thought I would never have seen an "Intel Inside" sticker on Apple hardware. Looking at the news today, I was surprised at the revelation that Intel Macintosh hardware can now run Win XP SP 2!
Somebody please check if hell froze over.
Go look for yourself: http://www.apple.com/macosx/bootcamp/
Apple has made it so easy! You need to make sure your firmware is up to date, some hard drive space, updated OS software, a blank recordable CD, and a legal copy of Windows XP.
What is really the easy part of all of this is that Apple has taken the hard part out of running Windows by automating the following things:
* The blank CD that the instructions call for is used to store drivers needed in the Windows XP world. Bootcamp supplies all the necessary drivers -- your Windows friends often have to hunt them down on the internet from a variety of places. Your drivers are right where they are needed -- in your hand.
* Hard drive partitioning is an easy step. Windows XP is going to run in a different area of the hard drive (called a partition) than your Mac OS X. Reading through the online documentation, you can access your XP partition from OS X, but if you made XP use NTFS, the drive will be read-only from OS X. Also remember that Intel Macs will not run Classic, so questions about OS 9 reading XP are moot.
Bear in mind that you will need to make a data backup of your hard drive before doing Boot Camp. Anytime you modify the partitions, your data is at risk. Also, if doing this on a MacBook, make sure you are installing with the power cord plugged in and not from battery -- you do not want to exhaust the battery and corrupt the installation.
Also, you need to have handy a legal copy of Windows XP. This means the full install disk, not a "restore" disk or "rescue" disk that may have came with your machine. Due to licensing restrictions, you cannot use the same license key that you have on your present machine, either. If you are going to do this, you need to do it legally correct.
Finally, your XP installation will treat your laptop just like a Dell or HP or Gateway. This means that you can be inflicted with Windows Viruses, spyware, adware, and the other baggage that plagues the platform.
What's my opinion? I think this is a great option for someone who needs to live in both worlds (Mac / Unix & Windows). Personally for me, however, who has been exposed to open source software (Open Office & GIMP), I have to seriously think on why I would want to invite Windows into my MacBook.