Running Windows 7

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by lost4nao, Jul 24, 2011.

  1. lost4nao macrumors newbie

    Jul 23, 2011
    I just ordered the base 13" Air, and have a couple of questions.

    1. I've heard of two options, Bootcamp and Virtual Machine? Which one should I use?
    2. Where do you guys generally get your W7 copy? Do I have to buy a new one, can it be an upgrade, etc, etc.
    3. For anyone using W7 on their current or last gen Air, how's the performance?
    4. Since the SSD is only 128 GB, storage is obviously going to be limited. How much of my drive will be needed for running W7?
    5. Last but not least, what are some of the main reasons people run both OS's on their Macs? One of my reasons is to do some light gaming which might not be possible on lion, but I'd like to hear any other advantages/disadvantages.

    I'm switching from a Pc to Mac after 11 years, so I don't know much at all about Macs.
  2. h00ligan macrumors 68030

    Apr 10, 2003
    A hot desert
    Depends what you are going to do
    It is possible to install from an upgrade copy, however it is also a violation of microsoft's license. If you have more than one machine to buy for, join tech net and you get office, etc...for $200 Google for more info.
    Not yet, but tonight I'll have an idea. It will run fine though as I already run it on a much slower machine and it works fine for what I need.
    Depends what you are doing, gaming, office, etc?
    If you can't think of a reason to run it, you don't need to. That said, beware of Word compatibility with windows. For important docs I always run them through word on windows first. I personally have a lot of other reasons, but they may not apply to you.
    How well versed are you will Windows?
  3. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    1. Depends on what you want to use it for. If there's some application you need that's Windows only, and that isn't very resource intensive, running in a Virtual Machine is more convenient. If you want full hardware performance in Windows use Bootcamp. Bootcamp is less convenient since you have to restart your computer to switch back and forth, but then once you're in Windows you're running with the full performance of your hardware, no emulation required.

    2. If you're a student you can get a copy of Windows 7 for $29, if not I think you can find OEM copies online that are still less expensive than full retail.

    4. Windows itself probably takes 6GB or so. The rest depends on how much software/content you install.

    5. Some reasons include specific apps that you need to use being Windows only, developers wanting to test websites and other apps across multiple platforms, and gaming like you said.

    Remember that Steam is now available on OSX with quite a few games available. I think that many games still tend to be better optimized on Windows though.
  4. 2IS macrumors 68030

    Jan 9, 2011
    You can do Bootcamp AND a VM, that's what I do. I have a bootcamp installation and you can also use parallels to load that bootcamp partition in a VM.
  5. theRick119 macrumors member

    Apr 27, 2008
    I never knew about that... Thanks for the tip.
  6. lost4nao thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 23, 2011
    Honestly, the only reason I'm even thinking of this is because I saw another thread in which a guy posted some games that ran quite well on the Air (Batman: AA, COD, etc) Before, I had thought that these games wouldn't run too well considering the integrated graphics, but if they do run, I wouldn't mind being able to play games on the go.
    This word compatibility issue is new to me. Is it a serious problem? For example, I used OpenOffice for a while, and that caused some problems compatibility wise, so I do plan on getting Office for Mac 2011.

    Other than Office and gaming, I don't really have any other reason atm.

    VM sounds appealing, but I assume gaming is absolutely horrendous via VM?
    Wow 30 bucks is pretty cheap, no longer worried about that.
    6GB doesn't sound so bad...
    Yea, Steam being on OSX is pretty great, but it still lacks many games, and of course, non-Steam games.
    I just found out Starcraft 2 runs on Mac OS, is the performance/everything same as on Windows?
  7. christophermdia macrumors 6502a


    Sep 28, 2008
    1. I use Parallels VM, I don't really game on the windows side so I don't worry about its performance, I use mainly office applications and IE for sites that need actives controls...Boot Camp will have better performance on Gaming.

    2. I bought Win 7 as previously mentioned by someone else as a student copy for $29, it is an upgrade version though, but you are ok if you own a previous copy of windows. There is a trick to installing it though. you need to install it twice. Install once and do not enter the product key, once booted into windows 7, install again as an upgrade, then enter the product key. For some reason this is thee way you need to install the upgrade, since you cannot upgrade a previous version of windows except vista.

    3. Performance on my 2010 and now 2011 air is amazing, I run it in coherence mode in parallels so it integrates both the mac and windows environments, and its flawless, never any stutters. Again, I don't game so this may not be the case with gaming.

    4. I use a 15GB partition for my Windows 7 VM. Nice thing about Parallels is that you can minimize the size of the partition and set it to balloon as needed. This will maximize the amount of space you have on your mac. Again this also depends on how much you are actually putting in there.

    5. As I stated earlier, I use mainly office apps when I need to have certain macro controls connected to a network that seem to only work from a windows machine. I also use it for IE activex pages. My kid goes to a daycare that has a webcam and the only way to do full screen view is through IE, so I use it for that.

    Hope this helps...
  8. Bukey macrumors newbie

    Jun 7, 2011
    What your suggesting is also a license violation. Technet licenses are meant only for testing, non-production use.
  9. df2gadgetman macrumors member


    Jul 16, 2011
    Here is the link for Windows 7. You will need to have a valid edu email address.
    Windows 7 for $29 (Student Discount)

  10. Benson86 macrumors newbie

    Jul 30, 2008
    Just a head up, I have a 2010 13" with a 128GB SSD. I decided to bootcamp windows 7 so I could play a few windows only games. I only wanted to give it a 30gb chunk because this is mainly an OSx machine for me. By the time I installed windows AND did all the updates including SP1, the install took 23gb, by itself, no extra software.

    Not worth it for me, not when I only have 128gb of space, so I went back to OSx only.
  11. h00ligan macrumors 68030

    Apr 10, 2003
    A hot desert

    You don't have to install windows twice to get an upgrade to install a fresh copy. Dont enter a serial and change the upgrademedia key in the registry. Reinstalling twice is a waste of time.

    Google it for a step by step. It's simple.
  12. h00ligan macrumors 68030

    Apr 10, 2003
    A hot desert
    Home use is acceptable under
    Technet licensing terms afaik. Providing it is not a home office.

    Here's what a call to ms yielded.

    Of course if you are a developer or a website dev you can get FREE ACCESS to msdn and relevant software for your production environment. Dreamspark, webspark, etc.

    There are plenty of legal ways to get major breaks on ms software. Retail buying is for mom and dad.
  13. Bukey macrumors newbie

    Jun 7, 2011
    Reading this portion from the first post:

    The key parts are "testing purposes" and "evaluation". Whilst it hints that you may be able to get away with it - technically, in licensing terms, if you're not testing the software for evaluation purposes then you'd be breaking the license terms.

    Just a heads up for the OP. :)
  14. ZBoater macrumors G3


    Jul 2, 2007
    Sunny Florida
    1. I opted for both. I did Bootcamp as it was super easy to setup, and then will install Parallels so it can use the Bootcamp install inside a vm session. Why? Because I can boot into native Windows whenever I want to, or use it inside MacOS if I want to. Its good to have options.

    2. Microsoft Technet subscription.

    3. Performance on the new MBA is AWESOME.

    4. Win7 Pro 32 bit with Office, Project, and Visio used up 20GB. I gave it 50GB to be safe. But I have the 256GB SSD.

    5. This is also my first Mac. I run Windows on it because after 26 years of DOS/Windows, I've accumulated several bad habits that will be hard to shake, like Quicken Home & Business, DVD Profiler, and several other apps that simply don't run on Mac. Hopefully as I dig deeper into this I will be able to shed the need to keep Windows around.

    Welcome to the Dark Side!!! Its a lot more fun over here... :cool:
  15. h00ligan macrumors 68030

    Apr 10, 2003
    A hot desert
    Alright. Well there's a spark sub that will fit somewhere :). But.

    'I own a Mac, I'm testing windows on it'. Fair nuff :)
  16. lost4nao thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 23, 2011
    Woah, this is news to me. 23GB would be chump change on a desktop...but that's like 1/5th of the Air drive right there.
    The cons are starting to outweigh the pros now...

    Always good to have options
    Better for gaming (not too important, as there is Steam for Mac, and I have a PS3 and desktop)
    Office is better on Windows? (This could be make or break, if someone could please help me on this)

    Storage (again, this could be make or break, someone told me 6gb, this guy says 23gb)
    Price (it's not expensive...but it's not free either)

    Thanks for all your help guys!
  17. ZBoater macrumors G3


    Jul 2, 2007
    Sunny Florida
    I just got done reinstalling Win7 Pro 32 bit, Office 2010, Project Pro 2010, Visio 2010, and all the updates (including the Office 2010 SP1, 500MB). I used up 20GB.

    Not sure if the method of installation matters, but the MBA with BootCamp 4.0 made is PAINLESS. It created a bootable Win7 USB key with all the install files on it from an ISO image, and it downloaded all the new MBA drivers directly onto it.

    That being said, I gave it 50GB because I have a 256GB SSD.
  18. lost4nao thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 23, 2011
    So 15-20GB seems like a good estimate. That's not tooo bad, but it is quite a bit of space.
    The 50GB that you "gave" it can be changed later on right? Like if I want to allocate more space? So far, I'm leaning against dual running, since I've decided that the few games that will meet both the conditions of running well on Intel HD 3000 and not available on Mac are not that many.

    Hopefully Office 2011 for Mac will suffice.
  19. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    Office 2011 for Mac is very good. It is nearly on par with Office 2010 for Windows, and in some respects is better since you have both the Ribbon and the old-style menus. Excel 2011 is a bit slower than Excel 2010, but functionally they are virtually identical.

    Regarding Windows on Mac, visit the Windows on Mac forum here for more advice. Running Windows in Boot Camp is just like running it on any PC. It will be as fast as any PC with the same specs. Running Windows in VMWare Fusion or Parallels Desktop will be slower since you are running an OS within an OS, but for occasional use it should be OK. I run Windows 7 on my new MacBook Air (and did on my old one) and it is fine for running Quicken or Word.
  20. bakasam macrumors member

    Aug 18, 2010
    Hows the battery life using windows 7 on the 13" MBA?

    Dad is planning on getting one for the portability but needs windows for his work
  21. 2IS macrumors 68030

    Jan 9, 2011
    With transparency disabled battery life is very similar to OSX.
  22. Brooke00000 macrumors newbie

    Jul 9, 2011
    I have a similar question. I'm headed to graduate school in the fall and will need Windows occasionally to use a few Windows-only programs. I think I would rather not do the bootcamp method because I like being able to open Windows while still in OSX. A few questions:

    1. I'm still a bit confused -- can I buy the student version of Windows, even though it is an upgrade? I actually have XP, but it's on my '07 BlackBook.
    2. If I also want to use the Windows version of Microsoft, I can install it even if I am virtualizing, right? (I'm obviously confused). I'd mostly use it for some Excel functions. Would it be a mistake to not also download the Mac version of Office? (I was already provided with the Windows version.)
    3. Parallels or VMWare? Both seem like good options, and both have a very good student rate.
    4. I will have the 256 version of the Air -- so it sounds like I should allocate 50 to Windows?

    Thank you!!

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