• Daniel Wright

One Foot In The Boot Camp

Up until about a month ago I never actually owned a Mac of my own. If I needed access to Mac OS, I would boot from an external drive on the machine I was repairing. Failing that I would use a Hackintosh drive connected to my PC. Both methods served me well, so I never really had much use for one.

Recently my Hackintosh rig started to get a bit clunky and I was putting a lot more time and effort into maintaining it than I was using it. When a tool stops doing the job and it becomes the job, it’s time to replace it.

I considered building a more reliable Hackintosh but the expense outweighed the benefits and I couldn’t be bothered. Been there, done that and it was an interesting experiment but what I needed now was something a bit more practical.

It was finally time to give in and buy my very own Apple Macintosh computer.

Not a new one. Obviously. I’m not made of money!

So after fixing a late 2014 Mac Mini for a customer and being quite taken by it, I bought one off eBay. The small form factor of the Mac Mini makes it ideal in terms of space and it has enough oomph to do everything I need. It’s also fairly straightforward to upgrade and runs Windows 10 reasonably well.

Which brings me to Boot Camp Assistant. If you’re not familiar with Boot Camp Assistant, it’s a utility designed by Apple to help install Microsoft Windows alongside OS. It makes installing Windows 10 on any compatible Mac a doddle.

Located in the Utilities folder it creates a bootable Windows 10 USB drive from an Iso file (download from Microsoft). It also installs the latest drivers and software from Apple to make Windows work on any Intel based Mac. After creating the required Bootcamp partition on your chosen Hard Disk or SSD, you simply restart your mac with the USB drive plugged in and install windows as you would on any PC or laptop.

The first time I used it I couldn’t believe how straightforward it was. I spent the entire process waiting for something to go wrong but it proved to be seamless. I’m sure other people have had problems with it but not me. I’ve always found that Boot Camp Assistant does exactly what it says on the tin. However, you do need to be patient because downloading the required drivers from Apple can take a while

It’s just a pity there’s no Windows based equivalent.

For some reason Apple doesn’t allow OS to run on anything other than a Mac. Not even on virtual platforms. I’m not really sure what Apples problem is but I think they’re missing a trick here. I would have been happy to pay for a version of Mac OS that runs on a PC. Even one that runs on a virtual platform like Hyper V or Virtual Box.

If you want to run OS on a none Apple box, the only alternative is to build a Hackintosh. It’s great fun, but a decent Hackintosh will cost you way more than a second hand Mac.

That's why I bought a second hand Mac Mini off a man called Dave on eBay and the upshot is, Apple have failed to profit from me once again.

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