Need some guidance! BootCamp on an MBA.

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by roland.g, Jul 22, 2011.

  1. roland.g macrumors 603


    Apr 11, 2005
    One mile up and soaring
    My wife uses a 15" Dell for work and brings it home almost every night. The beast is probably 9 pounds or so. At work she docks it and is plugged in, has her keyboard, external monitor, and mouse.

    I wanted to know the feasibility of using a 13" MacBook Air as a replacement. It would run BootCamp for Windows 7, no Parallels/Fusion. Just boot into Windows. She could get a USB Ethernet adapter for work and use the wireless at home. She could get a USB hub for work for using an external keyboard, mouse, and use the Mini Displayport to VGA for connecting to her monitor, as well as get a dedicated magsafe for using at work.

    At home she could connect to the 27" iMac we will be getting soon via Thunderbolt and use the iMac as her second display.

    How well should this work and what sort of problems might she run into?
    I assume that most everything on the MacBook Air would be supported in Windows.

    1. Would she be able to use the iMac optical to install Windows or software once booted into Windows, or would remote optical not be supported and need a USB Superdrive?

    2. Would she have any issues in Windows with the USB Ethernet adapter? Connecting to her work network.

    3. Would the MacBook Air support running the iMac as a secondary display through Thunderbolt when booted into Windows or is that a Mac only availability?

    Are there any other issues or concerns for running Windows on a MacBook Air in Bootcamp that I should be concerned with?

    Thanks for any replies and feedback.
  2. ZBoater macrumors G3


    Jul 2, 2007
    Sunny Florida
    I just installed Windows 7 on my MBA using bootcamp. I bought a SuperDrive just for the task and ended up not needing it. :eek: I had a ISO image of Windows 7, and Boot Camp used that to create a USB boot drive with all the installation files. I booted off the USB drive and Windows 7 installed without a hitch.

    As part of the USB boot disc creation process, Boot Camp downloads and creates a Windows 7 support directory. After you boot into Windows 7 you will notice a ton of things not recognized (audio, ethernet, etc.). Go into the Windows support folder, run the Setup program, and voila! Everything just works. All the drivers for all the MBA stuff (including the Trackpad!) are automatically installed.

    I spend a few hours installing MS Office, Project, Visio, TONS of updates, IE9, etc., but now the Windows 7 partition is running great. I cannot comment on the USB Ethernet dongle, but if the other MBA stuff I've installed is any indication, it should be cake to install and use.

    Im not sure about using the iMac as a secondary display in Windows. Haven't tried anything like that yet. The Intel video drivers seem to be pretty comprehensive.

    The biggest decision is how much disc space you want to allocate to the Windows 7 partition. I got the 256GB drive, so I split it down the middle, 50/50. I may change my mind, and found a tool from Paragon Software that will let me resize the partitions without having to delete and reinstall.

    If you want to make a backup copy of your Windows 7 partition, WinClone doesn't run on Lion. I used CloneZilla and it made an image, but I have no idea whether it will work when I need to restore it. I am still researching other alternatives for backing up the Boot Camp partition.

    Hope this helps.
  3. roland.g thread starter macrumors 603


    Apr 11, 2005
    One mile up and soaring
    Thanks for the reply. Can you set it to always boot into Windows, or do you have to choose the Windows boot each time?
  4. class77 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 16, 2010
  5. turbotoes macrumors regular

    Nov 24, 2010
    Judging by his/her sig', Lion
  6. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    Yes. You can change this setting from System Preferences in the Mac, or from Control Panel in Windows. Boot Camp also puts a little diamond on the Windows 7 task bar that has a shortcut to this.

    Everything you describe should work. I've personally used the Ethernet port and external displays in Windows on a MacBook Air. For further Boot Camp questions, I suggest posting to the Windows on Mac forum since you'll get a better response there.
  7. Bob Coxner macrumors 6502a

    Mar 24, 2011
    I just use the provided Backup/Restore function (on an external drive) with Win 7, including an image. It worked great when I had a HD failure recently. I plugged in a new HD, booted with a Win 7 disc and ran Restore. Everything was back to normal very quickly.

    This is all with a Win 7 PC. I'm looking at buying an Air (I'm new to Mac) so I'm wondering how backup/restore will work with Time Machine and Win 7 Backup. I plan to do bootcamp rather than Parallels.

    Will Time Machine backup an image of the entire disc, including the Win 7 partition, so it can be copied back to a new HD? Or, would you have to restore the Mac partition first and then run the Win 7 Restore on the Win 7 partition?

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