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Ask Max: Running Windows on a PowerMac

Asked on 07/31/2014:

I have a G5 Power Mac with OS 10.4. I can't find an update to Leopard 10.5. It has an X drive installed (that's what its identified as in Finder). Can I install Windows XP on the X drive and keep the MAC OS on the other drive? I was given this computer and I am not at all familiar with MAC Hardware or Operating systems.


Those G5 towers were very stout machines. However, the chipset that they were built around (PowerPC G5) isn’t compatible with any current, or prior versions of Microsoft Windows. Later models of Apple Computers are built around the Intel architecture. Intel Macs do support both OS X and Microsoft Windows.

Consider trading your machine in for a newer model. PowerMax has the Web's Best Trade-In Program! After that, you can easily run Windows on a Mac:

After you upgrade to a newer machine, look for an application inside of the Utilities folder called Boot Camp Assistant (Applications > Utilities > BootCamp). That Application handles partitioning of the drive and acquires the proper drivers and software for Windows to recognize the Mac's hardware profiles. You will, however, still need a few things:

  1. A retail or OEM Windows 7 or later installation DVD. A DVD supplied from another computer won’t work properly, as it’s hardware locked to the previous machine. This causes validation and activation errors.
  2. A 4GB to 8GB USB flash drive. This is for temporary storage of the Boot Camp driver packages needed to get Windows to properly acknowledge the Mac's hardware.

This process actually makes a pretty impressive Windows machine, as it excludes the bloatware, and unwanted trial software that other PC manufacturers pre-install.  

Please note:  As always, it is recommended that you back up your system before making major changes like updating the OS. With Apple's Time Machine, it's very simple to set up. After this set up, your computer backs up your system every hour, so you will always have a recent backup. Contact one of our Mac Experts to get an external hard drive for use with Time Machine, if you don't already have one, like this one from LaCie.

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