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Last Updated: Friday, 17 March 2006, 12:30 GMT
Hackers get Mac running Windows
Steve Jobs unveils Macs using Intel chips, AP
Not even Apple's own technical staff thought the feat was possible
Hackers have managed to get Microsoft's Windows XP operating system running on an Apple Mac computer.

The success ends a competition started to see if the feat was even possible when Apple unveiled computers that used Intel chips.

The pair who managed the feat won $13,854 (7,895) in prize money for their trouble.

The software used to put Windows on the Mac is now being circulated so others can try to replicate the success.

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In January 2006, the first Apple Mac computers using Intel chips were unveiled at the Macworld show by company boss Steve Jobs.

Soon after the unveiling, Mac enthusiast Colin Nederkoorn kicked off a competition to see if it was possible for the two operating systems to run independently on the same machine.

To tempt entrants, he put up $100 of his own money - a prize fund that gradually grew as news about the competition spread.

The rules of the competition stressed that to win hackers must get both Windows XP and Apple's OSX running on the same machine and neither operating system must conflict with the other.

Screenshot of Eve Online, CCP Hf
Some want to run PC games like Eve Online on Macs
As late as 7 March, Apple technical experts were saying that the prize money was unlikely to be collected.

The main stumbling block for those tackling the task was the different way that Microsoft's Windows XP and Apple's OSX boot-up, or start. Essentially, PCs and Apple Mac machines use different technology to get their operating systems loaded.

The hackers who won the contest created a custom copy of Windows XP that had modifications made to the installation files to get it working with the Apple boot system.

The hackers who won the contest are keen to keep their anonymity and are known only by the handles "narf" and "blanka". According to reports, their feat has been independently confirmed and XP has been made to run on an iMac, Mac Mini and MacBook Pro.

Technical sites such as Ars Technica have provided walkthroughs for people keen to try it for themselves, though they stress that it is likely to defeat those who are technically unskilled.

It is possible that easier ways to get a Mac booting both operating systems will appear as other hackers follow up the success.

Many people discussing the feat online stress that it is of more than casual interest. One of the many reasons that Apple machines have not proved more popular is because of the relatively small number of programs, in particular games, created for them. With work, many of the hugely popular programs for Windows may be able to run on Apple machines too.

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