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mynameis321

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 15, 2013
47
0
So having never owned a Mac device and being a complete Windows and custom PC freak, I may take the plunge and pick up a MBA. However there are several questions that need to be resolved;

1. Can I install Windows on it? Is it easy to do, or is it a hassle? Will I be able to use Windows fully functioning, because I'm a uni student and some of the programmes we are told to use don't work on Mac. I want to be able to install out of a USB drive, not looking to spend more money getting an optical drive

2. Longevity; Will it last? Something I've noticed amongst Apple users is that once their product become the "last generation" they straight away upgrade to the newest gen- I cannot afford to do that. This will be a massive investment for me, and I need this to last a good 5-6 years without dying on me.

3. Build quality. One of the main reasons why I'm getting this over other Windows specific machines- it is the only machine which ticks most of my boxes in terms of build. However, is the build quality sturdy? I don't wish to be forking out big bucks a year out of warranty because the hinge has decided to give way, or the trackpad stops responding etc.

EDIT; Bought it, read the latest posts on page 2- Didn't want to create new thread
 
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cedwhatev

macrumors 6502
Oct 22, 2011
315
37
Canada
1. I've never done it, but I heard it works fine.. (but I'm not 100% sure lol)

2. Yes, it will last... Macs are known to. I was in the habit of upgrading every years (on my 4th MBA now), but with the new 2013's boasting the new All-Day battery life, I went out and bought a brand new 11" 8GB/256, which I also lucked out gettting the LG display and Samsung SSD, so I'm keeping this one for quite a while. I even bought AppleCare for it. But if you do intend on keeping it for a long time, be sure to get 8GB of RAM, and depending on your usage, maybe go for the 256/512 SSD.

3. Build quality is second to none, hence why they have been using the same design for three years now. Be aware though, it's still aluminum, so it can damage.. so take good care of it. Get a good, quality sleeve for it. Want to avoid any issues, get AppleCare.
 

dizmonk

macrumors 6502
Nov 26, 2010
473
162
I switched from Windows 3 years ago and won't ever go back. Since then I've purchased 2 ipads, 2 iphones, Macbook pro (2010 which I just sold), Imac and now MBA.

Fully satisfied.
 

mynameis321

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 15, 2013
47
0
I switched from Windows 3 years ago and won't ever go back. Since then I've purchased 2 ipads, 2 iphones, Macbook pro (2010 which I just sold), Imac and now MBA.

Fully satisfied.

That's all good however as I've said there are software packages that will not work on Mac that I need. I also won't have much time to get to play about with and learn the OS, as deadlines are coming up and I need familiarity to be dive straight into work.

Thats why windows working without a hitch is essential
 

Dirt Bringer

macrumors member
Sep 16, 2013
30
0
So having never owned a Mac device and being a complete Windows and custom PC freak, I may take the plunge and pick up a MBA. However there are several questions that need to be resolved;

1. Can I install Windows on it? Is it easy to do, or is it a hassle? Will I be able to use Windows fully functioning, because I'm a uni student and some of the programmes we are told to use don't work on Mac. I want to be able to install out of a USB drive, not looking to spend more money getting an optical drive

2. Longevity; Will it last? Something I've noticed amongst Apple users is that once their product become the "last generation" they straight away upgrade to the newest gen- I cannot afford to do that. This will be a massive investment for me, and I need this to last a good 5-6 years without dying on me.

3. Build quality. One of the main reasons why I'm getting this over other Windows specific machines- it is the only machine which ticks most of my boxes in terms of build. However, is the build quality sturdy? I don't wish to be forking out big bucks a year out of warranty because the hinge has decided to give way, or the trackpad stops responding etc.

I'm in the exact same boat as you. I'll see if I can give you some very blunt advice. For reference I've used every version of OS X since Leopard, Windows since 95, and Ubuntu/Linux since version 9.04. You are going to get a lot of people telling you OS X is better. It's not, and it's becoming a retarded argument. Use the tool for the job, that suits your uses best. I used to be a big Linux guy, because most of the work I did worked best in Linux and I liked the Ubuntu UI. I use Windows more now because most of my software works on it, at work I run Windows on an iMac and it works very very well. The advantage to the current Macbook Air is that the reports we have so far point to it running VERY well with Windows, in some cases better than OS X. That may change with Mavericks, but it won't be a huge difference either way. If you need Windows and like OS X, partition the drive and use both. If you really hate OS X you can eliminate it and use only Windows (though I can't see why you would). OS X is a good operating system, especially for mobile computers. Personally I find that Windows is more efficient from a power users perspective, but I'm also very used to Windows so I know how to use it well. Other people may not think so. In terms of build quality, I've got a Macbook from 2006 that I inherited and it is still in good condition, so yeah, they have friggin amazing build quality. Will it last? Well, if you use it for web surfing, email, basic computer tasks, sure it will. If you do real heavy work on your laptop, such as rendering, photoshop, flash, etc., then it probably won't last 5-6 years. That being said, it IS an ultrabook, and none of the direct Windows competitors will last any longer either. I give ultrabooks (good ones) a life span of 3-4 years generally, before they are outstripped by software, but that depends entirely on use and can be somewhat subjective. The display on the air is kinda meh compared to the Windows competitors coming out with 1080p touch ips displays. Consider if that matters to you or not. The graphics chip is better than almost any Windows ultrabook competitor, another thing to consider. You take the good with the bad I guess, and in the case of this machine, it's pretty damn good.

Sorry for the winded response, felt that the research and work I've done on these things might be valuable to you. Just know that going to Mac doesn't mean going to OS X exclusively. OS X is a good thing, so is Windows. Put them both together and you have a formidable combination.
 

jdechko

macrumors 601
Jul 1, 2004
4,219
316
So having never owned a Mac device and being a complete Windows and custom PC freak, I may take the plunge and pick up a MBA. However there are several questions that need to be resolved;

1. Can I install Windows on it? Is it easy to do, or is it a hassle? Will I be able to use Windows fully functioning, because I'm a uni student and some of the programmes we are told to use don't work on Mac. I want to be able to install out of a USB drive, not looking to spend more money getting an optical drive

Installing windows is very easy. You have tons of options for installing, and using a USB stick is one of them. If you don't explicitly require a native install (like law school test software), think about virtualizing with Parallels, VMWare, or VirtualBox.

2. Longevity; Will it last? Something I've noticed amongst Apple users is that once their product become the "last generation" they straight away upgrade to the newest gen- I cannot afford to do that. This will be a massive investment for me, and I need this to last a good 5-6 years without dying on me.

It will last. It may not run the absolute latest software in 4-5 years, but it will run current software just fine. If you upgrade the RAM to 8GB, it might prove to be worthwhile as the machine ages.

3. Build quality. One of the main reasons why I'm getting this over other Windows specific machines- it is the only machine which ticks most of my boxes in terms of build. However, is the build quality sturdy? I don't wish to be forking out big bucks a year out of warranty because the hinge has decided to give way, or the trackpad stops responding etc.

The unibody design is very sturdy. Even on a machine as thin as the Air, there is no flex in the body or the lid. There's always a possibility of defects, but that's true in everything. Apple is usually pretty good about handling major design flaws (like with the 2012 Air SSD failures), and they consistently rank extremely high in customer satisfaction surveys.
 

Mrbobb

macrumors 601
Aug 27, 2012
4,992
196
I also won't have much time to get to play about with and learn the OS, as deadlines are coming up and I need familiarity to be dive straight into work.

Loading Windows on a Mac is not rocket science but at the same time, it's not turn-key either.

I would do it in between school terms.
 

bobright

macrumors 601
Jun 29, 2010
4,792
28
That's all good however as I've said there are software packages that will not work on Mac that I need. I also won't have much time to get to play about with and learn the OS, as deadlines are coming up and I need familiarity to be dive straight into work.

Thats why windows working without a hitch is essential
You can find alternatives for just about everything, no use in running a bunch of stuff in windows on the Mac. If windows is working for you why switch?
 

JasonStonier

macrumors newbie
Jun 27, 2013
17
0
I run WindowsXP in VirtualBox on a 2008 original MBA with 2gig of memory (1gig allocated to the virtual machine), and it runs perfectly. I allocated it full screen to one of my Desktop Spaces so I can switch in and out of the XP machine back to OSX when I need to.

In the virtual machine I run CorelDraw x6 and Office 2003, both of which seem to me to run indistinguishably from how they do on my Core2 Duo Windows 7 laptop, as long as I am not multitasking too much with a bunch of Chrome tabs open.

I was initially going to bootcamp WinXP but decided to try virtualisation because it's less of an irritation to just switch to a different Space to run the Windows software, rather than having to reboot.

I really can't fault it. Best of all worlds.
 

mynameis321

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 15, 2013
47
0
So for those that are saying Windows is easy to install, how about those reports online of people getting blank screen errors, or "Please insert disc" errors?

Programmes like bootcamp and so on, do they have to be bought or are they already supplied?
 

wolfpuppies3

macrumors 6502
Jun 26, 2012
413
0
Virginia, USA
1. Do not use BootCamp, use Parallells - flawless, quite easy to use all Windows software simultaneously with OSX software. Never a problem. You may find, as have I, that overtime you will use Windows software less and less. I have not used a Windows program in many months now.

2-3. I believe you will find Apple machines extremely ruggedly built and may expect them to far far outlast any windows machines currently available. My experience has been with HP, Toshiba, Dell, and the dreadful Gateway. All died quite rapidly.
 

jdechko

macrumors 601
Jul 1, 2004
4,219
316
So for those that are saying Windows is easy to install, how about those reports online of people getting blank screen errors, or "Please insert disc" errors?

Programmes like bootcamp and so on, do they have to be bought or are they already supplied?

I can't answer your question about install errors, but Bootcamp is free. It's part of OS X. It's also a native solution, installed on "bare metal". You get 100% hardware access, and it's indistinguishable from a PC.

Parallels and VMWare are both commercial software, and they run between $50 and $100 depending on which version you get. Parallels can often be found for much cheaper as part of a bundle.

VirtualBox is freeware. If you don't need some of the fancy features (3D acceleration, OS X access to Windows Programs, Side-by-side Mac/PC windows), then check out VirtualBox I use VirtualBox run an XP VM on my 11/i5/4/128 2013 Air. I gave it a 10GB expanding vhd and 1GB of RAM. Runs just fine.


1. Do not use BootCamp, use Parallells - flawless, quite easy to use all Windows software simultaneously with OSX software. Never a problem. You may find, as have I, that overtime you will use Windows software less and less. I have not used a Windows program in many months now.

The decision isn't always as clear cut. I think it has to do a lot with what types of software the OP will be running. I'm not saying you're wrong, but if the OP can list some specific software, it would help us all make a more informed decision.

--------------------------

Also, something important to remember is that the 2013 Airs only support Win7 & Win8 in 64-bit editions. If you need 32-bit Windows or you need a different version, you will have to virtualize.

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5634
http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5639
 

mynameis321

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 15, 2013
47
0
Appreciate your guys' help and honesty

Now I'm looking around for a guide on how to install Windows 8 FROM a USB drive (made on Windows) onto a 2013 MBA without the need for an optical drive.

So far, I haven't found any which takes all of these factors into account, i.e. I've found some which install using an optical drive, or use a USB drive but don't tell you how to make it on a Windows Machine etc.

Any help on this?
 

jdechko

macrumors 601
Jul 1, 2004
4,219
316
I don't think there's a need for an external tool. The bootcamp assistant should offer to create the USB for you. You just need to provide a USB stick and a valid ISO.

EDIT: Sorry, just re-read what you said.
 

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Night Spring

macrumors G5
Jul 17, 2008
13,529
6,544
I have installed Windows on an MBA using Bootcamp, and it works just fine. I don't remember all the details about how I did it, since it's been a while, but I did do it from the USB drive. I think the trickiest part was creating a Windows USB install drive, but at the time, I found an online guide that walked me through every step. I think I googled something like "bootcamp Windows."

But the Air is simply the best Windows laptop I've ever had. :D Once I had Windows installed, I set it to boot Windows by default, and while I do boot into OS X once in a while to play around, if I wanted to completely forget about OS X, I could. It's been so smooth sailing that when my mom was in the market for a new computer, I talked her into getting an Air, and she loves it, too. She got Apple Support to talk her through installing Windows -- she said they led her through the process all the way to when Windows first boots up after the install is complete.

Right now I'm very comfortable with Win7, and don't plan on switching to Win8 or to OS X. But as far as hardware is concerned, I plan to stick with Macs for the foreseeable future. The build quality is excellent, and so is the customer support. We had an iMac with RAM failure, walked it into an Apple store and they fixed it in two days. I hate to think how that would have gone with a Dell machine -- ship the computer to Dell, wait for it to be fixed, then wait for it to be shipped back again -- at least a week? Anyway, Apple support is great, especially if you have an Apple store near you.

Oh, and I'd just like to add, I know for some uses virtualizations like Parallels work best, but if you are used to Windows and most of your software is Windows, then you can't go wrong using Bootcamp.

EDIT: Found tutorial.
http://www.redmondpie.com/install-windows-8-on-mac-using-boot-camp-tutorial/
 

NewbieCanada

macrumors 68030
Oct 9, 2007
2,574
35
I'm in the exact same boat as you. I'll see if I can give you some very blunt advice. For reference I've used every version of OS X since Leopard, Windows since 95, and Ubuntu/Linux since version 9.04. You are going to get a lot of people telling you OS X is better. It's not, and it's becoming a retarded argument. Use the tool for the job, that suits your uses best. I used to be a big Linux guy, because most of the work I did worked best in Linux and I liked the Ubuntu UI. I use Windows more now because most of my software works on it, at work I run Windows on an iMac and it works very very well. The advantage to the current Macbook Air is that the reports we have so far point to it running VERY well with Windows, in some cases better than OS X. That may change with Mavericks, but it won't be a huge difference either way. If you need Windows and like OS X, partition the drive and use both. If you really hate OS X you can eliminate it and use only Windows (though I can't see why you would). OS X is a good operating system, especially for mobile computers. Personally I find that Windows is more efficient from a power users perspective, but I'm also very used to Windows so I know how to use it well. Other people may not think so. In terms of build quality, I've got a Macbook from 2006 that I inherited and it is still in good condition, so yeah, they have friggin amazing build quality. Will it last? Well, if you use it for web surfing, email, basic computer tasks, sure it will. If you do real heavy work on your laptop, such as rendering, photoshop, flash, etc., then it probably won't last 5-6 years. That being said, it IS an ultrabook, and none of the direct Windows competitors will last any longer either. I give ultrabooks (good ones) a life span of 3-4 years generally, before they are outstripped by software, but that depends entirely on use and can be somewhat subjective. The display on the air is kinda meh compared to the Windows competitors coming out with 1080p touch ips displays. Consider if that matters to you or not. The graphics chip is better than almost any Windows ultrabook competitor, another thing to consider. You take the good with the bad I guess, and in the case of this machine, it's pretty damn good.

I strongly suggest you switch to an operating system that supports paragraphs.
 

mynameis321

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 15, 2013
47
0
OK so I went into a store today to play a bit more with the Macbook Air, and it seems as though an open window cannot be fully maxmised, the way it does on Windows? It does this weird thing where a window will only get a bit bigger where the info can be seen, but it won't fully maximise?
 

Y So Jelly

macrumors regular
Sep 14, 2013
126
6
OK so I went into a store today to play a bit more with the Macbook Air, and it seems as though an open window cannot be fully maxmised, the way it does on Windows? It does this weird thing where a window will only get a bit bigger where the info can be seen, but it won't fully maximise?

command+shift+'+' or two finger swipe up on the border.
 

Night Spring

macrumors G5
Jul 17, 2008
13,529
6,544
OK so I went into a store today to play a bit more with the Macbook Air, and it seems as though an open window cannot be fully maxmised, the way it does on Windows? It does this weird thing where a window will only get a bit bigger where the info can be seen, but it won't fully maximise?

Annoying, I know. There are a bunch of utilities that fix this. I use this:
https://www.macupdate.com/app/iphone/33166/sizewell

But there are others, search around until you find one you like.

You can also use full screen mode for apps, which IMO works great on smaller screens like MBA.

Another thing I find odd with OS X is that there is no "move" command. You issue a copy command, then when you go paste it, you hold down the option key, and the "paste" command changes to a "move" command. It feels very counterintuitive to me. OS X is full of little quirks like that that feels very weird when coming from Windows.
 
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mynameis321

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 15, 2013
47
0
Annoying, I know. There are a bunch of utilities that fix this. I use this:
https://www.macupdate.com/app/iphone/33166/sizewell

But there are others, search around until you find one you like.

You can also use full screen mode for apps, which IMO works great on smaller screens like MBA.

Another thing I find odd with OS X is that there is no "move" command. You issue a copy command, then when you go paste it, you hold down the option key, and the "paste" command changes to a "move" command. It feels very counterintuitive to me. OS X is full of little quirks like that that feels very weird when coming from Windows.

So what you're saying is that there's no move option, just copy and paste?

Also an application needs to be downloaded just to be able to maximise a window? In regards to fullscreen, I hear not all applications support this

I find that a bit ridiculous
 

Night Spring

macrumors G5
Jul 17, 2008
13,529
6,544
So what you're saying is that there's no move option, just copy and paste?

Also an application needs to be downloaded just to be able to maximise a window? In regards to fullscreen, I hear not all applications support this

I find that a bit ridiculous

No, there is a way to move files, but the way to get to that command is roundabout. You start by "copying" a file, but when you get to where you want to move it, you issue a "move" instead of a "paste.'

And yes, there are lots of things in the Mac OS that strikes an Window users as ridiculous, but I imagine the opposite is also true. For instance, networking, you can setup multiple locations, each with different IP settings, and switch between them by selecting them from a dialog box. This is built in to the Mac OS. In Windows, I had to download a program to do the same thing.
 
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