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Simple

Easy to set up.

Easy to set up.

Windows 7 is finally all set up on my Macbook Pro through both Bootcamp and Parallels.

A few thing that caught me up in the installation:

  • Partitioning a large part of the hard drive could be difficult if you have large files that are frequently used, for me my XP Parallels files prevented me from partitioning my main hard drive.
  • Use the Bootcamp Assistant to start the installation process, otherwise everytime the installer restarts you will start to boot in OS X.
  • If installing the Student Upgrade edition it will only accept the License Key if the install detects a previous version of windows when it initially starts up. Install Windows 7 once then install again over it to get the product key to work (I had to wipe my XP Bootcamp before installing).
  • An “Untitled” Bootcamp partition can be renamed by changing the name of the C:/ drive on the Windows side.
  • Backup everything. After a clean install of Windows 7 is working use WinClone to back it up.

My only real complaint about Bootcamp and Windows 7 is that the trackpad tap to click is much more sensitive then in OS X.

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Installing Windows 7

Windows, more then seven.

Windows, more then seven.

I downloaded Windows 7 Professional 64bit Upgrade last night using the student discount. I tried to get it to work today. It has not been easy and it is not working yet.

The current problem is that I want to repartition my OS X hard drive but it won’t let me create a partition past the 40GB point and I want a 60GB partition. So i will need to reformat and reload the hard drive. There were other issues such as created the ISO and the CD-Key which I hope that I found solutions for.

Now I am leaving it for the weekend because I need a steady computer for tomorrow and some Matlab code needs to run overnight.

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There are a lot of windows out there.

There are a lot of windows out there.

With my new fancy x86 process I went and installed Windows on my MacBook Pro. I was unsure of how I wanted to go about doing this and in the end found a good method.

First my needs: I wanted a system that could run Windows programs alongside OS X and I wanted to be able to boot into the system to play games (Fallout 3). I thought that I would have to make two installs, one through Boot Camp and the other through Parallels. To my fortune I found that Parallels can run a Boot Camp partition as a virtual machine while still allowing a person to boot into it when the need arises. I was set.

The only concern with this is that it sees it as new hardware every time the boot method changes, luckily there is a workaround through Parallels to avoid this.

I created a 32GB FAT32 partition through the Boot Camp assistant for my Windows XP install. The only tricky bit is that when the XP installer asks if you want to format the partition you must say yes. The install failed my first time through.

Booting into the fresh Windows install I used the OS X install DVD to get the drivers and some boot camp software. Those helped as my resolution jumped quite a bit and the trackpad started to work better (though not perfectly). First thing I did was run windows update and install AVG Free Edition. With those completed and running smoothly I switched back to OS X.

Now the moment of truth, I started up Parallels. It instantly recognized the Boot Camp partition and started to convert it to one parallels could use. After what seemed like an hour it was ready and I started the virtual machine up. I installed Parallels Tools just to make things easier. I then booted into Windows to check if it still worked, it did! So back to OS X and the virtual machine, I installed a line of basic (free) software every computer needs:

  • AVG Free Edition – Anti-Virus, fairly non-intrusive and runs well
  • VLC – Video player
  • iTunes – Music player and internet radio
  • Firefox – A web browser to use instead of Internet Explorer
  • Lavasoft Adaware – For removing ad-ware when things start slowing down
  • Flash – To play all of those addictive flash games
  • 7zip – Unarchive .rar, .zip and all of the various archive formats out there
  • ImgBurn – For burning CD’s and DVD’s
  • Dropbox – A good way to keep files synched between computers and OS’s.

With those installed happily I moved on to customizing the Windows install to get away from the blue theme with rolling grassy hills in the background. For this I relied entirely on the Lifehacker article on customization.

I should also mention that my Parallels Virtual Machine settings are:

  • Half the System RAW (2GB)
  • One processor (at 2.8 GHz)
  • Half the dedicated video RAM (256 MB)
  • Assigned to Space 4 (I use a 2 x 2 grid for Spaces)

In the end when I am in OS X this is what my Windows space looks like:

My Parallels window of Windows.

My Parallels window of Windows.

Overall I am very happy with how Windows is running on my new computer. Planescape: Torment runs well in Parallels and Fallout 3 runs superbly in Boot Camp. Eventually I will try some other games and other programs. Until then I will enjoy a smoothly running system.

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