It's all quite wonderful. But Apple doesn't expect many Mac users to do this.
Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously available online since 1983
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Macs don't come with Windows, but you can install Windows on modern Macs if you want
Dec. 9, 2006
By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2006, Al Fasoldt
A recent article I wrote -- and recent talks on the lecture circuit -- might have misled potential Mac buyers into thinking that Apple's new Mac computers come with Windows installed. Not so.
Why the confusion?
Apple's Macs now use Intel processing chips. Windows runs on Intel chips (or on AMD chips that work the same way), and it's a no-brainer that a computer designed to run on Intel chips should be able to run any Intel operating system.
So Apple supplies a free utility program called Boot Camp that gives Mac users a simple way of adding a second (or third) operating system to their Macs. This makes it easy for an avid game player to use a Macintosh for everything except Windows games, for example. When it's time to play Shoot-Em Up for Windows, all the Mac user would have to do is reboot into Windows. After that, the sequence is reversed: Reboot into Mac OS X.
Another program, Parallels Desktop, makes this Mac-Windows duality possible without rebooting. You simply click here or there or press a key and your Mac is now running Windows while it's running its own operating system.
It's all quite wonderful. But Apple doesn't expect many Mac users to do this. Apple expects most Mac users to enjoy the freedom of running the Mac's own operating system, free from all the travails that plague everyone who runs Windows. Mac OS X computers, as you probably already know, are unaffected by Windows viruses, spyware, worms, hijackers and zombies -- added up, these total more than 300,000 separate malware invaders, I'd guess -- and Macs are much more resistant to the kind of breaking and entering that Windows users battle every day.
So the fact that Macs can run Windows is like the fact that your dog can fetch your slippers. Cute, but not very important to most of us. The real importance of Mac OS X computers is not that they can be Windows or Linux computers, too, but that they are first-rate choices for everyone seeking safe and secure computing.
And you should know that Apple has been ranked at or near the top in the J.D. Power customer satisfaction survey for years. You buy into a company when you buy a computer. So you might as well buy into one you can trust.