I have been successfully using Windows XP with Boot Camp on the iMac for a while now. However, it is a pain when you have to reboot every time you want to use a Windows application. So I tried the obvious solution: Parallels Desktop for Mac.
And it works like a charm! Initially I could not figure out how to use the Boot Camp installation of Windows, so I actually installed Windows XP as a separate virtual machine, before I realized that it is quite simple to set up Boot Camp (and then deleted the other virtual machine). You have to use “Custom” installation and choose “Boot Camp” as the “virtual hard disk option”. The rest is easy (although I did have to kill and restart Parallels once during the first run). Windows asked for reactivation, and I said I wanted to reactivate it, and it worked fine. After all, I still have only one Windows installation on the computer.
So now I can run any Windows application on the Mac, right from the dock, using Parallels “coherence” mode, without even having to see the not-too-attractive Windows XP interface! It is a pretty amazing piece of software (I mean Parallels, not Windows XP). The end result of this setup is that I can run three different operating systems at the same time: Mac OS X, Windows XP, and Unix. And I could install Linux as well, if I wanted to. But I don’t need that one right now.