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Windows 7 and Boot Camp

There should technically be no reason why you cannot run Windows 7 in Boot Camp, but for now Apple does not support it so we recommend you hold off on installing it or upgrading to it for your Boot Camp partition.

The official release of Windows 7 yesterday no doubt has a number of Boot Camp users wondering about whether or not to upgrade their Windows installations to the new operating system. Microsoft has made some luring refinements to the operating system and cleaned out a large number of the problems and annoyances that have plagued Vista, but where do Boot Camp users stand?

The folks over at Gizmodo have a small tutorial on installing Windows 7 on your Mac with Boot Camp, and as far as the installation goes everything seems to work just fine. However, while this and other reports of successful installs may tempt you to upgrade your Boot Camp installation to Windows 7, for now it has not been fully tested and there may be unforeseen problems.

Apple needs to upgrade their Boot Camp drivers and other Windows system software to be compatible with Windows 7 and ensure you will be able to flawlessly switch between OS X and Windows, as well as use Apple hardware such as multitouch trackpads. Because of it's status as being currently unsupported, despite success stories we recommend you hold off on using it for Boot Camp at the present moment. If you are absolutely itching to run Windows 7, the safest way is to install it on a virtual machine by using VMWare Fusion, Parallels Desktop, or Sun's VirtualBox.

An additional consideration is what Mac hardware will eventually be supported to run Windows 7. According to this Apple knowledgebase article, the following Mac models will not be able to run Windows 7 using Boot Camp.

  • iMac (17-inch, Early 2006)
  • iMac (17-inch, Late 2006)
  • iMac (20-inch, Early 2006)
  • iMac (20-inch, Late 2006)
  • MacBook Pro (15-inch, Early 2006)
  • MacBook Pro (17-inch, Late 2006)
  • MacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2006)
  • MacBook Pro (17-inch, Early 2006)
  • Mac Pro (Mid 2006, Intel Xeon Dual-core 2.66GHz or 3GHz)

I assume this may be solely due to limitations in the Boot Camp drivers, but there technically should be no reason why the hardware will not run Windows 7. As such, while the software may install on these machines if you try, you may not be able to run Apple's updated drivers when they're released and be stuck with potential bugs and incompatibilities.

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