Windows7 Beta on Macbook Pro (2 versions)

Cory Blog, Mac, Windows

I never thought I would install windows on my mac…

So I’m a avid slideshow maker and unfortunately, Mac software lacks in this area. On PC I use to use Proshow Gold all the time, and since it is so versatile, but not available for the Mac platform, I decided to use my version of Windows7 Beta and my Mac to get the job done. Well, everyone who knows Mac knows there are at least two ways to run Windows on a Mac machine. I will outline them here and describe my (somewhat already) limited usage on each.

\Virtual Machine

Parallels is a virtual machine application that lets you run different versions of Windows on you Mac. Basically, “Parallels Desktop for Mac is a hardware emulation virtualization software, using hypervisor technology that works by mapping the host computer’s hardware resources directly to the virtual machine’s resources, allowing each virtual machine to operate identically to a standalone computer” (Wikipedia). Even more basically, running Windows in a virtual machine lets you switch seamlessly and graphically between it and your native OS, in this case, OSX. You can share files, resources, and hardware. Supposedly, running Windows this way you are guarded from viruses. The two biggest things that I saw were that running two OS’s at the same time really slowed down my computer AND the program (proshow) crashed and was unusable inside this virtual system.

\Boot Camp

After Parallels didn’t do for me what I wanted it to do, I decided to run Windows 7 natively by Boot Camp (now included with every Mac). It was just as easy as installing Parallels, thanks to http://www.simplehelp.net/2009/01/15/using-boot-camp-to-install-windows-7-on-your-mac-the-complete-walkthrough/. It basically walks you through using Boot Camp to partition (or separate) your hard drive, giving you space on which to install Windows, or Linux, or whatever. It was really easy. A little time consuming, but these things usually are. By setting up Windows 7 this way, I was able to utilize the “full” power of Windows 7 by running it organically (unlike in Parallels). So here, it resides. And it’s fast. So I’m running Windows on my Mac (sort of) like you are Windows at home. And, not to my surprise, Proshow runs perfectly (so far) on this beta. So this is a dual test. 1- I am testing Parallels  and Boot Camp and 2- I am testing Windows 7 beta- which is pretty nice, actually.

Now, here is something you will want to know if you decide to run Windows on your Mac via boot camp. Naturally, Windows cannot read a Mac formatted HDD, so you need a program which can. In my instance, I am running HFSExplorer. With this free Windows Explorer-like program, you can detect your Mac HDD, browse your folders and files and even extract the files into a folder on Windows, so you can easily access them later. Seriously, this program is sweet, and easy to use. (See http://www.simplehelp.net/2008/07/21/how-to-access-your-os-x-partition-from-windows-in-boot-camp/ for more help)

Also, you’ll want to follow the guide (at link above: simplehelp.net) and insert your Mac install disk. This will load software which will allow your Windows machine to utilize your mac hardware and settings, like your trackpad, ctrl+alt+delete, and more. After that, it’s cake.

If you were up to the challenge and tried this, let me know. Or if you need pointers (or to borrow my software) let me know.