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How to Run Windows on Your Mac with Mac OS X Lion Boot Camp

Boot Camp is Mac OS X Lion’s built-in technology that allows you to run Microsoft Windows XP, Vista, or 7 on any Intel-based Mac. If your Mac meets the following requirements, you can run Windows on your Mac (if you so desire):

  • An Intel-based Mac (of course)

  • At least 10GB of free hard drive space (though you’ll almost certainly need more)

  • A hard drive that isn’t partitioned

  • A blank recordable CD

  • A printer (for printing the instructions, which you’ll want to do)

  • A full install copy of Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional, or Ultimate

You really do need a full retail copy of Windows, one that was purchased in a retail box. If your copy of Windows came with your Dell or HP, you probably won’t be able to install it under Boot Camp.

To install Windows on your Mac, here are the basic steps you need to follow:

  1. Launch the Boot Camp Assistant application, which is in your Applications/Utilities folder.

    This step creates a partition on your hard drive for Windows and then burns a special CD with all the drivers you’ll need to use Windows on your Mac.

  2. Install Windows on the new partition.

  3. Install the drivers from the CD you just burned.

    From now on, you can hold down Option during startup and choose to start up from either the Mac OS X Lion disk partition or the Windows partition.

    It’s that simple. However, if these installation steps seem beyond your comfort level, just ask your favorite Mac geek for help.

If running Windows on your Mac appeals to you, you might want to check out Parallels Desktop or VMWare Fusion (around $80 each) or VirtualBox (free). All three programs not only allow you to run Windows on your Mac, but also let you do so without partitioning your hard drive or restarting every time you want to use Windows. In fact, you can run Mac and Windows programs simultaneously with all three of the above.

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