Choice of low cost Windows for EE-software

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by macstatic, Feb 18, 2017.

  1. macstatic macrumors 65816

    Oct 21, 2005
    In order to use some electrical engineering (EE) software connected to hardware (specifically a TL866 EPROM programmer via the USB port) with no provisions for Mac support (as usual for EE related software) I'm looking for the cheapest way to get any suitable Windows working on my Mac. I have no need for Windows for anything else (that's why I have a Mac! :) )

    According to the linked website above it works on Windows 2000/XP/2003/2008/Vista/Win7/Win8/Win10.
    I intend to install it on a Mac running OSX 10.9.5 Mavericks and believe Bootcamp is the way to go, right?

    Which Windows version would be cheap (and legal) to get these days for this, and what kind of a license would I be looking at if I don't want one of those OEM licenses which I believe only works for one specific computer (so you have to buy another iicense if you change the hardware or want to install it on a different Mac instead).

    Oh, I'm assuming and hoping that a hardware device like this would be recognized via the USB port just as if it was a regular PC. Or is this something that might not work?
  2. Shirasaki macrumors 604


    May 16, 2015
    You could consider Windows 7 but Microsoft does not sell it at all now. If your organization uses Windows Enterprise SKU, you can find windows 7 enterprise and install on your mac so that your organization might activate windows for you.

    Right now Microsoft only pushes Windows 10 but it might not be suitable for your mac running mavericks. Plus Windows 10 would probably not be compatible with some older EE software.

    In conclusion, you could find Windows 7 enterprise and use it when applicable.
  3. boast macrumors 65816


    Nov 12, 2007
    You can use something free like VirtualBox to run Windows so you don't need to reboot, and just feed the usb connection across into VBox.

    For buying Windows, look into the reddit Windows selling section. I have bought two copies from there for < $20 with no problem.
  4. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    You could try WINE and not have to buy Windows at all. No promises that your EE software will work, but if it's just a simple application there's a fair chance it will. It's free, so if it doesn't work you have nothing to lose but some of your time.

    You might want to check the list of apps that are known to work or known to not work in WINE first to see if that application is listed.
  5. macstatic thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 21, 2005
    Thanks for all your suggestions.
    Since this EE software and the EPROM burner is all new to me and a lot of things can go wrong I though I'd keep it simple and at least ensure the OS wouldn't be the cause of any issues (kind of ironic really, we are after all talking about Windows ;) ). So I was hoping to buy a legal, but older ("outdated" by most standards) version of Windows in the sales ads etc.
    Come to think of it, most people with full licenses would just upgrade their existing Windows to a newer one, so perhaps the only installation DVDs I can legally buy are those OEM ones that come bundled with computers when you buy them new. I assume if the package is sealed and hasn't ever been used, it'll work on any computer, but won't allow me to change over to another computer without buying a new license, right? If the price is right, and that's the way it is, I can live with that.
  6. Shirasaki macrumors 604


    May 16, 2015
    Good thought. However, few new computers bundle with an older version of Windows such as Windows 8.1. The choice is even fewer if you want Windows 7.
    Also, those DVDs are not built for generic computers. Selling them is also illegal since they are not for sale.

    If I were you, I would not consider finding out a legal copy of older windows unless I have MSDN subscriptions. Microsoft does not sell them already.
  7. macstatic thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 21, 2005
    Hmmmmm.... I didn't know it was going to be this complicatd.
    How about the legality of being given an original Windows (XP or whatever) installation DVD for free? Seems I'm running out of options if I want to do this legally.

    By the way, is there a way I can add a Bootcamp partition to my existing MacBook Pro internal drive? Or do I have to reformat (using Disk Utility) followed by splitting the drive into two partitions? How much disk space would I need approximately for a very basic setup of an older type Windows?
  8. doynton, Feb 22, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2017

    doynton macrumors 6502

    Oct 19, 2014
    You could use enterprise evaluation. You can get it from Microsoft here

    It is free (and legal) for 90 days then you have to install it again or it shuts down every hour. This isn't too much hassle if you only have one extra program to install (only takes an hour or two). Note there is no upgrade from evaluation versions. If you later bought some version of Windows you'd have to clean install it.

    To use bootcamp on your internal disk you do need to partition it. The bootcamp assistant will do it for you. 32GB is ample for windows if you aren't installing lots of software. I was using 20 before but it wasn't really enough so I increased it to 32.

    If you want a free VM your can get it from here

    Again these expire after 90 days so you'd have to reinstall them.

    In either case you should be able to find out what version of Windows works with your software. You can then either buy it or (if you don't mind reinstalling every 3 months) not.
  9. macstatic thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 21, 2005
    I actually found that I had figured out a solution several years ago by going here where you can legally download and install Windows 7 and like you described above, and use it as a trial version for 90 days. The download links in that article no longer work however, but there are new working links described in this article. Oh, there's also a way to (legally) use Windows for free for a total of 120 days, explained for instance here. That should let me use that software for a while at least. So it's probably like you say, doynton: I can either reinstall Windows every 3 (or 4) months (or even less often as that Windows software isn't something I'll be using every day, or bite the bullet and pay for a full Windows license. Too bad they haven't gone the way Apple has with free OS upgrades.

    I didn't know about the free virtual machine software. Is this so I don't need a separate partition (and rebooting) for Windows, but can launch it all as just another Mac application?
    Actually I managed to install Windows 7 on my Mac using Bootcamp. I don't know how I did it as using a USB memory stick didn't work, but somehow it got installed anyway! Strange thing. Perhaps Bootcamp just recognized a .ISO disk image on the Finder desktop. At least it all works now, and the EE software tested out alright as well. I even managed to create the Bootcamp partition without having to erase the entire Mac hard drive first! Of course I made a clone backup first :)

    But I have to say, I'm glad I use OSX for my daily needs instead of Windows :p

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