XP or Window 7 Virtualization on MBA?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by evanb, Mar 3, 2011.

  1. evanb macrumors newbie

    Feb 25, 2008
    Santa Monica
    I have just ordered an MBA Ultimate. I need to run a few specific Windows applications for work. Currently I run them on my 2007 MBP with Windows XP through VMWare Fusion. I will continue to use Fusion on the MBS

    Which Windows program will work better on the MBA through Fusion- Window XP or 7? The Window programs that I use are legal applications along with an older version of MS Word for Windows. I will not be doing any gaming, video editing, or photo related actives on the Windows side. My goal in choosing my Windows version is to make these programs run as quickly and smoothly as possible.
  2. GNice, Mar 3, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2011

    GNice macrumors 6502

    Aug 7, 2007
    You ask a great question. I just got a 13" Ultimate. Unfortunately, I HAVE to go with Windows 7 in Fusion as it's the corporate standard now at my employer. I'm guessing XP would run faster, but I don't have that option.:(

    EDIT: Your question made me curious so I did some surfing and some are claiming Windows 7 actually runs faster...
  3. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    I'd go with Windows 7. XP might be slightly faster, but Windows 7 is very resource efficient (by Windows standards), and it runs fine in Parallels Desktop on my MacBook Air (2.13GHz late-2010 model). I use it for Quicken 2011 and Open Office.

    Note that Apple provides Boot Camp drivers only for Windows 7 on the new MacBook Air. If you want to install Windows on Boot Camp, keep that in mind. Parallels and Fusion can handle XP since they create "virtual" hardware, but I'd stick with Windows 7. If nothing more, you'll stay up to date. For instance, XP won't run newer Windows software like the forthcoming IE 9.
  4. neteng101 macrumors 65816

    Jan 7, 2009
    Wait - why aren't you using Open Office in OSX instead?
  5. MJedi macrumors 6502a


    Dec 16, 2010
    While it's true that XP will eventually be unsupported, since it's an older OS, won't it be less resource intensive than Windows 7 through Parallels or Fusion? Just wondering.
  6. rwlcpa macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2011
    Dallas, TX
    I've been running Windows 7 Pro (64-bit) through VMWare on my 13" MBA Ultimate since I purchased it a month ago. Aside from the simple fact that it's Windows, it has been running great this whole time. I only use it to run QuickBooks, my tax prep software, and occassionally Adobe Acrobat but I haven't run into any issues at all.
  7. dime21 macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2010
    XP is going to be supported for many years to come. Stick with XP. It's a much more stable and mature product, and is far less bloated than Seven. Windows XP is supported to run with just 300 Mhz and 64 MB of RAM! Windows Seven on the other hand requires as a bare minimum, triple the amount of CPU (1 Ghz) and sixteen times as much memory (1 GB)!!! Therefore, XP will be MUCH faster and lighter weight, particularly if you're virtualizing it.

    I'm running XP in VMware Fusion and I have no plans to "upgrade" to Vista or Seven any time soon.
  8. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    I use Office 2011 in OS X. I use Open Office in Windows 7 in case I need to open an Office file while I'm in Windows.

    XP is also completely oblivious to new technology like SSDs and does not make good use of dual-core CPUs. Windows 7 runs just fine on a MacBook Air. Under your argument, shouldn't we be using Windows 3.1 or even MS-DOS since it uses just 640K of RAM and is far less bloated than Windows?
  9. dime21 macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2010
    I think maybe you are not very familiar with virtualization products like Parallels and VMware. The underlying hardware is irrelevant and invisible to the guest OS. So things like SSD, as in your example, are not even visible to the guest OS. XP supports two CPU cores just fine. AFAIK, there is no modern Windows software that *requires* Vista or Seven. Absolutely everything will run just fine, and is fully supported on XP. Under my argument, one would run the lowest supported OS version to attain maximum performance. In the majority of cases, that is XP. If your applications do run under 3.1 or DOS, you may use that instead.
  10. KPOM, Mar 4, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2011

    KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    I'm well aware how virtualization works. My point is that Windows 7 works just fine with the "virtual" hardware that Parallels shows the OS, and it also confers advantages if you choose to use Boot Camp (I do so, and also use the Boot Camp partition within a VM).

    Windows XP recognizes two CPU cores, but its underlying code isn't optimized for it. Microsoft (and all software manufacturers) got better at writing code in the 8 years between XP and 7. Therefore, although Windows 7 may have higher minimum requirements, it also takes better advantage of hardware meeting those requirements than XP does.

    Internet Explorer 9 requires Vista or Windows 7. Expect future products coming from Redmond to require Vista or Windows 7 as well.
  11. double329 macrumors 6502

    Sep 10, 2008
    I have Win2k3 Srv and Win 7 Ultimate x64 running in my MBA 13 via Fusion. I do prefer Win2k3. It's very snappy in VM, as the matter of fact it feels faster then the real physical system. Of course, this is just office usage. It's not heavy graphic gamer usage. Win 7 doing the same thing is working pretty well also. But, I had to allocate 2GB of memory to VM for it to run well where as 1GB for Win2k3 is more than enough and very speedy. I am on Mac OS most of the time. Occasionally I need to use Win :D
  12. 2IS macrumors 68030

    Jan 9, 2011
    XP thread management handles dual cores just fine, actually.

    What exactly do you mean by XP being oblivious to SSD? No Trim support? By that logic we should all return our MBA's because OSX by that definition is also oblivious to SSD.

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