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Is Boot Camp some sort of virtualization system, or will it run Windows 7 on a Mac the same way it runs on a Dell or an HP machine? I need to run Visual Studio in Windows 7. and I need it to work smoothly.

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Is Google down? –  EmmEff Feb 7 '12 at 3:35
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Bootcamp allows you to install and run Windows 7 natively on your Mac as if it were just any other PC.

It allows you to co host a Windows installation on the same drive as your Mac OS one, allowing you to dual boot. In addition to being what is effectively a simple boot manager, it includes a full package of drivers for all your integrated peripherals like the trackpad, FaceTime camera, odd Mac keyboard layout etc etc, that makes it easier to use without having to struggle getting things to work.

It does not allow you to virtualise Windows to run within Mac OS, but a handy side affect is that many virtualisation tools such as VMWare Fusion and Parallels desktop will open your bootcamp partition as if it were a virtual machine, allowing you access without a reboot at the cost of performance. Booting directly into windows via bootcamp should be just as fast as on any comparable spec PC

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From the Apple KB doc:

You can run the Windows operating system on your Mac at native speed--without the performance penalty that comes with software emulation or "virtual machines." Windows applications have full access to multiple processors and multiple cores, accelerated 3D graphics, and high-speed ports and networking such as USB, FireWire, Wi-Fi, AirPort, and Gigabit Ethernet as well as drivers for audio and Bluetooth.

So, to answer your question, no, Windows is not virtualized on your computer through Bootcamp, but actually running natively on your hardware. You shouldn't have any problems with running applications on Bootcamp. However, your hardware may not be supported for that application, so you may need drivers.

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Is bootcamp some sort of virtualization

No.

Bootcamp is a multi boot utility. You use it to create a windows partition on which you install Windows 7 like any PC.

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Up till now, most Windows-based computers have used what is called the BIOS, or Basic Input Output System, to launch the operating system. The BIOS detects the Windows bootloader, then puts it into memory to start up Windows.

Intel-based Macs have never had a BIOS. Instead, they have the more advanced EFI, or Extensible Firmware Interface, to perform the same task.

The BIOS and the EFI are not compatible with one another, which is why OS X will not natively boot on a PC, and why Windows shouldn't be able to boot on a Mac.

However, you can boot Windows on a Mac. This is thanks to Apple's Boot Camp. Boot Camp is a set of tools, including a set of drivers, a partitioner, and, most importantly, a BIOS simulator. The Boot Camp BIOS simulator is written into the EFI, and it allows the EFI to act like a BIOS and boot up Windows for installation on Intel-based Macintosh hardware.

You can access Boot Camp by going to Applications->Utilities->Boot Camp Assistant. It will take you step-by-step through the process necessary to run Windows natively on your Macintosh hardware.

The Boot Camp Assistant

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