How to triple-boot Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows XP on an Apple Mac

“Moving your entire product line of both hardware and software from one CPU architecture to another isn’t an easy job, but given its progress so far I’d say that Apple could write the book on it. In the last few months Apple has released Intel versions of its iMac and Mac mini systems, as well as the remarkable MacBook Pro, finally answering those that criticised Apple’s failure to bring a PowerBook G5 to market,” Leigh Dyer writes for PC Authority.

“Apple’s biggest surprise so far though has been Boot Camp — the official but unsupported method of installing Windows XP on Intel-based Macs. Apple had said on several occasions that it would do nothing to prevent running alternative operating systems, but it certainly came as a surprise to me to see the company actively encouraging it,” Dyer writes. “But why can’t Intel Macs boot XP in the first place, and what does Boot Camp do to allow it to work?”

Dyer goes on to explain that Apple’s Boot Camp is “actually a collection of technologies” and writes, “I don’t think we’ll see any big migration of Windows users to Macs running Windows though. Intel Macs are more comparable to PCs in terms of secifications than any previous Macs, and for many Windows users, the extra cost for Apple’s machines will be hard to swallow, especially when the cost of a Windows licence is added. For some users, though, Boot Camp is a dream come true — developers and support engineers have access to a universal machine that can run Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X, all with full performance.”

Dyer goes on to explain how to triple-boot Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows XP on an Apple Mac in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “LinuxGuy & AAPL owner” for the heads up.]

MacDailyNews Take: We believe there will be a significant migration of Windows users to Macs that are capable of running both mac OS X and Windows. People can easily grasp the concept of getting a universal personal computer. People love to get “two for one” or, in this case, with Linux, a “three for one” deal. We also believe that after a short time, such users will find themselves using Mac OS X more and more and Windows less and less. You do not need Windows for personal computing. You do not need Microsoft at all. In fact, it’s a vastly better experience if you do eliminate Microsoft from your personal computer. Most people will not just believe that when told, they simply need to learn it on their own. With Boot Camp Public Beta and the upcoming Mac OS X Leopard Apple is providing just such a learning situation.

Introducing the super-fast, blogging, podcasting, do-everything-out-of-the-box MacBook.  Starting at just $1099.
Get the new iMac with Intel Core Duo for as low as $31 A MONTH with Free shipping!
Get the MacBook Pro with Intel Core Duo for as low as $47 A MONTH with Free Shipping!
Apple’s new Mac mini. Intel Core, up to 4 times faster. Starting at just $599. Free shipping.
iPod. 15,000 songs. 25,000 photos. 150 hours of video. The new iPod. 30GB and 60GB models start at just $299. Free shipping.
Connect iPod to your television set with the iPod AV Cable. Just $19.
iPod Radio Remote. Listen to FM radio on your iPod and control everything with a convenient wired remote. Just $49.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
BusinessWeek: big market-share gains coming for Apple’s Macintosh – June 15, 2006
Analyst: Apple Mac market share primed to explode; iPod Halo Effect to become increasingly important – June 13, 2006
Analysts: Apple Mac market share to surge by end of 2006 – June 07, 2006
Many believe Mac market share increases coming now that Apple Macs can run Windows applications – April 25, 2006
Apple ready to take back market share; may debut Windows virtualization in Mac OS X Leopard – April 21, 2006
Pre-Boot Camp report: Apple could double market share on Microsoft defections – April 13, 2006
Analyst: Apple Boot Camp could be an opportunity for Mac market share gains – April 06, 2006
Apple’s ‘Boot Camp’ a watershed, could dramatically expand Mac market share – April 05, 2006


  1. and for many Windows users, the extra cost for Apple’s machines will be hard to swallow, especially when the cost of a Windows licence is added

    He’s joking right?

    A similar configured Dell is about the same price and the Mac has more plus it can triple boot.

    So what if you have to buy a XP license, most PC users steal the thing anyway.

    When 10.5 rolls around I wouldn’t be surprised if we could “fast user switch” and copy/paste between operating systems.

  2. “But why can’t Intel Macs boot XP in the first place, and what does Boot Camp do to allow it to work?”

    Where has this guy been? Does he not know it was the BIOS/EFI thingy that prevented Windows from booting initially? Get a clue pal an look shit up before posting such ignorance.

    Also, you/we Mac-heads are making too much of this double/triple/quadruple booting. It’s a VERY SMALL part of the computing market that will need this. GET OVER IT!

    Multi booting (or Parallels) only provides value in transitioning to a Mac.

  3. Notice this my friends

    Intel Macs use the Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI), a modern, but incompatible, replacement for the age-old BIOS. Intel has been touting EFI for many years, but until now it has been seen mainly on Itanium systems.

    read up on EFI here

    EFI also allows the operating system to run in a sandbox mode, where networking and memory management issues are delegated to the firmware instead of the OS. Attempts by the OS to access the hardware are converted to calls to the EFI drivers. The EFI is also used to select and load the operating system, removing the need for a boot loader.

    Such EFI drivers could also be used, for example, to allow the PC to connect to the Internet and retrieve updated drivers even before an OS is installed.

    New virus/hacker avenue. Spoof a DNS and just wait for the suckers to come, they won’t even know it. The OS sure can’t tell them anything.

  4. Macintosh, the one computer you’ll ever need.

    Linux, Unix, Windows, OS X, DOS

    It’s a new era in computing my friends which will make Mac users the most versitile employees on the planet.

    Of course there is a problem, most of the world still uses Windows and I feel eventually Mac users will just use Windows more and more until they are absorbed. There is no hardware lock into Mac OS X anymore.

    Microsoft Borg: Standby to be assimulated.

    Of course M$ can’t innovate nearly as fast as Apple can, never could. But how much more innovation is left in personal computing really?

    99% of our machines are more overpowered and overcapacitated than what we need.

  5. I don’t think Bootcamp is very practical for most people, but I do think the software is a trojan horse designed to capitalize on the general consumers ignorance. Only technically literate people will use Bootcamp purposfully, but Apple’s target market here are mostly novice home users, so why offer Bootcamp? It’s really nothing more than a smoke an mirror sales pitch.

    A potential customer is standing in an Apple store considering a new Mac purchase. They are reluctant, they ask if it can run Windows software. Sure, the Mac genius says, you can run Windows on it with our Bootcamp software, so it’s really like getting two computers in one! The customer thinks that’s great and goes ahead and makes the purchase.

    However, once they get home and try to install Windows from their OEM disc and can’t they call Apple only to be told they must have an original install disc. They go down to their local office supply store and about choke when they see the $300 dollar price tag. So, they go home and try to figure out how to make OS X work for them.

    It’s a dirty trick, but in the end it’s for their own good. Just another happy mac user.

  6. “finally answering those that criticized Apple’s failure to bring a PowerBook G5 to market”

    I was hoping for a PowerBook G5 mainly for the 64-bit aspects and higher bus speed. My criticisms will be answered when there is a 64-bit capable Apple laptop on the market. From what I’ve read on the topic, Intel is supposed to release a 64-bit version of the “core” sometime in the latter half of 2006. I’ll be using my PowerBook G4 at least until revision B of the first 64-bit Apple laptop. Here’s to Summer 2007…

  7. “Microsoft Borg: Standby to be assimilated.”

    Commander Jobs… Charge the forward iPhasers, arm all PhotonBook Pros, and prepare to destroy that cube!

    “[Bootcamp] is a dirty trick, but in the end it’s for their own good.”

    While I think most people will realize that Microsoft has no justification for charging US$300 for Windows XP, I think some customers will blame Apple — “I paid all this money for a new computer and then I have to spend $300 on top of that. The guy at the Apple Store never told me that. Da*n You Apple. Da*n You all to Hell!”

  8. static mesh, the virus would have to hack the firmware to change the dns settings. I could be wrong, but I don’t believe that’s possible, even as an administrator, without turning off the machine.

  9. It seems if you had Windows through your campus you do not need to pay to install it – if you need it – on a MacBook. It could just come as per the license agreement. Check with your reprs.

    The United Macintosh Users of UIC <UICMAC@LISTSERV.UIC.EDU>

    You guys might want to check with your sales rep if you haven’t already. We just got this today:

    – Microsoft Campus Agreement
    Effective immediately, the “dual boot” Intel-based Macintosh can be
    considered eligible for a Windows OS upgrade installation. Such
    installations are covered under the terms of Notre Dame’s Microsoft Campus

  10. Ummm, i’ve read most of what you said but screw boot camp from what i’ve read “Parallel” is the one, sod the rebooting, it does windows / linux etc in real time with the nifty cube transition.

    Apple even feature it on some of there ad’s now – look close on the bottom left hand screen text for the ad that features the guy saying i run windows too.

    Until OS X 10.5 Parallel is the way.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.