My MacBook Pro Experience - Day 5

My MacBook Pro Experience - Day 5

Summary: It's day 5 of my MacBook experience - time to see if I can get Windows XP and Windows Vista running on that sucker!

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TOPICS: Windows
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It's day 5 of my MacBook experience - time to see if I can get Windows XP and Windows Vista running on that sucker!

For this experiment I downloaded Apple BootCamp and Parallels for Mac.  I was going to use BootCamp to get XP on the MacBook and Parallels for Windows Vista RTM.

Parallels is good - BootCamp was a different matterIf you want to see what these applications looks like, I've created a gallery of images which you can view here.

ParallelsSince BootCamp involved creating partitions and such, and I didn't want to run the risk of making a mess of things, I decided to start off using Parallels for Mac (I started off using build 1970).

I've only been using Parallels for Mac since last night but I'm impressed by how quick, easy and reliable this program seems to be.  It's dead easy to install and the wizard-style makes the job of installing the guest OS simple.  Installing Parallels took about a minute and I had Vista installed on the MacBook Pro in about 25 minutes. 

[poll id=66] 

Vista worked well within Parallels.  I didn't have the Aero interface but that's because of the graphics driver used by Parallels for Mac. 

With that working, I decided to upgrade Parallels for Mac to the latest RC build (build 3120).  This adds a number of new features, but there was one in particular that I wanted to try out - this is called Coherence.  This gives you the ability to run Windows applications outside of the virtual PC windows you usually view them through.  This way they look and act more like regular applications.

ParallelsThe upgrade worked well but there's a cautionary part to this tale.  When I fired up Windows Vista again after the upgrade I was prompted to reinstall Parallel Tools (these are a set of tools and drivers for the guest OS).  I did this and rebooted Vista - to a black screen.  Few more reboots resulted in the same experience.  Rather then mess about trying to fix Windows I just repaired the install and things went well.  I suggest that if you're planning on carrying out a Parallels upgrade to the new version that you uninstall Parallel Tools from the guest OS first. 

I have to admit that I have mixed feelings about the Coherence feature.  It makes the desktop feel cluttered and confused and removed that idea of a virtual PC running within the physical one.  I'm pretty sure that it's just as safe working this way, only that it feels weird doing so.  I've been using VMware for some time now to handle some dangerous packages and the idea of removing the frame from around the virtual PC makes me feel more exposed.

ParallelsBut overall, Parallels for Mac is very sweet.  It feels a lot like VMware, a application that I'm very familiar with, and this helps a lot.  It feels very fast and responsive, and the applications feels solid.  I feel like I've only scratched the surface with it but I hope to play more with it over the next few weeks.

BootCamp was a different matter.  Installation of BootCamp was easy and installing XP was, well, just like installing XP.  BootCamp even created a drivers disc for me to use within Windows.  But the problems started once I had XP installed.  First off, how do you eject the XP disc out of the drive in order to put in the drivers disc?  The keyboard-based eject button is a no-go and there’s no other eject button on the MacBook.  No problems, I thought, I'll just fire up Windows Explorer, right-click on the DVD drive and select eject.  Well, I would have done that if I could get the right-click to work on the trackpad.  BootCampTo get around this I went into Control Panel, activated the Mouse applet and switched the primary and secondary buttons on the mouse.  This let me eject Windows XP and get the drivers installed.  This, I hoped, would fix the trackpad.  It didn't.  I was still stuck with a single mouse button.  I could have attached a separate mouse to the rig and that would have probably worked, but to be honest the hour was getting late.

Another issue with installing the Mac drivers on XP - be ready for a shower of unsigned driver warnings.  I must have clicked through at least a dozen of these, maybe more.  It's a minor point, but it helped make the whole process seem ugly.  But thinking about it, maybe Apple want XP to look ugly on a Mac?

Next up, I want to install VMware Fusion Beta on the MacBook and see what that looks like.

Previous installments:

Topic: Windows

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  • Reinforces what I've always said

    If you want to run Windows, [b]do not buy a Mac[/b].
    1. You pay extra for the privilege of restricting your choice of hardware.
    2. It doubles the number of OSs you must maintain.
    3. As if the extra hardware costs weren't enough, you have to pay even more for a Windows license.
    4. It obviously doesn't work anywhere near as smoothly as just buying a Windows PC.

    I won't even get into my refusal to reward Apple for artificially and onerously restricting OSX to Apple branded hardware.

    So now I need to ask what always gets asked of anyone who writes anything that isn't absolute glowing praise for Apple: Why do you hate Apple so much?
    NonZealot
    • No, that's not the question

      The question is why you expect Apple to sell OS-X without a computer?

      Whenever the question of why I can't buy Windows without IE, Media Player, Messenger, or Outlook Express comes up, I am told bluntly that MS CAN DO WHATEVER THEY WANT and my wishes have absolutely no weight or bearing on the matter. So why should it be any different for Apple?

      I will buy a Mac as I am have completely had enough of Windows. I want an OS that simply works. My be OS-X is not much better, but it has to be better even if a little bit.

      Take Adrian's description of installing Parallels on the Mac.

      "It's dead easy to install and the wizard-style makes the job of installing the guest OS simple."

      That was not my experience with VMware or Virtual PC on XP. I spend a minimum of 15 to 30 minutes a day trying to keep up with XP idiosyncrasies and longer on patch days. Frankly, I have had enough. And now with Vista looking like an avalanche of more of the same, I am going to buy an Apple MacBook Pro.

      I don't mind that it appears to be more expensive than buying the latest POS from the "value line" at HP or Dell. My pricing for a similarly equipped Fujitsu Lifebook was not much less than the MAcBook Pro. Personally, I would prefer the MacBook for OS-X as that means the hardware and OS are very well tuned together which is exactly the opposite of my experience with Dell or HP especially with newer processor architectures.
      msolgeek
      • Nice rant! Take a breath and reread

        Here is what I wrote:
        [i]If you want to run Windows, do not buy a Mac.[/i]

        Notice the: "If you want to run Windows" bit? The hilarious thing is that I read posts like yours about how much you hate Windows, how much it sucks, etc. and yet the first thing you do when you buy a Mac is install Windows!! It's crazy! What does that say about OSX? What does that say about Windows?

        How can a Mac be easier if buying one implies that you need to keep [b]two[/b] OSs up to date? No thanks. If I have a set of tasks to perform and half can be done in Windows or OSX and the other half can only be done in Windows, I'd be crazy to deal with the added aggravation of maintaining OSX when it doesn't give me anything that Windows doesn't (we won't even get into the privilege of paying twice as much for [b]exactly the same quality hardware[/b]).

        If 100% of the tasks you need to accomplish can be done in OSX and you enjoy wasting your money, go for it. If they can't and you need Windows, use the best tool for the job and don't let zealotry get in the way of making a good decision.
        NonZealot
        • Stupid rant by you - reread my post

          #1 - I never said I would I would install Windows on my Mac.
          #2 - I never said that I wanted to run Windows at all.

          Thanks for reranting about how hard it is to keep up two OS's. You are certainly p|$$ing up a rope there. One of the first reasons to buy a Mac is so I won't need to manage the OS every freakin day.

          Nothing I said connotes zeal for Windows, OS-X or Linux. I do want the best OS for the job and it clearly IS NOT WINDOWS. That's not zeal; it's a reluctant decision after watching and experiencing the debacle that Windows computing has become.

          Also, you never did respond to why it's okay to bash Apple and not MS for making their very own marketing decisions, which was the point of the post.

          So once again, you're completely irrational and clueless.
          msolgeek
          • Well if you don't want to run Windows...

            it was pretty stupid of you to start ranting about a post that said: "If you want to run Windows... don't buy a Mac". Remember, [b]you[/b] responded to my post so don't get upset if the original topic didn't apply to you. That's your issue, not mine.

            [i]Also, you never did respond to why it's okay to bash Apple and not MS for making their very own marketing decisions, which was the point of the post.[/i]

            Aside from the fact that your examples aren't of requirements (they are of bundled apps and therefore not relevant to the discussion at hand) and aside from the fact that Apple actually had to [b]increase[/b] the cost of the Mac to [b]artificially and onerously[/b] make OSX incompatible with everything else, you are right, Apple is free to make the same decisions that MS has made. So, you now admit that Apple is just as evil as M$$$$$$? Good! The kool-aid is wearing off. Better report to Jobs for some more!
            NonZealot
          • OS-X is not a requirement either

            so what's your point, rantboy?

            Also, please show me where you can justify the claim that "Apple actually had to increase the cost of the Mac to artificially and onerously make OSX incompatible with everything else."

            The Mac OS only runs on Mac hardware in order to ensure the license. Why don't you complain about why MS made the X-Box incompatible with everything else even if it is based on an Intel processor and people have managed to by pass their firmware modules to run Linux on these. Why can't we run X-Box games on our PCs too, for cryin out loud? Those bad MS folks have no regard for the freedom we wish to exercise over our hardware and software, do they.

            It's so funny how you still rant based on a double standard.

            BTW - you can run OS-X on a standard PC. You just get the command console as the GUI won't run. Hey, but the GUI is not a requirement and is just an optional component after all, isn't it?

            LOL
            msolgeek
          • Only in your world...

            is extra hardware and software free.

            [i]Also, please show me where you can justify the claim that "Apple actually had to increase the cost of the Mac to artificially and onerously make OSX incompatible with everything else."[/i]

            It's called the TPM chip that Apple had to install in every Mac. They then had to write special code into OSX so it [b]wouldn't[/b] work if that TPM chip wasn't found. TPM chips aren't free. Developers aren't free. It [b]cost[/b] Apple [b]extra[/b] to remove your choice as a consumer and that cost, like all other costs, are passed on to you, the consumer. Had they not spent the extra time and money, OSX would have worked just fine with 100% standard PC parts. This is why you can't compare it to IE not running in Linux or OSX. MS didn't have to work extra hard to [b]remove[/b] IE's ability to work in other OSs. Apple did work extra hard to [b]remove[/b] OSX's built-in ability to work with standard motherboards. Is Apple allowed to do such a thing? Of course, just like MS is allowed to do such a thing. However, just like MS has been called to task when they've done "evil" things, I'm simply calling Apple to task for doing an "evil" thing and this "evil" thing is more evil than anything MS has ever done. Understand now?
            NonZealot
          • NZ - You must really, really want to play with OS X -

            Sorry if Windows has peaked for you. Want OS X - buy an Apple machine. Can't afford one or feel it's a waste of money? Go cry to your Mommy!
            nomorems
          • Question

            What is Apple so incompatable with? Not attempting to continue your war, just
            curious.
            cashaww
        • Get a clue

          "be crazy to deal with the added aggravation of maintaining OSX when it doesn't give me anything that Windows doesn't (we won't even get into the privilege of paying twice as much for exactly the same quality hardware)."

          Price out a similarly spec'ed QUALITY machine from:
          IBM
          Toshiba
          Fujutsu
          HP (not the value lines)

          And then tell me an Apple is 2x as expensive. It's not. The Apple is within about $-100-200 USD of the competition.
          ITGuy04
        • Macintosh is the best tool for my job!

          It works. It's stable, fast secure and I don't have to reinstall the OS because it got
          hosed when someone installed AIM on it or went to an evil web site. Also since I'm
          a Graphic Designer OSX's superior graphics and stability make it the obvious
          choice. Still, there are one or two sites on the internet that I may have to go to that
          use some Microsoft non-standard web format that doesn't work properly with any
          browser but IE on Windows. Why waste my money on a Windows PC just to go to
          one web site? Windows is not stable or dependable enough to use for my work
          and also if I had used a separate PC to get what I need from the Web site, I would
          still have to move the data to my Mac which is not a huge problem. I've found that
          writing a CD is faster and easier than fooling around with Windows on a network,
          which really is a pain. Still, it's so much easier to just run Windows 2000 in a
          Parallels Window. I had a Windows 2000 CD from a computer that has long since
          died unlike Macintosh hardware which has always lasted me far into obsolesence.
          For as little as I use it 2000 works fine for me.

          There's no way I would trust a Windows computer at deadline for my work.
          Macintosh for me is like Snapon tools are for a mechanic. He could go to Walmart
          and buy his tools, but he pays 20 times as much for good tools that don't strip out
          every time he uses them. That's Macintosh, dependable, and the right tool for MY
          work.
          MacGeek2121
          • Windows has 1 advantage

            [i]I don't have to reinstall the OS because it got
            hosed when someone installed AIM on it or went to an evil web site[/i]

            At least I can change the computer name in Windows without having to reinstall the whole OS!!

            [url=http://talkback.zdnet.com/5208-12554-0.html?forumID=1&threadID=29135&messageID=543047] Reinstall OSX on computer name change [/url]

            PS Windows has had restricted rights accounts for far longer than Apple's OS. On my Windows computer, standard users can't hose the system by going to a web site. Sorry. :(
            NonZealot
          • That's it...

            just 1 advantage?

            Sounds pretty pathetic to have only one advantage.
            msolgeek
          • Hmmmm...

            I personally can not see why he had to reinstall the OS to change the computer name.
            It is done by going to Preferences then to sharing and next to COMPUTER NAME.
            cashaww
        • You have NO IDEA what you're talking about....

          Have you ever looked inside a Dell Precision, and then looked inside a Mac Pro?????

          The Precision (Dell most hight end machine) has more wires than a telephone pole.

          The Mac Pro tower has virtually NO WIRES, most things click into place, and it is easy as pie to remove, and install! Get a clue, please.
          Hard Cider
    • strawmen, strawmen everywhere

      "You pay extra for the privilege of restricting your choice of hardware."

      In zealot-speak, this means motherboard. Everything else on a Mac is industry-
      standard. So, boys and girls, when you hear a zealot talk about restricted,
      proprietary, locked in, etc. realize they are talking only about the motherboard.

      Because we all know that THE most important thing a PC user considers when buying
      his machine is whether or not he can swap the motherboard out.
      frgough
      • Princess bride

        [i]strawmen, strawmen everywhere[/i]

        "I do not think that word means what you think it means"

        [i]Everything else on a Mac is industry-standard. So, boys and girls, when you hear a zealot talk about restricted, proprietary, locked in, etc. realize they are talking only about the motherboard.[/i]

        Excellent news!!! Now, can you tell me where I can buy a Mac motherboard? I already have an industry standard ATX case, sound card, video card, RAM, hard drive, and DVD-RW so all I really need is the Mac motherboard. Since I hate paying for things I already have and you say I'm not restricted in my choice of Apple hardware and I can buy an ASUS motherboard by itself, I must be able to buy an Apple motherboard by itself, right? ASUS doesn't make me buy a whole computer when all I want is the motherboard so Apple doesn't either, right?

        [i]Because we all know that THE most important thing a PC user considers when buying his machine is whether or not he can swap the motherboard out.[/i]

        Yeah, it has [b]nothing[/b] to do with the fact that I can buy computers [b]or[/b] parts from hundreds of companies (mom and pop stores build PCs for you) in millions of models. I can buy my Mac from 1 company in about 3 configurations. Uh huh, no lack of choice there!!
        NonZealot
        • Apple!

          First, why do you want a Mac motherboard since you don't want to run OS X?

          Second, if you want one contact Apple, their parts department will be happy to help you out. I will include the phone number for you in case you have problems finding it. 1-800-MY-APPLE.

          Third, for a person who says they don't really care about Apple, Mac's and OS X you sure do spend a lot of time responding to the articles and messages about them.
          fizzmaster
          • You can buy Mac MBs?

            I remember when my G4 lost its Power supply. I took it to a mac reseller and it
            cost me $250. I thought that was steep, but later found out you can order the
            same power supply directly from the source. It was just under $200 (and I thought
            they cost $35). When I was talking to the reseller repair guy, we discussed what
            would happen if the main board went out. He said it would cost $400 or so and
            you could only replace it with the original MB which was 4 years old at the time.

            Things may have changes some with the Intel transition, but I'm willing to bet that
            if you can find a Mac MB, it still wouldn't work with a cheap ATX case, cheap power
            supply, and such. I guess you would want an MB from a Mac Pro with the twin
            Xeons. I have my doubts about about compatibility. Apple put a lot into the air
            flow solutions in their case. I just don't think one of those tin boxes would work
            well. I could be wrong.
            MacGeek2121
        • Sure you have a choice

          Don't buy one and shut up.
          msolgeek