Running Windows 7 on my MacBook, it's actually not that bad...

This is hard for me to say, I’ve been a hard-core Mac user since '84, heck, I started on the Apple IIe and IIc, I was one of those hardliner “Microsoft is the enemy, Bill Gates is Satan” types, I voluntarily avoided Windows like the plague, from 3.0 to 98, I shunned it, it was “bad”, it was “evil”

Yes, I was fully enveloped in the Jobsian Reality Distortion Field…

Recently, I’ve taken a job at a local computer repair/sales shop, a little two person place, we service both Mac and PC, as well as build our own towers, so, I’ve been learning the Windows side of the industry, mainly XP to Win 7

And you know, it’s not all that bad, (well, aside from Vista, but even the Windows guy isn’t too much of a fan of Vista), in fact, Windows 7 is <choking back bile> pretty…damn…good…

Hold on, I need to go take a shower, I feel… dirty :wink:

in all seriousness, I’ve been pretty impressed with 7 on our system builds, it’s incredibly easy to install and set up, almost Mac-like, in fact, it just works, so, I decided to do an experiment with my MacBook

I grabbed a spare SATA drive, and swapped out my Mac OS drive, the spare drive was unpartitioned, completely blank, I slid in a Win7 install disc into the optical drive, powered on the 'Book and held down “C” to force boot off the optical drive

The MacBook recognized the Win7 install disc, and went through the conventional install process quite happily, upon completion, the MacBook was running at about 90% complete, missing the iSight drivers, the right-click support for the trackpad and the sound output, other than those issues, the MacBook ran Win7 just like a conventional PC, once I installed the Boot Camp driver package, the machine was running at 100%, all the “missing” features enabled

I torture tested the machine for the rest of the afternoon, Win7 was rock solid stable, unflappable, and only choked when I shut down, pulled the Win7 drive back out, put my Mac drive back in, hooked the Win7 drive up in an external USB 2.0 housing and tried to boot off the external USB 2.0 drive, no go, it flat out refused to acknowledge the presence of the drive

So, I decided to take the plunge, and used Boot Camp to partition my Mac drive into a Mac/Windows drive, and installed a fresh copy of Win7 on it, it actually feels a hair quicker than my Mac OS in actual usage (2.2GHz Core2 Duo with 2GB RAM, 250GB Western Digital Scorpio Black hard drive)

In fact, I’m posting this thread from the Win7 partition on my MacBook, so far, I haven’t seen any major flaws or glitches with 7, it still needs a little tweaking, like installing MacDrive or the HFS+ Windows driver from Snow Leopard

This way, I can force myself to learn more about the Windows side, yet still have the ability to return to the Mac OS, and I still want to find some way to set up a bootable external Win7 drive

I’m a Mac, and Windows 7 is actually a pretty nice OS…

Okay, time for the 12-hour-ish report, my first 12 hours running Win7 as the primary OS on my MacBook, from the perspective of a longtime Mac user

Stability; Rock solid so far, no BSOD or other instability issues

Malware; two ad tracking cookies detected by Spybot, but other than that, nothing

Speed; pretty quick still, makes my outdated 2.2GHz Core2 Duo seem pretty snappy, hard to believe I’m using “speedy” and “Windows” together in the same sentence, especially considering this is a 2007 vintage MacBook, a three year old laptop…

Misc; the OS itself seems rather efficient, running Mac OS, my processor cores were generally at around 8-12% activity when idle, Win7 generally is taxing the processor cores at 2-8%
I’m finding that AeroPeek is pretty darned useful, hovering over icons in the taskbar will bring up a preview icon, hovering over the preview icon brings that app forward and hides the frontmost app, click on the preview to move focus to that app, the snap-to-screen-edge web page feature that allows you to compare two web sites is useful, and is especially good to move a webpage to one side of the screen to allow access to the desktop, the “show desktop” tab in the taskbar isn’t all that useful to me yet, but I can see it being useful if you have a lot of Widge…err…Gadgets on the desktop

Minor annoyances;
When watching a DVD in Windows Media Player, if you quit the app and relaunch it, it starts over from the beginning, same if you swap DVDs to watch something different, Apple’s DVD Player app will remember where you left off and ask where you want to start from, where you left off, or from the beginning of the disc

after putting the computer to sleep by closing the lid, when the machine wakes up upon lid opening, you have to select the active user and log back in, for a single-user machine, it’s annoying, the Mac OS allows you to set the machine for single user operation

When putting the machine to sleep overnight, (hibernation?) and opening the clamshell the next day, the machine stays asleep until the power button is pressed, and even then, you still have to log in, the Mac OS will wake from sleep/hibernation when the clamshell is opened and go right back to the OS

Overall, 7 is very close in operation to Mac OS X, there are some minor differences and annoyances, but there’s bound to be a learning curve transitioning from one OS to the other

Cool, thanks for posting this. I’m hoping to buy a MacBook soon, but I could really use Windows 7 at times to run Visual Studio, etc. I’m considering getting their largest hard drive just so I can have a decent sized partition for both.

From what I’ve read, most Windows users don’t really like WMP. I like it - but only as far as 10. I don’t like 11. But I’ve never used it for playing DVDs because it seems to suck at that. I prefer a dedicated DVD player app like PowerDVD - which does what you describe Apple’s DVD Player app doing.

Gotta remember that while MS tries to fill the OS with pre-installed apps you can use out-of-the-box, it’s pretty inadequate compared to what Apple gives you. Windows users, IMHO, don’t expect all of the included apps to be brilliant or to even exist. They actually expect to load in new software.

I have Bootcamp and Windows on my desktop and my laptop macs; I really don’t have any complaints with it. At this point, buying a PC seems a bit foolish to me, because a mac will do both, and PC will only do one.

To expand on what ZipperJJ says, here’s a site with various freeware apps you can tryout and see if there’s something you like - link. They seem to like KM Player.

Also, you probably know this, but you’ll want to make sure Windows Firewall is turned on in the Control Panel. Also, you will want an antivirus program beyond Spybot. I use Microsoft Security Essentials because I like the integration with Windows. It has real time protection and then once a week I do a full scan. A lot of people also like AVG and Avast. Those are all free too and very well regarded. link

How has the battery life been? I installed Windows 7, like, a Boot Camp or so ago when it wasn’t fully supported, and while it was easy enough to use (except that the trackpad was too sensitive and I missed multitouch) my laptop got really, really hot and the battery life went to hell. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was just because things weren’t completely mature then. Have you noticed any difference in heat/battery life between Win 7 and OSX?

As far as trackpad scrolling sensitivity, I thought it was too sensitive as well, I went into the Mouse control panel, found that the “number of lines to scroll per click of the mouse wheel” was set too high (3 lines per click), I set it back to one line per “click” and the scrolling is now controllable

Battery life seems about the same as the Mac OS, about 3-4 hours of “real world” use, the machine itself seems to run cooler in Win7 than in the Mac OS

Cool! (literally, I hope…)

I bought my MacBook (first Mac) at the same time I bought Windows 7 figuring I could use the Mac’s pretty aluminium case while retaining all the [something] of Windows. Then I fell in love with OSX (I like it so much better for web programming) and was thinking about deleting the Boot Camp partition. But, if the trackpad issues are fixed and the battery life seems better… hey, what the heck.

Adding in the ability to run Windows so easily was a stroke of genius on somebody’s part.

Okay, I unplugged the AC power when I made my last post upthread, and as of now, got my first low battery alert (10% capacity remaining) a few seconds ago

I’ve had a DVD running in the background, had the screen at full brightness, and was surfing the web during this test, so, with a heavy load, I get about 2 hours of life per charge, basically the same as running the Mac OS and playing a DVD

This is a good security feature IMHO.

It’s an option in OSX. You know, the OS where Teh Steve doesn’t allow users to make choices.

It’s also an option in Windows 7. Control Panel, All, Power Options, System Settings, Don’t require a password.

It’s now been almost two weeks, and I’ve been running Win7 almost exclusively as my primary OS, only booting into the Mac OS when I want to watch some of my NuWho episodes that are on the Mac partition

So far, 7 has been rock-solid stable, no crashes, instabilities or strange behavior, the only antimalware apps I have running are MS Security Essentials, Super Anti Spyware and Spybot, I have not encountered a single virus, trojan, or piece of spyware, any tracking cookies I encountered only lasted long enough to be detected by SAS and to have their address added to my edited Hosts file, since adding the addresses to the Hosts file, they have not returned

I’ve begun to customize the look-and-feel of the UI, going for an industrial “dark” theme that matches the black casing of my MacBook (I have that picture of the Icelandic volcano eruption with lightning as the wallpaper), I’ve set the preferences to not ask for a password when logging back in (I’m the only one that uses this machine), and have set up a User level account for my primary account, keeping my Admin account on lockdown until needed

I’ve discovered that Windows Media Center is actually a reasonably decent media controller/player, and I especially like the Internet TV feature, to catch up on some old eps of Star Trek TOS

Battery life; playing a DVD or other high-drain activity, about 2 hours, 2.5 tops, general computer use (websurfing, e-mail/etc…) 3-4 hours, basically the same as in the Mac OS

I’ve also had to rethink some of my perceptions about Windows (or at the very least, Win 7), based mainly on the misinformation Apple and Mac Fanaticism tended to generate…

for example;
Myth; “If you connect a Windows PC to the internet, it will become riddled with malware within minutes, even if you don’t do anything, don’t even touch the machine”
Fact; With Win7, that myth has been BUSTED, at least on this machine, I don’t engage in “high risk” computing, i.e. visiting “The Dark Side of the Web”, and therefore, my Win7 partition has been just as malware-free as my Mac partition

Myth; Windows is a buggy, unstable, crash-prone mess, which crashes if you look at it funny
Fact; once again, on THIS machine, Win7 has been as stable, if not more so, than my Mac OS, not only is it rock solid stable, it actually taxes the processors slightly less than the Mac OS

If I was starting over from scratch, and didn’t have so much invested, both hardware, software, and knowledge-wise on the Mac side of things, and had to make the Mac/PC decision again, it’d be a very tough decision, comparing Mac OS 10.5.x/10.6.x to Win7, they both do everything the average computer user wants to do, they both “just work”

Timely update, MacTech - yesterday I built a new computer for myself, and installed Win7 64bit. It was painless - it found drivers for everything; I started pulling components out of boxes at about nine, and was done by three.
And I mean done - my favourite programs installed, bookmarks and emails recovered from my backup, all devices going good, all networking going fine.
As an example, my new motherboard didn’t have a parallel port, and we’ve got a old but marvellous HP LaserJet 4000. So I went to the local electronics shop and got a USB to parallel adapter. I plugged it in, and 7 automagically detected the cable and the printer, downloaded the drivers - maybe three minutes from plugin to functioning perfectly. And I didn’t do anything.
The closest thing to a problem I had was, oddly, ITunes (I have an Ipod Touch). I’d backed up my library to DVD (as that’s the only way ITunes will do a backup), and while the restore went fine with two of the disks, one wouldn’t work. Fortunately I’d backed up the raw music as well, so I could add them in with only minimal inconvenience.
Now, I’m the first to say “Use the OS you’re comfortable with and used to”. I’ll (at most) poke Apple fans a bit, referring to Apple computers as ‘lifestyle accessories, not computers’, but I try to avoid that as well. You’ve heard it before, and I imagine Apple fans are tired of it, and a bit defensive as well.
But with Win 7…it just works, and without the draconian limitations to hardware.

My boss is an Apple fan, and recently he put Win7 on one of the work computers. He’s confessed, rather shamefacedly, that he likes 7 quite a bit. So don’t think you’re alone, MacTech!
Come to the Dark Side, we have games!

I am a longtime Windows user, because I like playing games. I avoided the entire era of Vista, running XP on my home machine from it’s initial release to earlier this year, when I purchased a machine with Win7 Pro. I’ve been impressed with Win7.

That said, I felt XP was very stable, rarely crashing, and if properly secured, not that susceptible to internet infection. ( I got Vundo once. I fixed it and then added some extra security.)

Another one who skipped Vista. My XP machine died the month that Vista came out; I’d heard so much bad about Vista that I saved up and bought a Mac. Now I run Win7 in a virtual machine on my iMac without problems.