new MBP + vista owner...not by choice

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by sabre364, Jun 23, 2008.

  1. sabre364 macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2008
    Hello everyone, this seems to be a great forum and hopefully I will get a lot of answers and become a regular member of this community and be able to help others as well.

    I recently found out that I will be purchasing a MBP in August for dental school. The school requires all incoming freshman to purchase a laptop of their choosing as part of the fees. In the past, one had a choice between a Mac of some sort and an IBM/Lenovo pc. This year, we are all getting an MBP with the single choice being what operating system we want (OSX Leopard or Vista Ultimate). The specs are below. I don't want to get into any sort of discussion or argument about the sense (or lack of) in requiring students to have xxx brand or whatever. I am a windows user and will continue to be so, again I don't want to start a flame war on choice of brand, os, etc, etc.

    Specs (this is what the school gave, it seems to be missing some important features that are standard on the MBP - like the mobile 8600GT graphics card which I am happy to have :) ):
    MacBook Pro notebook | 15-inch Widescreen Display
    Applecare Protection Plan | 4 Years coverage
    2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor
    2GB 667 DDR2 SDRAM - 2x1GB
    Accessory Kit
    Backlit Keyboard/Mac OS - U.S. English
    SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)

    So I have a few questions that I seem to have trouble answering just by skimming some forums and a few google searches.

    1. I will be selecting the Vista option when ordering. Does this mean it will be through bootcamp? I understand bootcamp will let me natively boot into vista, but does that mean osx will still be on my hard drive? The partition for vista will be formatted NTFS but will the whole drive (beside the osx partition if there is one) be that way - I would like it to be if possible.

    I may be wrong, but why do I have to use boot camp? Since the hardware is just that, why can't vista be installed on a freshly NTFS formatted hard drive like any other PC I have used in the past. It seems to me the only thing I need from mac is the drivers for its proprietary keyboard, wireless, etc and the bios for the motherboard.

    2. There are a few basic features that I will miss. Right click, I understand tapping the touchpad with both fingers does the same thing. Forward delete, I understand it can be mapped to a different key or fn + del will work. For control alt delete, I guess I will be just pressing ctrl + alt (option) + fn + delete. Will my normal shortcuts like alt (option) + tab or ctrl + tab for tabs in firefox still work without any modificaitons?

    3. My main concern is regarding drivers. On any other laptop, I could reformat my drive and reinstall windows easily. I then would simply have to install the various drivers and I'd have a perfectly functional lappy. With a dell, hp, etc they have all their drivers online. It might take a trial or two to figure out which of the 3 wireless drivers you need, but it is pretty straightforward. If you built your own computer (desktop), you know EXACTLY your components and can get drivers accordingly.

    With the MBP I am not sure how it will work since most of the components are unknown as to what they might be or are apple specific. I have been reading that one of the first things you do with boot camp is to make the 'windows xp driver for mac.exe' cd. Do you guys think that will come pre made for my laptop since it will be arriving with vista as the default boot os? Is there a separate disk for the drivers i need or is it bundled with the leopard disk? Will there be a way to get the exact drivers I need for vista and put them on a disk for any future reinstalls or do you just use those win xp drivers mentioned earlier? I know bootcamp and vista have been out for >1 year so I hope all this is sorted out. These mac drivers for windows seem to be extremely hard to find, even on mac's website.

    What about mac features like bluetooth and the camera. Is there any way to get drivers for vista with these? Any way to even have them work? My searches didn't pull up anything encouraging...the basic chipset and wireless drivers seemed to be easier to find, yet hard to download unless you went and got a similar product off of lenovo's website, etc.

    4. Last question. I guess it goes along with #1. I assume there is still a basic bios that should be very similar to an ibm or dell with a similar chipset and mobo. There is nothing fundamentally different no? I guess this returns to #1 in that if this is the case, why cant you run bios, change the boot order to cd drive, run a windows install cd and never worry about osx operating sys ever.

    Thanks in advance.

    edit: I'd like to add that perhaps my title is a bit harsh. No, a mac would not have been my first choice but besides learning a new way of doing some things I don't really have a problem with it. In fact, if the keyboard had a forward delete key and no ctrl (instead of apple) commands I wouldn't be complaining about anything except for the obnoxious mac logo which I can easily cover up with a nice little jeep sticker or something.
  2. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Aug 13, 2006
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    What do you mean "selecting Vista when ordering"? I assume it's not the Apple Store, then. Some places install it for a fee; others just give you the discs.

    Your Leopard disc is now the driver disc. Once you've installed Windows, pop your MacBook Pro's restore disc in and it will install all of the drivers that you need.

    There's no BIOS in a Mac. It's called EFI and it works better, trust us.
  3. sabre364 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2008
    It is through the school itself. I assume the university's IT folks will set it up.

    With no BIOS, I assume that the way vista will be installed is with boot camp. So does that mean a small partition will be made for osx in HSF format with the rest being NTFS with the Vista OS?

    I will look into EFI.

    On a side note, is it possible to strip those drivers from the leopard disc to have a standalone backup?
  4. jerryrock macrumors 6502


    Sep 11, 2007
    Amsterdam, NY
  5. mojohanna macrumors 6502a


    Jul 7, 2004
    Don't make things more complicated than they need to be. Probably the first thing you are going to need to do is separate yourself from the traditional windows train of thought. The way Apple does things is not "better" as many may tell you or suggest to you, however it is a different way to do it. In my experience, it tends to be a more efficient way or a more logical way.
    If you are worried about right clicking don't. You can do an control click while on the road or purchase a two button mouse for use at home.

    You will have to use boot camp on the MBP in order to load vista. Additionally, you will have a partition on the drive with OSX. Consider this a plus. You have the familiarity of the windows world, but you can explore and learn on your own with the OSX partition. As most on this forum will tell you, once you get a taste of OSX and how it functions, you will have a difficult time going back.

    Good luck with Dental school. My father just retired from a long career as a dentist.
  6. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    No, as far as I understood when I bought my first mac.
    Apple Care only goes for 3 years...just an FYI. Unless there was somehow something fancy worked out with Apple.
    What this guy said, except if you are adamant about not using OSX I doubt you'll venture into it and with Dental School, I doubt there will be time.

    I think you'll be fine and sorry you have to bother with a MBP at all if it is truly not something all students would naturally gravitate towards.
  7. sabre364 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2008
    Thanks for the help. Like jessica also posted, honestly I will not have that much time to screw around with osx or even learning all of the new features of vista (I'm on xp right now) once I'm started. I will be getting the computer in orientation, approximately 1 week before classes start.

    Am I thinking of boot camp differently than it should be? To me, it seems as if it is a program that lets you boot M$ programs (and linux I'd assume). Once you have it, it is good forever, right? Its not a pay per year item.

    The official ordering information doesn't have anything about purchasing boot camp, only parallels. Since they are offering us either vista or osx for the same price, I'd assume its included since you guys mentioned there is no other way to do it. Actually, now I'm wondering why anyone would take the osx only option, since it must be relatively simple to switch back and now you have a full copy of vista ultimate!

    And our price includes a full 4 year coverage along with 10 loaner computers for our ~85 person class.
  8. CWallace macrumors 603


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    Almost assuredly. What they will likely do is leave a small partition formatted as HPFS+ and containing OS X so you can update the firmware of the computer (it cannot be updated in Windows). The rest of the drive will likely be a single NTFS partition with Vista.

    In a nutshell, Apple did not follow the industry guidelines for EFI so I have read that Vista cannot natively boot in a Mac even though it supports EFI, as well. It requires BootCamp to "bootstrap" the OS so it can load. By default, the Mac will boot to the last OS loaded, so once you boot into Vista, it will always boot into Vista until you tell it to boot OS X.

    Yes. The Control and Alt keys works the same and the Option key becomes the Windows key.

    The OS X disc has Windows drivers for all the hardware. Once they have been installed, Windows Update can update some of them and Apple releases new versions of the Boot Camp Assistant which has updated Windows drivers for the rest.

    Those drivers are included with the OS X disc.

    The Macintosh uses EFI, which is the replacement for the BIOS. It is also locked-down so you cannot hit a function key to enter it like you can on a PC.
  9. sabre364 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2008
    How often does the firmware need to be updated? Is that like a BIOS update, very rare, only if a new feature needs to be enabled or a major change? How do you know it needs to be updated if you arent often using osx?

    Are updates to boot camp and boot camp assistant free provided you have already purchased a genuine copy?

    If I needed to reformat and reinstall my windows os as I like to do every year or two, how simple would that be?

    Would I reformat that partition through windows cmd line? And then simply go back into the already loaded osx partition power up bootcamp and reinstall windows? In this sense having a second os loaded would make this easier than scrolling around the bios with a keyboard. :D
  10. CWallace macrumors 603


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    It is relatively rare. And just keep an eye on this website since when it is released, it will be reported. :)

    Bootcamp is included with OS X, so since you get a legal copy of the OS when you buy a Mac, all the updates are indeed free downloads from Apple's website.

    Pretty straight forward. You can either put in your Windows CD and hold down the "C" key during the power-on / reboot cycle to boot from it or you can launch OS X, start Boot Camp Assistant, and launch the Windows installer (which will reboot the MBP and it will boot from the CD).

    Once in the Windows Installer, just reformat your Boot Camp partition and re-install.

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