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Best Way To Run Windows On Mac  
User currently offlineCoal From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 2023 posts, RR: 9
Posted (2 years 1 month 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 3180 times:

Hello folks! I am about to buy a MacBook Air and I had a question about running Windows on it.

I am about to start an MBA program and of course I will be using Excel and PowerPoint a lot. Just for this, I plan on running Windows on it, as the keyboard shortcuts are easier than on Office for Mac. I will also be using ThinkCell for PowerPoint, and they don’t have a Mac version of the plug in.

For Excel, I doubt I will be using any VBA, but just the basic financial math and economics functions (regressions, solver, etc).

So, for that, how should I attempt at running windows?

1) VMWare?
2) Parallels?
3) Bootcamp?

Many thanks appreciated!

Cheers
Coal


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21 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineLOWS From Austria, joined Oct 2011, 1141 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (2 years 1 month 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 3164 times:

VMWare Fusion is great. I use it sometimes for Office and sometimes for games.

Parallels always gives me some trouble (bugs).

Bootcamp is too much effort. Who really wants to reboot to switch?


User currently offlineQFA380 From Australia, joined Jul 2005, 2062 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (2 years 1 month 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 3163 times:

If you're going to be using it only so you can play with shortcuts, macros and whatever else you're better off using bootcamp. Sure it's a pain in the arse having to reboot every time you go to school or want to do any work but at least you know it'll work. Parallels and Fusion can do funny things sometimes if you're planning on doing anything a little complicated. Not to mention that if you're taking it to school, running either of those will decimate your battery life, bootcamp is free too. If always carting your charger around doesn't bother you and rebooting does though your MBA will handle the task fine, I doubt you'll be doing too much in windows that requires that much power.
I have one and love it to bits, had a little scare though this morning thought the SSD died, but you've made a good choice.


User currently offlineCoal From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 2023 posts, RR: 9
Reply 3, posted (2 years 1 month 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 3163 times:

Thanks LOWS. So in WMWare I can install other programs, etc, in the virtual machine?

Also, how much does it cost?

Thanks!

Cheers
Coal



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User currently offlineLOWS From Austria, joined Oct 2011, 1141 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (2 years 1 month 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 3152 times:

Quoting Coal (Reply 3):
Thanks LOWS. So in WMWare I can install other programs, etc, in the virtual machine?

Oh yeah, it is quite literally a virtual machine. With a few minor exceptions, Windows/Linux whatever thinks it is just a normal PC. You can also drag and drop things from the Mac desktop right into Windows.

I run a Windows XP machine on my 1,6GHz MacBookAir with 4GB of RAM, but if you want to go to Windows 7, you might want something a bit more substantial. I really liked XP Pro when I had to use it, and for what I do now (Word, the original Roller Coaster Tycoon, and Rise of Nations) it is more than sufficient with 1GB of dedicated RAM when the Virtual Machine is running.

You can get VMWare through the Apple Online Shop (US) for 50$, but you might check the Education Store for your country.

http://store.apple.com/us/product/H6894LL/A/vmware-fusion-4


User currently offlineandrej From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2001, 927 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (2 years 1 month 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 3147 times:

Hey Coal,

Quoting QFA380 (Reply 2):
If you're going to be using it only so you can play with shortcuts, macros and whatever else you're better off using bootcamp

  

Bootcamp may be a little inconvenient due to the fact that you have to restart your mac (I hardly see it as such), but if I have to use Windows on my MacBook Bootcamp is my most preferred way. It is free, it is stable, and really the amount of time you spend on rebooting is not much.

There is also another option, buying MS Office for Mac or iWork (very capable office suite application). I know that SPSS (statistical software) will work on your Mac - (version 16 and up?); I have used SPSS extensively during my undergrad and postgraduate days.

Not sure about ThinkCell though. MS Office for Mac is really nice and I do enjoy working on it. I like iWork for presentations.

Cheers,

Andrej


User currently offlinesignol From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2007, 3003 posts, RR: 8
Reply 6, posted (2 years 1 month 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 3137 times:

How about:
1. Buy a Windows laptop
2. Buy a RTW ticket with the money you save  

Seriously, a friend wrote an extensive blog entry on how to do this:

http://minimalistcoder.blogspot.co.u...09/06/triple-boot-macbook.html?m=1

signol



Flights booked: none :(
User currently offlineajd1992 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (2 years 1 month 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 3118 times:

Bootcamp is the best way. It's a proper installation of Windows (not a virtual one) so it's quicker as well as everything else. Rebooting is a slight pain but if you're turning it on from a complete shutdown, it makes no difference anyway (and you shouldn't carry a laptop in a bag in standby - it can destroy the hard disc as I found out)

Using virtualisation software is quicker but potentially a bigger pain in the backside. I used bootcamp with XP back in 2008 on my MacBook then and it worked flawlessly. Vista on the other hand, didn't. Although in all honesty, that was because Vista was the biggest piece of crap OS since ME and not because Apple make a shoddy product.

[Edited 2012-07-30 03:10:30]

User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21442 posts, RR: 53
Reply 8, posted (2 years 1 month 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 3080 times:

Quoting Coal (Thread starter):
I am about to start an MBA program and of course I will be using Excel and PowerPoint a lot. Just for this, I plan on running Windows on it, as the keyboard shortcuts are easier than on Office for Mac. I will also be using ThinkCell for PowerPoint, and they don’t have a Mac version of the plug in.

For Excel, I doubt I will be using any VBA, but just the basic financial math and economics functions (regressions, solver, etc).

So, for that, how should I attempt at running windows?

1) VMWare?
2) Parallels?
3) Bootcamp?

A virtual machine like VMware should be your best bet. (Parallels is another commercial VM, but less reliable; Virtual Box is even free, but of lesser quality yet again.)

In VMware you can run your Windows programs side by side with your Mac programs. Just the windows of the MS-based applications look differently, but you can mix them with the Mac aplication windows as you like, including cut & paste and if you want even drag & drop between them (although I would not recommend enabling cross-system drag & drop, as it weakens the safety-wise isolation between the two).

Apple's Windows driver kit Boot Camp lets you install Windows side by side with Mac OS X, but you would not be able to work with Mac and Windows applications in tandem because you had to reboot every time you wanted to switch. Almost the only advantage of the Boot Camp approach is that Windows has full access to the graphics hardware, while in a VM Windows "sees" only a relatively simple generic graphics hardware.

The recommendation is basically Boot Camp when Windows gaming is your priority, VMware when you need Windows applications without major 3D acceleration in an integrated working environment.

You can even run multiple VMs at the same time if you want, while always having Mac OS X at your disposal.

Quoting QFA380 (Reply 2):
If you're going to be using it only so you can play with shortcuts, macros and whatever else you're better off using bootcamp. Sure it's a pain in the arse having to reboot every time you go to school or want to do any work but at least you know it'll work. Parallels and Fusion can do funny things sometimes if you're planning on doing anything a little complicated.

Such as? Windows and Office don't even know they're in a VM. The complexity of tasks makes no difference to it running on a native PC.

Of course when you use the fully integrated UI (which you can en- or disable at any time) you need to be aware of the special keyboard functions, but that's it as far as I'm aware.

Quoting ajd1992 (Reply 7):
Using virtualisation software is quicker but potentially a bigger pain in the backside.

You can configure VMware for the number of processor cores and RAM you want Windows to see in the VM, so you can scale theperformance Windows is able to use. The only major limitation is 3D acceleration, but that is irrelevant for MS Office.


User currently offlinestealthz From Australia, joined Feb 2005, 5692 posts, RR: 44
Reply 9, posted (2 years 1 month 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 3070 times:
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This may be a silly statement but if running Windows applications is your priority why not buy a Windows machine.

I just don't get the"must have an Apple but need to do something else" mentality

Expecting a flaming because any un KoolAid comments get that!!



If your camera sends text messages, that could explain why your photos are rubbish!
User currently offlineJRadier From Netherlands, joined Sep 2004, 4679 posts, RR: 50
Reply 10, posted (2 years 1 month 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 3067 times:

Quoting stealthz (Reply 9):
This may be a silly statement but if running Windows applications is your priority why not buy a Windows machine.

I just don't get the"must have an Apple but need to do something else" mentality

I'm in the same position, where Office is important to me, but everything else Mac does better. Office for mac is not ideal so I would like to run Office for Windows. At the same time, I like Mail over Outlook, I love Mission Control, I love the notification centre, I love my integrated calendar. I just like the Mac better, but Microsoft does make a better office suite... That's why I try to match them...



For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and ther
User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21571 posts, RR: 55
Reply 11, posted (2 years 1 month 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 3035 times:

Quoting Coal (Thread starter):
I am about to buy a MacBook Air and I had a question about running Windows on it.

Since you'd be better off running Office on Windows, are there other factors that make you want to go for a Mac? Because if not, you might as well get a Windows machine.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineCoal From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 2023 posts, RR: 9
Reply 12, posted (2 years 1 month 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 2915 times:

Quoting Mir (Reply 11):
are there other factors that make you want to go for a Mac?

It just works. And Windows runs faster on a Mac than on a PC.

Klaus, thanks a lot for all your help. Do you know roughly how much disk space VM Ware will take? I was initially thinking of going for a 512GB drive but might end up buying a 256GB one because of my budget constraints.

Cheers
Coal



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User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21571 posts, RR: 55
Reply 13, posted (2 years 1 month 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 2908 times:

Quoting Coal (Reply 12):
It just works.

Just my two cents, but you need a better reason than that. Windows isn't as bad as it's made out to be, and if you have to buy other software to run the software you want, I would take that as evidence that it doesn't "just work".

Seriously - the are advantages to the Mac, but if you are going to be running Windows a lot, get a Windows machine. The hassle of switching back and forth isn't worth it.

And lest anyone harp on me for being in the tank for Windows, I'm typing this on my only computer, which is a MacBook Pro.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21442 posts, RR: 53
Reply 14, posted (2 years 1 month 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 2903 times:

Quoting Coal (Reply 18):
Also, how much hard drive will VM Ware take up? I initially wanted to get the 512GB MBA, but my budget will probably only allow for a 256GB (which is way more than I need anyway as I have a 1TB external drive).

Effectively about as much as the used space on the configured virtual drive(s) for the VM. If you configure a 100GB boot disk for Windows, it still takes up only about as much space as you've actually used so far, which means it will grow up to the configured maximum.

You can take snapshots which effectively freeze the system state so you can revert to it later on. In that case space is consumed according to the amount of changes made afterwards.

A temporary snapshot (plus RAM contents) is also taken when you're shutting down the VM without telling Windows about it, VMware then saves the machine state to disk, consuming up to the amount of RAM you've configured for the VM.

So it's primarily up to you how much disk space the VM will consume. With a 256GB SSD in total it should not be a big problem, but you should keep an eye on your usage and its consequences.

Quoting Coal (Reply 18):
Thanks a lot for your help!

You're welcome!

Quoting Mir (Reply 13):
Just my two cents, but you need a better reason than that. Windows isn't as bad as it's made out to be, and if you have to buy other software to run the software you want, I would take that as evidence that it doesn't "just work".

As a developer I often have to deal with difficult and unintuitive user interfaces (occasionally even just with binary APIs). And for some reason I still enjoy friendly, consistent and fluid user interfaces wherever I can get them otherwise.

The former don't take anything away from the latter, and the net effect is a whole lot better than it would be if I ditched the pleasant part of the experience and reduced all my usage to the lowest common denominator.

Windows isn't the same as the development tools I've got to deal with, but I just don't enjoy using it, which is why I reduce my exposure to it to a minimum.

Quoting Mir (Reply 13):
Seriously - the are advantages to the Mac, but if you are going to be running Windows a lot, get a Windows machine. The hassle of switching back and forth isn't worth it.

Running a Windows VM in integrated mode (the "Fusion" part of VMware) means the Windows apps just appear as if they were slightly odd-looking Mac apps with the VM and even Windows itself being invisible otherwise. That's the whole point of using a proper VM. (Parallels has a similar mode.)

[Edited 2012-07-30 17:58:17]

User currently offlineCoal From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 2023 posts, RR: 9
Reply 15, posted (2 years 1 month 22 hours ago) and read 2861 times:

Quoting Mir (Reply 13):
Just my two cents, but you need a better reason than that. Windows isn't as bad as it's made out to be, and if you have to buy other software to run the software you want, I would take that as evidence that it doesn't "just work".

Well, like I said before, I have been using Mac for 7 years. Why change? I have no reason to. Also, ThinkCell and the shortcuts for Excel are not something I want, just something I need for a 12-month period. After that, I will never again use Windows on the Mac (as I will probably go back to work where I will get a Windows laptop, as is the case today). So why buy something that I know I don't like, which I know doesn't work, which I will only use for a very short period of time. Then again, if I bought a Windows laptop, by the end of the 1-year program it will probably be time to throw it in the garbage   .

Thanks Klaus! Do you think 50GB would be enough for VM Ware? As I said, I just need it to run Excel and Powerpoint. I won't even save my files there, I will prob just save them on the Mac side.

Cheers
Coal



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User currently offlineLOWS From Austria, joined Oct 2011, 1141 posts, RR: 1
Reply 16, posted (2 years 1 month 21 hours ago) and read 2848 times:

Quoting Coal (Reply 15):
Thanks Klaus! Do you think 50GB would be enough for VM Ware? As I said, I just need it to run Excel and Powerpoint. I won't even save my files there, I will prob just save them on the Mac side.

Sorry to butt in, but not even 50gb. You could get away with less than 10.


User currently offlinealoges From Germany, joined Jan 2006, 8705 posts, RR: 43
Reply 17, posted (2 years 1 month 20 hours ago) and read 2840 times:

Quoting LOWS (Reply 16):
Sorry to butt in, but not even 50gb. You could get away with less than 10.

Very much so. I have Windows XP Pro in a VM on my Mac (using Parallels) and its size is just 7.53 GB, of which 7 are used for the virtual Windows hard disk - and of those, 2 GB are unused. I should add that I have very little installed on it and I don't know how much space a modern-day MS Office installation will require.

That said, it's definitely the faster option to put the VM on an SSD. You'll be running two OSs off one disk and a regular HDD can get... quite... slow... under those circumstances.



Walk together, talk together all ye peoples of the earth. Then, and only then, shall ye have peace.
User currently offlineajd1992 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (2 years 1 month 20 hours ago) and read 2831 times:

A modern Office installation with the whole thing set to install is around 2.5GB I believe. Not huge. Windows 7 is around a 15GB install though, so you will need more than 10GB.

User currently offlineplanewasted From Sweden, joined Jan 2008, 519 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (2 years 1 month 18 hours ago) and read 2809 times:

Is VM Ware as batteryhungry on Macs as on Windows machines? I run Linux under WM Ware in Windows and if I use it my battery last about one third of the normal time.

User currently offlineAKiss20 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 608 posts, RR: 5
Reply 20, posted (2 years 1 month 18 hours ago) and read 2802 times:

I skimmed the thread and no one seemed to mention (if they did I apologize!) that with VMware you can boot up your bootcamp installation. That is, if you install bootcamp normally, you now partition your HD into a windows partition and a OSX partition. You can boot into windows as per usual, but with VMWare you can boot up your windows partition within the OSX environment.

VMWare does a great job of making it seemless between the two environments (especially with their Unity mode introduced about a year or so ago) and I have never had a problem with it. I routinely use VMWare to run solidworks and it works perfectly fine on my 3 year old 15" MBP. If you need all the processing power, then boot into bootcamp, and occasionally some programs don't like VMWare much and you have to boot in, but I very rarely actually boot into bootcamp nowdays.



Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are
User currently offlineflyingturtle From Switzerland, joined Oct 2011, 2389 posts, RR: 13
Reply 21, posted (2 years 1 month 18 hours ago) and read 2802 times:

There is also Wine or DarWine: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darwine

During my studies, I used it to run the Windows version of Stata 9.0 on my MacBook, but running Excel or PowerPoint will probably fail.



David



Keeping calm is terrorism against those who want to live in fear.
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