How to Create a Simple Dual Boot System (Win XP / Mac OS 10.4.6/10.4.7)

published on
How to Create a Simple Dual Boot System
(Win XP / Mac OS 10.4.6/10.4.7)

This is a simple guide to create a "Quick and Easy" dual boot system. It will use the integrated boot selector from Darwin.

You will need:
1. (Surely) Mac OS X 10.4.6 JAS Install DVD (on a DVD-R not RW!)
2. (Surely) A PC with a compatible DVD drive (to install OS X, it's necessary!)
3. (Maybe!) Windows XP Install CD

It's simple and quite easy to understand but you must either:
* a - Start from scratch with an empty HDD (longest but easiest and requires item 3)
* b - Partition your disk with a program (as I don't use these, I will no cover them here, there's sufficient info on that everywhere)
* c - Start from an already partitionned Win XP system with sufficient space to install OS X on an unused partition. This "Quick and Easy" Solution, took 25 minutes for me to got OS X installed and running with a boot selector (installation of OS X included!).

To start, you should have two system partitions with at least 10 GB each to get comfortable with Virtual Memory (both OS), the hibernation sleep mode of windows and the bunch of program you will install to use your PC/Mac to work/play/whatever.

We will start from scratch, other will get onboard later.

* 1.

First of all, put your Windows XP Install CD in the tray (no really!).

- When the installer will ask your where to install Windows, select your HDD and create two partitions of at least 10 GB for Windows XP and OS X. Use FAT 32 System because OS X can read/write on these drives but not on NTFS (read only). Leave the rest of the disk unused. (To be honest you could even set up the entire HDD from Win XP install but it's easier from OS X).

- Install Windows on the partition you just created, Windows will always make the install partition the active partition and then boot from there.

* 2.

Setup Windows (The longer part!)

* 3.

(we take case b. and c. people here!)

Put the OS X Install DVD (Yes, again)

- When you are at the installation menu, choose from the menu Utilities -> Disc Utility.

- Then choose your disk and then either:

a: Select your OS X partition and go to the Erase Tab. Put "MacOSX" or any label in the label section (no special character as é à ù because it will be easier to call from the command line) and select Journalled MacOS type, click erase, this will format your partition to the Mac OS X format.

b: Select your unused Space and setup your drive from here. (For the more advanced users or the bold ones)

- Then, be sure to have your partition mounted (it's said somewhere, but I don't really remember) as you will need to access it from the terminal.

- Quit the Disk Utility, this will get you directly to the install menu.

- Then select, from the menu, Utilities -> Terminal.
You will get to the tiny command line of Darwin (as someone said: don't panic, the terminal is your friend!)

- Then type: "diskutil list" (as always, without quotes).
Keep note of the EXACT DISK/PARTITION where your MacOSX partition is, it will be something like: disk0s2 (Disk 0, partition #2 here).

- Then type "fdisk -e /dev/rdisk0".
The 0 is the number following the "disk" in disk0s2. Hint for the Noobs: replace the number, here 0, with YOUR OWN MacOSX disk number!

[note: you will be in the sub command prompt of the fdisk program.]

- Then type "p", it will list the partitions of this HDD.
Verify the number of your MacOSX partition just be sure that it will be your OS X system partition and not another you will make active. The active partition (here Win XP) will be identified with an "*".

- Type: "f 2" where the 2 is the partition # in the "disk0s2".
Hint for the Noobs: replace the number, here 2, with YOUR OWN MacOSX partition number!

This will mark your partition as the active partition for the boot sequence at PC start-up.

- Type: "write" to write your changes (it will ask you if it's OK to set the changes on the next reboot, indeed, say Yes).

- Type: "exit" to exit fdisk program.

- Type: "exit" to exit Terminal.

- Close terminal with Command(ALT)-Q.

- Install OS X with the right options for your PC (go the the install FAQ to get some info on that).

- Reboot and enjoy the boot menu of Darwin when you press F8 while booting. You can select any OS and voilà!

In case it goes wrong and the partition doesn't boot, just access the terminal from the DVD and repeat the Terminal procedure with the right partition. But to be sure it's not because your partition is not a primary one, delete it with the Disk Utility of OS X to the "unused space" state and create it again, just in case.

Also, if OS X doesn't boot at all on your PC, then your PC would be unstartable. Just put the DVD in the machine and repeat the Terminal procedure to change the starting partition to Win XP, but this should be an unlikely event as you are able to boot from the DVD.

Notes: It could certainly work for more OS like Linux, OS2, DOS or any obscure OS but I haven't tried, so I could not write it here, but as the Boot selector seems quite flexible, it should work.