Thought I'd left Windows behind at last...

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by Zaqfalcon, May 3, 2010.

  1. Zaqfalcon macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    #1
    ...however; it appears I can't.

    Don't care about the sob story? Please go to the questions in bold at the end - thanks.

    After my Dell Inspiron 6400 (henceforth known as the 'Pile of crap') finally died of hard drive failure a few months ago after much heartache and so many reinstallations of Windows I've lost count, I finally decided to get myself a Mac. I then had to wait a little longer for the Macbook Pro updates and my 15" MBP, 2.66 i7, 8GB, 500GB 7200rpm, Hi Res Antiglare finally arrived last Friday. I was thrilled; no more Windows BS - yaaay!!

    The first thing I wanted to do was sync my Sony Ericsson Satio to the Mac and found out I can use iSync and The Missing Sync to look after all my phone data - yaaay!!

    But it does not work properly without the latest firmware update on my phone - booo!!

    I then discovered that the SE firmware update software for my phone only works on Windows - booo, hisss!!

    So, I thought to myself, Mrs Zaqfalcon has her own Pile of crap, I can just use that to install the PC sync and firmware update software I can do the back up and update on that - yaaay!!

    But; oh oohh Windows XP needs Service Pack 3 for that software and Mrs Zaqfalcon never does updates on anything "because they always go wrong!" "It worked fine on mine" I says "hmm, OK" she says - yaaay!!

    Aaaaarrrgggghhh Blue Screen of Death Error "An attempt was made to execute non-executable memory". Hours spent recovering back to SP2, tears, shouting, madness - booo, hiisss, baaah, grrrr!! C*cking bloody Windows!!

    So a new hard drive for the Pile of crap is required (assuming this will raise the dead) just to use my bloody phone - booo!!

    But what's this I discover today? 'Bootcamp' you say? 'Fusion and Parallels' will wonders never cease!

    So after much Googling, MRoogling and furrowing of brow I have a couple of questions of you kind and learned people.

    At the moment I only really need to use Windows for the above phone issue and don't want to spend money on it. I have the Windows SP2 disc which came with the Pile of crap and will try using that in Bootcamp. I will then attempt to update to SP3.

    I understand that there were previous issues with updating to SP3. Am I correct in understanding that these are now resolved by the latest iteration of Bootcamp? Any hints to make sure this goes smoothly please?

    If I can't get SP2 / SP3 to work and I have to buy Windows 7, will an OEM version bought from a shop really work (this is what they are telling me if I also buy some hardware like some CDs) or do I need to buy the retail version?

    As I said I'll just use Bootcamp for now but if I want to use Fusion or Parallels in the future can I just install it on top and use the already installed Windows with them? Or will I have to re-install Windows?

    Am I right in thinking that accessing data through Mac OS X that has been added using Windows would only be possible if I were using Fusion or Parallels?

    What about the data that was added with Bootcamp before I added Fusion or Parallels is this only accessible using the virtual Windows or in Mac OS X too?


    Thanks very much for your help and assistance, I'm completely new to Mac and wasn't very good with Windows as atested by the above, so it is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. ayeying macrumors 601

    ayeying

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Yay Area, CA
    #2
    I understand that there were previous issues with updating to SP3. Am I correct in understanding that these are now resolved by the latest iteration of Bootcamp? Any hints to make sure this goes smoothly please?

    What issues? You can easily install Windows XP Professional, SP2 or SP3. It just cannot be pre-SP2 (SP1 or older)

    If I can't get SP2 / SP3 to work and I have to buy Windows 7, will an OEM version bought from a shop really work (this is what they are telling me if I also buy some hardware like some CDs) or do I need to buy the retail version?

    OEM and Retail are the same. It's just the licensing agreements and you get a pretty box.

    As I said I'll just use Bootcamp for now but if I want to use Fusion or Parallels in the future can I just install it on top and use the already installed Windows with them? Or will I have to re-install Windows?

    You can have Fusion or Parallels link to your Bootcamp Partition. You will need to reactivate Windows however, but it should not be a major problem.

    Am I right in thinking that accessing data through Mac OS X that has been added using Windows would only be possible if I were using Fusion or Parallels?

    Windows has HFS Read-Only support in Bootcamp 3 or higher. It is not possible to read your Macintosh HD under Parallels or Fusion. However, you can set up a Shared Folder under one of these virtualization programs and access your files that way. Another option is Dropbox (www.dropbox.com)

    What about the data that was added with Bootcamp before I added Fusion or Parallels is this only accessible using the virtual Windows or in Mac OS X too?

    The virtualization program uses your Bootcamp Partition as the installed Windows. Any changes will be written on the drive. Any changes can be accessed through native boot or virtualized.
     
  3. valvehead macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2008
    Location:
    USA
    #3
    That license is tied to your Dell. It's a custom restore disc for that specific hardware. Even if you somehow manage to get it installed on your MBP, it will likely be unstable.

    OEM "system builder" Win7 will be the cheapest route, but as it has been said on this forum many times before, it is not intended for end users.
     
  4. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #4
    Besides the fact that OEM is not intended or licensed for individual use. (As I have said before it's really no different than installing OS X on a hackintosh, and as such is a personal decision on how you want your software licensed). There are plenty of other subtle differences between OEM and retail besides the lack of the box and the licensing. e.g. retail can be installed over Vista as an upgrade. OEM cannot.

    That said it will work, the question is if it will really be cheaper in the end.

    EDIT: To the OP: It sounds like you want to leave Windows behind and messing with a Boot Camp install from Dell restore media does not sound like fun. Here's what I recommend. Download a trial version of VMWare Fusion. Download an ISO of Windows 7 from Microsoft. Install W7 in trial mode (do not enter a product key) within Fusion. Use that to do what you need. Delete the VM when you are done. If you need Windows again, install it again into a new VM. I'll provide links to all.

    B
     
  5. Zaqfalcon thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    #5
    I'm referring to this:

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=776621&highlight=update+sp3

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3841

    http://support.apple.com/kb/TS1565

    Thanks very much for the other info ayeying!

    So will my Dell disc work? Will it doing anything bad if I try it? Will I be able to get rid of it if it doesn't work? Will a bought copy of Windows 7 go over the top OK if it doesn't work? All the shops only seem to want to sell me OEM version anyway?

    Thanks people.
     
  6. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #6
    Maybe. Maybe. Yes. No.

    Depending on its vintage, the Dell disc is probably heavily customized for the hardware it shipped with, so it can create issues if run on other hardware. If it is a "restore" disc you could really be in trouble though as it may remove your OS X. (*) You should have no problem deleting it if you need to though. Windows 7 does not upgrade from XP, it basically erases and installs a new OS.

    (*) The function of a system restore disc is to restore the Dell to its factory conditions, which would not have included OS X.

    If you don't care about licensing agreements and really feel like you need to install in Boot Camp, get the retail upgrade version which should be easier to find even than OEM and costs about the same. It can easily be installed on your Mac, and you have a previous version of Windows that you are not using. The only bit outside the license is that that underlying version of Windows is tied to the deal Dell...

    Otherwise, try the trial version approach I mentioned above. Much easier to do, and cheaper too.

    B
     
  7. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Location:
    The Anthropocene
    #7
    Actually, I've installed WinXP from a Dell reinstall disk to a VM no problem. The Dell was running linux anyway. I just entered the serial, and it worked.
     
  8. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #8
    Your mileage may vary. Not all Dell discs are created equal, and the OP was talking about Boot Camp, using such a disc in a VM might actually be safer since it can't see OS X.

    EDIT: This is the kind of thing I am referring to: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=855420

    B
     
  9. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    The Anthropocene
    #9
    Indeed, just offering my own experience. :cool:
     
  10. js81 macrumors 65816

    js81

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2008
    Location:
    KY
    #10
    If you don't plan to use Windows other than for this issue, then balamw's advice is best - get a trial version of 7 and go that route. I think you only get 3 days without activation, but that's plenty for what you need. Be sure to install it in a VM, too - then you can easily recreate a new one if you ever need Windows temporarily again. The only thing I advise differently is to get Virtualbox for your VM - its free forever and ever, amen. :) Then you could use it to play around with Linux if you ever have the fancy to...
     
  11. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #11
    It's 30 days, extendable to 120. (e.g. http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows-7/extend-the-windows-7-trial-from-30-to-120-days/)

    As mobilehaathi's experience suggests there is also limited risk in trying the existing Dell XP CD in a VM as opposed to Boot Camp.

    I have no experience with Virtualbox myself, which is why I didn't recommend it in this case. How does it do with providing access to physical hardware? (I suspect the phone will have to be connected via USB for the firmware update?).

    EDIT: Links:

    W7 ISOs http://www.mydigitallife.info/2009/...links-ultimate-professional-and-home-premium/

    virtualbox http://www.virtualbox.org/

    More on W7 trials http://www.windowssecrets.com/2009/08/20/01-Use-any-version-of-Windows-7-free-for-120-days

    B
     
  12. Zaqfalcon thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    #12
    @balamw that is a really great idea thank you. You may have saved me many hours of madness!
     
  13. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #13
    You really have an ideal machine for working with virtual machines! Just don't starve them for resources (give W7 2GB) and you'll be able to have your OS X and Windows too (only when you need it).

    B
     
  14. GS17 macrumors member

    GS17

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    #14
    you all are over complicating things

    well might be the result of the "Mac experience" of having to think diferent to make the most simple things work. If all you need is to get the latest firmware on your phone, just take it to your carrier and it will save you the headache, they will just plug it into one of their windows machines and install the firmware for you, no cost at least with verizon but my guess is they all do the same. No need to fumble with options on how to install windows on your dear mac, buying a copy or using trials and all that.

    As for the problems with pc's... well that usually is more of a problem between chair and keyboard:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRAot6p3zzc

    as for the problems with mac's.....

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCOlf_7BT-I

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EM2WgZeHsWc
     
  15. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #15
    I don't think the OP is in the US, so again your mileage may vary. You could equally have suggested that the OP update the firmware using a Windows machine at a friend or relative's house.

    Of course PEBCAK is the source of almost all computer issues, since they only do what a human tells them to.

    B
     
  16. GS17 macrumors member

    GS17

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    #16
    well of course I could have said that but didn't because he already tried that and crashed the pc he borrowed instaling SP3. I'm not from the US but currently live here, and a carrier is a carrier anywhere in the world, they have shops that have tech support onsite and they all run windows and have working machines. The problem is with the phone needing a new firmware, so deal with that problem, and that is usually with who ever sold you the phone.

    As to the rant he's giving on his pile of crap and windows, and having to get a new HDD and all that (well HDD fail on any OS), making the discovery of a lifetime that a Mac pc can run windows (it's one of the strongest points of buying a mac according to most apple store employees I've talked to) I don't know how he never heard of this before buying one but your are right about where the source of all computer problems lies
     
  17. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #17
    The unfortunate reality is that some things still assume/require Windows is available, and so the ability to run Windows, even if on a very occasional basis, is very useful to most Mac users. If it's not for this immediate firmware need, it may be for accessing a website that will only support IE or any number of reasons that may crop up down the line.

    Supporting the OPs need/desire to get Windows functional on their MBP is useful beyond this immediate need, and an informed user who gets advice/support/information/experiences from other users is the only way I know of avoiding PEBCAK.

    For all you know the OP lives many hours away from the nearest physical point of presence for their carrier and is doing exactly what the carrier told him to do on the phone or web.

    B
     
  18. Zaqfalcon thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    #18
    @GS17 - The problem is I need to back up the data on my phone first before I update the firmware, and the PC I used to use for this is dead, my alternative PC needs SP3 and my Mac requires the new firmware to be installed first. I wouldn't trust the people in my local telephone network provider outlet to change my battery let alone back up and update the firmware even if, and that's a bif if, they said they would do it which I doubt. I don't know what these places are like in the States but here in Australia they are simply there to make sales and provide little in the way of customer support let alone actual technical knowledge of the products they supply. As for the fact that Macs can run windows, I was vaguely aware of this but did not delve into the matter partly because I didn't expect it to be a priority to me and partly because a fear of such things as 'partitions' and 'BIOS' and such like; I know my limitations. Oh and thanks for all the patronising by the way; most insightful.

    As for PEBCAK being the source of almost all computer issues, since they only do what a human tells them to. This is assuming that the Programming human telling the computer what it is to do when the User human tells it what to do, told it what to do correctly. Clearly they did not in the case with my, and many other peoples, SP3 issues. This is the main source of complaint from Windows users. When what I tell it what to do is 'install SP3 update' as advised by Microsoft I shouldn't really first need to make sure I understand registry editing.

    @balamw - Thank you again for the time you've taken to help me it is very much appreciated.
     
  19. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

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    Aug 16, 2005
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    New England
    #19
    I definitely did not mean to imply that all or even most problems were caused by the end user. Sometimes we humans can't even design the chips to do arithmetic correctly. ;) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentium_fdiv_bug

    The source of that problem was between some chair and keyboard, but not an end user.

    Hope you get it sorted out without too many further headaches!

    B
     
  20. js81 macrumors 65816

    js81

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2008
    Location:
    KY
    #20
    That's great! I was thinking Windows told me I had 3 days to activate... 30 is even better!

    No, I see no harm in trying...

    I used to use VB for connecting to my crappy work-provided Samsung phone with its software. Worked A-OK for me in that case...
     
  21. Van W macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2009
    #21

    This is exactly what I just did. Downloaded the free Windows 7 Trial from that mydigitallife link, which was in the form of an .iso file. Then downloaded Virtualbox 3.2.4 (not 3.2.6, which is having problems), and started it up. Had to check the Virtualbox manual a few times (make sure you have the .iso file BEFORE you start), and voila! It's working.

    Low hassle, free...the only problem is that it will run out of time eventually. Very nice to know that it's there, though.
     

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