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Bootcamp - Windows 7 on iMac 27" - still a good idea (performance and support)?

Posted on 2014-04-03
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Last Modified: 2014-05-01
I need to supply a user a new all in one computer.  They currently have a Sony Vaio AIO running Windows 7, and it's about 4 years old and a bit slow so we are going to replace it.

However this user could not cope with Windows 8 (I personally hate it). Most AIO's are now Windows 8 and the downgrade drivers are not clear.

Therefore I have concluded the best solution is actually a high spec. Apple iMac 27" running Bootcamp and Windows 7. With solid state drive

My only concerns are there are rumors that Bootcamp no longer supports Windows 7:

http://appleinsider.com/articles/14/03/17/apple-ends-windows-7-support-in-boot-camp-for-new-mac-pro

OK most say on the very new Mac's but  I would hate to buy a Mac via the channel (can't send back ) and find it does not work.

Any input on this, or the general performance on Windows 7 on iMac are welcome
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Question by:afflik1923
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Expert Comment

by:Kash
ID: 39975409
to be honest, if you are putting SSD then why go boot camp route.

I would install Oracle VM VirtualBox >> https://www.virtualbox.org/ and then install windows 7 on it.

it will save you and customer a lot of hassle or restarts. and virtualbox is free and good.
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Author Comment

by:afflik1923
ID: 39975589
I've heard different things about Virtual box. we used it for some users and they grumbled.
They in the end moved to Parallels.
but that was a slightly different setup.
The key think is the user does not want to have to boot into Apple first. We just want it to be a Windows PC to the user.
Is that possible with Virtual box?
It must be easy to maintain and support, and boot camp in our experience is.
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by:Eoin OSullivan
Eoin OSullivan earned 250 total points
ID: 39975726
I'm running Win7 and Win8 under Parallels on OSX 10.9 and it works very well.

I'd second the vote to forget about BootCamp as rebooting the computer from OSX to Windows .. over and back is pointless if your user needs both systems.  If you can put 8 or 12GB+ on the iMac it will run Parallels or VMWare Fusion without issues.

If you really want to use BootCamp then you could try it and be sure that you can fail-over to VMWare or Parallels if some drivers are an issue.

The hardware on the iMac is more standard than the macbook pro so the drivers for Win7 for Bootcamp are more likely to be OK.

While VirtualBox is good and free I've found Parallels & Fusion more responsive and support is better as they are commercial.  You could "clone' the old Sony and port it lock-stock-and-barrel as a VM into OSX using VMware Transporter and run it within VMWare Fusion.
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by:serialband
serialband earned 250 total points
ID: 39977311
You could always run Windows 7 Mode in Windows 8.  It seems a waste of money to get an expensive Mac only to run BootCamp and not use OSX and all its extra software.  There's numerous articles on how to do it.  Each new generation of windows has had a fall back to the previous interface style.
http://blog.laptopmag.com/make-windows-8-like-windows-7
http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Windows-8-Hacks-Windows-7-Start-button-Metro-UI-Desktop-Mode,21161.html
http://news.softpedia.com/news/Windows-8-to-Feature-Windows-7-Mode-201156.shtml
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Author Comment

by:afflik1923
ID: 39978383
thanks for the input.
Still unsure about a few aspects. Am I right in thinking that using Parallels you still need to have to boot into Mac first to then launch windows?
Or does Parallels give you the option of booting directly into Windows and therefore running faster then if being emulated and needing less memory.
The user is not interested in the Mac side of things at all, other then the hardware look. They do like the look of the Mac a a physical thing that sits on the desk.
They have no interest in computers other then the purpose they server to do their work and that's why we don't mind setting Windows 7 up again for him, but he wont handle Windows 8, or Apple OS.
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by:Eoin OSullivan
ID: 39978488
NO Parallels does not give option to boot windows ... for that you definitely use BootCamp.

I cannot give a definitive 100% guarantee that iMac 27" will come with all the drivers for Windows 8 but Apple are still supporting BootCamp on all their iMacs just not the new MacPro so I see no reason why it won't work and all the main components, wifi, Ethernet, webcam etc should have Win 7 drivers.

I'd recommend leaving 200Gb of a partition for OSX and allocate the rest to Bootcamp & Windows .. in that way if the user ever wanted to try OSX or you re-use the computer for someone else in future OSX is still there and easy to re-activate.
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serialband earned 250 total points
ID: 39978706
I still recommend against an iMac if all you're ever going to do is run Windows.  If you're not making use of OSX, there's no benefit to getting a Mac.

Have you tried the Windows 7 Mode first to see if they'll like it.  Windows 8 does run a bit smoother.  It really can look and feel like Windows 7.  It's probably easier and definitely much cheaper than Windows on a Mac.  You have to buy a stand alone Windows license for the Mac to run it in bootcamp.

HP All in ones are quite similar to an iMac without the stand.  They have touch screens too, so all those people that like touching their screens and leaving fingerprints can now make use of it.  They do have some that look a lot like an iMac too.
http://shopping.hp.com/desktops%20&%20all-in-ones/all-in-one

They still also sell systems with Windows 7, but they're not all-in-ones.
http://www.shopping.hp.com/en_US/home-office/-/products/Desktops/Desktops?jumpid=re_r602_cpq_desktop_home
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Author Comment

by:afflik1923
ID: 39979327
The thing is also, there is still not anything as nice as the Apple. I take on board your points. but in the UK at least, I could not find anything with a 27" screen.

The HP systems that I can customise with things like Solid state drives, cost a fortune. More than an Apple system running Windows

http://shopping1.hp.com/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/WFS/WW-USSMBPublicStore-Site/en_US/-/USD/ViewStandardCatalog-Browse?CatalogCategoryID=T9gQ7EN6TfwAAAE2VD9Z.YBG


In fact, it was seeing these HP workstations, that look big bulky and no where near as sleek as the Apple, that made me think, at thiat price I might as well get an Apple and have it running windows.


But as I am buying for another client, I do want to make sure I have explored all the alternatives and that I'm not supplying him something that is overally wasteful, no matter how much a particular end user can afford it.

Also we have previously done the Apple running Windows for other clients that have requested it (money is no issue for many of our client base) and they have been very happy with it, ordering additional ones and getting us to set  it up.

Normally we put parallels on and Bootcamp, but all of them report they never use the Apple partition and boot directly into Windows. This has been the case everytime for those that requested this setup.

In this particular case the user does not know what he wants and has left it to me to decide, and at almost 70 years old, he's not interested in learning new (hence don't want Windows 8 or especially apple os), but he does want something faster then what he has now, and he does appreciate things that look slick.

Still welcome more input. Would this argument hold up if someone were to scrutinise my decision.
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Author Comment

by:afflik1923
ID: 39979336
I will say, you have got me thinking, maybe I can save him money and just get him Windows 8 running with the start key program and make it look like Windows 7.
I HATE windows 8 I really do and understand why the lead designer left MS, but maybe I'll have to bear through it.

But something like this does offer good value:

http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/desktop-pc-monitors/desktop-pcs/all-in-one-pcs/lenovo-a720-27-touchscreen-all-in-one-pc-21305193-pdt.html?

but I can't imagine getting a solid state drive in this being easy or warranty friendly?
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Assisted Solution

by:Eoin OSullivan
Eoin OSullivan earned 250 total points
ID: 39979713
The Apple iMac 27" is a hardware package that is very hard to match for design and hardware specification pound for pound it is actually not bad value.

There is a VERY limited range of all-in-one PCs with most manufacturers only providing one or two models, HP, Lenovo, Dell, Asus and Acer etc.  This article has a good review of all the models available in the UK
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/06/07/roundup_eight_bigscreen_allinone_desktop_pcs/
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Expert Comment

by:LeeTutor
ID: 40029952
I've requested that this question be deleted for the following reason:

Not enough information to confirm an answer.
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Expert Comment

by:Eoin OSullivan
ID: 40029953
The asker was provided with enough information for their answer ... iMac with Bootcamp DOES have all drivers for Win 7 although I cannot personally confirm Win 8 it is easy enough to check as on Apple Discussions there is evidence that many have installed 8.1 on 27" imacs
https://discussions.apple.com/message/25115920#25115920

afflik1923 shoould be able to assign points ..
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by:serialband
ID: 40030616
I see numerous questions from 2010 & 2011 that should be deleted before these relatively recent one should.
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Author Closing Comment

by:afflik1923
ID: 40034142
Thanks for all the input on this. In the end the project still goes on, but we are going for a Windows XPS 27" running Windows 8.
Just have to accept it. Only thing is, there is no stock of these I Dell UK at present.
Thanks again.
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Expert Comment

by:serialband
ID: 40034917
If you do go with an iMac, just make sure you get a Windows keyboard or a full-sized Mac Keyboard.  The Standard Mac mini keyboard layouts are missing a lot of useful keys, not just the numpad.
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