First time Mac, long time Win: Dual Boot, Virtualization, Disk Access and other ques

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Avlor, Aug 30, 2010.

  1. Avlor macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2010
    #1
    Hello All,

    Been reading this board for a long time and now, as my Mac is just round the corner, decided to post here so I can be fully armed when my new machine arrives. I consider myself a Windows power user, but I'm a total n00b in Mac world, so excuse my ignorance. I'm getting an MBP 13" and plan to swap out the Superdrive and go for a SSD+HDD combo. So here are the issues I think I'm gonna face when setting up my new rig:

    Dual Boot. I'm looking to use both OSX and Windows. Partly that's because I will need some familiar environment when moving to mac, partly because I need to run some econometric packages and financial tools. So, question 1, what's the current situation with EFI? I know Win7 supports EFI configs, but heard it works only with UEFI 2.0, while current macs go with 1.x. Will I be able to do a native Windows install or do I still need to use Bootcamp BIOS emulation?
    Question 2: If I'm using bootcamp, does it create MBR emulation inside the GPT partition mac uses or how does it deal with the disk structure? Is setting up an MBR disk from the beginning a better idea?

    File Access. In Windows environment I'm used to keeping system files and documents on separate partitions (just in case a reinstall is suddenly required), but my fellow mac users just go with one large partition. Is it much of a hassle to move the personal folder to another drive and still keep all the system links (so that iTunes videos go into "videos" on another drive, etc.) ? Secondly, both mac and win have only partial access to NTFS and HFS+ respectively. What's the best way to organize my drive so I can edit any file from either OSX or Windows? FAT is kinda obsolete now, so I'll be grateful for any suggestions on dual boot file access solutions.

    Virtualization. I don't want start a flame war on "Fusion vs Parallels" here, but got a general question about virtualized environment. Let's say I got FotoFusion (photo collaging software), which has seamless integration with PS and Lightroom, but does not have a Mac version. If I run this program in Unity mode (or whatever it's called, when you get the windows app right beside your regular mac apps), is there a chance of getting it integrated with PS on the host machine?

    Any other issues I might face when setting up such a config that I'm not aware of? All comments and suggestions are welcome :rolleyes:
     
  2. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5

    wrldwzrd89

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2003
    Location:
    Solon, OH
    #2
    As far as your Dual Boot question goes, huh? There is no such thing as a "native Windows install" on a Mac. Windows installations are always done through Boot Camp, if you want native performance. You don't have to worry about setting up the disk - the Boot Camp Assistant does this for you.

    For file access across platforms I use NTFS for all drives except my Mac's boot drive, and NTFS-3G on the Mac to enable read/write functionality. Really easy solution, plus NTFS-3G is free ;)

    For your virtualization question: No, as far as I am aware - the two environments aren't aware of the existence of the other, besides access to shared disks.
     
  3. Avlor thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2010
    #3
    Thanks for NTFS-3G suggestion, I heard of it, but thought it only allows read access. Too bad on the virtualization side..

    As for native install, mac has the same hardware as PC's now, so basically the only thing preventing a truly native install (erase the disk completely and boot windows install disk) is the absence of BIOS to connect the hardware and the software. I thought that as Windows now it EFI-aware, this could be done. On a side note, will SSD TRIM be available in a bootcamp install?
     
  4. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5

    wrldwzrd89

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2003
    Location:
    Solon, OH
    #4
    Trust me, you do NOT want to wipe Mac OS X and install only Windows on a Mac. You won't be able to apply Mac firmware updates if you do that. If you REALLY want to do that, you can - it WILL work - but I strongly advise against it.

    As for your SSD question, assuming you're using Windows 7, yes!
     
  5. Mal macrumors 603

    Mal

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2002
    Location:
    Orlando
    #5
    Your biggest issue with trying a "native" install of Windows7 is that it requires an MBR partition map, whereas Mac OS X requires a GUID partition map. Boot Camp Assistant creates a hybrid GUID-MBR partition map, so that both systems can run congruently.

    I don't know about the issue with EFI/BIOS and whether it would work, but unless you have a separate drive for Windows7, you'll want to use Boot Camp. There's no issues I know of with the BIOS emulation, so I'm not sure why that's a concern to you.

    jW
     
  6. unixperience macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    #6
    As others have said you DO NEED to use bootcamp to install windows (or even a linux distro that uses bios) because bootcamp EASILY!!! creates a hybrid GUID-MBR map.
    Just a small detail, I'm not sure what your hd setup was going to be (windows on ssd, macos on hdd, or something else) but if you don't have a cddrive enclosure, or another disk drive immediately on hand, install windows before you swap out the drive. ha yes it is silly but I could see myself getting anxious and swapping out the drive as soon as I get the comp, then having to reinstall it 5 minutes later :D
     
  7. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #7
    A follow-up on Bootcamp partitioning: Not only does Bootcamp partition (on the fly) a GUID disk smoothly and easily, but unless you're using a dedicated drive you HAVE to do it this way. It's possible this changed under 10.6, but I learned the hard way that if you try to get proactive by wiping the drive, creating two paritions, installing OSX on one, and then trying to install Windows on the other, it won't work. I ended up needing to remove my useless Windows partition so that the Bootcamp installer could re-create it in a way it was able to use.

    Not a standard partition, is what I'm getting at, but it's all quite smooth.

    There's more than one way to do it; the easiest is to just have a data partition and point apps at it when saving. This is what I do at home, and it's trivial to tell iTunes to use a library folder on another partition, and most files are just files.

    In that case, however, your personal prefs (and apps that don't ask where you want things) will still be in your system partition Home folder. Which, for me, is fine, but if you want to move your entire Home folder to another partition, there are many tutorials out there explaining how. It's somewhat nonstandard, but should work. Me, I'd just run things the easy way and, if you want to separate data just do it manually.

    Incidentally, one of the reasons Mac users are less likely to fear using the boot volume for data is that OS reinstalls are uncommon, and it's trivial to reinstall a completely fresh copy of the OS (or reinstall in place with import of old stuff) without touching user data.

    As said, probably not. If the app's integration just relies on the data being in a known location--that is, it just looks at the library folder on disk--it's possible it will work so long as the app is capable of reading the volume that the data is stored on. If they talk directly to each other, no--the Windows app, so far as it knows, is running in its own Windows instance. Unity mode just hides the Windows desktop and arranges things visually so they look like they're running interleaved with Mac apps; in practice, they're not.
     
  8. Avlor thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2010
    #8
    Thanks for all the feedback guys! Looks like I'm going to do it via bootcamp after all

    I thought that OSX can handle and MBR-structured drive and I can install it alongside windows partition. Thanks for the warning.

    It's not a concern at all, I just wanted to try native EFI if Windows supports it, why not :rolleyes: I'm kind of a geek you know
     
  9. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #9
    It can, and it should be fully accessible when booted into Windows; I was talking about the specific situation where you are partitioning your OSX boot drive and trying to install Windows on the other partition. If you don't use the Bootcamp app to do this partitioning (which happens on the fly, fortunately), Windows won't install.

    Bootcamp also gives you the option of using a dedicated drive for Windows, but I've never tried installing to one, so I don't know if you also have to use Bootcamp to format one of those. I would guess not, but depending on how Bootcamp adjusts EFI to point Windows to the correct drive/partition, it might be necessary.
     
  10. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    The Finger Lakes Region
    #10
    When I installed Windows 7 on my Mac Pro I formatted the Boot Camp partition the Native NTFS format. On Windows 7 I installed MacDrive so it could write to my HFS+ externals. For 10.6 I use NTFS-3G to write to the Windows 7 Boot Camp disk (My Mac Pro has four internal disks and Windows 7 is on one drive).

    My virtualization is done by Fusion 3 .There is also Paralles but at the time they didn't have 10.6 version ready. You will find over time one is faster over the other and vise-versa from one point upgrade to another. IMHO Fusion is more stable over time and since I am not doing gaming through virtual it is not sweat off my back (gaming is only when booted into Windows 7). Now with Steam and the news of AutoCAD Design Software for Macs I may dump Windows 7 but might keep it because it was so expensive.
     

Share This Page