The gentlest way to get Windows on a Mac

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by Michael CM1, Oct 7, 2015.

  1. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    #1
    I'm taking some classes now and one of my professors has written some software we can use to simulate some things. But duh, it's Windows software. I have a Windows notebook that weighs about 40 kilotons. I have a MacBook Air that weighs about five pounds.

    I've never experimented with Bootcamp or Parallels, so I'm not sure which way I should try or whether there's some much easier and cheaper way for the limited use I'm going to make of it. Windows is at least only $100 now instead of the joke $200 or more it used to be. I'm a little worried about space on this 128GB Air because I'm somehow down to 20-30GB. I can probably reclaim some more by deleting the iPhoto library (since I now also have a Photos library), but still it's getting tight.

    So if anybody has recommendations, I'd love it. I want to use these tools without needing to lug that heavy thing all over the place.
     
  2. Demigod Mac macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2008
    #2
    Probably Virtualbox as it's free, though I personally prefer Fusion for its stability.

    Also check with the school bookstore; you might be able to buy a Windows license with a student discount.
     
  3. aristobrat macrumors G4

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    Oct 14, 2005
    #3
    I agree with Demigod Mac's comments there.

    Boot Camp is also free, but it will require you to partition your hard drive, which can lead to wasted space. At least with virtualization, only the space you absolutely require goes towards Windows.
     
  4. Fancuku macrumors 6502a

    Fancuku

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    PA, USA
    #4
    20-30GB is not enough for Windows so you would be better using Virtualbox
     
  5. Cape Dave macrumors 65816

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  6. Fancuku macrumors 6502a

    Fancuku

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    #6
    It doesn't sound like he wants to spend money on Parallels.
     
  7. Gjwilly macrumors 68030

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    SF Bay Area
    #7
    An other vote for VirtualBox.
    The cost of other virtual PC software just can't be justified for the usage you're describing.

    If you're no longer using your Windows notebook you should be able to uninstall your Windows Product key and then reuse it on your Mac.
    You'd need to find the installation media but it would save you buying a new Windows license.
    Although you may not want to or be able to use that version of Windows depending on which Mac you have.
     
  8. takeshi74, Oct 9, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2015

    takeshi74 macrumors 601

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    Feb 9, 2011
    #8
    Best is always highly subjective. How is Parallels better for the OP than any alternative?

    For a single Windows app on an MBA with limited space I'd suggest seeing if something like Winebottler might be able to handle it. It may, it may not but if it doesn't work out the OP can then look into solutions with a bigger footprint.
     
  9. Cape Dave macrumors 65816

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    #9
    The easiest way is Parallels. Or VMWare. Miles easier than bootcamp in this case. I say Parallels is just a touch easier than VMWare, but that is really not the point here. OP wanted easy, Parallels is my vote.
     
  10. Michael CM1 thread starter macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    #10
    Thanks for all the answers, folks. You're right that I don't really want to spend money on Parallels, VMware, or even Windows, dammit. Today our professor had an application for us to run at home or in a computer lab that's a Windows application. It's just to check answers for our lab. But then there's also software that came with the textbook that's Windows-based. And the whole damn geology (and scientific) world loves it some Windows. I think more things are starting to use iOS for mobile/tablet apps, but the field seems to be full of old people who love them some Windows because blah blah reasons no regular person understands.

    Right now I can honestly figure out where I put my Windows notebook and just use it to run one or two tiny applications. But I'm worried about reaching the point where there's a lot of useful software that's Windows-only. I am not lugging that seven-pound Windows notebook around.

    So if the worst case scenario is buying VMware or Parallels for $80 then Windows 10 for $108 (I just found that price at the Microsoft store), so be it. Yeah, I am a little limited on extra space. I've gotten up to 25GB by deleting my iPhoto library -- I don't use that anymore and I now have all of my photos in iCloud and stored locally on my iMac. I have Xcode on here and could also delete it, so maybe I could possibly hit 40 if I make the right moves. So anyway, that's my space.

    It seems like there isn't some easy, free software that will simulate Windows for something darn simple like this. I didn't think there was, but I thought maybe this place of all places would have people who knew the deets. I'll just have to take a look to determine whether I go with VMware or Parallels. I know Parallels has a 14-day trial and can't find one for VMware, so that may have made my choice easier. Only problem I see is DAMMIT MICROSOFT WHY DOES YOUR OS NEED 16GB?
     
  11. Fancuku macrumors 6502a

    Fancuku

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    PA, USA
    #11
    Are you a college student? If yes, you may be able to get W8.1 or 10 for free if your school is one of the participating schools with the MS's Dreamspark program.

    https://www.dreamspark.com/Student/Default.aspx

    Check to see if your school is eligible.
     
  12. Mcmeowmers macrumors 6502

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    Jun 1, 2015
    #12
    Are you sure? The new version by VM shows better benchmarks this time around.
     
  13. Cape Dave macrumors 65816

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    #13
    Benchmarks have nothing to do with easy or gentle :)
     
  14. Mcmeowmers macrumors 6502

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    Jun 1, 2015
    #14
    Most programs are quite easy to use and install nowadays!
     
  15. kschendel macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 9, 2014
    #15
    If you are price sensitive, use VirtualBox; it's free. I've heard some claim that it's harder to set up than Parallels or VMware, and I suppose that's possible; all I can say is that I got it up and running without any trouble. I use it for Real Work running both Linux and Windows (the latter as rarely as I can get away with) on a late 2013 MBP, and it seems to run just fine. If space is an issue, get an inexpensive outboard USB drive and put the virtual disk(s) there.
     
  16. AppleDApp macrumors 68020

    AppleDApp

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    Jun 21, 2011
    #16
    What about running windows from an external drive or USB?
     
  17. kschendel macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 9, 2014
    #17
    You mean on the bare metal, not running in a VM? I've done it with a Mac Pro and I don't see why it couldn't be done with a Macbook, but I suspect it would be way more fiddling that you want to deal with. If you mean, put a VM disk on an external drive, that's exactly how I do it, works fine for my purposes. (I don't need every last bit of speed possible when running VM's on the macbook.)
     

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