Dual-Boot or Virtualization (or Both!)?

When you run Windows on a MacBook Air, Windows itself doesn’t “know” that it’s operating on Mac hardware. It sees an Intel processor, and all the other hardware components in your MacBook Air — memory, hard drive, video card, optical drive, and so on — aren’t fundamentally different from the same components on a pure Windows PC. However, Windows (like any operating system) does insist that it have complete control over the computer. Before you decide how to go forward, you should know how the Mac’s operating system (OS X) relinquishes control (or appears to relinquish control) because this defines how you use Windows and whether OS X and Windows can share data. You can dual-boot, go the virtualization route, or even do both.

bullet.tif Dual-boot. To dual-boot your MacBook Air means to configure it with two different operating systems — OS X and Windows — running on separate sections (called partitions) on your MacBook Air’s hard drive. When you start your MacBook Air, you have a choice to boot into either OS X or into Windows. If you choose to boot into OS X, your MacBook Air runs exactly as it does now. If you choose to boot into Windows, for all intents and purposes your MacBook Air turns into a Windows PC. That is, you see the Windows desktop, Windows has control of the hardware, and OS X is nowhere in sight. You use Apple’s Boot Camp software (which ...

Get MacBook Air Portable Genius, 4th Edition now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.