Boot Camp + rEFIt = nice computer lab

Well this past summer we traded our Dell’s for intel iMacs. The release of boot camp made our choice that much easier. Here in our building we use Macs just as we do Windows machines. So the intel iMacs would give us machines that could handle whatever OS was needed. So basically one machine could be used as 2. Since we were replacing the Dells which was our Windows lab the intel iMacs were going to be used as Windows machines most of the time. While boot camp would have allowed us to run the machines the way we wanted we wanted more. rEFIt was the answer. rEFIt when the computer boots gives a menu for what OS you want. It was originally designed for booting Linux on the intel’s. I know that you can choose what OS you want by holding down “option”. But when the computer labs are being used by hundreds of students a week it wasn’t an option to tell them all. By using rEFIt the student can easily see how to get to the OS that they want. Like I said the lab is primarily a Windows lab, we allow the students to use OS X. Another great feature is that when we hold clases in the lab we can support teachers and software that use both platforms.

Like I said we set this up this summer. So it has been running for 6 months with no issues. We use netrestore to image the machines. With netrestore you can image either OS without affecting the other. I have heard people complain about boot camp but for our situation and a lab setup it is a perfect setup. We are planning on upgrading out other lab in the next year or so with this setup. It currently has eMacs.

Below are the pictures I took earlier today. It shows the rEFIt screen we customized and also the lab half and half Windows and Mac. All the machines are on active directory. If you have questions just post in the comments.

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Never would not have thought

How’s this solution working for you? I’m thinking of implementing something very similar? Have you had any issues with EFI updates and rEFIt not working?

we are using bootpicker now. We are running leopard and vista together. The reason for this is we can manage the machines remotely with ARD.

Did you get your monitor to go to sleep when sitting at the rEFIt screen?

rEFIt wouldn’t allow screen saver settings. When we used it, we had lab monitors to shut down the machines every night. Classes came and went through the day so it wasn’t a big deal that they didn’t sleep.

Bootpicker allows us to do so much more with the machines. I remotely set sleep settings, 30 minutes to spin down. On Vista we changed registry values so when a user logs off it reboots the machine. That way the machines are at the bootpicker screen for sleep settings to take effect.

Hi, how did you disable the efi shell option in the config file? Thanks.

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