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What's the best way to install Microsoft Windows on MacBook Pro?


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#1 Zimrid

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 08:29 PM

My new MacBook is foreign to me.   I'm starting to like it but still miss my Windows 7.  

 

I was happy to learn that I could actually install Windows onto a Mac.   

 

I've been told there was more than one way of doing this. 

 

Some people seem to feel that it would be better if you did not need to make the choice of either logging into OS X or logging into

Windows when you turn on the computer.  

 

I have been sent a link that discusses a way of installing Windows that makes the two operating systems work together.   

 

Does anyone here have experience with this?    



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#2 NickAu

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 08:37 PM

 

Does anyone here have experience with this?

 

On a Mac no.

 

 

I've been told there was more than one way of doing this.

Many Linux users "DualBoot" Linux and Windows everyday and it works fine. Dual Boot = having the option at start up to start Windows or Linux.

 

 

I have been sent a link that discusses a way of installing Windows that makes the two operating systems work together.

Do you mean in a VM? ( Virtual Machine) Easy.


Edited by NickAu1, 24 May 2014 - 09:31 PM.


#3 JohnC_21

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 09:08 PM

There is a learning curve for each of these options. I do not have experience using these.

 

If you want to dual boot Windows on a Mac you will need to use Boot Camp

 

https://www.apple.com/support/bootcamp/

 

I believe NickAu1 is correct in assuming you are talking about using a VM. If you want to run Windows 7 in a Virtual Machine on a Mac you can use Virtual Box which is free.



#4 NickAu

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 09:22 PM

Run Windows apps on both OS X & Linux with CrossOver


 

 Just click and run your application directly from the OS X Finder. Clicking a Windows file or document -- including email attachments -- will launch the appropriate Windows program, allowing you to work on the files. Best of all, you do it all easily and affordably, without needing a Microsoft operating system license.CrossOver Mac allows you to install many popular Windows applications and games on Mac OS X. CrossOver includes an easy to use, single click interface, which makes installing Windows software simple and fast. Once installed, your application integrates seamlessly in OS X.

http://www.everymac.com/mac-answers/windows-on-mac-faq/crossover-mac-compared-to-parallels-and-vmware.html

 

 

 


 

Don't want to dual-boot your Mac or Linux PC to run one or two Windows apps? Don't want to install a full virtual operating system for them? CodeWeaver's latest version of CrossOver 12.5 may be just what you want.

http://www.zdnet.com/run-windows-apps-on-both-os-x-and-linux-with-crossover-12-5-7000019345/

 

PLEASE NOTE.

I have never tried Crossover I do not know if it works or not, Nor am I endorsing it. I posted it as FYI only.


Edited by NickAu1, 24 May 2014 - 09:26 PM.


#5 killerx525

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 10:39 PM

Hi, i've personally dual booted Windows and OSX on my Macbook Pro. The process is usually handled through Bootcamp and it does brilliant job while being user friendly. Also, using a VMware like Virtual Box was a ok experience for me but it wasn't as smooth for me due to the 4GB of ram and i do believe 8GB of ram will improve it although there is limitations to it such the capability of using discrete graphics card.  


>Michael 
System1: CPU- Intel Core i7-5820K @ 4.4GHz, CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-D14, RAM- G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB Kit(4Gx4) DDR3 2133MHz, SSD/HDD- Samsung 850 EVO 250GB/Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB/Seagate Barracuada 3TB, GPU- 2x EVGA GTX980 Superclocked @1360/MHz1900MHz, Motherboard- Asus X99 Deluxe, Case- Custom Mac G5, PSU- EVGA P2-1000W, Soundcard- Realtek High Definition Audio, OS- Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Games: APB: Reloaded, Hours played: 3100+  System2: Late 2011 Macbook Pro 15inch   OFw63FY.png


#6 smax013

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 12:26 AM

Personally, if the Mac OS seems foreign, then I would suggest sticking with it and it will become less foreign. While many things in the Mac OS work very similar to how they do in Windows, there ARE differences. And for some people, those differences can be a REAL pain.

To be entirely frank, if those differences are a real pain for you, then your best option might be to sell your Mac (Macs do tend to retain value pretty well) or return it (if you can) and go buy a Windows computer. While you can certainly run Windows on a Mac in a way that makes it a Windows computer (i.e. NOT interaction with the Mac OS), I don't really recommend this option unless you REALLY LOVE Apple hardware…and don't might potentially losing some of the hardware's functionality as Apple originally intended (see below).

If the Mac OS is not a real pain to use, but rather just "uncomfortable", then I would strongly suggest don't install Windows (unless you really need a program that ONLY runs on Windows) and just tough it out. If you do "tough it out", over time you will get more and more comfortable with how the Mac OS does things. OTOH, if you install Windows as a "crutch", then you likely will never get used to how the Mac OS does things and using the Mac OS will stay uncomfortable. That is just my opinion. If you go this route, then we will always be around to answer questions on how to do specific things if you need help.

If you do decide you need Windows and/or Windows programs, then as noted by the others in a round about way, there are three basic ways to run Windows program on a Mac:

1) Bootcamp. This is the more "traditional" way as it allows you to "dual boot" between the Mac OS and Windows. In other words, each time you boot up the computer you can decide which OS you want to use. When you boot into Windows, it is essentially as if you are using any old Windows laptop running Windows. It is rather easy to setup. If you really wanted to turn your Mac into a Windows computer and not use the Mac OS at all, then Bootcamp is the only way to go…although I would argue it is a big waste to buy a Mac JUST to run Windows on it…you would be better served just buying an actual Windows computer.

Advantages:
-You are running Windows "natively". In other words, it is virtually no different than running Windows on any Windows computer (i.e. an HP, Dell, Asus, etc). This means that if you wanted, you could always boot into Windows and hardly ever have to mess with the Mac OS again if you wanted, although I would not really advise that.
- Since you are running Windows natively, it will provide the best performance/speed. While the other methods have gotten pretty good at maintain performance/speed even with graphically intensive programs with little "overhead", they still will have some "overhead", which means you will loose some performance/speed with those other methods compared to Bootcamp.
- All your Mac's hardware resources are available to run Windows and Windows program…since when you boot into Windows using Bootcamp, you Mac essentially becomes a Windows computer that just happens to have an Apple logo on it.
- Bootcamp itself is free (you still need a Windows license, which likely is not free).

Disadvantages:
- You have to reboot the computer to switch OSs. If you are using the Mac OS and need to do something in Windows, then you have to reboot…and vice versa (i.e. using Windows and want to do something in the Mac OS).
- You might loose some functionality from some hardware on your Mac because Apple provides the drivers for their specific hardware. The classic example of this is that Macbook Pros with dual graphics systems (i.e. both a more powerful "discrete" graphics card/system as well as a more power efficient "integrated" graphics card/system) that will automatically switch to the best option in the Mac OS will be stuck only functioning with the more powerful "discrete" card in Windows. The main downside of this is that you generally will NOT achieve the same amount of battery life on a Macbook Pro with a dual graphics system running Windows as you will with the Mac OS (i.e. you will NOT get anywhere near what Apple claims as the battery life when you run Windows in Bootcamp).
- It requires a Windows license, which is generally not free.

I have run Windows XP in Bootcamp on a "first generation" 2006 Macbook Pro many years ago. I have not really used Bootcamp since then as I have found the second option to be a better fit for me.

2) Run Windows in a Virtual Machine program such as Parallels (not free), VMWare Fusion (not free), or VirtualBox (free). This basically entails installing a program on your Mac that will allow you to run Windows "within" that program, and thus run Windows programs within Windows "within" the VM program. The intent in to be able to run some Windows programs that might not have a Mac equivalent, but not to necessarily just run Windows all the time (Bootcamp would be your better option for that) as you still will have to interact with the Mac OS.

Advantages:
- No rebooting necessary. Since you are running Windows "inside" of the Mac OS, you don't need to reboot the computer to run your Windows programs. Some of the VM programs (such a Parallels) have modes that will essentially make it look like your Windows program is running on the Mac OS (i.e. kind of make Windows itself "invisible"). This means that you can use your Mac OS programs along side your Windows program (in a sense).
- Make it VERY easy to backup your "Windows computer"…you just copy the VM file for your Windows VM to another drive. Just a basic, run of the mill file copy. And if you do that on a regular basis, then "reverting" to a good, clean Windows setup if you mess something up or get infected with something is just a matter of copying the one file back from the other drive to the Mac's internal drive.
- VM programs tend to have a mode that will allow Windows programs to essentially operate as if there are Mac programs…i.e. essentially make the Windows OS kind of "disappear". This may not be a positive for everyone.

Disadvantages:
- You will have some performance loss…how much will depend on the settings for your VM (for example, with Parallels you can "set" how much RAM the VM will use, you can set how many cores of the processor the VM will use, etc). Even if you "set" the highest hardware level, you will have some performance loss compared to running Windows in Bootcamp…this is especially true for graphically intensive programs such as games or something like AutoCAD/Revit.
- You will not be able to dedicate your Mac's full hardware setup to Windows. In other words, the Mac OS as well as the VM program itself will need RAM and processor usage, which means Windows will not be able to have all the RAM or processor usage.
- Requires a Windows license…again generally not free.
- Generally not free as two of the three popular VM programs cost money, although VirtualBox is free.

I currently run Parallels on both my Macs. I do this so that I can run my structural engineering programs on my Macs (I am a structural engineer in the "real world"). At this time, I run Windows 7 on one of my Macs in Parallels and Windows XP Pro on the other Mac in Parallels.

3) CrossOver. CrossOver allows to run some Windows programs in the Mac OS without Windows itself. For all intents and purposes, those Windows programs run side-by-side with the Mac programs and act as if they are Mac programs (they will still look like Windows programs). Technically, this is the cheapest option since a Windows license generally is not free.

Advantages:
- No Windows license required.
- No need to reboot the computer…everything is done in the Mac OS.
- Technically can be the cheapest option.
- Ideal if you need to run only one or two specific programs (assuming CrossOver will allow those programs to run…see the first disadvantage).

Disadvantages:
- Won't work for all Windows programs. You will need to got to CodeWeaver's site and search through the programs that will run/are supported.
- Still lose some performance/speed compared to running Windows in Bootcamp. CrossOver is essentially "translating" between Mac OS and Windows "speak" (so to speak…pun intended), so there will be some overhead. In other words, you are NOT running the program "natively" in Windows and running Windows "natively" on the computer.
- You don't interact with Windows as all (which can also be an advantage for some). Since you said your Mac is feeling foreign to you (this "foreign-ness" is the Mac OS, not the Mac hardware), then I would assume this is a disadvantage to you.

I tried CrossOver a long time ago using their trial. It seemed to work OK, but I found that running "full" Windows in a VM was a better option for my needs.

4) I know I originally said there are three ways…but the 4th way is essentially a combination of the #1 and #2. Both Parallels and VMWare Fusion allow you to use a Bootcamp partition setup as your VM in either Parallels or VMWare Fusion (I believe technically VirtualBox can as well, but it is a more complex process and less supported than either Parallels or VMWare Fusion). This essentially gives you the best of both worlds…i.e. you can run the VM within the Mac OS for most things, but when you want the full performance level (for things like games or maybe AutoCAD/Revit) you can reboot into Windows in Bootcamp. You do lose a few features compared to using a "true" VM file (for example in Parallels, running the Bootcamp Windows installation as your VM, you will not be able to pause it, save it as a snapshot, cannot be compressed etc…see this page: <a data-ipb="nomediaparse" data-cke-saved-href="http://download.parallels.com/desktop/v9/ga/docs/en_US/Parallels%20Desktop%20User" href="http://download.parallels.com/desktop/v9/ga/docs/en_US/Parallels%20Desktop%20User" s%20guide="" 32733.htm"="">http://download.parallels.com/desktop/v9/ga/docs/en_US/Parallels%20Desktop%20User's%20Guide/32733.htm) and also means that backing up your Windows setup is a bit more complex than a "true" VM file.

Edited by smax013, 25 May 2014 - 12:42 AM.


#7 smax013

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 12:35 AM

Hi, i've personally dual booted Windows and OSX on my Macbook Pro. The process is usually handled through Bootcamp and it does brilliant job while being user friendly. Also, using a VMware like Virtual Box was a ok experience for me but it wasn't as smooth for me due to the 4GB of ram and i do believe 8GB of ram will improve it although there is limitations to it such the capability of using discrete graphics card.


I agree running 8 GB (or more) of RAM on a Mac using a VM in Parallels or VMWare Fusion or VirtualBox is ideal.

OTOH, it is very possible to run a VM on a Mac with only 4 GB of RAM and still have it run fine. It will just depend on how many other Mac programs you are running as well as which Windows OS you are running (Vista tends to need more RAM than XP or 7 in my experience). FWIW, I have run Windows XP in a Parallels VM on a 2006 Macbook Pro with only 2 GB of RAM while also having a number of Mac programs open as well. It would run fine with not other significant Mac programs open (i.e. more or less dedicating the full 2 GB RAM to the VM other than what the Mac OS and Parallels itself needed), but would lag a bit (but not horrible) when running other Mac programs. I had on occasion where I had Excel, Word, Apple Mail, a browser with several windows opened, and Adobe Acrobat (or Apple Preview) for PDFs all running in addition to running Windows XP in Parallels on that Mac with only 2 GB of RAM. While I had to wait some times while switching, once that specific program gained priority (usually specifically Parallels), it would run rather well.

Admittedly, however, things are much better on my currently Macbook Pro and Macbook Air…both with 8 GB of RAM.

Edited by smax013, 25 May 2014 - 12:36 AM.


#8 NickAu

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 12:36 AM

Use VirtualBox’s Seamless Mode or VMware’s Unity Mode to Seamlessly Run Programs From a Virtual Machine

 

Virtual machines generally run guest operating systems and their programs in a single window. However, both VirtualBox and VMware have features that allow you to free virtualized programs from their prison, running them on your host desktop.

This means that you can use programs without the virtual machine window and guest operating system’s desktop getting in the way. If you use multiple monitors, you can even place different windows from a virtual machine on different monitors.

 

Note that VirtualBox only allows you to use this feature with Windows, Linux, and Solaris guests. If you manage to get Mac OS X running in a VirtualBox virtual machine or you’re using a niche operating system like Haiku, you won’t be able to use this feature.


Edited by NickAu1, 25 May 2014 - 12:37 AM.


#9 smax013

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 12:41 AM

Use VirtualBox’s Seamless Mode or VMware’s Unity Mode to Seamlessly Run Programs From a Virtual Machine

Virtual machines generally run guest operating systems and their programs in a single window. However, both VirtualBox and VMware have features that allow you to free virtualized programs from their prison, running them on your host desktop.
This means that you can use programs without the virtual machine window and guest operating system’s desktop getting in the way. If you use multiple monitors, you can even place different windows from a virtual machine on different monitors.

Note that VirtualBox only allows you to use this feature with Windows, Linux, and Solaris guests. If you manage to get Mac OS X running in a VirtualBox virtual machine or you’re using a niche operating system like Haiku, you won’t be able to use this feature.


And Parallel's version of this feature is called Coherence.

If the original poster is finding the Mac OS to be "foreign" to use, then it is likely he/she would not be interested in this feature…as it sounds like he/she is finding it tough to adjust to the differences between the Mac OS and Windows and wants to go back to the "comfort" of Windows.

#10 killerx525

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 01:05 AM

 

OTOH, it is very possible to run a VM on a Mac with only 4 GB of RAM and still have it run fine. It will just depend on how many other Mac programs you are running as well as which Windows OS you are running (Vista tends to need more RAM than XP or 7 in my experience). 

I ran Windows 8.1 on Virtual Box and unfortunately it was not really smooth once you get into using the programs installed but also the CPU was a limitation due to a single core being allocated to the VMWare. My intention of running Windows natively on the Macbook is so i can game and it is unfortunate, the game i play is not on OSX, so i do not have much choice.


>Michael 
System1: CPU- Intel Core i7-5820K @ 4.4GHz, CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-D14, RAM- G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB Kit(4Gx4) DDR3 2133MHz, SSD/HDD- Samsung 850 EVO 250GB/Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB/Seagate Barracuada 3TB, GPU- 2x EVGA GTX980 Superclocked @1360/MHz1900MHz, Motherboard- Asus X99 Deluxe, Case- Custom Mac G5, PSU- EVGA P2-1000W, Soundcard- Realtek High Definition Audio, OS- Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Games: APB: Reloaded, Hours played: 3100+  System2: Late 2011 Macbook Pro 15inch   OFw63FY.png


#11 smax013

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 01:10 AM

OTOH, it is very possible to run a VM on a Mac with only 4 GB of RAM and still have it run fine. It will just depend on how many other Mac programs you are running as well as which Windows OS you are running (Vista tends to need more RAM than XP or 7 in my experience).

I ran Windows 8.1 on Virtual Box and unfortunately it was not really smooth once you get into using the programs installed but also the CPU was a limitation due to a single core being allocated to the VMWare. My intention of running Windows natively on the Macbook is so i can game and it is unfortunate, the game i play is not on OSX, so i do not have much choice.


For gaming, I generally would recommend Windows by way of Bootcamp anyways. While some games will run fine on Windows in a VM (with the right settings), they will usually run better in Bootcamp.

#12 killerx525

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 02:26 AM

In Virtual Box, it would be using the default graphics which would be the Intel HD rather then the Nvidia GPU and the game i play easily uses about 3GB of ram hence the issue. 


>Michael 
System1: CPU- Intel Core i7-5820K @ 4.4GHz, CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-D14, RAM- G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB Kit(4Gx4) DDR3 2133MHz, SSD/HDD- Samsung 850 EVO 250GB/Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB/Seagate Barracuada 3TB, GPU- 2x EVGA GTX980 Superclocked @1360/MHz1900MHz, Motherboard- Asus X99 Deluxe, Case- Custom Mac G5, PSU- EVGA P2-1000W, Soundcard- Realtek High Definition Audio, OS- Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Games: APB: Reloaded, Hours played: 3100+  System2: Late 2011 Macbook Pro 15inch   OFw63FY.png


#13 smax013

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 10:22 PM

In Virtual Box, it would be using the default graphics which would be the Intel HD rather then the Nvidia GPU and the game i play easily uses about 3GB of ram hence the issue.


There are ways to force a Macbook Pro to use the dedicated graphics card (i.e. the nVidia card). Some versions of the Mac OS with some MBP models will allow you to choose by using the Energy Saver system pref. In other cases, there are third party programs that you can use to force the change.

If VirtualBox cannot make use of the nVidia GPU on your Mac, then that is a VirtualBox issue. To my knowledge, Parallels has no issue with making use of the "discrete" GPU on MBPs with both discrete and integrated graphics.

#14 Zimrid

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 07:39 PM

Well, thank you everyone for all the guidance.   I didn't read every single post but the ones I did read were quite helpful.

 

I'll be sure and get back here later so I can learn more.   

 

 I like my MacBook a lot more than my old computer.  I like the challenge of learning a new operating system.  

 

I would just like to install Windows 7 for convenience and specifically because MacBook won't open Microsoft EXCEL and WORD programs.  I have hundreds of those and would rather not convert them to anything else right now.  



#15 smax013

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 08:06 PM

I would just like to install Windows 7 for convenience and specifically because MacBook won't open Microsoft EXCEL and WORD programs.  I have hundreds of those and would rather not convert them to anything else right now.


http://www.amazon.com/Office-Mac-Home-Student-2011/dp/B0064PFB9U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1401152337&sr=8-1&keywords=microsoft+office+for+mac

or

http://www.amazon.com/Office-Mac-2011-Home-Business/dp/B0064PF4ZQ/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1401152374&sr=8-2&keywords=microsoft+office+for+mac

or

Buying an Office 365 subscription: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/

Microsoft Office for the Mac has no problem opening up Windows version of Office files. While in the past (like back 10 years or so ago), it might lose some formatting, that is not the case anymore. And personally, I think those people who don't like Microsoft's switch to the "ribbon" interface on the Windows version will find the Mac version more comfortable to use…while it has a "ribbon" like interface, it also retains the menus.

FWIW, I regularly open Office files sent to me from people using the Windows versions of Office on my Macs.

If you don't want to pay for Office, then you can go with one of the free office suites such as LibreOffice. It should open Windows versions of Office files. It might be a 100% translation, but if not, it will be VERY close.

The point is that there is zero need to install Windows 7 on a Mac just to work with Microsoft Office files.




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