Best way to run Windows, given ...

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by Flynnstone, Jun 17, 2016.

  1. Flynnstone macrumors 65816


    Feb 25, 2003
    Cold beer land
    Thanks, in advance, to all who comment.

    A little background information. I'm presently running Windows XP via Parallels on an external drive via FW800. It actually runs quite well. This setup works brilliantly for Windows software, Altium. The magic mouse top scrolling is great. It setup works better that what I have done on a pure Windows machine.

    Now the rub. It's time to move on. My iMac is 2009 vintage. XP is now obsolete. Time to move to Windows 7 or possibly 10. I have a mid 2014 13" MBP too. Its great, but for screen size. So I'm looking at upgrading to a new iMac or perhaps a new 15" MBP.
    If I buy an iMac, I'll want to run Windows on it. If I buy a MBP , I'd prefer not to use partition the SSD.
    Has any one run Windows on a fast USB thumb drive? Or on a fast SD card?
    If I go with an iMac, I'd like to run the same windows on my 13" MBP. Hence the thug drive/sd card idea.

    What works well?
  2. Bending Pixels macrumors 65816

    Jul 22, 2010
    Probably the easiest method would be to use Parallels or VMWare Fusion and run it as a VM. You can use a USB 3 drive to store the VM. I'd personally suggest using an external drive over a USB drive as I've found the VM can run a bit slow on a USB drive.
  3. tjwilliams25 macrumors 6502

    Aug 10, 2014
    I second both of @Bending Pixels' suggestions. I currently run Windows 10 in a VMWare Fusion Virtual Machine and it runs pretty fast. I went with this setup because it's been a royal pain trying to get Windows 10 to work on my iMac natively. Apparently Windows 10 doesn't work very well with Fusion Drives and they don't support (or at least didn't at the time, I haven't tried recently) installing on external drives like macOS does. So, a Virtual Machine on one of the new, much faster Macs runs at native, or next-to-native speeds for most tasks, just remember to have a USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt drive if you're planning on running it on an external drive.
  4. vkd macrumors 6502a


    Sep 10, 2012
    Win10 is great if you like being spied upon. It phones all your data input back to MS servers over 1500x daily, with NO option to turn this off. Yes, you can disable a few options in control panel but most are hard coded and thus inaccessible.
  5. Bending Pixels macrumors 65816

    Jul 22, 2010
    Microsoft would NEVER do that....[NOT!}
  6. IHelpId10t5 macrumors 6502

    Nov 28, 2014
    Download VirtualBox for free, install Win 7. With a new Mac Win 7 will run extremely well in virtualization without the need for a dedicated partition.
  7. Flynnstone thread starter macrumors 65816


    Feb 25, 2003
    Cold beer land
    I do have VirtualBox installed. I find Parallels faster and easier to use.
    My XP portion on a external drive via FW800 seems fast enough on the 2009 iMac.
    My Windows 7 on my MacBook Pro as a "virtual" drive under OS X seems a bit slow. But its Windows 7 not XP.
    Are there any speed comparison between a Parallels virtual drive a real windows partition out there?
    I appreciate all your comments!
  8. garirry macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2013
    Canada is my city
    I don't think there are specific comparisons, but it's important to note that Boot Camp will have Windows utilise your computer fully, as if you were running on a PC, while Parallels will run it alongside OS X, which means it's going to be much slower.

    New Macs though will be much, MUCH faster than your iMac (is it early or late?) 2009 machine. So you'll probably be able to run Windows 7 or 10 very well on Parallels, with enough performance to do most tasks (the only cases you would NEED to use Boot Camp is if you're doing something like video editing or whatever).

    Also, ignore @vkd 's comment. You can disable most the "spying" and it's not gonna cause you any problems ever in your life. Whether your prefer 10 or 7 though, it's your choice. Keep in mind Boot Camp no longer supports Windows 7 so you'll have to install Windows 10.
  9. Flynnstone thread starter macrumors 65816


    Feb 25, 2003
    Cold beer land
    My general rule of thumb is no/minimize network access for Windows. So not email no web surfing in Windows. I leave that for OS X.
    So that also means I prefer to run Windows along side OS X.

    I'm not too worried about Windows 10 spying. I can always turn off network access to the virtual machine.

    My main concern is what do I do for drive access?
    1) NTFS virtual disk within OS X
    2) partition my Mac SSD for a windows partition
    3) use a fast thumb drive with a NTFS partition.
    4) use a fast SD card with NTFA partition.
    5) other options?

    I suspect #2 is the fastest. I suspect most would agree.
    I'd like to conserve Mac SSD drive space. It's limited.
    So #3 or #4 would be ideal if it fast enough. Also I could move it (hopefully) between an iMac & MacBook Pro.
    I really don't want to add a big external drive. I presently have a 128G Sandisk Ultra Fit. (I think the latest generation are even faster)

    Has anyone seen any speed comparisons ?
    Or recommend a Windows disk speed test?
  10. Tech198 macrumors G5

    Mar 21, 2011
    Australia, Perth
    lol... ok...

    Yes,,, i like being spied on... but not to that level.
  11. garirry macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2013
    Canada is my city
    1) This is the best choice. You will have a file on your computer that will expand in size as it's being filled up, so you don't have to sacrifice 90 GB in advance or whatever. You won't really have much speed penalty.
    2) This is an option but there's really no advantage here unless you're using Boot Camp. This means, as I've pointed out in my last point, you'll just be forced to take a large chunk of your storage for this.
    3) This is a good alternative, but it'll be slower than on your SSD. If you get something like a SanDisk Extreme, you'll have speeds that would probably not go higher than 250 MB/s. It's quite excellent, but still not SSD-level if you need that. Plus you'll have to constantly plug it in or have it be plugged in all the time.
    4) Similar situation, they aren't the maximum fastest, but they can work to. I think they are however slower and more expensive than USB sticks so I wouldn't prefer this.

    I recommend you go with 1, only go with 2 if you're installing on Boot Camp, and go with 3/4 only if you absolutely need to be able to transfer the data between your MacBook and iMac. Don't lose it though! :p
  12. vkd macrumors 6502a


    Sep 10, 2012

    Yes, Ignore at your peril. Repeating for the hard of understanding, you CANNOT disable the spy activity of Win10. It is hard coded. Some options yes, you can disable, but very few and there are many more.
  13. garirry macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2013
    Canada is my city
    Even if you regularly download 50 GB of child porn through secure VPN Microsoft will probably never even see that information nor send it to whoever deals with that.

    It's not gonna cause you any problems whatsoever. They can "spy" on me how they want, as long as they don't hurt my life (which they aren't doing), I have no problem with this.
  14. vkd macrumors 6502a


    Sep 10, 2012

    Emphasis on your word, 'probably'. What that means is, you hope. You don't know. So in the future, where is the certainty that you won't receive a knock at the door? Or suffer personality theft? Or have an account hacked? Or receive unsolicited spam? Or receive unsolicited embedded distracting advertising? Etc.
  15. Cayenne1 macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2016
    Knoxville, TN
    I recently went through a similar exercise. My wife has an iMac 5K and I have a 10 year old HP laptop with XP.

    We decided to use Bootcamp on the iMac installing Win7 in conjunction with Parallels. That gives the option to login to Win7 natively on the iMac to run Photoshop and other intensive programs.

    You can also login to the Mac and use Parallels to run PC programs somewhat transparently. In this case, Parallels is set up to use the Bootcamp partition in lieu of creating a Virtual Win7 machine.

    Items to be aware of:

    - Boot Camp Assistant was used to partition the iMac drive and install Win7. I don't know if you can install Windows on an external drive or thumb drive.

    - It's harder to get a Win7 license now. I bought a legit Win7 OEM disk from Amazon and installed from an external DVD drive. It was Win7 with SP1 only.

    - Win7 SP1 does not support USB3 or Bluetooth until updated with Window Update. Therefore to install Win7 on an iMac, you will need a USB2 mouse and keyboard (wired).

    - The choice of USB ports on the iMac is important. The inner most port (closest to center) should be used for the DVD drive, the next port for the USB stick used to install drivers by Boot Camp Assistant, the outer two for the mouse and keyboard.

    - Do not have other drives connected as they will confuse Windows Install. There is a step in the Windows install where the Bootcamp “partition” must be the LAST in the list of available partitions. Otherwise the process fails when asked to format it by the windows installer.

    - There are some good YouTube videos that go through the whole installation process with screenshots. It helps to visually see how it works.

    - Once Windows is installed, you can log into it directly (no Parallels yet). At this point you can update Apple drivers for Win7 with a Control Panel app. But, you will NOT be able to use Microsoft Update for Win7.

    - In order to update Win7 SP1, you'll need to update IE first. But, you can't update IE without updating Windows Update which you can't do without updating IE. (Yeah Microsoft). We have a “can't get there from here” scenario. Answer is to go to Microsoft downloads and download and install KB3102810 directly!

    You should be able to now run Microsoft update and get the 180+ updates. Chug, chug, chug. (How many hotfixes have there been from XP on? How many angels can you fit on the head of a pin? It's essentially the same core architecture with new faces. My XP has 694. Try this in a run window:

    wmic qfe list brief /format:htable > "%USERPROFILE%\hotfix.html" or
    wmic qfe list brief /format:texttablewsys > "%USERPROFILE%\hotfix.txt"

    - Back to the issue at hand, Win7 will NOT be activated. So follow the activation prompts using a phone and it should register.

    - If you have a Bluetooth Apple keyboard, the function keys may not work. A Windows update breaks an Apple driver. It can be fixed by installing an older Apple driver. This bug could be fixed by now but if there are keyboard issues search for the fix.

    - After all this work, you MUST back up the Win7 install. Time Machine won't touch it. Neither will Carbon Copy. I highly recommend WinClone and make a baseline Win7 backup now.

    - Parallels can be installed and it has a quick utility to use the Win7 Bootcamp install rather than creating a whole new Win7 Virtual install.

    - When you run Parallels Win7 it will NOT be activated. You have to go through the whole activation process again. It should be ok on both the Parallels and Bootcamp Win7 instance.

    - You CAN NOT use Parallels to "share" the “Bootcamp” Win7 to more than ONE user on the Mac (confirmed by Parallels support). You can share a Parallels “Virtual” Win7.

    - I tried to share the Bootcamp Win7 and blew up my install. I had to go back to square one. Note my recommendation for WinClone above. You should also do a Carbon Copy of the Mac partition as well. Time Machine can NOT restore a dead drive image.

    OK very long post, but I wanted to share the experience.

    The Parallels/Bootcamp is working great. Set Parallels view to Coherence and Win7 disappears in the background, but all the PC apps are available. For instance, you can set documents to Open With MS Word instead of Pages and so forth.

  16. Flynnstone thread starter macrumors 65816


    Feb 25, 2003
    Cold beer land
    Cayenne1, what type of drive is on your iMac? I assume you have the drive partitioned (bootcamp). How big of a partition? How does speed compare to ..?
  17. Phoenixx Suspended


    Jul 3, 2015
    And Apple doesn't? Once they have Siri in place in OS X, they will be collecting just as much data on you as Microsoft does. The difference is that they PRETEND to be concerned about your privacy. It's a marketing tactic, nothing more. If they were really concerned about your privacy, they would have client side encryption on EVERYTHING, including iCloud. They don't.

    Personally, I prefer Microsoft's and Google's approaches, at least they don't try to hide what they are doing, and deceive the public about being more privacy minded.
  18. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011

    If your Windows software is running fine under Parallels on a 2009 iMac via a FW drive you don't need Bootcamp.

    Only consider Bootcamp and/or a 'hard' NTFS partition if you are running software (mainly games and pro/3D graphics or video) that hammers your machine and demands "bare metal" power. Yes, you can use Parallels with a NTFS partition & even share a partition between Parallels and BootCamp, but it throws away a lot of the advantages of virtual machines (suspend, snapshots) and wastes disc space by permanently allocating space to the partition. Plus, with Bootcamp you need to install NTFS drivers on OS X and/or HFS+ drivers on Windows to transfer files between operating systems.

    Virtual disks start tiny, and only expand to their 'maximum' size as space is used. If you need to offload your virtual disc onto an external drive then its a simple file copy vs. messing around with Disk Utility. You only need the virtual disc as your Windows System drive for the OS and software since you can keep all your files on the OS X partition via file sharing - newer versions of Parallels will (optionally) set up Windows to map your Desktop/Documents etc. to your OS X home folder.

    NB: If you get a new Mac you'll have to upgrade to Parallels 10 (?) or 11 if you haven't done already. I've put up with Parallels requiring paid updates for every other OS X version but now they've started disabling some features unless you get the subscription-only "pro" version, I might give VMWare Fusion a look next time they force an upgrade...
  19. winston1236 macrumors 68000

    Dec 13, 2010
    I have a similar setup to Cayenne1, my Windows partition is set to 500GB and my iMac has a 3TB Fusion drive. I only use it for gaming but space hasn't been an issue and speeds are great.
  20. G4DPII macrumors regular


    Jun 8, 2015
    Run it through bootcamp on any Apple hardware, it'll be a lot bloody faster than any version of OSX. Hell windows 10 flies when compared to JellyStone or El Crapitan.

    What are you all doing to really care what data is sent to MS servers, Apple does just the same, but you all think they are bloody angels.
  21. vkd macrumors 6502a


    Sep 10, 2012
    Fair comment
  22. shaunp macrumors 68000

    Nov 5, 2010
    Do you need to use this windows App while on the move? If not then buy an external screen for the 13" MBP. Get an external TB enclosure (look up startech on amazon) for running your VM from. I'm assuming you don't need to be mobile as you are considering an iMac as a solution.

    As for Windows, Windows 10 is fine, no point going for Windows 7 unless your app won't support 10 as Microsoft will nag you to death about upgrading. By having it in a VM and not logging on with any internet credentials, you can isolate any snooping traffic. If it doesn't need to talk to the internet at all, then you can even disable the network altogether for the VM.
  23. roadkill401 macrumors 6502


    Jan 11, 2015
    just a heads up but the current shipping iMac does not support Windows 7 via bootcamp. As per the Apple

    VDK: you do realize that Apple is spying on you as well. They take note as to performance and errors on your system as well as the level versions of the software you have installed and send that information back to Apple. Think of when Sierra is installed, and Apple will be listening to you as well as how do you think Siri works?

    Windows 7 cannot be installed on an external USB or Thunderbolt drive and still be bootable. This is a functional limitation of Windows 7 unless you have a site Enterprise version of Windows 7.
  24. Phoenixx, Jun 23, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2016

    Phoenixx Suspended


    Jul 3, 2015
    I know this doesn't fit into your original ideas, but the best approach here IMOA is to simply get a second machine. Given the ridiculous prices of Parallels, and a Windows licence, you might as well pick up a dedicated Windows computer. These days a Windows system can be purchased so cheaply, there are very few advantages cost wise in going down the Parallels or Bootcamp paths.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 23, 2016 ---
    To me, Apple are even worse than companies like Microsoft and Google, purely because they pretend to be privacy minded to create trust, but then are secretive about what data they do collect, how it is protected, and allow little access to removing any data the user no longer wants them to have. Some services such as iMessage are openly promoted as encrypted and safe, yet at the same time are collecting user data, making the situation even more deceptive.

    Compare that to a company like Google, who collect massive levels of info and the situation is striking. With Google, you know EXACTLY what they are collecting, can manually delete anything you want, and they are very open about the type of security protecting your data; it's pretty impressive, and very few PEOPLE have access to your data at all. They also are open about what they are using your data for (targeted advertising), and make useful services available worldwide at no charge.

    To me, Apple's secretive attitude towards how much user data they are collecting makes me wonder what they are hiding, and just how competent they are in keeping that data safe.
  25. osdiz macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2016
    I use windowsb10 on my macbook pro15 2006 through refit

    Works wonderfull, and bootcamp drives installed and

    Osx and windows on the 2 partition

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