Help Me Escape From My Pc / Switch Questions.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by milesdavis, Nov 17, 2007.

  1. milesdavis macrumors regular

    milesdavis

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
    #1
    Hey Everyone,

    I'm looking at switching to Mac after being a lifelong PC user. I'm a creative professional, one of the few -not- using a Mac. I actually don't have a problem with Windows, but I love the quality and screen of the MBP. So, I have some questions, as to which, I have not been able to find answers...

    1.) NTFS - I know MAC cannot write to it, but basically all of my client files are stored on NTFS formated external drives. Can Windows via Boot Camp read/write to NTFS?

    2.) Regarding NTFS and formats, I know I can't do Fat32 because of the GB limitation. So, I know Mac has a native format --- if I move my data to different drives, then format to the Mac native format (can't remember the name, I'm sure you know it) will Windows be able to read this format?

    What would you all recommend regarding disc format on external drives?

    3.) Right Clicking...I know it's not native on the touch pad in the way that it is in Windows, but if you are using a mouse with right click functionality, are the same 'context' menus and things there when you right click them on a Mac? For example, if I'm in Firefox, and I right click on a Jpeg -- can I save it, copy link, etc?

    5.) If I run Boot Camp, will Windows be exactly like Windows when ran on a PC? Meaning all usb drives, files, folders, programs, etc will work the same as they would on a PC?

    Thats the first wave, I have so many questions -- but, I'm excited about getting a Mac.

    Thanks everyone!

    MD
     
  2. Big-TDI-Guy macrumors 68030

    Big-TDI-Guy

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2007
    #2
    First - for your bootcamp questions - http://manuals.info.apple.com/en/Boot_Camp_Install-Setup.pdf

    Now - in boot camp, it runs AS a PC top to bottom. Drives, networking, software - even the built in isight camera - are all available on the PC side. (not sure about the IR port though) You can even get genuine BSODs while in boot camp!!!

    I remember an option installing boot camp that allowed access to files from OSX and XP - I can't remember what format it was, but I went with NTFS b/c thats what I was familiar with at the time.

    There is right-click in OSX with a contextual menu to follow it. I think you need to activate that feature in the control panel (under mice). On the mighty mouse - it's a right click. On the laptops it's either CONTROL + click, or two fingers on the touch pad.

    Edit: Two more things.

    I understand the size limitation concerning you - but a viable option would be a nice external USB or Firewire drive. Get a Firewire 800 and those drives scream, you can even boot directly from a firewire drive (if you wanted to install an OS on that). An external drive will be recognized by both OSX and XP/Vista - and can easily be shared between them. (potentially removing your size restriction issue)

    Also - be aware that VMware and Parallels both exist - and apart from extreme processor related programs (gaming, HD video) - XP can function VERY well within OSX. (I use parallels). Over time, I've used bootcamp less and less, and my Parallels more and more. File sharing is transparent with parallels.

    I am not SURE - but I think via parallels - you can run from your bootcamp install - and that could allow you to move files - even with a NTFS partition.
     
  3. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Texas
    #3
    Short answers:
    1. Yes
    2. Only with 3rd party solutions - MacDrive
    3. Yes, and you can enable two finger "right-click" in system preferences, IMO that feels much more natural than the right button on a trackpad.
    5. Yes. It will become a PC, working exactly like an hp or dell or whatever - complete with virii and spyware, so protect your self (esp. using MacDrive in bootcamp)
     
  4. NAG macrumors 68030

    NAG

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2003
    Location:
    /usr/local/apps/nag
    #4
    Hi!

    You can think of boot camp as a utility to easily repartition your hard drive and burn windows drivers for your mac hardware to a cd. It doesn't really put restrictions on things like how you format the disk. So yes, NTFS will work.

    Windows can't read HFS+ (the mac native format). The easy way around this is to have a FAT32 drive or partition that you can use to shuffle data between (or even a network share).

    Yes, right click functionality works basically the same (except not quite as abused as in windows/having every thing under the sun in the contextual menu). All apple mice have right click functionality (the mighty mouse can be a multi button mouse and the laptops have a two finger on the trackpad click that acts like a right click). You can also use control click.

    Yes. Boot camp is just a utility that lets you use the mac hardware more fully and helps you switch between the two OSes.
     
  5. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    #5
    I don't mean to beat a dead horse, but...

    Yes, right-clicking is native on all new Apple notebooks. You can activate it in System Preferences. I personally find it to be much easier than PC notebooks; my thumb has more than once accidentally hit the right-click on those things :eek:

    Scrolling can also be enabled to work this way, so if you want to do that, you can. I also find this to be easier than just having one little strip at the edge of your trackpad to scroll with; my mbp lets me scroll all over the place!:eek::p

    As for contextual menus, yes, they are largely the same. Save, copy, etc will be there, and so will a few other neat things (you'll have to switch first though ;)). One note though; in Windows, you are probably used to "rename" being one of the options right? In OS X, you have to choose "get info" first, and then you'll be able to do this. No big deal, but it is a difference.

    However, the dozens of other smaller advantages will be well worth your while. Best of luck.:)
     
  6. ab2650 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2007
    #6
    Or you could click-wait-click on the file to rename it, or my favorite, hit Return.

    To the OP, there are going to be lots of little things that are different; for me it was the way I browsed with Explorer then to Finder. I've totally made myself accustomed to it, and once you give yourself time to learn the shortcuts you'll never want to go back.
     
  7. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    #7
    :eek: That's real nice and easy, thanks. :)

    To be honest, I rarely rename files, so I hadn't bothered to find a way around it:eek:
     
  8. Big-TDI-Guy macrumors 68030

    Big-TDI-Guy

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2007
    #8
    Unrelated - I could swear this thread had more posts in it... Or is my memory failing?

    Seriously - that shortcut helps a lot. One of my ongoing gripes in OSX was never having a "quick" renaming method.

    Unrelated - I could swear this thread had more posts in it... Or is my memory failing?
     
  9. ab2650 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2007
    #9
    NP! I think I found it inadvertently by trying to browse through Finder like it were Explorer.
     
  10. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    #10
    o_O
    Shhh;)
    Isn't it funny how you discover somethings?

    I can't wait until the OP actually gets his hands on a Mac...he's going to wonder what he was doing all this time!
     
  11. milesdavis thread starter macrumors regular

    milesdavis

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
    #11
    Thanks for all the responses, I appreciate it.

    Right clicking info all makese sense, and sounds good.

    Someone mentioned the external drive, which is where I keep basically all of my data and work files. All of my drives are formated NTFS, so if I want to use them via Boot Camp + Windows, sounds like it shouldn't be a problem.

    If I want to read/write to them in OSX and Windows, then what are all my options? Sounds like possibly:

    1.) move all data from the drive to another drive, reformat it HFS+, move the data back on. Load MacDrive in Windows, then read/write to my drives in both operating systems. Can MacDrive be loaded onto a flash drive or something portable, so I could install it on a visiting Windows computer in a pinch?

    2.) Network share -- can someone elaborate on this, and how It would effect my ability to read/write through NTFS.

    Also -- I know this has been discussed alot on the boards, but it sounds like I should wait until January to see if the MBP update hits, right?

    Thanks again everyone!

    -MD
     
  12. NAG macrumors 68030

    NAG

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2003
    Location:
    /usr/local/apps/nag
    #12
    The easiest option would be to have some sort of drive that is formatted FAT32. This allows you to write to it from both OS X and Windows. The drive could be an external or an internal or a partition of either one. So for instance you could partition your internal when you're setting up boot camp to have a small partition that is FAT32 along with your HFS+ and NTFS partitions for the respective OSes.

    The network share thing is if you happen to have another computer or some space on the internet somewhere. It is slower and not really a great solution.
     
  13. Big-TDI-Guy macrumors 68030

    Big-TDI-Guy

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2007
    #13
    Okay, for the first time in MONTHS I'm going to head into Bootcamp - just for you. (I know I'm going to have to suffer through a million XP updates before I can get anything done) Anyhow - I'll test my WD Network hard drive read/write access - and write down what format it's using. Then I'll check my WD Firewire hard drive read/write ability and format - and post it here in a few minutes.

    Am I a nice guy or what? ;)
     
  14. Big-TDI-Guy macrumors 68030

    Big-TDI-Guy

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2007
    #14
    Over an hour later - and I'm back. My efforts were far less fruitful than I had anticipated. But here is your info (skip to the bottom if you don't want to hear this whole story)

    This is what it took just to get back here:

    Boot up windows via Boot Camp - 26 XP Security Updates Required. Download and they start to install. Literally, it's been about 6-7 weeks since I last ran Boot Camp - Tops.

    3 New Drivers needed - 1 to see my network drive, 1 to see my firewire drive, and yet another because windows finally noticed I have a bluetooth card.

    Now I restart (forced from updates and to get my drives mounted in XP)

    Upon restart - I go to verify my drivers are current from WDs homepage (before activating my drives) Turns out Internet Explorer 7 wants to be installed for a variety of reasons... I oblige, in the process, M$ wants to install "Malicious Software Detection" and "Windows Genuine Software Detection Tool" - I've got nothing to hide - and want to be "safe" I yet again, give it the O.K.

    During this - McAfee Security Center starts to complain. Antivirus and Firewall are disabled - McAfee needs me to verify my account. Go to Mcafee website and re-activate my antivirus via a password and email. Have to do it all again a second time, to activate my firewall - in spite of being in the same software suite.

    Now McAfee is updating it's definitions database... Good.

    Surprise Surprise! Both IE7 and McAfee want me to restart... Ok...

    Welcome back to windows - now let me go check my drivers to see if they are current... www.westerndigital.com - WTF?!? My fonts are practically illegible, can't see, and all kinds of warnings and notifications just jumped up at me. YES windows, I'm aware I'm transmitting data to the internet when I clicked "go" -- I wanted to go to that address. (I thought XP only did that "once" the FIRST time you ever go to a web page) No big deal... Now, I don't need a lesson in tabbed browsing, and yes, I don't want to send all my web pages I visit back to Microsoft so they can verify they aren't "phishing" sites... Wow, this is becoming a chore.

    I can't fix this green/smudged font appearing in IE7. And it's actually making it difficult to read. I need to roll back to IE6. If there is one thing I remember from Windows - you need to have all your cards on the table before you attempt anything. I pre-empt my problems, and download IE6 before I start removing IE7.

    IE7 is now out - time to restart...

    Welcome back to Windows, good, it appears IE6 automatically rolled back and is functioning. Turns out my pre-emptive strike was not needed this time. That's a nice change.

    Okay, WD.com - drivers weren't the newest for my Firewire Drive - no big deal, download and installed. Neat.

    I can't seen my WD Firewire drive, the "system" knows it is there, but will not mount or be read at all - I'm chalking this up to my Mac OS Extended (Journaled) format. Oh well.

    Ethernet (LAN) Network Drive (WD Netcenter) is there and read/write-able. Good. (Format: SMB "Other")

    Macintosh HD - Not visible (Mac OS Extended "Journaled") expected that, though.

    And finally, my USB Card reader with my 1GB SD Card (inside my HP printer) is read/write-able. (Format: MS-DOS (FAT 16)

    Okay. So - the lessons and information from all that I just dumped on this forum:

    My WD Firewire Drive originally (I think) a FAT/NTFS or some other Windows-friendly format. But originally using it with OSX, it was very slow, and frequently crashed when writing or moving large files about. (1GB range) I reformatted that drive for OSX - and it FLEW, and has never given me a hiccup since - though it's not working in Boot Camp. BUT - I can move files via Parallels (running XP inside OSX) and/or my network or card drives. (just one step to do this) Had I reformatted with NTFS - or whatever it originally was - I'm sure windows XP in Boot Camp would have had no problem reading/writing.

    Network drive as you already know - is a green light in both OS's. It isn't nearly as fast as my Firewire - but still plenty acceptable for me. *11 megabytes a second or so read-write speed* (nothing like the 80 something MB Firewire gives me, though)

    USB Card Reader / Drive - works just fine in both OS's - but speed and capacity are weak points for it.

    Had I done a FAT32 format for Boot Camp (option given to you during installation) - I would have been able to move data from both OSX to the XP partition, and inside XP itself. I went for NTFS, so no dice there. But having FAT 32 with a "smaller" partition - in Boot Camp, and using an external drive for all the files is the route I would have taken this time around. (had I done it)

    In conclusion: Seeing the size of this post, and what I HAD to do, just to look at my drives in XP - should be more than enough reason for you to make the switch to OSX. I forgot about all that stuff I had to do all the time with Windows - been almost 2 years since I broke that habit. It makes my gripes with Leopard a lot smaller in the big view. And while I do need Windows for a couple of things - no way I'm ever going back full time.

    Again, sorry for this huge post - and none of this was intended as a flame or flame-bait - simply a play-by-play of the experience I just had.

    Good luck, and please do make the right switch for your own reasons. But some of you now know mine. :)
     
  15. rexp macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2006
    #15
    FUSE looks promising

    For reading and writing "foreign" file systems the Google Fuse project looks promising. http://code.google.com/p/macfuse/ . I have not used it myself yet, so I am not sure how fully baked it is. But may it may be worth testing with some backed up, non critical data.

    Cheeers
     
  16. GStreakT macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
    #16
    To answer #5, yeah Windows works like Windows on Bootcamp. I can even play all my PC version Sims 2 on it =)
     
  17. Big-TDI-Guy macrumors 68030

    Big-TDI-Guy

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2007
    #17
    Sorry to be so firken long-winded in this forum.

    Here is something else I just dug up of relevance. (courtesy of CanadaRAM in another post):

    Utility brings the first NTFS file system support to Mac OS X

    Friday, November 16, 2007

    Paragon Software Group has released NTFS for Mac OS X (US$30), the first solution to enable Mac OS X to read and write storage media formatted in Microsoft's NTFS file system. Mac OS X provides only read access to NTFS devices, such as external hard drives, but cannot write to NTFS. The version number is "6.0," but this is the first release of the product.

    The company describes the product as a driver than enables Mac OS X to access NTFS natively. NTFS for Mac OS X is runs on Intel-powered and Power PC G4 Macs, and requires Mac OS X 10.4.6 or higher.

    If you've tried NTFS for Mac OS X please let us know.

    Link: http://www.macwindows.com/
     
  18. jablko macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2007
    Location:
    Lincoln, Nebraska
    #18
    The 32gb limit to FAT32 formatted drives is just Microsoft idiocy. All my external hard drives (160gb, 250gb, 320gb) are formatted FAT32. No problems reading or writing to them under Windows, Linux, or OSX. I believe you can do the formatting for larger FAT32 drive sizes from within OSX, though I usually use gParted in Linux. You can even download a bootable CD for gParted to handle all your drive needs.

    Bootcamp is nice, but now that I'm using VMware Fusion, I can't see any reason to actually boot Windows except gaming, which isn't my thing. You can use VMware converter to make your existing Windows box into a virtual machine, copy the VM to your Mac over the network, then mount it in Fusion. It makes converting incredibly easy, all your old programs and files are right there from within OSX. You can have your Windows taskbar on the bottom of the screen and the Mac's bar along the top. Two worlds fused into one.

    Also, I don't think anyone mentioned that you can right click using the track pad on the MBP. In System Preferences > Keyboards & Mouse > Trackpad select the box that says, "For secondary clicks, place two fingers on the trackpad then click the button." It takes about a day to get used to it, but after that it feels natural. So, you can have the increased productivity of right clicks without carrying a mouse around.
     
  19. NAG macrumors 68030

    NAG

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2003
    Location:
    /usr/local/apps/nag
    #19
    Yeah, honestly the only reason I went boot camp instead of VMWare Fusion is because I use it for games now and then. If you don't need the gpu, using virtualization is way more useful.
     
  20. Big-TDI-Guy macrumors 68030

    Big-TDI-Guy

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2007
    #20
    Also - VMWare versus Parallels for this - are pretty-much identical sans a few SMALL features. They both can boot from and use bootcamp, as well as support MANY different operating systems inside OS X. I know the new Parallels supports video-card acceleration (3.0) - I bought a 2.5 - and got shafted on this upgrade. I'm sure VMWare does this by now, if not, it will very soon.

    Pretty-much everyone I've seen trying VMWare or Parallels - end up buying a license key - and then gradually they all stop using bootcamp entirely.

    Myself included. (obviously)

    But bootcamp will excel at CPU intensive Windows software, like video editing / intense graphic tasks and Gaming - just because the resources are not shared with OSX when in bootcamp.
     
  21. milesdavis thread starter macrumors regular

    milesdavis

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
    #21
    First off -- 'BIG' Thank you for all that labor, I really appreciate it. Man, kind of funny how complicated it is. On another note, the NTFS utility you found sounds interesting, and might be the ideal solution -- I will investigate that one.

    Wow, thanks again...

    I'm glad VMware fusion was mentioned, thats a program I really looked at, and I have a question about 'a virtual machine'. What does that mean exactly?

    Does that mean that I can 'clone' my current XP running environment, and just put it on my mac? Does that mean I don't have to reinstall all of my programs? Or do I have to reinstal them on the 'virtual machine'?

    If I were to use a program like VMWare how would that work for multimedia apps, like photoshop (especially), vegas, flash, etc...? Those are basically the programs that I will be using in Windows, because I don't want to buy all new software right out the box.

    If VMWare fusion would allow me to clone my current XP without having to reinstall all my programs, that would be like......jesus walking on water, or something, something crazy.

    Thanks again -- appreciate the assist.

    -MD
     
  22. Big-TDI-Guy macrumors 68030

    Big-TDI-Guy

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2007
    #22
    Preface / Edit: I failed to inform you of the "good" side of VM Ware and Parallels with this response. My scare in the following paragraph is only with using the SAME Windows install for BOTH Boot Camp AND Parallels (and maybe VM Ware if it operates the same way) Using a separate install for Boot Camp, and one for your Virtuizer (either Parallels or VM Ware) is nice, safe, and sound. Like NAG said - you can VERY EASILY "sandbox" / backup / clone your install with the Virtuizers - so if something murdered XP (say a corrupt app or virus) you can simply double-click on the Clone/Backup - and 15 seconds later - you're up and running in Windows as if nothing ever happened.

    Owning and using Parallels - I can't say for certain about VM ware. It's likely to be similar to Parallels approach - Parallels (I'm not 100% on this) uses the same copy of Windows from boot camp - but loads a different set of drivers (because the hardware configuration running virtualized within OSX differs significantly from running Native in Boot Camp) So XP would just crash (hard) if you booted without swapping drivers. I did not have to re-install with Parallels - but Windows did have a mini-fit in seeing a "significant hardware change" when I booted my Boot Camp partition into Parallels. It asked me to re-activate my copy of XP. While it worked fine - I wasn't comfortable with all the driver swapping for two reasons. First, was my concern of having to re-activate yet again when I went to Boot Camp (because it would have "changed" in Windows view yet again. XP only lets you "activate" windows 2 or 3 times a year - then it won't activate. Next, I was afraid if (for whatever reason) XP crashed running in Parallels - it would be stuck with that driver set - and if I forgot and booted into Boot Camp - it might permanently corrupt my install. (because the registry and boot sector could never "repair" having being swapped) I'm not 100% sure on the operation and reality of what's going on. My fears may be unjustified. But if I had a car that I modified EVERYTHING under the hood - but kept all appearances "stock" then had trouble and brought it in to a dealer for service... The mechanic peering under the hood - (or Windows reg edit / file repair) once they start wrenching - any work hey may perform to fix my problem - likely would compound and cause further issues. (there - "slightly" better analogy)

    Back on topic here - it seems from what you want to run - it might be best to go the Boot Camp route with a compatible external drive and that software for OSX. Running Aperture or Photoshop (those apps in general) are "Pro" apps, and were designed for multiple cores, huge lots of ram, and can gobble up your resources fast. I think you would NOT likely have good luck running virtualized with those programs - but I don't have them myself, so I might be in the wrong.
     
  23. NAG macrumors 68030

    NAG

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2003
    Location:
    /usr/local/apps/nag
    #23
    Fusion and Parallels are basically the same thing but from different developers. They both have trials so try both out. Some people like Fusion, others like Parallels. Anyway, it basically acts like a virtual machine running under OS X so you could clone over your windows install from another computer (you'd have to reregister it or whatnot to appease the Microsoft gods). It lets you run windows apps without having to reboot your computer. The extra advantage is that you can easily sand box the windows install to protect it from viruses easier. I also believe both of them can use boot camp partitions for the OS (but you'll have to reregister each time you swap between using them due to the Microsoft registration process).
     
  24. milesdavis thread starter macrumors regular

    milesdavis

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
    #24
    thanks for all the answers here. I'm still not 100% sure about the virtual machine aspect of VMware, it's unclear on their site as well. I think all the other aspects are coming together for me. I'm wondering if anyone has tried that Paragon NTFS software? Sounds like it might be -perfect-.

    thanks again all - MD
     

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