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    Upcoming Expiration of Boot Camp Does Not Mean Windows Will Stop Running on OS X 10.4 Macs

    by  Alan Zisman (c) 2007 First published in Low End Mac October 15 2007 Mac2Windows column

    Low End Mac and others have reported on Apple's recent reminder that the Boot Camp Beta is set to expire when OS X 10.5 "Leopard" ships later in October. The company noted that version 1.2 or earlier of Boot Camp expired on September 30, 2007, so anyone using Boot Camp to dual boot between Windows (XP or Vista) and Mac OS X on an Intel Mac should update to the current beta 1.4.

    At the same time, that version - as had been previously announced - expires when Leopard "is available to the public". At that point, according to Apple's support note, "to continue using Boot Camp . . . upgrade to Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard".

    The Software License Agreement displayed when installing Boot Camp states: "The term of this License . . . will terminate automatically without notice from Apple upon the next commercial release of the Apple Software, or December 31, 2007, whichever occurs first. (It also notes [in all caps] that "THE APPLE SOFTWARE IS NOT INTENDED FOR USE IN THE OPERATION OF NUCLEAR FACILITIES, AIRCRAFT NAVIGATION OR COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS, AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEMS, LIFE SUPPORT MACHINES OR OTHER EQUIPMENT IN WHICH THE FAILURE OF THE APPLE SOFTWARE COULD LEAD TO DEATH, PERSONAL INJURY, OR SEVERE PHYSICAL OR ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE.")

    While many owners of Intel-based Macs who have used the Boot Camp beta to install Windows are probably planning to upgrade to Leopard as soon as possible, Apple's announcement is not clear on what will actually happen to current Boot Camp users who are still running OS X 10.4 after the Leopard release date (or December 31).

    If you have used Boot Camp (any version) to create a Windows partition on your Mac's hard drive and installed Windows onto it, that dual-boot setup should continue to work after Leopard's release, just as installations created with Boot Camp Beta 1.2 or earlier continue to work even though those versions have officially expired.

    What may stop working is the Boot Camp Assistant Beta program, which runs under Mac OS X.

    Boot Camp Assistant

    The Boot Camp Assistant utility has three functions:

    1. It can be used to burn a Windows drivers disc, used after installing Windows to provide better support for the video display, network, and sound adapters, and for functions on your Mac keyboard and iSight camera that are not standard in Windows.
    2. It can be used to nondestructively partition your Mac hard drive to make space for a Windows installation and to reboot to allow you to install Windows. (The image above doesn't include the partition option, since my computer already has a Boot Camp Windows partition.)
    3. It can be used to remove the Windows partition, restoring the space to the Mac partition.

    So if the Beta Boot Camp Assistant is no longer operational, you won't be able to use it to install Windows if you haven't already done so or to remove an existing Boot Camp installation. Moreover, the various versions of Boot Camp have offered increasing functionality in their Windows drivers; the 1.4 version, for example, gave Windows users the ability to make use of the Eject key on their Mac keyboard, among other improvements.
    Free tools to fix common problems and have some fun while you’re at itFree tools to fix common problems and have some fun while you’re at itFree tools to fix common problems and have some fun while you’re at itFree tools to fix common problems and have some fun while you’re at itFree tools to fix common problems and have some fun while you’re at it
    As a result, if you're using an earlier version of Boot Camp, it's well worth the time and effort of downloading the 347 MB final Beta 1.4 Boot Camp version. Install it , and use it to create a new Windows driver CD, boot to Windows, and install the current drivers - before Apple's deadline.

    There has been some speculation that following the Leopard release, Apple might release a for pay standalone Boot Camp version for use by OS X 10.4 users. There's no word on that, and Apple's note does tell Boot Camp users that they will have to upgrade to Leopard.

    But until you make the move to Leopard (if ever), your current Windows installation should continue to run.

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Alan Zisman is a Vancouver educator, writer, and computer specialist. He can be reached at E-mail Alan