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windows on a mac

I'm looking at buying a laptop--a relatively low price.

I'd thought I was set on getting a PC (while Mac's are superior) I'm not giving up my software, and yes,  I do miss the backspace button.

But, I can get over the lack of a backspace button (right?)  Which means that theoretically, the new macs, where you can switch to windows and back would be perfect--the best of both worlds...theoretically.

So is it?  Is it really that simple, that problem free?  When looking to buy, I haven't been looking at Mac's at all, so I know little about this, about macs and their specs in general.

I read this (http://www.wap.org/journal/parallels/default.html) and a couple other articles which have been helpful--I certainly had the windows knowledge to understood what was being talked about, but I'm not sure I have the mac knowledge.  Consider that that article is about what I know about macs--what else do I need to know when considering buying a mac?
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6 Solutions
There are two ways to run XP on a Intel-based Mac:

Via a program called Parallels, which is VM software that runs on Mac OS 10.4 and...

Via "Bootcamp", Apple's solution to boot a Mac into Windows XP or Vista (this is NOT a VM but rather it's a full copy of Windows running on Intel hardware).

The first option, Parallels, is not supported at all because we don't support our software on any VM's--PC or Mac.

The second option, Bootcamp, allows a Mac to run Windows XP Pro SP2 or Vista natively, just like any other PC.

Because Mac's don't have a BIOS (instead they use the newer Extensible Firmware Interface from Intel&see http://www.intel.com/technology/efi/) Bootcamp acts as an EFI-to-BIOS interpretter, allowing Windows to run natively on an Intel Mac. Intel has been trying to get PC vendors to adopt EFI but the BIOS drudges on for some reason. Anywho&

From a support point of view, Windows installed on a Mac is just the same as Windows installed on any other PC. It works just dandy and Apple provides all of the Windows drivers necessary for the hardware to run. Once a full copy of XP Pro SP2 or Vista is installed on a Mac, Windows runs exactly the same as on a PC except with one major annoyance--Mac laptops and/or mice do not come with a right-click option. The user will need a 3rd-party USB mouse to right click while in Windows.  

Also, Apple's Bootcamp is technically Beta Software and it set to expire sometime in September/October of this year. This means user who are running XP on their Mac will need to upgrade their Mac OS to v10.5 "Leopard" when it becomes available in late Sept/Oct in order to continue to use XP or Vista on their Mac.

It's unknown if Apple will charge for Bootcamp for users who don't wish to upgrade to v10.5. Once Bootcamp expires (the beta trial is over) the user will not be able to boot into Windows. The Dr. I spoke to just now had no idea Bootcamp expires and was appreciative of the heads up. Clients can be referred to www.apple.com/bootcamp for support of Windows on a Mac.

(i got this from a buddy of mine here at the office..he is a mac geek)
hope this helps.

 - brugh

lovewithnofaceAuthor Commented:

hmmm--so you can't right click via a series of keyboard and mouse clicks the way you can on an apple?  and would have to upgrade to leopard which has been delayed how many times?  this sounds a little risky--next gen stuff is fun to text when it's not your stuff on the line and when it's not your money on the line...i don't know...
See if this helps:  http://macwindows.com/winintelmac.html  It is pretty comprehensive. There are other options, beside Bootcamp and Parallels

The new Mac "Mighty Mouse" is a four button mouse and should support right clicking in the same manner as a PC Mouse.
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Eoin OSullivanConsultantCommented:
There are a few incorrect statements by Brugh.

"The first option, Parallels, is not supported at all because we don't support our software on any VM's--PC or Mac. "
I've no idea what he's talking about .. what software??  Just about all Windows applications run perfectly with Parallels and XP.
1. Parallels is an excellent Virtualization application which allows you to run OSX and Windows XP at the same time. I use it daily and it is near flawless.  I can copy and move files from XP rto OSX easily and run those few lingering MS Office and XP applications without problems.  Unless you are a gamer or have very processor intensive Windows applications you'll never need BootCamp.  There is also another application called VMWare Fusion for OSX which does exactly the same.
2. I'd recommend at least 1Gb and beter 2Gb of RAM in your Mac to allow comfortable and speedy performace of OSX and Parallels together.

BootCamp is an Apple Beta application that assists in creating a Windows Partition and modifying the EFI Boot sequence. With a theoretical expiry date in October there is very little chance they will disable it.  The possible scenarios are as follows
1. There will be an update in October to BootCamp of OSX 10.4 users that disables the expiry date.  This may be FREE or have a nominal charge but it will not be more than a few dollars.
2. Leopard 10.5 may include BootCamp for FREE or again it may have a small charge.  But seeing as Parallels and Fusion cost $80 there is no way Apple can charge too much or they will discourage new customers.

With milions of Apple users using BootCamp Apple WILL NOT just kill BootCamp .. it has brought them loads of switch-over Windows to OSX users... why would they annoy new customers?

Finally, OSX 10.5 was due June 07 and has only been delayed ONCE.. now due October 2007.  Compared to the  2 year delay in Windows Vista ... Apple isn't doing too bad.
If you're patient wait until October and get a new Mac with 10.5 and a copy of Parallels or Fusion and you'll never regret it!!  Or buy a Mac now and have to spend another $120 in October for an 10.5 Upgrade.
zephyr_hex (Megan)DeveloperCommented:
first, if you are considering a relatively low price laptop, mac is NOT low price when compared to pc.  mac is inherently several hundred dollars more expensive than a comparable pc.

second, you won't want to go with a low-end mac if your planning on loading windows on it, too.  while mac OS runs with few resources and memory, windows needs considerable more resource/processor & memory in order to run at a reasonable speed.

moreover, if you are going to buy a mac and then also run windows on it, you need to consider the added expense of the Windows OS.  ($200 for Vista Home, $180 for XP Home)

if you go with Vista, your mac will likely choke, or at a minimum, be rather slow.  macs generally do not ship with 2Gig RAM, and that is a minimum for running Vista smoothly.  moreover, Vista needs a dedicated graphics card with at least 128mb graphics RAM in order to run Aero.  again, not the default in most mac laptops.  since your concerned about programs running on your laptop, you'd also need to check your application compatibility with Vista, along with driver compatibility.

you'll be better off with XP Home on a mac...but still, i would not say this is the cheaper way to go.  $130 extra for the OS, add in your extra RAM requirements for windows, plus the consideration that macs tend to be several hundred dollars more expensive than comparable pc's.
Doh, I mentioned that i got that explination from a coworker, the "not supported" comment was about our products. ... hehe forgot to remove that.

Also, I would always recommend a PC of MAC even with Dual OS option if you are trying to "spend less."

IMO, Macs are too expensive and specialized.  You also won't be able to ask everyone of your Tech Friends for help as most Geeks are PC friendly not MAC friendly so support is going to be a bit tougher to deal with if you do run into a problem.

I'm with you... if its not me money, I'm not going to "try" anything or modify anything or even recommend a new method that requires modification to work.  I am going to provide the solution that provides the user with teh most piece of mind.   (Support, Warranty, Product Life, Portability, Cost)

 - brugh

Eoin OSullivanConsultantCommented:
Windows .. windows .. windows ... you should have asked the question in the Apple section to get a better range of opinions and some balance!!

1. You can get a MacBook with 2Gb of RAM very easily, just spec it when buying.
2. Mac Laptops & Desktops are quite competitively priced when you compare them with Dell/Sony/HP of a similar specification.
3. Apple do not do bargain basement laptops .. but even the lowest spec MacBook with 1Gb RAM wil happily run OSX and XP simultaneously.
4. Don't even consider running VISTA until MS iron out the bugs and it gets a service pack under its belt.  In the meantime XP Pro or Home will do fine (you may already have a licensed copy of either for a PC you are replacing - so you may not need to buy a copy!!)
lovewithnofaceAuthor Commented:
the question is in the apple section too--you can only put it in three sections, so I placed a multi-section pointer as well

was in only two years?  it felt like so much more.  and as it only once?  from the intensive **** i heard, I would have assumed there was a death in the family.  though mac users are seriously devoted

I have 2000--I didn't bother to get no point or nice try.  how difficult is changing OS systems on a mac though? especially if you're using an OS as a program in another?

I have to assume that windows will be my primary operating system--and what I'm most worried about, quite frankly is ram.  a lot of packages I use are really ram intensive--photoshop, dreamweaver is my ftp, firefox gets intensive with lots of tabs, and I don't generally run only one program at a time--i run photoshop and something else photo editing, dreamweaver and firefox and a pop e-mail package, and it adds up.  i wasn't considering getting less than 2 gig of ram when looking at pcs--and i was looking at ones with a 4 gig capacity

is windows on  a mac just not yet ready for my ram-eating?  

the new mac "mighty mouse"--can you elaborate?  

also, for the record--I'm buying NOW.  my old computer is dead as in beaten like a horse and I'm not waiting for the promised land.  I'll take the almost promised land--or change course and head west
Eoin OSullivanConsultantCommented:
Well I run Photoshop, Dreamweaver an Firefox simultaneously and happily on a G5 iMac with 2Gb and NO problems .. same on a an Intel MacMini with 2Gb again .. no problems.

If you want 4Gb RAM you'll have to step up to a MacBook Pro and you're looking at well over $2000 for that.

If you use BootCamp then you can run Win XP on your MacBook with 2Gb of RAM exactly the same as having a Dell or HP laptop with 2Gb.

So to conclude .. if you are running 90% Windows applications, 90% of the time .. buy a Dell/HP/Sony Laptop.
Save a few $$ and perhaps buy a 2nd hand MacBook later in the year to experiment with and explore OSX.
lovewithnofaceAuthor Commented:
wasnt thinking about it only in terms of os--was thinking about in terms hardware--and having an escape from windows problems.

the problem is, as it comes down to it and suspected it would--i want a laptop to do a desktop's job

getting a processor with 4mb cache blows the price up no matter what--because it does so for the manufacturer

if I didn't want to be able to put my computer in a shoulder bag and carry it with me everywhere (5lbs)---I could get what I want, pc or mac for a fraction of the price

i'm not paying for the processor or the hard drive or the graphics card--i'm paying because they're little and reconciling that is a *****

and yet somehow, I can't seem to give up that the portability is what i want most of all
zephyr_hex (Megan)DeveloperCommented:
Well I run Photoshop, Dreamweaver an Firefox simultaneously and happily on a G5 iMac with 2Gb and NO problems .. same on a an Intel MacMini with 2Gb again .. no problems."   --- that is because your running those in MAC OS!  MAC is much more efficient in terms of memory & processor usage than windows.  the problem comes when you try to run windows on that hardware meant for MAC....  the hardware is not as beefy and therefore your performance suffers.  

for example, i have a 2 year old iMac at home...  i ran photoshop on 128MB RAM.  no one would EVER consider doing that in Windows.  i could run photoshop ok, but things got a little slow when i tried to run more than 1 program, so i threw in a stick of 512mb RAM.  again, no one would ever consider running photoshop on less than 1G RAM in windows... however, it is very responsive and speedy on my MAC.... even with multiple applications open.

i suggest you price compare.  the macbook pro, with 2g ram, is about $2000.  you can easily get a similarly spec'd pc for half that price.

(take the cheapest one.... $2000)

the vostro 1500 is the most similar in specs... and even if you beef it up with tons of options, you are only going to be around $1000.
lovewithnoface -

As an IT consultant I mainly deal with Windows shops. In my home office, I'm running all Macs, with the exception of 1 PC that only gets turned on when I need to do data recovery jobs.

I've been using Parallels for quite some time now and have only found minor USB device related issues. I have not yet found any software that does not run in the virtual machine.

If you go that route, you definitely want at least 2G of RAM, but outside of that I find myself only using windows for MS Access Projects, and related Office automation projects that are destined for Windows machines. There's also an occasion ActiveX or Microsoft Java VM website that I use IE for as well, but generally Parallels gets used very little.

I've been quite happy with my Mac experience.

lovewithnofaceAuthor Commented:
I'll close this myself thank you--not having a computer (I'm waiting on shipping) means I've been doing the bare minimum since I'm borrowing computer time.
lovewithnofaceAuthor Commented:
Hmmm, ok, so the new computer has thwarted me in one way so far.  I wrote up my reply/conclusion and all that and saved it, and I can't find where.  If I still can't find it later today, I'll rewrite it.
lovewithnofaceAuthor Commented:
Ok...so I have no idea where my answer went, so I'm rewriting it.  Here it is, in several parts.

First, about Dell:

zephyr_hex, you can beef that Dell up--you can beef it up a lot and the price starts rising and rising way above 1000 dollars.  It starts inching towards what my computer costs and it isn't equivalent because you can't beef it up in all areas.  Maybe you don't care about what I care about though.  Maybe there are a few specs you care about and that's it and you want your bang for your buck.  You'd be crazy to get a Dell.  Dell's don't perform the way they should.  Why?  First, all that memory you get?  It's taken up with all of the bloatware that they load on your computer.  So, no problem, you re-install Windows.  Oh, wait, you can't.  You re-install Windows from a partition on your hard drive, where they keep another copy of it and everything else they installed on your computer.  You don't get a CD.  

A hard drive that is partitioned with a backup of windows and all the bloatware....it's a waste.  And, if you need to re-install Windows because, oh, there's data corruption, you have a real problem.

Dell doesn't save you that much money, not really.  And if place value on your time or your sanity or the product you're buying, then it really costs you.  In a lot of senses, think about buying a computer the way you would a car or a place to live, or another major decision that you have to live with, use on a daily basis, for a significant period of time in your life.

Most people when they make a major purchase want that to be the end.  They want to get the product and use it.  Open the computer and set it up, drive off in the car, move in to the house.  People buy fixer-upers and build their own computers, to be sure.  But they generally, or hopefully, have some idea of what they're in for.  If you want to drive off, you'll be surprised and upset when you need to invest additional resources (time and money) or when it just doesn't work like you thought it would.

If you're seriously thinking about buying a Dell, read this review first:

And, if money is a bottom line, try sager (www.sagernotebook.com)

Sager has great prices that often beat Dell but they don't pull any of the crap Dell does.  I quite honestly would have gotten a Sager--no question, but size and weight were important factors as well and Sager didn't have a model that did what I wanted at the time.  Wouldn't have until October or November.  So with time something very much on my mind, I started to look elsewhere.
lovewithnofaceAuthor Commented:
Why I made the decision I did:

In the end, for me, the mac model I wanted was only a few hundred dollars more than getting the same computer as a pc....maybe.

One of the big problems with getting a computer is comparisons.  Ironically, most stores and manufactures have really crappy websites.  Lenovo, which last year I thought had one of the best websites ever...well I don't know what happened.  Intermittent error messages saying I lacked permission, and even when things like that wasn't a problem comparing full specs on a computer wasn't easy--sometimes important specs just were provided only on pdfs or weren't provided at all.  Sure, almost every website has a notebook finder that can probably help you choose a notebook based on the most inconsequential things, or statements like "I want power on the go" (what the heck does that mean??), but few if any will let you sort by hard drive size or ram capacity etc.

So after all this, I could find a computer I liked on the hp website, but you have to see dealers for pricing and the only way to find out who carries that model is to either call every store or to google the model number (which gets you sales from a year ago and online retailers called 123buydirect)

I wanted to be able to go and see the model I was getting, pick it up, etc, and even though after a lot of research I had pages of graphs, with a handful of models that fit the major things I was looking for cheaper (somewhere), they weren't cheaper by enough. For a couple hundred bucks I got to feel secure in my purchase, to go see it, to buy it from a local store, to have great local places I could take it if there was a problem.  And I got to get a computer without the hassle of vista or windows, without the drawbacks of losing either.  
lovewithnofaceAuthor Commented:
So...I'm sitting down with my mac....am I happy?

Mostly.  There are lots of things I like about the mac. Little things..like my dashboard chi pet.  Bigger things too.  The biggest being, it's relatively bug free.  You turn it on, and it works.  And then you go about your day, and it keeps working.  

The two things that bother me...one was expected, one was not.  I expected the size and the keypad/mousing to bother me.  The size, does.  I wanted a small machine and I didn't get one because I didn't think it would be able to do the things I wanted it to do.  Using the mac now, not yet fully upgraded, I don't know if it's true.

I got used to ctrl clicking and function deleting and once I set my mousing preferences, really like the mousing.  What does bother me is not knowing how things work and being able to change things.  People treat macs like cars, you buy them, and you know how to change some things--add gas of course, adjust your seat and mirrors so it's comfortable, play some good music, read the mileage, but other than that, most people don't know squat.  And as a "techie" I'm both not comfortable with that, and annoyed by that.  I want to change the universal spellchecker from American English to British English, and to add words to it, and I want to know why it doesn't work in certain packages and if that can be changed.  Any time I question anything or try and do anything that isn't middle of the road, well...I believe now, more than ever that Mac users are like a cult.  "You downloaded something that isn't a dmg file?  That'll breakorz it!!  omg!!!"

Granted, I have a chi pet on my dashboard (and flappie) but everything else I actually use....for works and stuffs.

I think mac did something great when they realized that you didn't have to have specialized training to use a machine.  But it's almost as though that attitude has been taken to far.  I want to be able to change things and mess around with stuff and more often then not I'm finding that there's two levels--plug it in and move the pretty pictures, and stuff that goes way over my head.  It's like apple's removed the middle class and as one of the middle class, that bothers me.

If it weren't for that, my only complaint would be "I wish it were 12/13 inches"

So it's both a credit and, well, not to apple that this is my only complaint.  Very often I find that they make intuitive leaps that I don't see in programming elsewhere and things that really make a difference, but they fail to follow through.  They get the hard stuff down, but miss, or don't bother with the last tiny steps.  
lovewithnofaceAuthor Commented:
How do I like Parallels and Windows?

I don't know yet.  My Mac has been one of the lucky ones with a bad optical drive.  Fortunately I found out after only a couple cds were destroyed and before I'd put any new software in.

It's getting fixed at the end of the week, I'll post after that to let you all know.
lovewithnofaceAuthor Commented:
After all that, what did you get?  What did you spend?

For the record:

I got a MacBook Pro.  15"  The only upgrade I've done so far was I got it with a 160 hard drive 7200 rpm.
The computer cost me almost exactly $2000 (yes, I got a discount).  I bought the computer during the  back to school whatever so I also got a 30gig ipod for 50$ and the printer I wanted for $14

I don't need to by an OS, at least not right now.  All those comments...well, I've been a pc user for years.  Do you know just how many versions of Windows I have?

Yes, I'll need to buy vista eventually, but that really didn't calculate in.  I don't know if I'll ever do it, and if I do, well, it will be a fiscal year or two away.

I bought Parallels...that was $50.

And at this time, a 2gig stick of memory costs $139 dollars, so if I upgrade, it's not too terrible.  Nor would it have been if I'd gotten a MacBook sans Pro. Ram's prohibitive cost is based on where you buy it, who you buy it from.

Sager charges the least of anyone I've seen--at least if you upgrade at time of purchase.  Take the         
NP2070 model for example.  You can upgrade from 512mb to 4gb for $250.  Most of the Dell models I looked at?  They charge almost a $1000 to upgrade to that kind of ram.  Remember, you don't have to buy your memory where and when you buy your computer--but if it's something you're definitely/probably going to do, do some research into costs of memory and installation.  When I found a place that had one of the cheapest memory prices and installation was only $15 dollars, I was very comfortable putting that decision off, and buying my computer at a place that maybe charged more for the memory upgrade at time of purchase.

Anyway, that's your look into my laptop and now empty wallet.

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