I installed Windows on my Mac.
I know, not such a big deal. I’ve installed Windows a bunch on actual PCs, and I’ve even installed it a few times on my Macs under Parallels virtualization. But I just used BootCamp to install Windows XP directly on my Mac Pro. So what’s the difference?
Under virtualization, Windows lived in its own padded environment. It (usually) was in its own window. I could stop and start it and start it at will, but the Mac was always there. Running directly on BootCamp… there’s something about it… Windows is actually touching the Mac. There’s just something profoundly wrong with pressing the Power button, hearing the classic Mac startup chime, and then seeing the Windows logo come up.
I have to say the installation was probably one of the smoothest ever. This is partly because the Mac Pro is a very capable platform. Probably Windows would install pretty smoothly on most modern PCs. But it’s also because I had the foresight to download and burn XP SP 3 to CD before starting. This enabled me to skip several time-consuming Windows update steps.
The shortened sequence was as follows: boot Windows XP SP2 from CD; go through initial install screens and start install; reboot to XP from the hard disk; install Apple BootCamp 2.0 drivers (reboot); install Apple BootCamp 2.1 drivers (reboot); install Windows XP SP 3 update (reboot); update Windows Update; download and install 28 Windows updates via Windows Update (reboot). Overall I think this took only about half an hour. By pre-downloading SP3 I avoided downloading (I think) 47 Windows updates, after which it offers to download SP3. Amazingly, there was only one hitch, which occurred when I switched my USB keyboard/mouse away from the XP installer to work on my laptop for a while. After switching back, XP either refused to see the keyboard (or it hung, I couldn’t tell which). So I had to reboot. So I think I was able to do the install with only about six reboots.
No good reason, but a couple mediocre ones. Running Windows under virtualization, if something goes wrong, you can never quite tell if it’s a bug in the program, a bug in Windows, or a bug in virtualization. Sometimes multimedia and gaming just doesn’t work. I wanted to eliminate that problem. The other reason was that probably a year ago I bought Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas for PC (yes, I’m an entire game behind), and I didn’t have any PC hardware that was powerful enough to run it. It didn’t seem worth it to buy a new PC just for a game (plus I don’t have space for it). And I had a disk in the Mac with enough space for a BootCamp partition. So the solution suggested itself.
For this, I’ve sullied my Mac. I haven’t even installed GTA:SA yet. We’ll save that for another time.