After missing '09 deadline, Apple updates Boot Camp

Adds support for Windows 7, but users complain of outdated ATI drivers

Apple yesterday updated its Boot Camp software to officially support Windows 7, Microsoft's newest operating system.

Boot Camp is the Apple utility that lets owners of Intel -based Macs run Windows from a second drive partition. Unlike virtualization software such as VMware's Fusion or Parallels' flagship Parallels Desktop for Mac, Boot Camp does not run Windows simultaneously with Mac OS X.

In a series of downloads posted to its support site Tuesday, Apple updated Boot Camp to version 3.1, provided new Windows 7 -compatible graphics and Bluetooth drivers, added a graphics firmware upgrade for iMacs and Mac Pros, and offered a utility necessary for current Boot Camp users who want to upgrade from Vista to Windows 7.

Although Apple had original promised to deliver the Boot Camp update before the end of 2009, it missed the deadline by three weeks. The company did not explain the delay.

Some users have reported problems with the Boot Camp 3.1 update, including installation failures , outdated ATI graphics drivers and an inability to use 64-bit editions of Windows on Macs that Apple claims support the new OS .

"I just updated my Windows 7 64-bit installation on my iMac 27-in. i7," said Daniel Drogles in the support forum message that kicked off the thread about ATI drivers. "I was not happy to see ... that the ATI drivers are old. Apple, please quickly give us the up-to-date drivers."

Others chimed in, saying that the old ATI graphics drivers created color banding on their screens and slowed games to a crawl. The solution, some said, is to download the newest drivers from ATI's Web site.

Boot Camp 3.1 and its associated downloads can be found on Apple's Web site . The revamped Boot Camp supports the three retail editions of Windows 7: Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld . Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer , send e-mail to gkeizer@ix.netcom.com or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed .

This story, "After missing '09 deadline, Apple updates Boot Camp" was originally published by Computerworld.

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