Best way to run Windows on limited space

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Michael CM1, Apr 8, 2016.

  1. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    Hey folks. I'm trying to figure out how to get Windows on my Mac with the problem of "wow, that 128GB storage all of a sudden isn't a bunch." I'm not sure where exactly it's all getting used, but it is. I have two games on here that look like they might be taking up 10GB, but I still don't think I was really close to the space for both Parallels and Windows 10.

    I did set up an installation a few months ago using an external HDD. That's OK, but it's also a pain to need to make sure I always have that thing on me. The reason for needing Windows is I'm a geology student and I think all of the GIS software anybody uses is for Windows. I'd like to find an open source GIS application to use just for learning and might need it for a class I take in the fall.

    So I'm not sure of my options. I think it wouldn't be horrible if a solution was a high-speed SD card or USB flash drive. I believe this early 2014 MBA has 3.0. I tried a while back to look up speed comparisons between the external HDD, SD cards and USB drives, but I didn't see much that was clear.

    I looked up trying to replace the SSD in this MBA, but it would cost a few hundred bucks for the part and last time I tried to self-upgrade a computer I killed my iMac's display cable. I don't really have a desire to get a new MBA since this one works very well and it would be $1099 for one with the extra storage.

    I appreciate any advice!
  2. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
    How much space do you need for the Windows software plus OS ?

    Personally I would install Windows via boot camp and isolate the minimum space it requires to run. Then on the OS X side move your pictures and iTunes library to a large sd card and your rocking and rolling
  3. Michael CM1 thread starter macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    I've already tried moving a darn Photos library before with minimal luck. I honestly don't understand how it takes up 8GB when I thought I was storing all that stuff in iCloud, at least for my MacBook. All of my photos would take up about the whole SSD I have.

    I want to say Windows 10 takes like 15GB. I have about 8 free, and I could probably remove SimCity and another game to take away another 5. You're still talking pretty tight. Everything else I would remove is necessary stuff like Office. I don't really see an option in Photos that says "Stop storing my photos here because I really don't need them here as much!" I've got it on store full res photos in iCloud, but it still keeps photos on here "if I have room." I'm pretty sure my iMac has the photos and videos actually stored on there and also stores copies in iCloud. I wish darn Photos would have a few more options.
  4. Shirasaki macrumors G3


    May 16, 2015
    I think symbolic trick could help you out. Google search "storing iTunes library on external disk", you will find how to use symbolic link. Once photo library is offloaded from your internal SSD, check how many spaces you would have.

    And consider you only have 128GB, you really need to put all your other files, including iTunes library, movies, and your working files onto external disk. External HDD is good enough to take care of all of such files and they are just 100 bucks for 2TB. I have such a MacBook with only 128GB, and I always keep an external disk with me. I don't have SD card option by the way because it is 11 inch model.
  5. Michael CM1 thread starter macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    Well the thing is I really don't have an iTunes library on my MBA. All that stuff is on my iMac. I literally have two albums downloaded. I did find 3 GB in apps hidden on here, so that helped since I never sync with this thing.

    For now I think I'm going to stick with my external HDD. Oh it's slow compared to the internal storage, but I've already got Windows set up on it. I can't really find a definitive answer on SD (SDXC) cards or USB 3 flash drives to use. What i would likely end up using is some GIS software, so speed would probably help. I just haven't learned enough about the latest on all these options to know what I'm getting into, especially when you talk about $80 or so for decent-sized and decent speed cards or sticks.

    Ugh, I just wish Best Buy had carried 256GB models for an extra $100. Or I wish the storage was upgradable like a DIMM. I know, first world problems.
  6. Significant1 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 20, 2014
    What do you need Windows for? Perhaps it is simple enough to run under wine... Check if someone already has done some experience, with whatever app you plan to use, at winehq.

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5 April 8, 2016