Das dual boot

Ever since Apple started using Intel processors in their Macs, they have offered Boot Camp as an option. For those who may not know, Boot Camp is a means of creating a dual-boot system whereby one could install Windows in a separate partition and run it natively on the Intel hardware. More importantly, one can set it up in-place. In most other circumstances, repartitioning a hard drive means wiping out absolutely everything on the hard drive. With Boot Camp, that doesn't happen. It repartitions without destroying data. How cool is that?

Four years ago I tried using Boot Camp on a spare laptop. As often as I tried, it persisted in thwarting me. Each time it complained that no boot volume could be found. So after banging my head against that wall for a while, I gave up. Then a couple of weeks ago I decided to try it again. This time it was a MacBook with Lion installed. I guess I hoped that Boot Camp would behave differently this time.

It didn't. I encountered the same problem as before. This time I decided to try reformatting the new Windows partition during installation. Boot Camp uses FAT by default. I tried using NTFS this time. That did it! Suddenly I was able to install and run Windows on a Mac. Neat!

Emboldened by my success, I decided to do the same with my elderly MacBook Pro. Unfortunately, Boot Camp almost immediately put the brakes on. It demanded that I reformat my hard drive first.

When it comes to my own most personal of computers, I usually don't even entertain the notion of reformatting its hard drive. That is about the most major of procedures one can do to a computer. If it's a work computer I have a certain level of freedom. My own computer? Nnnnnnno.

But I really wanted to do the dual boot thing, rather than repurpose another old Gateway laptop. So here's what I did:

Used Carbon Copy Cloner to clone the MacBook Pro's hard drive. I trust CCC implicitly, so I felt very safe using it.

With the HD fully backed up, I reformatted the internal HD to Boot Camp's specs.

Restored the internal HD's data from the clone.

Ran Boot Camp, then had Windows installer reformat the partition as NTFS.

Voila! I now have Windows XP available in its very own partition, running at full, non-emulation speed. Which is good, because my main goal was to be able to play Return to Castle Wolfenstein again. Love to kill those virtual Nazis!