Anybody run Windows 7 on MBA using VirtualBox?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by saintforlife, Nov 27, 2011.

  1. saintforlife macrumors 65816

    Feb 25, 2011
    How does Windows run on a Virtual Machine in MBA? Can you run multiple Windows applications on the VM without overwhelming the Air? Can the MBA handle it? Any insight from people who've run VMs on MBAs are welcome.

    TIA! :cheers:
  2. ZBoater macrumors G3


    Jul 2, 2007
    Sunny Florida
    I use Parallels, and Windows 7 32 bit runs great. I can run several Windows programs at once, as they all run inside the one VM. I also installed Windows in Bootcamp in case I ever needed to boot native into Windows. I had one app (Escort Radar Detector Tools) that didn't like running inside a VM.
  3. snowwhite007 macrumors 6502

    Nov 4, 2011
    I only use bootcamp as i never see the need for having both OS running at same time its all personal preference but most things are ok running in vm's
  4. ZBoater macrumors G3


    Jul 2, 2007
    Sunny Florida
    I did both just to have the option. Most of the time all I need to run is IE and Quicken. So not having to reboot to run those two is VERY convenient. I just click on the Quicken or IE icon and it launches Windows in the background and all i see is the app window like if it were a native OS X app.
  5. antonis macrumors 68020


    Jun 10, 2011
    I use parallels to run both linux and windows VMs on the mba. Since it has an SSD, virtual machines are lightning fast. Having the 4gb ram mba helps too.
  6. saintforlife thread starter macrumors 65816

    Feb 25, 2011
    How does the touchpad work with Windows 7 when you are running it on a VM or natively using Bootcamp? Does Windows 7 support multi-touch gestures? If not how do you scroll down and up a webpage for example?

    Also are there any other quirks with running Windows 7 on a Macbook Air, that you otherwise wouldn't have on a Windows laptop? Any drivers and compatibility issues?
  7. sandix69 macrumors newbie

    Jan 2, 2012
    Scroll in Virtual Box VM

    "Use two fingures instead of one on the right side of the track pad this will move the page up and down"
  8. grahamperrin macrumors 601


    Jun 8, 2007
    I'll be the first to say "yes".

    Years ago I installed it at the request/insistence of someone who had an early MacBook Air. If I recall correctly, there was a hard disk drive and 2 GB memory was its maximum. I probably gave 1 GB to the Windows 7 guest, and used a sparse bundle disk image for a little optimisation (within the constraints of rotational media and HFS Plus), but it was never great.

    Yes, the user was forewarned that both operating systems would become slow. They did, and I lost count of the number of times that I suggested Boot Camp, but it never happened :)
  9. redheeler macrumors 604


    Oct 17, 2014
    OS X and Windows 7 both running on 2 GB RAM and a 4200 RPM HDD... sounds nightmarish :)

    Nice thread resurrection, by the way.
  10. saytheenay macrumors member

    Jul 6, 2012
    I run Windows 7 in VirtualBox on my 2013 MBA (8/i7/512) and it runs fine. I have 2048 RAM and 128 VRAM allocated to it. I run several flavors of Linux too (LinuxMint KDE, CentOS, Ubuntu).

    It's not quite as fast as BootCamp, but the trackpad works a lot better. I run Visio and Photoshop 7 (not CS) on it without a problem. If you aren't running games on it, you will be fine. My wife runs ArcGIS in her Windows 7 VM on her 2011 iMac and she thinks it is a little slower, but negligible. And note that ArcGIS is a heavy weight program--lots of RAM and CPU are required to run it smoothly.

    In short, if you want to play games or do video/motion work, use BootCamp--otherwise, VirtualBox works great.
  11. quackers82 macrumors 6502

    Mar 13, 2014
    Ive used both Virtualbox and Pararells on my Air(s) fine, intact once i had XP, 7, and Mac OS running at the same time on a 2012 Air and it was quick and smooth. Depending on what you intend to do, although it costs, Parallels might be the better option as it has the performance advantage. There is 1 game i like thats Windows only and Pararells is much better at running Direct X games in a VM compared to VirtualBox.

    I also have problems in 10.9 onwards using Bridged Network mode in VirtualBox on a WiFi adaptor, and others report this issue to (but you might not need that feature, NAT may be surficent ). Parallels works fine in bridged mode.

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