Running a 27" iMac Late 2009 with Boot Camp under very particular conditions. Should I update?

Discussion in 'OS X El Capitan (10.11)' started by iRock1, Jan 1, 2016.

  1. iRock1 macrumors 6502a

    iRock1

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    #1
    Hi there,

    Currently I'm running the latest version of Yosemite on a 27" iMac Late 2009. This computer has been upgraded though — now it has 12 GB of RAM and I replaced the SuperDrive with a 500 GB SSD.

    So first things first, I want to know if El Capitan is mature enough at this point, or should I stay on Yosemite. Be as honest and critic as possible — and please don't come with that story of how great the “new” OS is and how smooth it runs on your Mac. I've been a Mac user for some time to know that nothing works perfectly out of the box, specially during this Cook era, when you can expect things to have bugs and glitches months and even years after the release date. Also consider that I'm using an old iMac, and even if some of its components have been replaced, the performance could be even lower on the latest version of OS X (notice that this Mac has an i5 processor and a 4850 graphic card).

    Second, as I already mentioned, I took out the SuperDrive since it was broken. The thing is that after that I wanted to install Windows and it was a real PITA. You really are on your own out there, as there is no possible solution to install Windows on these old models without the SuperDrive. And I'll say again just in case: there is no possible solution to install Windows on these old models without the SuperDrive. Yes, there are some really dark methods out there that imply installing virtual machines, going to the Terminal and then even modify system files on the Windows side via DOS, but it's absolutely impractical and difficult. So, because of this, I had to use a borrowed SuperDrive and put it for a few hours on my Mac, so I could have Windows installed. After the whole process was completed, I replaced the SuperDrive by an SSD and then closed the iMac forever. I won't be opening it up again, so for me keeping Windows healthy in its Boot Camp partition it's almost a matter of life and death.

    Having said this, is there any chance (specially considering that I'm using an old version, i.e. Windows 7) that the OS X update might screw it up? I don't know, something on the Mac-BIOS level or something...

    Those are my questions. Truth is everything sort of works, so I feel tempted to obey that old saying “Don't fix what ain't broken”. Please guide me with your wisdom :).
     
  2. mmomega macrumors demi-god

    mmomega

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2009
    Location:
    DFW, TX
    #2
    As long as you don't choose to completely format the entire HD when upgrading OSX.... you should be fine.
    I say should be just because in probably 99 out of 100 cases noone would have a problem, 1 person would have a problem.

    I have done this a few times and my bootcamp partition has always stayed untouched and ready to serve up Windows.

    On another note.... if you never use OSX you can completely wipe OSX from the hard drive and make that iMac a Windows only machine.
    I have the same Late 2009 model sitting in one of my offices with Windows 10 running on it, no superdrive and no OSX at all.
    With newer models, as you know, it's much easier to install Windows. We have Windows only software at work but every workstation is a Mac Mini or iMac. With the newer non superdrive models you can simply pop in a Windows bootUSB power up the Mac and completely format the HDD and install Windows without ever even going in to OSX. You do usually need the bootcamp driver support but once you have Bootcamp assistant down the software and store it to a USB drive, you can essentially wipe OSX off of the computer forever and be just fine without it.

    If you ever did need OSX again like in a resale situation, you can use internet recovery and OSX can reinstall itself.


    Out of 30 workstations, 2 are dual boot with OSX, the other 28 are Windows 10 only.
     
  3. Riwam macrumors 6502a

    Riwam

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2014
    Location:
    Basel, Switzerland
    #3
    ********+
    Since there are Windows workstations and notebooks at every price level and with any desired components at considerably lower prices than Apple computers, I see little sense to buy a mac and use it exclusively for Windows (or Linux or another OS).

    If you found it in the street or inherited it from some deceased relative at zero expenses, well, you can use it to place a flower pot on it or build a case for your guinea pigs or anything you can fancy...

    But Apple hardware bought...and then used just for Wiindows?????
    :confused::rolleyes::cool::eek: ;):D

    Not everything possible is also reasonable...
    Ed
     
  4. iRock1 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    iRock1

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    #4
    Good to know that Windows 10 works as good as expected on your 2009 machine. However, I don't think it's quite the same situation, since my iMac has OS X, I'll update it and it might screw something on the “BIOS” level (i.e. update the firmware). Obviously you don't run any of those risks as you have Windows-only machines.

    Now, even if it was confirmed by somebody else that El Capitan won't screw up anything on the Windows 7 side (please remember, legacy software isn't the same than Windows 10), I'd still like to know how well or bad this old machine (now obsolete, according to a recently updated list by Apple) will run using El Capitan instead of Yosemite, which by now sort of does the job pretty decently.

    By the way, kind of off-topic, but I share the same question than the user who posted before me. Why buying Macs in order to have only Windows on them?
     
  5. mmomega, Jan 1, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2016

    mmomega macrumors demi-god

    mmomega

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2009
    Location:
    DFW, TX
    #5
    I wanted and needed a computer with a small footprint that was still fairly powerful. I had tried many different alternatives such as Intel NUC's and other computer like this.

    Every small computer I put to work in our office died in one way or another, every time one dies this creates downtime for my employees plus another expense of repair time and or a complete replacement.
    The Mac Minis I have in place have been there some as early as 2010 running 24/7 and have never been touched. So 5 years of zero expense other than the power it uses is worth the price of admission.

    The workstations are approx $480 at BestBuy plus BestBuy rewards points and over the years I've accumulated enough BestBuy points to purchase 4 completely free workstations so that is another saving of $1700'ish.

    The iMacs in place were my personal previous models, a 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011. I've only installed cheap $60 SSD's in these machines and they continue to go strong without any other maintenance or downtime.

    An employee sitting around getting paid $$ and not producing any income is an expense.
    On top of that, instead of me doing my job and producing income I am now troubleshooting and fixing that problem so the money I should be bring into the business is now being put towards fixing a computer problem. So just 3 hours or so of a down computer system could cost me substantially more than the price difference between a different pc.

    Since implementing an almost 100% Mac hardware solution in my IT expenses have dropped dramatically along with employee downtime.


    Also, we are still playing with the idea of moving to a Mac based software solution at some point, which I would have to replace all hardware with Macs anyway. This way I am ready should we choose to do that this year and I don't have an upfront extra $15,000+ expense.

    On top of this Mac Mini's hold their value much better than other inexpensive small PC's. I can always reinstall OSX and resale them and get a decent amount of cash back to put towards a newer model.
    2009 Mac Mini can easily sell for $160, that's a 6-7 year old computer and the $160 gives you 30% off the price of a new Mini.
     
  6. mmomega macrumors demi-god

    mmomega

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2009
    Location:
    DFW, TX
    #6
    Although not exactly the same I do have 2 dual boot machines, they are Mac Minis that were running OSX Yosemite and Windows 7 Bootcamp'd.
    I then upgraded them both to El Capitan and then upgraded the bootcamp partition from Win7 to Win10. Both of those never missed a beat and nothing during the upgrade corrupted the machines or partitions but like I said they are somewhat newer Mini's setup like this and the iMacs are Windows only.
     
  7. leman macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #7
    If your iMac works well, there is little reason for you to upgrade. It is very unlikely for there to be any issues during an upgrade, but why risk it?
     
  8. mmomega macrumors demi-god

    mmomega

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2009
    Location:
    DFW, TX
    #8
    You can make a Windows backup to save. You can restore from this to a new Windows Partition should something happen, similar to Time Machine backup and restore.
    You can also use Disk2VHD to create a virtual hard disk of that windows partition and run that VHD on any machine with virtualbox.
    I'd do both if I was worried about losing the information.

    The vhd option would give you almost immediate access to that Windows partition so you could use it until you had time to do a complete restore. Then copy over any files from the vhd to the restored if you make any changes in between.
     
  9. iRock1 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    iRock1

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    #9
    It's the temptation of having the latest (security and stability updates, etc.).
     

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