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Operating Systems

Apple's Boot Camp now supports Windows 10

With Boot Camp version 6, Apple users can dual-boot Mac OS X with the 64-or 32-bit version of Windows 10.

Mac users who want to run Windows 10 can now do so through the latest release of Apple's Boot Camp. Dong Ngo/CNET

Mac users can now officially run Windows 10 through an updated version of Apple's Boot Camp dual-boot utility.

An Apple support document posted late Wednesday lists the Mac and iMac models that support dual booting with Windows 10 via the release of Boot Camp version 6 and explains how to install Microsoft's new OS for your dual-boot environment.

Boot Camp is designed for Mac users who want or need to run Windows but don't have or wish to purchase a dedicated Windows PC. Through Boot Camp, you can run the Mac OS X and Windows in two separate partitions on the same Mac and then simply choose which operating system you wish to load each time your computer boots up. On the down side, your Mac's performance through Boot Camp can be slow. On the plus side, you can share files between OS X and Windows, so Boot Camp is a good solution for people who want to work with the same documents in both operating systems.

Boot Camp also supports certain features of your Mac in Windows 10, including USB 3, USB-C on the MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2015), the Mac's Thunderbolt high-speed port, the built-in SD or SDXC card slot, your built-in or USB Apple SuperDrive and of course, your Apple keyboard, trackpad and mouse.

The Boot Camp capability is already built into Mac OS X in the form of the Boot Camp Assistant, which you run to set up the utility. After you run Boot Camp Assistant the first time, the latest drivers for Boot Camp are automatically downloaded. If you're already using Boot Camp, you can check the Mac App Store for updates to see if the latest version 6 drivers are available at this point.

Prior to Apple's new Boot Camp support, Windows 10 was already capable of running on a Mac via the utility. To run Boot Camp, you'll need Mac OS X Yosemite or a higher version, meaning El Capitan , which is currently in public beta mode and expected to be released in September. The utility also supports various models of the MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, Mac Mini and the Mac Pro. You can find the full list of supported Macs on Apple's new support document.

For more information on using Boot Camp, check out Apple's Boot Camp Support page.

There is another way to run both Mac OS X and Windows on your Mac computer . You can set up Windows in a virtual machine inside your Mac OS. That gives Windows its own slice of real estate so you can use it without having to shut down your Mac OS, reboot or maintain a dual-boot scenario. With a virtual machine, you set aside enough disk space and memory to install and run Windows.

Two virtual machine applications that support the Mac are Parallels Desktop for Mac and VMware Fusion for Mac. Selling for $80, Parallels Desktop 10 for Mac supports Windows 10 and is available as an evaluation version that you can try for free for 14 days. Priced at $63, VMware Fusion 7 is also compatible with Windows 10 and available as a trial version that you can test drive for 30 days.

There's also a free solution. Database giant Oracle offers a virtual machine utility called VirtualBox, which supports Windows 10. You can install the Mac version of VirtualBox in OS X and then set up Windows 10 as a virtual machine. The process is a bit trickier than setting up virtual machines in Parallels Desktop and Fusion for Mac, and VirtualBox lacks the bells and whistles of the other two programs. But it's worth a shot if you want to save some money.