Reasons Why Not To Choose a Macintosh

Windows; Macintosh edition

The story so far...

On the 5th April 2006, something of significant irony happened to the Macintosh platform, affecting its viability for more people...

Unlike the IBM PC that current Windows based PCs are a direct evolution of, the Macintosh has undergone a variety of major architectural transitions since its introduction. The latest in 2006 was for Macintosh computers to begin using Intel processors on an architecture very similar to the aforementioned IBM derived PCs we know and love/tolerate/despise today.

Info: See this Wikipedia article for the ifs, whys, and what fors of the Intel transition.

The side effect of this is that theoretically, these new designs of Intel based Macs should not only be able to run its own Mac OS X operating system, but should also be able to run any operating system that 'normal' PCs could, including Windows.

A few 3rd party hacks had a go at making it so, with some success. But then Apple made it semi-official...

"How can you run Windows on a Mac?"

Other pages of relevance:
  • Reason 29 looks at the potential of running Mac OS X on non-Macintosh PC hardware.
  • Reason 32 speculates on any potential of this being allowed to happen officially in the future.

With a utility called 'Boot Camp', as bundled with current versions of OS X, the hard disk can be partitioned in situ, Windows installed, and the relevant Windows drivers provided for all compatible Macs' standard hardware components. When completed, the user then has the choice which operating system to boot into. It really is almost idiot proof!

Additionally, virtualisation software can be purchased, such as 'Parallels Desktop' or 'VMware Fusion', which allows any PC OS to run within Mac OS, without the need to reboot.

Dual booting vs. virtualisation

Each method offers the ability to run other operating systems – including Windows – on a Mac as well as OS X. But they do this in different ways that have their advantages and disadvantages...

However, the good news overall is that with Parallels' and Fusion's ability to make use of a Boot Camp created second partition, you can swap between either method depending on circumstance.

"But why? – Who's going to find a use for this?"

Okay, so that's hopefully the "How?" summarised sufficiently. What about the question of "Why?"

"If OS X is so good, why would anyone want Windows on their Mac?"

For the vast majority of circumstances, for the vast majority of individuals, a Mac running only its own pre-installed Mac OS X operating system, will be all that's needed. But while a Mac owner is presumably a Mac owner for the very good reason that he or she likes and prefers them, there are downsides where even a Mac fan may find a use for Windows. Here is a look at some of those potential reasons:

Whatever the reason, having a PC capable of running multiple operating systems is a safety net. A Mac can be as much of a Windows PC as you need it to be, or as often as you want it to be. And at the end of the day, if you decide Mac OS is not for you, or you perhaps find your ability to learn something new and different is beyond you, a Mac can now effectively be turned into a stylish, well built, reasonably specced, Intel based Windows PC. That should alleviate most worries somewhat.

"Any downsides?"

As you've hopefully gathered, the ability to run Windows on a Mac does have its benefits, and it has made a Mac a much more viable option for some who would have previously avoided them in favour of a 'normal' Windows PC brand. But just like every silver lining, there are potential clouds:

In summary...

So to reiterate, the Macintosh is now the only PC that can natively, officially, and reliably run both Windows and Mac OS X operating systems. That's got to be worth something to someone, somewhere!

Granted, the ability to run Windows may be of little interest to many existing Mac stalwarts, but for some – and particularly potential new Mac users – it's a useful tool. Not only for those who cannot ever move completely away from Windows, but also as a means of transition for potential new Mac users if they so desire that eventual Windows-less computing environment.

It does undoubtedly debunk many of the rational reasons for everyday folk, and possibly even quite a few professional folk, why they cannot choose a Macintosh.

Page content last updated 21 September 2008