View Full Version here: : Mac's running Windows - advice please
25-03-2012, 05:20 PM
I need to replace my aging laptop. I am still deciding between many options. One option I am considering is an mac, such as a Macbook Pro.
- Screen quality and graphics suitability (photography/photoshop) is apparently great (please confirm?)
- Neat, compact, hardware look & feel
- Able to develop iOS applications
- Everything else I have (asside from iPhones and iPads) is windows. All my software is windows, everything on the home LAN is either NAS or windows, etc.
Options to run Windows on a mac seems to be:
- Virtual machine running inside Mac OS.
- Dual boot
I would like advice on how this works, how useable it is to run windows app's, any comments on use of a Mac laptop vs a comparably priced Dell or Toshiba, drawbacks, etc.
A specific question I have: If I want to run a virtual machine on a mac using something like vmware presumably I would need to buy not only a vmware license but also a windows license and other software such as Office licenses I want to run inside that virtual machine, and at non-OEM prices?
25-03-2012, 06:39 PM
Hi Roger - I made my wife's Macbook Pro a dual boot a few years ago, but ended up buying my own laptop after a few squabbles over ownership. It worked extremely well, but when the installation s/w says to use a particular service pack level it aint fooling - during my first attempt to install I managed to damage the MBR to the point where I had to pay someone to recover the photos and videos of our daughter's first year off the now-unusable hard drive. This led to the purchase of some back-up hardware...
25-03-2012, 07:36 PM
Yes the screen on my 15" MBP (matte finish) is marvellous, and it calibrates well for graphics and video work
I use Parallels to run windows on my old macbook and have my MBP set to use Bootcamp, i.e. I dual boot to windows on it.
It runs all windows applications better than my windows Desktop Machine does.
One advantage is Macs hold their value, so the TCO is quite good when you eventually upgrade it. The other is their longevity, my partner's 2007 Macbook still outpaces most laptops that her peers have purchased in the last two years and still looks great.
As for software licences, just like on a Windows machine, you have to buy whatever software you want to run on it, however most of your existing licences should transfer from your old PC to the new Mac.
I personally prefer the Mac OSX version of office, so I keep it current, and have an old version of MS office that I run when using it as a PC and don't bother upgrading it (2003).
You can buy any software at OEM prices really, it doesn't matter what you will be running it on.
If dual booting then you don't need a vmware licence.
Most of my home network are old Windows PCs, and I have no issues with file sharing etc. it all pretty much just works. I have an apple-TV hooked up to the hifi and my screen and stream any video and music from the laptop, iphone or ipad wirelessly via it.
I have transferred most of my software over the years to the OSX versions as I just have less hassles with the Mac, the few remaining bits of windows software are mostly utilities for specific older hardware.
Vs Toshiba etc. the unibody MBP really can take some punishment, mine has been dropped horrifically on multiple occasions, the backlit keyboard is a real boon, the resale value is better, and I prefer the styling and the rigidity of the casing, and the mag-safe power connector has saved me from damage on multiple occasions. The included iLife sweet (iPhoto, iMovie, Garageband, Photobooth) are excellent and very useful. The inbuilt time-machine backup software is abolutely brilliant and easy to use. You just plug in any external HDD and it asks of you want to use it as a backup device. If you say yes, then it backs up regularly with no intervention required from you. It is truly a lifesaver and hassle free.
The main benefit though is you can run Mac OSX, Linux and Windows if you wish, all natively, it means if there is a program out there you want, you are pretty much assured of being able to run it. The same isn't true in reverse of course, e.g. if you want to run Final Cut Pro, you have to have a Mac.
The only thing I would say would be to buy a base model and upgrade the RAM and HDD yourself if you need the higher spec, as you can do so for cheaper with aftermarket items.
25-03-2012, 10:44 PM
Thanks both for your replies.
Poita - How do you manage your documents and emails - presumably it's combersome to have them in one environment or the other on the mac machine as you'd often want them in the other environment? Do you use NAS and cloud storage more extensively as a result?
Can anyone tell me if a Mac can be backed up to a PC? Just thinking that all my backups go to either NAS or dedicated HD's in other PC's.
26-03-2012, 06:43 AM
Get away from POP mail, and go IMAP. You're then able to access mail from any device and sync them all.
TimeMachine will back up to most network-addressable shared drives. How are yours formatted?
26-03-2012, 10:10 AM
Shared drives on normal PC's are NTFS, the NAS (which I know will be accessible one way or another - it has various Apple features) is EXT4.
26-03-2012, 10:24 AM
Hmmm... good old NTFS eh?
Generally not, as Time Machine doesn't see these straight off the bat - but there is a workaround that does work reliably. I've tried it and it's fine. Since I've bought a Time Capsule that seamlessly provides both wireless comms & 2TB worth of backup area I use this instead now.
NTFS & Time Machine: http://hciguy.wordpress.com/2010/06/16/using-time-machine-to-backup-your-mac-to-an-ntfs-drive-over-the-network-running-win-7/
26-03-2012, 10:36 AM
Thanks for te tip. Some of my devices use IMAP, I hadn't put 2 and 2 together to consider doing it for all, as opposed to moving everything from all email address accounts in to gmail or such.
26-03-2012, 10:53 AM
I use IMAP and my mail is synched across everything, my documents are in central storage, ones I need every day are mirrored on the laptop drive.
My Mac is backed up to a drive on my PC server.
28-03-2012, 07:14 PM
Roger, just my 2 cents worth :) About a month ago I upgraded my ageing Dell with a bright new MacBook Pro 15".
With regards to email, I converted my Outlook email over to Thunderbird and then used the Thunderbird data to import into Apple Mail but that was mainly for archived email before I converted over to IMAP.
For Office documents I just use Open Office which is free and quite good. Finally, for the few things I still need Windows for I lashed out the $50 or whatever it cost to get VMWare Fusion and run XP in a VM - performance is quite good.
For control of devices that require a serial port, I purchased a USB-serial converter from the Bay but made sure that was Mac compatible - cost about $10 from memory and works a treat.
28-03-2012, 07:54 PM
Thanks for the continuing replies :)
I have now converted over to IMAP, and am already happy with that irrespective of the Mac decision :)
I am thinking I will go ahead down the Mac line, now I am considering the likelihood of a new range of MacBook pro 's being just around the corner. There is talk of the, in April or June, so will consider how long I am happy to wait.
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