Anyone have a MacBook Pro & ONLY using Windows?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by niytrus, Mar 4, 2010.

  1. niytrus macrumors newbie

    Mar 4, 2010
    Hey guys, I've been reading the forum for a bit now and tried to find this discussed, but couldn't find anything.

    Is anyone strictly running Windows 7 only (or for the most part) on a Mac?

    I am in the market for a new laptop, and the style and features of the MBP have caught my eye. Love the backlit keyboard, size, feel, etc.

    I need to run Windows primarily for my work, and would have little need for anything else. I plan on keeping Snow Leopard installed, but doubt it will get much use.

    Anyone else doing anything similar and experiencing any problems or inconveniences? From what i've seen most of the heating, right-click, backlight, and other problems have been corrected with new updates of BootCamp.

    Would I have any problems using an external HD, or does anyone foresee any problems I might experience?

    Is this even a practical solution? I would like to have access to both OS', but again, 90% of the time would be running Windows 7.

    Appreciate the help!
  2. ae3265 macrumors member

    Feb 3, 2009
    Run Windows 7 on Parallels and enjoy OS X, it runs fine, even with Aero.
  3. happyslayer macrumors 6502a


    Feb 3, 2008
    Glendale, AZ
    I'm a computer guy and I have setup two (actually three since one has an iMac) and the only thing they run is Windows. Both have Macbook Pro 13's and one runs Windows XP and the other runs Vista. We may be upgrading the Vista one to 7.

    Here are the issues they have had. Most of them center around the Keyboard. There is no windows key - it is the command key. There is no backspace AND delete. You must use the fn+delete to actually get delete.

    There is NO right mouse button so you must make sure to install the boot camp drivers to get the two-finger tap right click to work.

    Power handling is a little weird on both of them - Doesn't always sleep correctly and hibernate does not work well. However, the latest version of Boot Camp may fix that and I have not actually used 7 on it which may fix it.

    Also, make sure you give yourself enough space on your Windows partition. Also - DO NOT delete the Mac partition. You need to boot into OSX every now and then to get firmware updates and stuff.

    Hope that helps.

    Also, I personally use Parallels with both 7 and XP and I find it works great. However, if you want to play games or run Autocad then Boot Camp is the way to go.

    Good Luck!
  4. igucl macrumors 6502a

    Oct 11, 2003
    Things are still a bit buggy, even with the latest Bootcamp. It's not bad, but it's not optimal.

    The backlit keyboard doesn't quite follow my orders. There is no way to disable it completely, as I can in OS X. Also, if I turn down the brightness of the backlight, it just goes right back up on its own.

    The trackpad doesn't work as it should in Windows. I don't know exactly what the problem is. It seems to be too sensitive. Apple has not made that driver right. Trying to scroll with the trackpad is futile. I've gone back to dragging the scroll bar up and down.

    The sound is also not quite right. I have to turn the volume way up in Windows just to be able to hear anything. The same loudness would be achieved with a few notches on OS X's volume meter.

    Bottom line, Apple has not yet made good Windows drivers for their hardware. By the way, I am running Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit on a MacBook 13" Aluminum unibody with Bootcamp 3.1.
  5. vistadude macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2010
    I use a macbook for work with windows running 90% of the time, and on the weekends I occasionally boot into mac os.

    The macbook is sleek and quiet, but somehow feels very slow in windows compared to a pc. Also the trackpad doesn't work, so you have to use a usb mouse. The keyboard is missing delete, page up, page down, home, end keys, and print screen keys. So if you're going to use a mac laptop purely for windows, you will definitely have a better experience getting a pc.
  6. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    IMHO this is a good summary of the current situation. The keyboard backlight is an annoyance. The poor audio driver is an annoyance (at lest they got rid of the optical always on bug). (EDIT: see below for my comments on the trackpad).

    IMHO this is not. For my purposes, running engineering software (MATLAB, etc...) my MBP easily keeps up with desktop workstations best in OS X, but just as well in Windows 7.

    The trackpad works fine, and continues to be the best notebook pointing device I have ever used. Sure, you only get the two fingered gestures in Windows, but it works decently.

    The "missing" keys are all there as secondary functions of the keys with the fn modifier. Personally I hate how these are implemented on most PC notebooks anyhow as if the keyboards weren't cramped enough! (And yes, the half size arrow keys on the Apple keyboards annoy me.)

  7. niytrus thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 4, 2010

    Thanks guys, appreciate all the info!

    Would I have any trouble hooking this up to an HP monitor with a mini to dvi cable from Apple?

    I actually plan to have the laptop "docked" in my home office 75% of the time, so I will be using a full-sized keyboard, mouse, monitor, and probably my own speakers.

    I assume there is no problem with sound if you are using speakers/headphones?
  8. Winni macrumors 68030


    Oct 15, 2008
    I watched "Law Abiding Citizen" yesterday, and in that movie Jamie Foxx was using Windows Vista on his MacBook Pro. That must hurt Apple and their fanboys.
  9. mic575 macrumors newbie

    Feb 8, 2010
    Apple says you can "configure a right-click area on the trackpad."

    Is this true or does it not work well?
  10. Beric macrumors 68020


    Jan 22, 2008
    Bay Area
    I've heard that the battery life is poor under Windows 7. Can anyone affirm or deny?
  11. Arvean macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2009
    New York City
    I've purchased my MBP 13 in September with the goal of switching from a PC. After 3 months I decided to go back to Win7, as Mac OS X didn't cut it for me.

    I've installed a new hard drive, and installed Win7 without bootcamp. Drivers I installed came from the Snow Leopard CD, with update to 3.1 thru autoupdate. No extra changes, additional softs or tweaks, just regular system/apple updates.Here's my experience:

    - The system is running lovely on Windows7
    - Performance: No significant decreases in performance. After few months in OS X I started to notice a lag in switching between windows/fullscreen etc. My Win7 is sharp and snappy ( will see in three months)
    - Battery Life: Here's when it was slightly hit. In general I noticed a loss of 10-15% of battery power. Averages vary as it depends on usage, yet I'm easily able to get 3 hours+ on full brightness etc
    - Trackpad: The only thing missing are vertical gestures and 4 finger sweeps, other than that it's the best touchpad I've seen in a PC
    - Heat: Fan is slightly louder, yet temperatures are between 120-170 with heavy use ( very similar to my os X readings)
    - Stability: Awesome, no BSOD, no errors no nothning

    CONCLUSION: At the end of the day, it's a regular computer fully capable of running Win7 in a pleasant way. Totally recommendable!
  12. mic575 macrumors newbie

    Feb 8, 2010
    Arvean: Does that mean you installed the new HD and put the Win7 install disks in and just went forward? Then loaded the Drivers from the Snow Leopard CD?

    If you were to do it again would you just go with a PC or do you like the MBP for what it is?
  13. ltldrummerboy macrumors 68000


    Oct 15, 2007
    I've been dual-booting Snow Leopard and Windows 7 since last October on my unibody 15". The only problem I've had is battery life. I can get about 3 hours in Windows vs. 6+ in OS X. If you're mostly going to be using Windows anyway you can probably get a better computer for your money. OS X is the main reason I love Macs.
  14. vistadude macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2010
    In my experience, a good pc gets ~ 3-5 hours battery life with wifi on. The macbook pro under windows gets about 4, but under Mac OS gets 6-8. So it's comparable to most pcs, but significantly worse than when running Mac OS. When you're not doing work and just surfing the web, you can boot under Mac OS and essentially use the macbook pro as a netbook.

  15. vistadude macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2010
    Under Mac OS, this is true, and it works fine. Under the windows, the touchpad driver is not good. As soon as you touch the touchpad simply to move your finger around it already registers as a click, so there are tons of left clicks that are accidental.

  16. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    Just a comment on the battery life issues. The 15" 9400+9600 MBP suffers more in Windows than my 9400 only 13" unibody Aluminum MB since you can't select which video cad to use in Windows. Again it's an annoyance with the choices of drivers Apple provides, but one I can live with, since usually if I'm in Windows I would be "docked".

    Check out the cables from, I picked up a short DVI-miniDisplayport cable from them to leave in my home office and it is far nicer (and was a lot cheaper) than the Apple adapters since I can leave it attached to the monitor and don't have an ugly full-size DVI connector 2 inches from the laptop.

    I haven't tried any of the right click options since two finger right click works fine for me.

  17. mr.thedaniel macrumors regular

    Feb 15, 2010
    keyboard backlight FTW

    I have to say, IMO the keyboard backlight is one of the MBPs best external design features. You can control the brightness or even turn them off entirely, but they make using my laptop in the dark so much easier than any other laptops I've used
  18. kate-willbury macrumors 6502a

    Feb 14, 2009
    i'm mainly using windows 7 ultimate on my macbook. i keep osx on another partition just in case i need it (have not run into a situation where this has happened though). will probably eventually just erase the mac partition and use windows 7 full time now that its light years ahead of mac.
  19. cathyy macrumors 6502a

    Apr 12, 2008
    You'll be fine. I'm running Windows XP 99% of the time on my MBP. The only time where I bother booting into OS X is for the following reasons:

    - Administrative stuff (like getting my serial number)
    - Repartitioning Boot Camp (I reformat Windows every 6 months)
    - Transmission (torrents work better in OS X for some reason)
    - Mac-only software required for school (Apple Shake)
    - Software Updates

    Pretty much all this accounts for only about 1% of the total time I've used on my laptop.

    Everything runs great. Drivers work fine. People say that the touchpad is glitchy, but it runs like a dream for me. I disabled tap to click which is the #1 problem, and I've also reverted to Boot Camp 2.1 touchpad drivers which I personally feel is much better than BC 3.0 touchpad drivers. It works just as well as any other PC. In fact, it seems to run better than all my friend's PC laptops. Great keyboard, smooth touchpad, 2 finger scrolling, and the drivers are simple and work great.

    Few things that suck though:
    - Keyboard backlight can't be turned off. (Brightness can be lowered though)
    - No delete button (Fn+Backspace works, but you have to reach from one corner of the keyboard to the other)
    - Media keys don't work for iTunes. They work for WMP though. (which is the same for any PC I suppose)
    - Key buttons are all mixed around (Fn, Ctrl, Alt, Windows/Command button. I adjusted to it pretty quickly though.

    Pretty minor stuff.
  20. metropolitim macrumors member

    Aug 29, 2007
    Ah sweet relief - except for missing Palm Rejection option

    Refreshing to be on a Boot Camp thread that's not dominated by people saying how stupid it is to run Boot Camp!

    I too run Windows 7 almost exclusively on lovely 13 and 15 inch unibody MBPs. I used to run Mac almost exclusively, but whatever - no disrespect intended, and that's not my point. The one and only issue I have is that the "Palm Rejection" option is flat out MISSING. It's just not there. This was also true for me under Vista.

    I'm a good typist, and have always been good about keeping my hands in the proper position :D ....but every now and again, a random movement past the spacebar puts the cursor in the wrong position and makes a mess. Easily undone, but still, pretty annoying.

    Any thoughts?

    For the other two problems - search these forums for Input Remapper. It allows you to remap a whole bunch of keys, including the clusters on both the right and left of the spacebar. Very cool free util.

    Also, Power Plan Assistant is a free util designed for Windows 7 under Boot Camp (nice!), allows you to completely turn off the keyboard backlight. Also makes the backlight fully manual, but not a bad tradeoff. It has other helpful power management features (such as, automatically switches battery options, a nice OS X feature), so worth checking out from your favorite commercial download site -, etc.
  21. dmbfan41 macrumors regular

    Nov 3, 2008
    i used windows 7 on my mbp for a month and it was just a bit too buggy. osx is way easier for the things i do with my laptop. i can get a lot more done faster using osx as opposed to 7. if the battery life was better and better keyboard support was added i would try it again.
  22. metropolitim macrumors member

    Aug 29, 2007
    Didn't have to wait long for that, did we?

    Ah, the very first post after I praised this thread for being free of people saying what a waste of time Boot Camp is in the BOOT CAMP forum, -- yes, just one post later, somebody telling us what a waste of time Boot Camp is. Thank you, friend. Much appreciated.

    Glad to hear that you enjoy OS X. So does everybody else on the thread who mentions using it. I didn't say so, so I will - like OS X fine, and have used it nearly daily since the public beta ten years ago. It cost $29, and came with a t-shirt that I still own. We actually just passed the 9th anniversary of the general release - can you believe that it has been that long?

    Remember that that one was code-named Kodiak? That OS X server from 1999 was code-named Hera! The "cat" names didn't start until two years later. Seriously man, I'm way, way into this.

    But that's not the point of this thread -- or this forum -- which is about problems and solutions for working with a feature that an OS X feature released 4 years and 4 days ago. (I had forgotten it was that long until I just looked it up!) That's a long time in computing years for Apple not to have gotten it completely right. Saying that they include a feature that they don't support isn't much of an excuse. That's why we have to support it ourselves.

    Apologies to all for the mini-rant. This has driven my nuts for years, and this particular rant is probably out of scale for this particular post. I'm going to let it stand, though, because I really do feel that way. :)

    Again though, apologies.


    To touch on another aspect of the discussion, my experience re: battery life running Windows is, yes, less than running OS X, but quite a bit more than any other similarly-featured Windows laptop I've ever owned - as much as TWICE as much in many cases.

    It's also much longer than many earlier Mac laptops I've owned. I would absolutely NOT use this is a basis for hesitation about running Windows on your laptop.

    Keyboard either. I'm happy with the keyboard backlighting as is - frankly, one of my very, very favorite things about my MacBook Pros. (Two of them, both running Windows nearly constantly.) I find that I'm much more prone to turn it up, and don't remember ever turning it down. Even so, the free util I mentioned above works great.

    I've found that the screen backlighting has a far greater effect on battery life. Again, I tend to turn mine up, very rarely down, and am still very happy with battery life.

    Using the touchpad in Windows compared to the Mac is a bit disappointing...but again, if your main laptopping have run Windows natively, you'll find the MacBook/MacBook Pro experience to be a WILD improvement.

    (And to be honest, I personally don't use the extra gestures much in OS X, and talking to my friends still working at Apple, neither do most other people. This is why the keypad preferences control panel in OS X includes MOVIES, showing how each of the options works. I like that technology a lot, and wish that other control panels would contain movies demonstrating the options....but why would they? Most options are self-explanatory....but not the keypad gestures...or Apple wouldn't spend money creating new technologies to explain them.)

    So for folks generally hesitant about running Windows on their Macs, don't worry. It's mostly wonderful. Even with the very slight annoyances expressed here, this is by far my favorite Windows computing experience.

    Now, about the missing "Palm Rejection" checkbox in the Trackpad options of the Boot Camp control panel - I'd still love any suggestions that you folks can offer.

    And thanks again for all of the help that you've provided for the past 3+ years of lurking and posting!

  23. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    Well you jinxed it. ;)

    Apple is (somewhat understandably) lazy with their Windows drivers.

    We'll just have to wait for them or some third party to develop new drivers. The touchpad seems like a natural fit for W7s Touch API.

    I wonder how the support for the trackpad is under Linux?

  24. H00513R macrumors 6502a


    Mar 12, 2010
    I think the Apple OS is the biggest reason to get a Mac. So this sounds a little silly to me but each to their own.
  25. metropolitim macrumors member

    Aug 29, 2007

    Hey, wait - isn't Boot Camp a feature of the Mac OS? H00513R, you scamp - you nearly had me fooled! Very clever of you!

    Seriously, it's always amazing to me how little respect Mac users have for Apple industrial design. Why WOULDN'T somebody buy an Apple computer if they could? Those Mac users just don't appreciate how nice the computers themselves actually are, both beautiful and practical. Pity, really.

    I'm not even going to note that this is yet another poster making their way deep into an individual thread in the Boot Camp forum to say how silly Boot Camp is. Pity, really.

    niytrus, apologies again for stepping on your thread. But to once more underscore the answers that I and others on this thread have offered, yes, running Windows 7 on Mac is a joy.

    I should also mention that I run both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7, with no issues. In fact, running 64-bit Windows 7 helps underscore how little of OS X is 64-bit yet. In fact, Macs don't even boot into 64-bit unless you hold down the '6' and '4' keys during start-up. Not every app for either OS is 64-bit yet of course, but I find fewer anomalies running 64-bit Windows 7 under Boot Camp compared to OS X on the same machine.

    I haven't mentioned this before either - Win 7 works nicely side-by-side with Mac OS X under VMware Fusion, too....but the performance in Boot Camp is much better.

    Either way, Win 7 on Mac. Highly recommended.

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