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Apple’s Boot Camp program for running Windows on a Mac is a beta. Any idea when a final version will be out? And will Boot Camp allow Macs to run the new Vista version of Windows?

Boot Camp may never be final, because Apple plans to roll its functionality into the forthcoming new version of its OS X operating system, called Leopard, which is due out early in 2007, around the same time Microsoft plans to ship Windows Vista. I assume Apple will stop offering Boot Camp as a separate program around that time. The company states that “Boot Camp Beta is preview software licensed for use on a trial basis for a limited time.” That implies to me that it will likely be discontinued when Leopard comes out. This doesn’t necessarily mean existing installations of Windows on Macs will stop functioning, just that new downloads won’t be available.

I do believe that Leopard will allow Vista to run on Macs. However, just like regular Windows PCs, Macs running Vista will be able to use all of its features only if their hardware specs are hefty enough. My quick and dirty assessment is that the Intel-based iMac, MacBook Pro and Mac mini should be able to do so, but only time will tell.

I have a home network of three PCs. Do I have to download antivirus protection software separately for each computer? What about antispyware software?

Yes, you do. Antivirus and antispyware programs work on a computer-by-computer basis. You can’t just install them on your main PC and expect that they will protect all the other machines on your network.

Which pop-up blockers do you recommend?

You don’t really need a separate pop-up blocker anymore. The latest versions of all the major browsers — Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari — have built-in pop-up blockers. They aren’t perfect, but they work pretty well. You can turn on the blocking functionality from the preferences or options menus. If you need something more, and you are a Windows user, you can download the Google toolbar, which includes a good pop-up blocker. It can be downloaded at toolbar.google.com.

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