MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.8 13" Late 2011 - Absolute Noob

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by puw, Aug 2, 2019.

  1. puw, Aug 2, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2019

    puw macrumors newbie

    puw

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    #1
    I've just got my hands on one of these because it's basically unused, mint, like new - and everything works - and was basically being given away.

    It's using Lion 10.7.5.

    As my avatar shows, I'm an old geezer, so please bear with me :) Where do I begin?

    Despite using Windows all my PC life, I'd hoped to finally be able to try my hand at a Mac, but specific Window-based apps that I cannot do without - and there's no Mac alternative that actually does all the things the apps I must have do, in the way they do, such as things which include VBA addins etc that are not available at all in a Mac format or work correctly - force me to have to install either Win7 or Win10. I prefer Win7 Ultimate but reading here it seems via BootCamp there can be many issues (drivers etc).

    Some small, simple apps I need might be usable through winebottle, but those apps too big that won't, necessitate having to install Windows. I've looked at my essential apps list and there's no alternative choice.

    1 - Which Windows is easiest to install smoothly (using advanced install options), and which version (using BootCamp)? I get the feeling within the forum advice I've read, that Parallels etc is not the best way forward. If the majority vote is Win 10, will Win10 work as though it was on my PC desktop within BootCamp, so that I can attack the Group Settings etc to turn off all the bloat and spyware it contains?

    2 - Should I 1st upgrade Mac OSX to High Sierra. Or another OSX version that will suffice?

    3 - To get an updated OSX such as Higher Sierra, am I forced to create an Apple account and ID etc. Are there other 'reliable' sources I can download from? I ask since once upgraded and either version of Windows is installed, I will not be making any updates (critical or otherwise - updates will be totally shutdown) to either OS software. My usage of the MBP allows me to do this.

    4 - The Late 2011 MBP, as I'm sure you know, only offers 2 x USB 2.0. I know I will be using external drives etc as well as wireless mouse, external sound cards, and so exceed the USB's, and I would very much prefer to make use of the Thunderbolt version 1 port than have issues overcrowding a powered USB 2.0 Hub.

    It seems everything online that's available to me in 'my location' is geared up for Thunderbolt 3, making it very hard to source a Thunderbolt 1 hard drive dock for example, such as the OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock (Thunderbolt 2 | USB 3.1 Gen 1 | FireWire 800 | HDMI Gigabit Ethernet | Audio In & Out) - I can grab one in my location for the incredibly high price of US$ 500 approx - or the OWC Drive Dock Dual Drive Bay Solution (Mac / PC / Thunderbolt 2 / USB 3.1 Gen 1) that isn't excessively priced.

    Are there any other alternatives, that will allow me to use the Thunderbolt 1 port, an adapter say, that will allow me to then connect to the likes of a USB Voyager 3 HDD dock, or add other peripherals I need to be able to use (USB based) such as an external sound card or a USB Hub etc which won't cost me more than I've paid for the MBP itself, that is reliable.

    I do not intend to use anything external to boot from. If I am not going to be able to use the OSX because of the Win Apps I need, Windows will reside on the MBP hard drive, while working files, music, movies etc will reside externally.

    The above are my primary, initial issues which I am asking for help to clarify, on the basis that I have absolutely zero experience with anything Apple and my research to now tells me that I have to follow the above plan, and if there are no simple or reasonably priced solutions, then I'll accept I bought a dead duck :)

    Thank you.

    PS - I aslo need to be able to hook up to large TV screens / projectors for presentations (hopefully mostly via HDMI) - meaning another port requirement that the Thunderbolt would take care of.

    Also a Wacom Intuos.
     
  2. Roxy.music macrumors member

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    #2
    That.s the same for me, that most thunderbolt docks are thunderbolt 3 that i see on ebay :(i have seen quite a few
    QWC T2. docks in the USA no good for me :(as it is not worth buying because of the import duty
    I have a Mac Mini 2012 thunderbolt1.OWC T2 is what i want or the Srar Tech T2.wich are few and far between,:(that i see on ebay.
     
  3. hobowankenobi, Aug 3, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2019

    hobowankenobi macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    Generally speaking:

    VMs are more flexible, but more resource intensive, as you are running both OSes at once. With enough RAM and drive space, VM's are fabulous, unless one is doing something CPU/GPU intensive.

    VMWare Fusion, Parallels and Virtual Box are good and worth using. Virtual Box is free, but typically less feature-rich, and not quite as optimized performance-wise.

    If you want the fastest, leanest Win OS, Boot Camp is optimized. Which OS is supported to install is dictated by which Mac OS you have installed. I would go as new as the machine can run, probably 10.13. I would say the same for Win OS: newer is better (optimized, and supported for years to come), so I would go 10.

    Obviously you have to reboot to change OSes, which is the only real downside to Boot Camp.

    Either way, before proceeding, I would suggest upgrading both RAM and be sure you have an SSD, not an HD. Especially using multiple OSes (VM or BootCamp), SSD will really make the machine usable and enjoyable. I would suggest a minimum of 6GB of RAM....8GB would be better.

    You can find a downloaded/saved MacOS installer, but it's not that big a deal to simply make an Apple ID and download. You will need it for any other Mac Store download, plus could be useful for the free iCloud features, etc.

    If there is nothing on the machine you need to save, you can try booting to recovery mode and see what OS Apple will push down to it...and wipe the drive and start fresh.
     
  4. Roxy.music macrumors member

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    #4
    I use V M s but i don,t seem to get anywhere with the Windows ones apart from 8 amd 10?it says pick one of three options i click and enter but nothing happens?No problems with Linux which is what i am trying to put on a external drive they ask you to format it .why can,t they do it?Ir is so with Windows 8 and 10 on a bootable flash drive.I have Windows 10 on a T5 with bootcamp after watching 9 to 5 Mac with the Excellent Jeff that was done with Vm Fusion it,s a shame you can only do that with Windows:(Why don,t they have a simuler thing for Linux?
    And another thing why can,t Linux be on the start up disc like Windows with bootcamp:(
     
  5. puw thread starter macrumors newbie

    puw

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    #5
    This MBP has just the original 4GB's of RAM, which should be sufficient to run (I hope) a Win OS in BootCamp, Office Apps, Adobe PDF, Firefox, JetAudio multi-media player "in normal usage", and then say VirtualDJ for certain social events.

    But I understand what you're saying, should I decide to start doing PS or AI type stuff.

    TBH, adding expense to this MBP in the form of special Thunderbolt Hubs, SSD's and new RAM etc, makes what was a viable opportunity into one that simply isn't.

    Thanks for the advice about the differences with VM & BootCamp, which Win OS you'd go for etc. I appreciate you taking the time to reply :)
    --- Post Merged, Aug 4, 2019 ---
    It Seems Roxy, life isn't going to be easy for us :(

    I can't help with anything Linux - sorry

    I'll take a look at the video link. Thx
     
  6. Roxy.music macrumors member

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    #6
    --- Post Merged, Aug 4, 2019 ---
    I had to try it a few times before it worked, I think that's to do with Windows takin so long to set up it,s like watching paint dry:(Jeff s video s are very educational, I only wish he would do one for Linux.
     
  7. hobowankenobi macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    Good luck with the project. 4GB will work, both for Mac and Win in BootCamp....depending on how much you push the OSes. Quit unused apps, keep everything lean, and you will be OK.

    I would spend the $60 to breath life into the MBP. It could be a good machine for a couple years, with an SSD. Besides, if the HD is original, it is overdue to be replaced. Apple never used the fastest HDs either. Between performance and age, if the machine is not worth about $60...don't expect to be very happy using it, nor should you trust it for anything important.

    Some adapters, like for video out are inexpensive.
     
  8. puw thread starter macrumors newbie

    puw

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    #8
    I think the MBP will last a good few years using it as I intend.

    But to do that I need something like the OWC Thunderbolt 2 dock (no longer made), which I believe I can get a new one locally (old stock I guess) but it's 300 bucks or more (2ndhand available for 200 bucks without any confidence they'll last etc), hence my hesitation in adding extra upgrade costs. I might be better off selling this on, and putting the OCW money into a 2016 MBP (for example) giving me Thunderbolt 3 (type C) connections as well as USB 3

    But I agree totally that the orig HDD at 5,400 spin rate will be slow, and best used for docs and files. So if I can get the OWC, then following Roxy's video would then need an external SSD and run Windows via that.

    Visually though, I'm seeing a portable laptop fast becoming a desktop lump with all these extras connected lol.
     
  9. puw thread starter macrumors newbie

    puw

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    #9
    He really makes it look easy Roxy
     
  10. hobowankenobi macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    If you just need to get to USB 3 from TB 1, something like this will get you there. Might make sense to plan for and invest in TB3 peripherals as they should be in widespread use for years to come on most platforms, and adapt the newer gear to the older Mac with one of these.
     
  11. puw thread starter macrumors newbie

    puw

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    #11
    Both those items change everything, as they make the Thunderbolt I have usable, for so much less expense. I'm going to check if they are available where I am and if anyone has had any issues using them (I'm sure ref "Kanex Thunderbolt to eSATA and USB 3.0 Adapter" I saw more than one person on this forum saying they were unreliable, the name Kanex sticks in my memory but maybe ref another product they do).

    Thanks for putting me onto them. I can see plugging in the "Apple Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter" the opposite way it's sold for (that says it can be as it's bi-directional) means I just need a USB 3 hub. So simple.

    Yes, definitely looking at everything going TB3 since many other Window's laptops are now including TB3 as a standard port, removing USB Type A's etc.

    Thanks again hobo :)

     
  12. hobowankenobi, Aug 5, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2019

    hobowankenobi macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    Yes...the bidirectional feature is really great.

    Can't speak to Kanex....they have been around a long time, but never used this product.

    TB3 and USB C will (hopefully) get traction. I see most gear is not TB...just USB C. And that's fine. A great value, and great speed. But confusing, because it the same exact plug.

    Technically it is USB 3.2 protocol, and USB C plug.

    The fact that Apple and some other brands are making a single port that does both or either USB and TB....makes it very confusing.

    Pay attention to cables: USB C are fairly cheap, while TB3 are very pricey...for good ones that do video, network and will charge a laptop.

    But they look exactly the same! So we should expect to see user reviews with some angry folks ranting that their USB C cable does not work at all for TB 3 requirements. :rolleyes:
     
  13. puw thread starter macrumors newbie

    puw

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    #13
    Absolutely hobo ref the cable mixups.

    I'm just back from the Apple shop and about 100 bucks lighter, with a TB cable (TB V1 & 2 --- NOT 3) whose both ends are the DP style (tested in the shop they fit my TB port), not the USB C type, so as to come out of the MBP and the exit end to go into that converter you put me onto ("Apple Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter") that I also bought at the same time today. There are 2 caveats though: a) I'll only achieve the speed of TB1 (10Gb/s max) and b) anything connected to the TB3 end, must have its own powered source. So with a cable, an adapter, a powered hub and then all the peripherals, I think I'll end up with a small desktop LOL.

    Step one completed, I can get out of this 2011 MBP using Thunderbolt.

    Whilst at the shop they also brought out the CalDigit TS3 (Thunderbolt Station 3 Plus) Hub unit, which I'll look into in more detail, but it has almost everything I need (missing a HDMI port) as far as I can see. I'm not saying it's better than the OWC hub, but the OWC isn't made anymore so if it failed, no one to fix it whereas the CalDigit is being made and sold through Apple stores (https://www.caldigit.com/ts3-plus) - making it the way to go I think. But it's a real weighty piece of kit (best part of a laptop I'd say so portability = carry 2 laptops!!!), 1/2 a kilo according to the manual.

    Now that I end up with a TB3 (type C) type end though, this might open up the hub market for me too. But from what I have come across reading, each component must comply with say the hub and the TB protocols or nothing works. Getting the wrong external SSD for example to run windows off, means no windows. So there are still plenty of hurdles to get over.

    :)
     
  14. hobowankenobi, Aug 6, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2019

    hobowankenobi macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    Is there a reason you want Window external? Just for space?

    Another option would be to pull the optical drive and put a second drive internally. The optical drive is on a full speed SATA bus, so no performance hits.

    But really....the easiest, lightest, cleanest way would be to simply get at 1 TB SSD (sometimes as cheap as $100) and install MacOS and Win on it (via Boot Camp). No adapters, no performance issues, no cables, etc. Done.

    As for adapters....yes: tricky.

    What I expect to work:

    MBP TB1 port ---> TB1 cable ---> TB1 to TB3 adaper --->TB3 hub ---> USB3 + USBC + TB3 periperals

    I would expect Win to be bootable off a TB3 external connected via the bi-directional adapter....but have not done it. Can't say.

    The good news is everything else will be usable on later model hardware, no lost or abandoned gear costs except the TB1 cable and the TB1 to TB3 adapter.

    The bad news is that is still adds up to $ for all the pieces and parts, plus as you say, not very portable. Plus the risk of not working as intended, or being fiddly.

    All the CalDigit gear I have used has been great. Not cheap, but worth the price.
     
  15. puw thread starter macrumors newbie

    puw

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    #15
    I'm so glad you're here hobo, making me second check each step, giving alternate options to think about. The CalDigit is 300 bucks of kit, so I want it to be used, not just sitting there looking nice - joking. Actually, with the way all PC and laptop ports are going, it's never going to not be useful. I saw the video Roxy linked to above, and they did VMware Win10 on an external drive, so I thought that must be an efficient way - I'll keep digging :)

    Step one will be to simply copy the current Lion OS (nothing else on but the clean OS) onto a DVD, for backup. If the upgrade then to High Sierra works out without a hitch, then just throw the Lion disk away. So this is initially a use for the DVD Drive.

    Step two is going to be installing HS via a DVD (I prefer a physical copy not reliant on the internet for installing). The DVD's mean I don't have to yet go out and buy a specific drive or an SSD etc. I can just use the original 5,400 speed drive for the MacOS, as this is purely (in my mind) going to be used just to facilitate installing Windows and allowing the use through its drivers of Thunderbolt - basically bootup and sit in the background doing nothing!

    Once HS is up and running, then I can actually make the decisions such as on your option of replacing the DVD for an SSD, and then just having Win10 say on the SSD. I don't think I need to go too crazy on an SSD as I'd rather have something in the bank perhaps to add RAM. I've read enough user remarks ref external stuff like drives and how they discovered after buying, the TB with the hub etc didn't recognise the drive. It seems a lot of care needs to be applied when getting peripherals such as an external SSD that it's protocols etc match that of TB, especially if it's going to drive your main OS (Win10). That makes your option make a lot more sense, as there's more SSD options open to me if it's internal and not external via TB & zero worries/concerns.

    Then any external drive formatted to ex-FAT for files etc should present no issues through a TB dock & work through my Win desktops too. I've always used NTFS, so all my other data file drives are in that format.

    So step 3 after the success of steps 1 & 2 will be choosing the Win10 drive and installing Win10 (probably your suggested way). This all adds time for me to raise more cash for RAM, Hub etc. Step by Step. Any time it looks like it isn't going to work, I sell the MBP with the few items I've bought up to that point. If all goes well, I'll have a good sytem, a solid laptop and 4 or 5 years use out of it to come.

    Thanks again :)
     
  16. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

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    #16
    Those docks are for the current Mac Laptops with older hard drives or audio equipment and new Mac only halve TB3 ports! Those Hubs fill those needs!
     
  17. hobowankenobi macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    A couple quick tips:

    1. I understand wanting to install from a disk, but there is no need. Apple moved away from them about a decade ago.

    If the current OS is running well, the easiest thing would be to clone to external USB HD. MacOS is easy to clone to nearly any drive, the only thing really required is the right tool (there are handful of great free ones), and formatting a volume to HFS+.

    Much easier than making a bootable CD installer, as long as you have a surplus USB external.

    2. Yes, you can easily install Win via BootCamp now....although if memory serves, Win10 is not supported. I think you would need MacOS 10.13 running first, to install Win10. You could clone your current OS to an external USB, and then upgrade to 10.13. Once 10.13 is installed, run BootCamp assistant, and install Win 10. You can do all this with no other hardware....other than the USB external for the MacOS clone.

    3. If you are happy with everything, except the HD performance/reliability, you can clone the new MacOS10.13 to an external, and swap the HD for and SSD and clone back. The bootcamp partition is a bit harder, requiring a special software tool, or reinstalling.
     
  18. puw, Aug 7, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2019

    puw thread starter macrumors newbie

    puw

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    #18
    Hi, thanks for adding your input. My MBP works from Thunderbolt 1 which is compatible with Thunderbolt 2. New Macs as you say are all Thunderbolt 3. So just as hobo has stated:

    The hub's connections are for the TB3 type C connectors yes. And TB3 is superfast whereas TB1 is basically 25% of the TB3 data speed.

    But none of that matters in this case satcomer. The purpose of all this is to be able to use the old TB1 port and to do that in order to use old peripherals etc, I have to get from my TB1 (TB2 compatible) port and turn it via cables and adapters into a TB3 connection.

    Perhaps the above wasn't quite clear to you initially.

    Thanks again :)
    --- Post Merged, Aug 7, 2019 ---
    Hi hobo,

    I'm getting the various dmg's, knowing that for the TB setup to work I must upgrade at least to Sierra of which my MBP can take High Sierra, and also for Bootcamp and/or VMWare types, and also for Win10, this upgrade is required.

    So you might guess I don't have a free USB ext. drive or thunb/pen drive right now. Dealing with each step with what I have :)

    You mention formatting to HFS+ - is this a must? Is this only for an OSX partition? What's wrong with exFAT? Any external drive (with the view to only using them to hold or transfer files between the MBP and other Win based desktops/laptops etc) needs to be able to be read by Windows and the only one I know that is compatible with Mac OSX & Windows is exFAT, plus it allows the larger file sizes that simple FAT doesn't.
     
  19. hobowankenobi macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    Only needed for the bootable OS volumes. Like if you want to clone to a USB, and then boot to that USB; that volume, just like the internal drive, must be HFS+.

    Mac: only boot to HFS+
    Win: only boot to NTFS

    Shared volumes for files & data....exFAT (or FAT) is the only cross-platform option that both can read and write to without any other third party software.

    Apple has moved to a new file system: APFS. But that only hits at 10.14 and later, and is not required until 10.15....so no need to worry about it with a Mac of this vintage.
     
  20. puw thread starter macrumors newbie

    puw

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    #20
    Ok, the above is very good to know.

    Just so that I'm 100% clear in my (old geezer) perception:

    If you bought an Air or MBP or iMac etc pre 10.14, the entire internal drive would be one partition and formatted to HFS+, yes?

    BTW, I've been reading up ref the ESD.dmg's - plenty to learn about :)
     
  21. hobowankenobi macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    Yes. HFS+ from about 10.13 all the way back to Mac OS 8...in the late '90s. A single partition by default. Technically there have always been a couple very small, invisible partitions, but not for use or modifcation by users.

    The boot camp tool does a couple things, but probably the most important thing is that it non-destuctiviely resizes the first (MacOS boot) partition, and creates and formats a second partition NTFS to facilitate Win OS install. After that, Win install is essentially the standard process as on any PC.
     
  22. puw thread starter macrumors newbie

    puw

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    #22
    Thanks for confirming :)
     
  23. Roxy.music macrumors member

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    #23
    --- Post Merged, Aug 8, 2019 ---
    He sure does I had to watch it a few times before I got it :)Some people can just watch it once and get it, I am not one of those sad to say.
     

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22 August 2, 2019