Windows laptop to Macbook for my business? Advice please!

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by scoobyd, Jan 7, 2009.

  1. scoobyd macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2009
    #1
    Hi all

    I've long admired the Macbooks/Pro's and was waiting for the new ones to come out until I decided on which laptop to go for next as my current IBM Thinkpad that has served me well is 3 years old now and in need of upgrading.

    If I do end up having to stick with a Windows laptop then I would most probably go for another Thinkpad as I think they're one of the most solid machines out there and the keyboard is the best I've ever used. Vista though has been a pain and has slowed things down considerably, should have stuck with XP. But I'm quite keen to experience this whole 'it just works' philosophy of the Macbooks/Pros.

    My main concern on the Apple side though is whether or not it would be suitable for my work that I do on it. With personal use I mainly just use it for surfing the net, emails, music, pics, videos etc etc. Never play games and don't really intend to. But I also use it for work which is the majority of the day and most days and as a financial adviser there's several programmes that I have on my laptop that are used on a daily basis such as quotation and resource systems. I've spoken to the technical departments of most of these programmes and they've confirmed to me they will only run on Windows. But then I'm aware I can also run Windows on a Mac so could still have them on there but would just need to switch between the two OS's.

    The other things I use every day for work are Outlook for email and Calendar (synched with colleagues, meeting invitations, business contacts etc. I have both my personal account and work account set up on Outlook and it's crucial for work), Word and generally all aspects of Office 2007.

    My company also uses Microsoft Exchange Server in the office and for our email which I connect to wirelessly in the office. I have shortcuts to the office server on my laptop which are used daily for accessing client folders etc, passing folders and files between other colleagues on the server, printing to the office printer/scanner/fax which is on the server etc. Then if working from home I have a VPN connection for accessing the office server from anywhere. I had a brief chat with the I.T company that look after our office/network/server but as they only cover Windows machines they weren't able to help much. They did huff and puff a bit though and said that I could have issues accessing the server and printer, networking etc with the Mac. Also that I'd be on my own in terms of support and that the safe option would just be to buy a new Windows laptop. Does anyone else use their Mac for these purposes or know if there could be any issues?

    From what I've read one option could be to use Boot Camp and just boot into Windows while doing my work and then boot into OSX for personal use. That's not such an ideal solution though. The ideal would be that OSX was able to do pretty much everything that I do now so that I very rarely have to go over to Windows. From what I've googled and read so far though this isn't looking like it will work like that simply though sadly.

    Hopefully some of the people here who are knowledgable on Macbooks can advise me on the above! No matter how great the Mac's are if it won't be able to do what I use it for the majority of the time as well as my current laptop does then I guess I'll just have to accept that a new Windows laptop will be best for me.

    Thanks in advance!

    Dan.
     
  2. BlueRevolution macrumors 603

    BlueRevolution

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #2
    If you need Windows software for your work, you should do your work on a PC. Dual-booting is a stopgap solution. If you're going to be running Windows on it, why pay the premium for Mac hardware?

    On the other hand, your applications may run in CrossOver and will certainly run in Parallels Desktop. There's a speed hit, especially in Parallels, but if they aren't particularly resource-intensive, this may be a viable option.

    As you've noticed, your IT people won't like you very much if they're expected to support a Mac. My work won't even let me use Firefox.

    You may run into some problems playing on a Windows network. Microsoft Exchange I think is workable, network printer shouldn't present a problem, VPN is a non-issue. However, these will be more work to set up on your Mac and day-to-day use will be more difficult without your IT department standing behind you.

    Just some food for thought. Personally, I don't think a Mac is the answer in your case. The point of Macs is the lack of headache, and you may be looking at more headache instead.
     
  3. MooneyFlyer macrumors 65816

    MooneyFlyer

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    Location:
    Boston
    #3
    I'm in nearly a similar situation to you. I gave up my beloved X41 in October, went off the reservation and bought a new Macbook, then called my IT guy and said "so, now what?" I basically got the same reaction that you did -- good luck, you are on your own. He's not unhappy about it -- he just doesn't have a Mac to support me with. There are 3 people in the company (of 35) that have done this I guess.

    I don't have the requirement to run Windows programs very often but I use VMWare Fusion for the rare time that I need to. As long as your programs run under that, you are fine. Windows and OS X coexist very nicely. I find that to be a really good app. (Keep in mind that you do have to install Windows on it which means you need an XP disk and key). I don't use / have never used Bootcamp -- but I would say that switching back and forth would seem very painful since you need to reboot)

    The rest of my use model is mostly productivity tools, etc. I was able to get Mac Office 2008 using our site license and the tools are generally compatible.

    Entourage is no Outlook but it does have most of the same functionality. The calendar sharing works fine / etc. It did take me a while to get it all up and running. The editor is much worse than Outlook/Word IMHO but it's not that big of a deal.

    Excel calculates dates slightly differently for documents that originate on the Mac (there's a well documented solution to this so that you can avoid it). I didn't know that going in and it took me a while to figure out what was going on. For documents that start on the PC or that you setup properly on your Mac this will not be an issue for you. (One thing that made me insane for the first month was the fact that F2 is not "edit this cell" -- it's Command-U on a Mac (maybe there's a way to map the keys, I don't know).

    There a few of those muscle memory things that you'll have to retrain on.

    I've had no problems with printers / etc. Most HP printers have the Apple networking stuff on them and "just work."

    It is slightly more painful to use a Mac in a pure Windows/Office environment but I've been doing it since October. You have to want it :). My colleagues cannot tell the difference. Supposedly the next version of OS X will have better support for Exchange Server through Mail, iCal, etc. and I'm really looking forward to that.

    All-in-all I'm happy I made the switch.

    Feel free to contact me directly with any questions.
     
  4. scoobyd thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2009
    #4
    Thanks for the replies so far. I've also found out today that a lot of the websites that I have to use for various mortgage lenders and insurance companies only run on Internet Explorer. In particular the ones where you need to submit business online through them.

    So this would mean either logging onto IE via boot camp or using something such as VMWare.

    Sadly I'm starting to think that the argument of sticking with a Windows laptop is looking stronger no matter how much I actually want a Mac!
     
  5. MooneyFlyer macrumors 65816

    MooneyFlyer

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    Location:
    Boston
    #5
    That is a bummer. The reason that I installed VMWare was primarily for IE access to a few websites as well -- so I can understand that. But, I don't have to do it daily.

    Good luck either way.
     
  6. BlueRevolution macrumors 603

    BlueRevolution

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #6
    Well, if it's an arbitrary decision on their part, you should be able to circumvent the restriction easily enough. Go into the Safari preferences, go to Advanced, and select "Show Develop menu in menu bar". Now go into the newly-enabled Develop menu, go to User Agent, and choose Internet Explorer 7.0. That should fool the site into thinking you're running IE on Windows.
     
  7. scoobyd thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2009
    #7
    Why do things just get more confusing the more you research them?! Been looking around tonight and as mentioned in my original post after having owned ThinkPads for about the last 6 years it's the only Windows laptop I would really consider getting as a replacement as I've never had a problem with one and they're good, tough, reliable machines. Naturally there's a price to pay for that though and they're not cheap.

    Basically there's not much of a price difference between say a ThinkPad T500/T61p and a 2.4Ghz Macbook Pro. Especially as a friend of mine can get an 8% discount at Apple through his company.

    So then I started thinking this. If I can get either laptop for very similar money if I was to go for the Macbook would this not technically give me two machines in one? i.e I could use it exactly as I would a ThinkPad by booting into Windows and working away there as usual. But then I'd also have the added bonus of also having OSX on there as well to be able to use for anything I may want to do at anytime.

    Would a Macbook run Windows via Boot Camp exactly as it would do on any Windows laptop? Or could there still be potential issues/frustrations/problems?

    Only if I were to get a ThinkPad I'd just be using Windows. But potentially with a Macbook I could have the best of both worlds? I understand this argument doesn't stack up too great if you're paying a hefty premium for a Mac but as in this case I wouldn't be is there a method to my madness here?!!

    Thanks again!
     
  8. kastenbrust macrumors 68030

    kastenbrust

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    Location:
    North Korea
    #8
    you can install Internet Explorer on Mac's too you know.
     
  9. finnschi macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2008
    Location:
    Hamburg, Germany
    #9
    Your works seems to be Windows Dependant.. so your best choich is to either go with a mac for design and then use windows with bootcamp,... or get another Thinkpad , thinkpads are awesome anyways.. I think even better build QUALITY than Apple... its the #1 Business laptop in my eyes... But also consider that a nicer looking mashine like the macbook , will draw attention to you in meetings and customer visitings... :D


    at the end Stick with a nice thinkpad and you won't regret it! you don't want to mess around with paralles..


    also just btw Entourage = Outlook.. so you can use exange and all your outlook stuff with that...
     
  10. mAc-warrior macrumors member

    mAc-warrior

    Joined:
    May 11, 2004
    #10
    YES! Absolutely. A Mac running Windows through Boot Camp is exactly the same as a PC running Windows. You could use Windows exclusively for work, and use the Macbook Pro exactly the same as you would the Thinkpad. Then, when you get home you can switch back to OS X for personal worry-free computing.

    If the price is the same this is a complete no-brainer to me.

    --mAc
     
  11. scoobyd thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2009
    #11
    kastenbrust - I wasn't aware that you could use Internet Explorer on OSX? In fact from having a look on google I'm certain that you can't.

    A friend of mine has a Macbook so I'm meeting him tonight and we're going to take it to my office to see how far we can get with things. He only has OSX on his though, no Windows, so won't be able to check out the viability of Boot Camp etc but will be interesting to see what OSX can and can't do.

    If mAc-warrior is right though and a Macbook Pro running Windows in Boot Camp would show absolutely no disadvantage to me than running Windows on a ThinkPad then this could potentially be the answer for me. Because if there's not a lot in it price wise I may as well still go for the Mac, I'd then have to run it all day in Windows but then when not working I can boot up in OSX and enjoy all of the advantages of that for most of my personal stuff.
     
  12. MooneyFlyer macrumors 65816

    MooneyFlyer

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    Location:
    Boston
    #12
    Old versions of OS X had Mac IE 5.5 - useless. I tried a number of ways to get IE to run in OS X and finally resorted to Fusion.

    I was unable to use the Develop->User Agent setting to work with most of the sites that I use that require IE.
     
  13. BlueRevolution macrumors 603

    BlueRevolution

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #13
    No, you can't. Microsoft discontinued their Mac version of Internet Explorer, and thank God. Not only did it behave differently from every other web browser on the planet, as is traditional for Internet Explorer, it also behaved differently from Internet Explorer for Windows.
     
  14. mAc-warrior macrumors member

    mAc-warrior

    Joined:
    May 11, 2004
    #14
    http://www.apple.com/macosx/features/bootcamp.html

    While I do not run Windows on my MBP (no need for it) I have seen it done through Boot Camp on numerous other Macs.

    When booted into Windows the Macbook is a completely native Windows machine. There is absolutely nothing different about running Windows on a Mac using Boot Camp than running Windows on any other PC you can buy. You need a full Windows license to install Windows, and installation takes place in exactly the same fashion as it would on any other hardware. All the Mac hardware features are supported including all networking, USB, Firewire, and audio interfaces. Again, Windows on a Macbook Pro will behave in exactly the same way it would on identical PC hardware (because the hardware is, in fact, exactly the same).

    --mAc
     
  15. ikermalli macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2008
    #15
    If you're going to install windows through bootcamp, parallels, etc. make sure you have a good size hard drive for things like documents, copies, windows, OS X, drivers, utilities, etc. I think 250 GB should be fine though if you don't expect to use too much HDD space.
     
  16. BlueRevolution macrumors 603

    BlueRevolution

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    Jul 26, 2004
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    #16
    Oh, in supplement to the discussion of Internet Explorer, I should mention that Internet Explorer is one of the applications explicitly supported by CrossOver Mac.
     
  17. kastenbrust macrumors 68030

    kastenbrust

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    North Korea
    #17
    when i said Internet Explorer is available for mac i meant on crossover mac, thats how i use it, and winamp too.
     

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