Return to home page


graphic design and web programming



Windows on a Mac

Until recently, I've always had access to a PC to test sites on Internet Explorer. After toying with the idea of buying a real cheapo PC laptop, I had a eureka moment: why not turn your Mac Book Pro into a PC like the Mac ads say you can. I can be slow like that sometimes.

So, I bought Windows XP Home Edition and Parallels 3.0 and tried to install them on the laptop. I installed Parallels successfully, but every time I tried to install Windows inside of Parallels, the process would fail at Windows startup: "Fatal Error in Virtual Machine's Monitor." After much googling to no avail, I decided to read about boot camp in the Parallels booklet and followed that route, which turned out to work beautifully.

Installing Windows on your Intel Mac

  1. Launch Boot Camp Assistant (located in the Utilities folder in Applications) and follow the instructions. It will ask you to partition your hard drive. Don't worry. Your Mac stuff will not be affected by this.
  2. Partition your hard drive, allowing at least 10GB if you are installing XP Home Edition and formatting for NTSF. You'll need more if you're formatting for FAT.
  3. Have your OS X Leopard disk handy because it has files that will need to be installed within Windows that will allow Windows to access certain services (such as Internet access) through your Mac.
  4. Follow the Windows installation as instructed in Boot Camp Assistant.
  5. After Windows is successfully installed and the Boot Camp tools have been installed inside of Windows, restart your computer  in OS X.
  6. Download the latest build of Parallels (currently 5600), which resolves some bug issues with Leopard.
  7. Install Parallels. At a point during the installation process, Parallels will recognize that you have a Boot Camp partition. Select that as your Windows source and follow the rest of the steps.

Everything should be fine after that. Of course, it seemed like it took forever to install Windows, but that might have been my impatience.

Now I can test Web sites in Internet Explorer and play Mine Sweeper with all the other benefits of owning a Mac. Was it worth $300? Cheaper than buying an extra laptop, and now I have everything on one machine. Time will tell.

06/4/2008 at 11:20 AM | 1 comment


Kimberly Manner says…

Jeffrey, Dan bought me a Mac Book for my birthday this year (woo-hoo!) because I've nearly hurled my PC laptop against the wall each time it randomly turned itself off while I was working. He also bought Parallels and Windows XP. I was reluctant to load them on my pristine new computer because I blame the viruses engineered to attack windows machines for the death of my old computer. Why would I want to expose my new baby to those deadly viruses? However, the weird formatting changes in Word for Mac convinced me that switching back and forth from my office computer to my home computer would not be as seamless as I had hoped, so I agreed to install the Parallels and XP. It did take forever to install Windows, and the machine runs much more slowly in Windows than in Mac, but it is cheaper than buying an extra laptop, and I can run all the applications I need. I just wish I'd read your post before we spent an entire day working through the installation bugs!

Posted on June 30, 2008, 4:29 PM

Post a Comment:

* = required field

A value is required.

This WILL NOT be displayed with your comment. A value is required.Invalid format.