Running Windows on Mactel computers

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
I was thinking about whether to compliment my 3-year old iBook with one of those super-cheap PC laptops currently on sale for the holiday season or wait until January and buy a new Mactel iBook, and kill two birds with one stone: replace my aging iBook, and by the same token get a henceforth Windows-capable computer.



But then it dawned on me: this whole proposition of buying a Mac as a vehicle for, among other things, running Windows makes virtually no sense! Think about it for a second... Two scenarii possible:

1. running Windows or Mac OS, never both at the same time. For a while, I am pretty sure this will be the only solution available on the new Wintel Macs. Of course, you'd still have to buy a Windows license ($200 for XP Home and $300 for XP Pro). And then you'd have to restart your computer everytime you wanted to run a different OS. In this day and age of instant sleep and wake-up laptops, that's certainly not much fun.

2. running both at the same time. For this, once such a solution becomes available, you will most probably have to shell out additional cash, on top of the Microsoft tax for the Windows license, at least $100 for sure (Virtual PC on the PC goes for $130, VMWare for $300). To me this is the only viable solution for frequent and unplannable use of both (e.g. videoconferencing with my PC-using family and friends).



So you're easily looking at a $300-$400 investment just for the privilege of running Windows on your Mac! Admittedly you'll be running Windows as a first-class citizen with full performance, not something you can say about Virtual PC on Mac. But the fact remains that say had I jumped on the incredible $380 laptop offer from BestBuy this morning for Black Friday, I would have gotten a full-fledged PC laptop, probably with bundled software as well (although not as nice or powerful as a Yonah-equipped iBook).



What does everybody think? Does it still make sense to buy a separate PC to complement a Mac now that Wintel Macs are almost here?
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 80
    cygsidcygsid Posts: 210member
    I just realized that my logic is somewhat flawed above: Microsoft will probably offer a VirtualPC+Windows bundle just like it does now, that will bring the cost of the combination of the two substantially down (Virtual PC for Mac with Windows XP Pro currently goes for $250).
  • Reply 2 of 80
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,142member
    For reasons of convenience it's far better to have $400 worth of software to turn a Mac into a Mac and windows computer than to buy a cheapo laptop.



    Try managing accessories for two laptops and you'll quickly find that convenience will trump all here.
  • Reply 3 of 80
    gargar Posts: 1,201member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by hmurchison

    For reasons of convenience it's far better to have $400 worth of software to turn a Mac into a Mac and windows computer than to buy a cheapo laptop.



    Try managing accessories for two laptops and you'll quickly find that convenience will trump all here.




    try buying software for both OSes... updates and your monthly virusscanner update... agony



    convenience and windows
  • Reply 4 of 80
    cygsidcygsid Posts: 210member
    I guess another thing is the question of hardware support: will MS support Windows running on a Mactel, and will Apple use standard-enough components that Windows will just work out of the box or at least only require minor and readily available driver upgrades. I hope the answer will be yes to both!



    I wish there was more coverage of this topic of being able to run Windows on Mactels. It doesn't seem to be drawing as much interest as I think it merits so far.
  • Reply 5 of 80
    Quote:

    Originally posted by cygsid

    I guess another thing is the question of hardware support: will MS support Windows running on a Mactel, and will Apple use standard-enough components that Windows will just work out of the box or at least only require minor and readily available driver upgrades. I hope the answer will be yes to both!



    I wish there was more coverage of this topic of being able to run Windows on Mactels. It doesn't seem to be drawing as much interest as I think it merits so far.




    Well from what some of the Apple execs have said, they wont discourage people from running windows on the new macintels, so that right there says that win will work fine its just getting the drivers installed I would imagine that will be the most headache, maybe..
  • Reply 6 of 80
    As interesting as the idea is...to most people, dual-booting will be out of the question for many reasons:



    Cost of buying Windows

    Hassle of installing Windows (unless Apple makes it super-easy to do...slip the CD into the drive and install Windows)

    Hassle of booting into other OS



    Unless Apple+Intel bring out the much-talked-about virtualization that simply allows flipping back and forth between OS X and Windows...it's hard to imagine people restarting their computer to use an app or play a game on the other OS. You'd have to save all your work...and close whatever websites you were browsing, whatever conversations you were having on iChat, whatever tune you were playing in iTunes.



    It'd be like going back to the stone ages (or back to the OS 9/OS X transition.) No doubt some will do it...but most people, especially the average kind (you know, the ones that don't know much about computers and don't care) are buying a Mac with only one thing in mind, using it. They don't really know what an OS is or that you can put several different OSes onto a computer.



    But then again, if a lot of geeks know Windows can be installed on a Mac, this is a free boost for Apple. I'm sure there are a number of people that were curious about the Mac and will be willing to buy one knowing that they can install Windows on it. If only 3% of the Windows world decides that they'll buy a Mac because they'll be able to have both OS X and Windows on the same computer, the Mac market share will have almost doubled instantly.



    I suppose the previous paragraph sounds like it's going against everything I said earlier...but it doesn't really. It's the psychological factor that comes with the Mac being able to run OS X and Windows...in no time, most people will simply boot into OS X and stay with it and hardly ever look back at Windows. Others will boot into Windows and hardly ever look back at OS X...but Apple will still have won in the short term.



    A sudden burst in market share and mind share will allow Apple to grow even further. Sure, the ones that stayed with Windows on their Macintels won't be buying another Mac (or maybe they will if they like the hardware) but Apple will have pulled in enough people that do care about the Mac by then.



    I admit this sounds like an optimistic prediction, but seeing how Jobs/Apple have been putting the puzzle together, I have no doubt this will happen.
  • Reply 7 of 80
    cygsidcygsid Posts: 210member
    Exactly Kim Kap Sol! That was my whole point in making the posting.

    In fact it's not just what you call "average users" who wouldn't want to dual-boot. People like me or you probably wouldn't want to do that too often either. simply because as you said it would be like going back to the "stone age".



    Quote:

    Originally posted by kim kap sol

    As interesting as the idea is...to most people, dual-booting will be out of the question for many reasons:



    Cost of buying Windows

    Hassle of installing Windows (unless Apple makes it super-easy to do...slip the CD into the drive and install Windows)

    Hassle of booting into other OS



    Unless Apple+Intel bring out the much-talked-about virtualization that simply allows flipping back and forth between OS X and Windows...it's hard to imagine people restarting their computer to use an app or play a game on the other OS. You'd have to save all your work...and close whatever websites you were browsing, whatever conversations you were having on iChat, whatever tune you were playing in iTunes.



    It'd be like going back to the stone ages (or back to the OS 9/OS X transition.) No doubt some will do it...but most people, especially the average kind (you know, the ones that don't know much about computers and don't care) are buying a Mac with only one thing in mind, using it. They don't really know what an OS is or that you can put several different OSes onto a computer.




  • Reply 8 of 80
    a_greera_greer Posts: 4,594member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by gar

    try buying software for both OSes... updates and your monthly virusscanner update... agony



    convenience and windows




    If you use virtual PC for that one peice of software that isnt on Mac, and nothing else, allow nothing else through windows firewall, then you do not need any anti spy/virus/crapware tools.



    And if you buy AV tools on Mac, you are a sucker, and this bottle of snake oil will cure anything that ails' ye'
  • Reply 9 of 80
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,142member
    I don't think that we'll see widespread dual boot Macintels but for the people that need to support a few PC apps they will indeed go through the hassle of dual booting.



    With VMware like virtualition you would have the option to switch the whole OS or even run Linux or Windows in its own window. It can be pretty damn transparent.



    I'm pretty sure that both Apple and Microsoft know that virtualization is the future and that the way we think of Mac, PC and Linux boxen is going to go away in prolly 5 short years.



    Once the 3 major OS all have Intel hardware as the common denominator it then becomes a race to see who's OS functions the best or some people may run all 3 depending on if Apple opens up to other hardware.



    Intel is rapidly working on taking more and more hardware and virtualizing it. In 5 years you'll have SMP quad core CPU. Thus you could devote 4 cores to one OS and the other 4 cores to the other. Even the GPU may support virtualization so that two displays could be run with different graphic settings and applications accessing them.



    Today's system is archaic balkanization. Computing truly evolves when there are many players competing. Apple moving to Intel signifies the starters pistol.
  • Reply 10 of 80
    I understand what you're saying...and I agree that virtualization will be something good for some.



    But is it the future? Maybe for large companies but not for home computers. I keep hearing how virtualization will make the experience almost transparent...but it won't. You'd still be running 3 completely different OSes in their own virtual space and there won't be an easy way to share objects between them (be it text, files, or whatever).



    Yes, some will go through the hassle of dual-booting or even use Intel's new virtualization feature. But most won't...the idea of running 2 or 3 OSes concurently is pretty sweet from a computer geek's perspective but pretty lame to everyone else. The flow of work will be broken when switching from one OS to another. The experience will definitely not feel seamless.



    If it's the future, it's pretty shitty one and a step backward, IMO.



    Most people don't even know how to download Firefox or that there's an alternative to Internet Explorer on PCs...how are they gonna figure this virtualization thing out?
  • Reply 11 of 80
    Windows will be pretty easy to install come Vista. I installed a Beta and all I did was choose a username and a volume where to install.



    So that's not a reason to avoid Windows when MacTels come out. Dual-booting is inconvenient because sometimes you want to run your OS X apps at the same time as you run that lonely Windows/Linux app. Dual-booting is just... time-consuming.



    Although I would agree it would be much faster than VPC.
  • Reply 12 of 80
    wmfwmf Posts: 1,164member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Gene Clean

    Windows will be pretty easy to install come Vista. I installed a Beta and all I did was choose a username and a volume where to install.



    That's assuming you have unpartitioned disk space, right? Which Mactels won't have. You'll either have to attach another hard disk or shrink your HFS+ partition to make room for Windows. Does PartitionMagic support HFS+? I would guess not.
  • Reply 13 of 80
    chuckerchucker Posts: 5,089member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by wmf

    That's assuming you have unpartitioned disk space, right? Which Mactels won't have. You'll either have to attach another hard disk or shrink your HFS+ partition to make room for Windows. Does PartitionMagic support HFS+? I would guess not.



    Which begs the question what kind of partition format Mactels will use.



    What does the DTK do?
  • Reply 14 of 80
    justinjustin Posts: 403member
    I think Gene's and Cysid's point succinctly captures the dilemma: dual-booting is inconvenient. Like a dual toaster-washing machine, the possibly of frying one's underwear comes to mind.



    Why would an Apple user want the armpit of England lurking in their clean Mac? What would make anyone want to run an unstable, crash-prone, intensive maintenance Windows OS which runs slower relative to its processor speed than an Apple due to excessive wind and bloating in its system?



    I've been asking myself why I've been doing it for years and I really can't answer. The most consistent reason is that I've wanted a stable OS with the affordable Windows software capability.



    Now that I've migrated to an Apple for 2 months, it's ironical to hear Apple users 'want' a Windows system
  • Reply 15 of 80
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Justin

    I think Gene's and Cysid's point succinctly captures the dilemma: dual-booting is inconvenient. Like a dual toaster-washing machine, the possibly of frying one's underwear comes to mind.



    Why would an Apple user want the armpit of England lurking in their clean Mac? What would make anyone want to run an unstable, crash-prone, intensive maintenance Windows OS which runs slower relative to its processor speed than an Apple due to excessive wind and bloating in its system?



    I've been asking myself why I've been doing it for years and I really can't answer. The most consistent reason is that I've wanted a stable OS with the affordable Windows software capability.



    Now that I've migrated to an Apple for 2 months, it's ironical to hear Apple users 'want' a Windows system




    Virtual PC runs in its' own address space. It does not interfere with MacOSX. In fact some folks have taken their Macs loaded up Virtual PC and ran Windows on the internet without virus protection on and firewall off, the "PC" was compromised in minutes, OSX just kept right on running. For those people that need software that only runs on the PC this is a boon, they get great speed and the stability of OSX. Gaming may get a huge boost as well.
  • Reply 16 of 80
    justinjustin Posts: 403member
    Brandon - your thoughts echo the concerns I have about a disabled (or disabling) Windows OS limping along a superior Mac OS system.



    I wouldn't want to compromise my Mac that way. Maybe that's the Cartesian in me who'd rather run a separate Windows OS on a PC alongside a Mac, rather than end up with the above scenario.
  • Reply 17 of 80
    cygsidcygsid Posts: 210member
    Actually, Justin, not to flame you or anything, but that wouldn't be Cartesian at all... that would just be irrational



    Quote:

    Originally posted by Justin

    Brandon - your thoughts echo the concerns I have about a disabled (or disabling) Windows OS limping along a superior Mac OS system.



    I wouldn't want to compromise my Mac that way. Maybe that's the Cartesian in me who'd rather run a separate Windows OS on a PC alongside a Mac, rather than end up with the above scenario.




  • Reply 18 of 80
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Justin

    Brandon - your thoughts echo the concerns I have about a disabled (or disabling) Windows OS limping along a superior Mac OS system.



    I wouldn't want to compromise my Mac that way. Maybe that's the Cartesian in me who'd rather run a separate Windows OS on a PC alongside a Mac, rather than end up with the above scenario.




    What scenario?? You run Windows, set Windows firewall to block everything, no Internet, turn on all Virus protection, and that may be the last time you have to administrate your Windows. To me that is much better than buying a laptop and having to keep it running only so you can get one or two programs that you could not get on the Mac. Put it like this, with VPC, on a Mac you are safe. With a PC, as long as you can use without ever connecting it to the internet then use it. PS - where are you seeing this big speed difference from PC to Mac? While I'm forced to use a PC at work I prefer the Mac, and I own a piece of the Apple or APPL But I don't see that much of a speed difference between the Mac and the PC. I don't use the PC for everything that I do the Mac. Are you sure that your PC does not have a virus? Or has the DLL files been compromised? There should not be that much of a speed difference. Stability and multitasking and security are areas where you could see a difference, maybe you are multitasking allot. Where do you see that difference, you have me curious.
  • Reply 19 of 80
    Quote:

    Originally posted by wmf

    [B]That's assuming you have unpartitioned disk space, right?



    The claim was that Windows wasn't easy to install. I said that the Windows Installer has gotten much easier. Partitions are an entirely different story.



    Quote:

    Which Mactels won't have.



    Obviously.



    Quote:

    You'll either have to attach another hard disk



    Not necessary.



    Quote:

    or shrink your HFS+ partition to make room for Windows.



    People are doing this for years now. Not that hard.



    Quote:

    Does PartitionMagic support HFS+? I would guess not.



    It doesn't matter what Partition Magic supports. Windows Installer will see the disk, and you will have the option of creating a new partition. You will simply tell the Windows Installer to shrink your HardDisk from X to Y. Windows will shrink it, and then re-format it to NTFS.



    It manages to do that with ext2/3 partitions, and even ReiserFS, so I don't see why it wouldn't manage to do that with HFS/+.
  • Reply 20 of 80
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    No one's mentioned WINE? I'm surprised. It would let you run many (most) Windows apps, excluding high-end games, without ever having to even boot Windows inside a VirtualPC-esque space.



    It's an idea.
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