Chapter 3: The MacBook Pro Rides Again!

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Raging Dufus, Dec 11, 2018.

  1. Raging Dufus macrumors 6502

    Raging Dufus

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2018
    Location:
    Kansas USA
    #1
    This is not PowerPC-related, but since I began the story here (see parts 1 and 2…there was, at one point, a PowerBook involved) I thought an update here would be in order.

    To recap, my law school requires that we use exam security software from a certain vendor, if we want to be able to use a computer on our exams. The software requires OS X El Capitan as a minimum on a Mac; or you can use Windows. So I picked up a 2007 A1226 MacBook Pro (2.4 GHz C2D). Unfortunately, the exam software did not play nice with my MBP; during the first exam I used it on, I had to do a hard reset 3 times in order to get through the exam. Afterward, trying the steps suggested by the software publisher’s tech support, my MBP locked up so tight that I had to just shelve the thing for a few days until I had time to mess with it (it was unusable, wouldn’t completely boot). That’s where the PowerBook came in, which I used for a few days until I got the MBP back on its feet.

    Not wishing to repeat this experience, I picked up a “broken” HP laptop from a classmate. I just needed to replace the hard drive and battery, and the machine then worked fine. I loaded up Windows 8.1 Pro on it and was off to the races again. The little HP has been a solid performer, giving me not one bit of trouble. When it came time for me to take my final exams starting last week, I had every expectation that I’d be using it, but…

    Well…ok, look, there’s a reason for my username: it’s a pretty accurate assessment of my approach to things. I wish it wasn’t true, but much of the time it seems that I learn things the hard way. Then, I get angry (raging) at myself for being such a…dufus. Unfortunately, it’s the way I’ve gained much of my knowledge about working on computers – by doing stupid things that, if I’d just taken a minute and thought about it, or maybe googled a bit, I could have avoided a problem. I’ve ruined some good machines that way, I’m sorry to say.

    So anyway, on the eve of my first final exam, I decided to download the exam security software to the HP, because I hadn’t done that yet. I noticed from the publisher’s website that this was a newer version than the one I had previously used on my MBP. On a whim, I thought to check the system requirements for the newer version, and – oh look! It still supports El Capitan on the Mac side, that’s good…oh and, looks like they’ve added Mojave support too. Ok, well good for them – now what about Windows? Ok, it supports Windows 7 and…and…Windows 10.

    No 8, no 8.1, no nothing but 7 or 10. Whaaaatttt?!?

    My exam was the next morning. I didn’t have time to mess with downloading and updating a different version of Windows, which can be an all-day/night affair…and there was a reason I put Windows 8.1 on this thing in the first place! I knew Windows 7 support would end before I graduated law school, but 8.1 should see me all the way through. I didn’t want Windows 10 under any circumstances. But, living up to my username, I had failed to check the one thing I should have checked before I chose – of all things – an operating system(!); was it going to run what I needed it to run??? NOPE, apparently not!

    So now I’m looking at my MacBook Pro. It’s been pulling desktop duty ever since I got the HP to carry to school, and it’s been a flawless performer. Truth is, even though I didn’t really want to go Intel in the first place, I’ve been impressed with this MBP, and I’ve even come to appreciate El Capitan. The newer version of the exam software still supported El Cap, so – saddle up, MBP, let’s ride!

    I used it on the exam, and I’m happy to report that although running the exam software wasn’t problem free (I did have to reboot twice), I managed to get about 2.5 hours of good use out of it before the first reboot…overall, a much better performance than on the previous attempt. Not only that, it has experienced no problems whatsoever since the exam, which is a far cry from what the exam software did to it the last time.

    I did use the little HP laptop on my next final exam, with the Windows 8.1 installation. I figured, what the hell could there be about Windows 8 that’s so different from 7 or 10 that they couldn’t support it? In any event, the HP w/8.1 ran the software just fine, and in trying that out I think I may have stumbled upon the reason for the problem with my MBP. The HP running Windows was able to go to sleep a couple of times during the exam. Each time I woke it up, a dialog box would appear telling me that my computer had gone to sleep, and that the event would be noted in the exam log.

    I’m guessing at this, but for whatever reason it seems that the exam software doesn’t play well with my MBP’s power management system, because the MBP never once went to sleep despite periods of inactivity (periods long enough that, on battery power, it ordinarily would have slept); whereas on Windows it seems that the OS still gets to manage the computer's power system. I have no idea why this would be – other than perhaps poorly written code – but there it is. It’s the only theory I’ve got, anyway. I do know, too, that there seemed to be many more people who had problems with the software this time – and they were all running MacBooks.

    So the moral of this long and boring story is: it’s a Windows world, my friends.

    And, despite my best efforts, I’m still a raging dufus.
     
  2. FNH15 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2011
    #2
    Is this Examsoft by any chance? Their software leaves a lot to be desired, unfortunately. You can try running High Sierra on your MacBook Pro 3,1 (checkout the "High Sierra on older Macs" thread). That might help a little. Their software loves to hijack the entire system, and depending on the OS/hardware combo, it can be quite tricky to get to to work correctly. I always carry my iPad with me into the exam room for this reason in case my MBP screws up - it plays perfectly well with iOS.

    Just poor coding on their part, I think.
     
  3. Raging Dufus thread starter macrumors 6502

    Raging Dufus

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2018
    Location:
    Kansas USA
    #3
    Yep, Examsoft. I don't think upgrading the Mac OS is going to help the problem, it seems like the only people having trouble with it are all using Macs; at least in my experience. I had a trouble-free experience with it on Windows, so I'll stick with that strategy until I have a reason to change.

    I am interested, though - what good is it to bring a spare computer/iPad into the exam room with you? Once you've downloaded the exam onto one machine, you're stuck using that machine. The software won't let you download it again to a different computer. You get one shot, that's it...or am I missing something?
     
  4. eyoungren macrumors Core

    eyoungren

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    Location:
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    #4
    Have you considered installing Windows on your MBP via Boot Camp and running Examsoft on that?
     
  5. Raging Dufus thread starter macrumors 6502

    Raging Dufus

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2018
    Location:
    Kansas USA
    #5
    Yes, I thought about it, but only after my first round of problems with Examsoft/MBP. Looked into it some, but I had two problems with the concept:
    1. I couldn't be completely sure that the problems I was having w/Examsoft weren't somehow related to my hardware; and if they were, then running the same machine with a different OS (Windows) might produce the same problems.
    2. Officially, Boot Camp for my MBP only supports as high as Windows 7. I knew Win 7 was going out of support soon, and as it turns out even Examsoft will end support for Win 7 at the end of this month. I'm not familiar enough with Boot Camp, or even Intel Macs for that matter, to know how to work around that limitation (I did tinker a bit with trying to upgrade a 2007 C2D Mac Mini past Win 7, and ran into problems w/drivers and such, which discouraged me from taking that route).
    Given what I wanted to do, it seemed a more logical route to leave my Mac a Mac and just get a cheap PC for the exams.
     
  6. eyoungren macrumors Core

    eyoungren

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    #6
    Gotcha.

    I'm sure things can be worked around though somehow. I've had Windows 7 up and running on my Snow Leopard MBP before. Boot Camp doesn't officially support it on a 2006 Mac so I had to find my own drivers for stuff. But eventually it worked out.

    There may be some way to get a later version of Windows on to your Mac, IDK.

    In any case, this is one of the reasons I try to keep some sort of PC around. They tend to be supported longer.
     
  7. vddrnnr macrumors member

    vddrnnr

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2017
    #7
    Hi Raging,

    If I may suggest another approach you can try and install it on a VM using
    VirtualBox ( free ) or if you are willing to spend some cash either VMWare Fusion ( my preference ) or Parallels Desktop.
    This way you can have windows running inside your mac and with the hypervisor the hardware
    will not be the same, and will be using the hypervisor drivers, except for the processor and the RAM you assign to it.

    I've been using virtualisation every day for work and play on my macs for more than 10 years
    and if compatibility with your SO or real hardware is the problem this will likely work
    around it.

    PS. this way you'll also be able to install the latest versions of windows. Heck you can
    even run older SOs this way if you need which are not compatible with your hardware
    PS2. Bootcamp is not needed for this.

    Best regards,
    voidRunner
     
  8. Raging Dufus thread starter macrumors 6502

    Raging Dufus

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2018
    Location:
    Kansas USA
    #8
    Thanks, I thought of that one too, but unfortunately this exam software cannot be run under virtualization.

    Of course, it's supposedly not supported under Windows 8.1 either, and that ended up working for me.

    But, I think they must have actually done something to prevent the program running in a virtual environment, because that's such an obvious way of cheating on an exam. If I could still have access to the files on my computer, while taking the exam inside a VM, that would give me an incredibly unfair advantage over others not so savvy. So I tend to take Examsoft at their word on that one.
     
  9. FNH15 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2011
    #9
    My professor is quite understanding and will allow students experiencing technical difficulties to redownload the exam. Interestingly, I see far more problems with Windows PCs than Macs during exams, but virtually everyone is either on 10.14 if supported or 10.13 - our professor made it a point to make sure everyone who could upgraded once Examsoft released support for Mojave.
     
  10. pl1984 Suspended

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2017
    #10
    Supported is not the same thing as does not work.
     
  11. bobesch, Dec 13, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2018

    bobesch macrumors 65816

    bobesch

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2015
    Location:
    Kiel, Germany
    #11
    Oh, even if Examsoft would support VM, running virtual Win7 (with Fusion) is slow on my C2Duo machine.
    Win2k runs like hell, WinXP is ok.
    I didn't give Windows10 a try yet - I'm afraid it might toast the board/GPU on my early '08 MBP.
     
  12. FNH15 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2011
    #12
    Running a Windows 10 VM on my i5 iMac with an SSD and 16GB RAM kicks its fans into overdrive and spikes the CPU - I shudder to think what would happen to a C2D machine...
     
  13. AphoticD macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2017
    Location:
    Australia
    #13
    I’ve found Windows 10 is pretty good out of the box on some of the older Intel Macs. It should pick up most of the hardware. You’ll probably just need the GeForce drivers and something for the trackpad. You’ll want at least 2GB of RAM.

    Setting up Boot Camp under El Capitan should be easy, but if you want to leave El Cap untouched (because you know it works with examsoft for the most part), remove the HDD and install a different drive (60GB or larger). Boot off a Windows 10 disc (or USB) and install on the freshly formatted drive.

    If issues persist, swap the drives out again (avoiding a complete reinstall process).
     
  14. pl1984 Suspended

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2017
    #14
    I watched a YouTube video which showed Windows 10 32-bit used fewerresources than Windows 8 which in turn used fewer resources than Windows 7. Not sure how valid the test was but it was interesting. Windows 10 is what people should be using. Those who do not are doing so from a position of ignorance.
     
  15. bobesch macrumors 65816

    bobesch

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2015
    Location:
    Kiel, Germany
    #15
    Checking Everymac I didn't find any C2Duo MBP to support Win10 ...
    Is there any magic to run Win10 with Bootcamp?
     
  16. Raging Dufus thread starter macrumors 6502

    Raging Dufus

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Kansas USA
    #16
    Microsoft has been deceptive about Windows 10 from the get-go, doing things like this, which happened to me personally; and this and this. And they continue to deceive people about their plans with stuff like this. And they force system updates on you whether you like it or not, like this. There are workarounds, but that's beside the point - this is no way to run a tech company, and no way to run my computer.

    It's pure principle, not "ignorance", and not any notion of relative performance, that make me refuse to run Windows 10 on any PC in my household. And in a couple of years when I no longer have the need, I will not be using any Microsoft product, period.

    But hey, you watched a YouTube video, so of course everybody that doesn't agree with your opinion is "ignorant."
    --- Post Merged, Dec 13, 2018 ---
    Boot Camp seemed easy enough, but it won't get me where I need to go (past Windows 7) on my MBP, without some tinkering I haven't yet learned how to do. Besides, I'd like to just leave it running El Cap. And, I simply don't want Windows 10 if I can help it. I already solved my problem in what seemed to be the simplest way, I got a PC and put Win 8.1 Pro on it. That should serve my needs for the foreseeable future.
     
  17. pl1984, Dec 14, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2018

    pl1984 Suspended

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2017
    #17
    As I said: Doing so from a position of ignorance.
     
  18. AphoticD macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2017
    Location:
    Australia
    #18
    In my travels I have successfully installed Windows 10 fine on a unibody MacBook5,1 (C2D w/ 9400m graphics), MacBookPro4,1 (C2D w/ 8600M GT) and MacBook4,1 (C2D w/ GMA X3100 graphics), none of which were officially compatible according to Apple.

    General performance was fine even on the GMA graphics. 4GB of RAM is an ideal minimum. I had the MB4,1 running with only 1GB to test and Windows handled that reasonably well considering (but not recommended).

    I haven’t tried running Windows 10 32-bit on my Core Duo Macs yet. I think considering they have a 2GB RAM limit, a 32-bit Linux derivative would probably be better.

    I liked Windows 7. It was a good example of a well tuned OS and served me well as a daily driver in the office for several years. 10 is better, but sometimes obnoxiously up-to-date o_O
     
  19. bobesch, Dec 14, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2018

    bobesch macrumors 65816

    bobesch

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2015
    Location:
    Kiel, Germany
    #19
    @Raging Dufus I share your dislike about hanging on the drip of any OS-provider! "OS as a service" - and maybe that service will get you disconnected some time.
    That's a reason to stay with the old fashioned way of computing.
    AppStore (iOS/macOS), Win10, online-activated software - that's part of the stuff to make '1984' come true ...
    @AphoticD thanks for your inspiration. Gonna try those BootCamp/Win10-options, when the time is right!
     

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18 December 11, 2018