Windows Basic or Premium?

Started Feb 8, 2009 | Discussions
Johnny B Regular Member • Posts: 373
Windows Basic or Premium?

Hey Mac folks,

I am in the process of setting up my Macbook to run Windows. I haven't done it before so I have several questions.

The first one is, do I buy Windows Vista Basic or Premium? (I'm assuming Vista is the way to go, despite the reported problems I've read about.) I don't know what Premium provides that Basic doesn't, and I don't know if it'll matter.

I want to run a GIS (geographic infor systems) software app on it.

I've got Bootcamp, and I've got Parallels. I have little experience with either, though I have booted up into Windows using Bootcamp. Is running Parallels worth the learning curve?

Thanks for the assistance!

Abbott Schindler Senior Member • Posts: 2,672
Re: Windows Basic or Premium?

Best bet, I think, would be to get VMware or Parallels and transfer your current PC image to a virtual machine (both VMware and Parallels give instructions for this, I believe). I'm assuming, of course, that you already have a Windows box. Otherwise...

If you can find a copy, buy XP.

If you can't find a copy and can afford to wait a bit, wait for Windows 7 (preferably SP1).

If you must buy now, go to MS web site or do a bit of research online and decide which version makes the most sense to you. I suspect you'll want one of the higher (more expensive) versions of Vista. I personally have been fortunate enough to not need to run Vista; I bought a copy of XP Pro before they were discontinued. XP Pro works great on VMware.

Abbott Schindler Senior Member • Posts: 2,672
Learning curve???

I'm running VMware, and coworkers tell me that wrt learning curve, Parallels is similar.

On VMware there's no real learning curve. Setup was a snap. When you're running Windows from a virtual machine, you're just running Windows. You tell Parallels how to configure your machine (cores, memory allocation, shared folders, etc.) and you're done. Nothing really to learn.

The only real difference I can think of is that when you boot using Boot Camp, you're just running a Windows machine. If you're really planning to be a Mac user and need Windows also, you're much better off running Windows in a virtual machine. That way you can access BOTH Mac and Windows apps easily and simultaneously. The only downside is that Windows will run about 5-10% slower because it's running in a virtual machine instead of directly on the Mac.

BTW: If you have VMware or Parallels installed, you could have multiple virtual machines...say Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Linux. Gets to be lots of fun.

RMbA Regular Member • Posts: 291
Re: Windows Basic or Premium?

I don't know about Vista, but I've installed and used Win XP on an iMac Core 2 Duo running Parallels Desktop, and the installation and day-to-day operation have been flawless.

The latest version of Desktop has some particularly useful features, such as the Coherence mode, which lets you run Windows applications transparently on your Mac, including giving you access on the Mac Dock to the Windows Start menu.

One last thought, which may or may not apply to Vista. Win XP Home SP3, which usually sells for about $180 on Amazon is available in an OEM version for about $95.

OP Johnny B Regular Member • Posts: 373
Re: Windows Basic or Premium?

Thanks for the help guys. I'll have a look at Microsoft's site for details. I don't much like paying $200 for Vista, and I've heard that a lot of people have had trouble with it. But if XP is phasing out and will have little support, maybe it's better to go with V.

I wish I didn't have to mess with this at all, frankly, but GIS app is only for Microsoft. Bummer.

Abbott Schindler Senior Member • Posts: 2,672
If all you want...

If all you're getting Windows for is one app, you might see if the app runs under Crossover (search MacUpdate or VersionTracker for it). Crossover is pretty limited, but if it works for your app you'll get away without needing a Doze license at all. I've successfully run a number of apps under Crossover, but some that I needed didn't work (I used to work for a Windows-based company and needed some apps for "company compatibility").

It sounds, though, like XP would suit you fine if Crossover didn't do the trick.

spiked3 Contributing Member • Posts: 519
Re: Windows Basic or Premium?

I dont know if the offer has run out or not yet, but i got the free win7 beta a week or 2 ago and it runs fine on bootcamp. That would hold you over until it is released for sale. I personally have not had issues with vista (on a PC) but i know with all the bad PR on it you may be hesitant. Search Microsoft.com and see if win7 is still available.

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Greg Eddinger
Greg Eddinger Senior Member • Posts: 2,126
I'd go XP

Chances are whatever you are using will operate for quite a long time on XP.

By the time it's outdated other options in the future like crossover emulation may be highly functional. Vista has actually been responsible for many new Mac converts. I posed a similar question in the PC forum a while back and XP was recommended overwhelmingly over Vista.
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Greg Eddinger
Greg Eddinger Senior Member • Posts: 2,126
Parallels?

Johnny B wrote:

Is
running Parallels worth the learning curve?

Sorry I missed that part of your question. I have an early MBP 2.0 I don't have any window on it now, but when I did I will tell that it was pretty seamless and well worth it if you plan on using both platforms on a regular basis. I had it set up so the the win apps appeared in the dock and no one that used my PB could tell that they were working on windows or mac. It was very cool to say the least. The only time in need windows is when working in Qimage (a pc only program) and a few dated websites.

But if you really need both then go VMware over bootcamp. It was easy to install and did exactly as promoted. Not much of a learning curve. You just tell it how you want it to display and the only difficulty I found was simply setting up a network for the PC to talk to the mac. It's much easier to understand once you see the dialog box.
(:)
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AwkwardSwine Contributing Member • Posts: 659
Re: Windows Basic or Premium?

Yes, Win7 Beta (if you can still get it...) is a good option that will allow you to run until August.

Otherwise buy an OEM copy of Vista Home Premium from NewEgg for about $105.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116485

That should work just fine and is a lot cheaper than retail pricing.

The main difference between Basic and Premium is built in MediaCenter and DVD playback software, and Aero Glass UI. (Which will not work anyway in a Mac VM) I think the OEM price for Basic on NewEgg is $90, but you'll probably have better upgrade options to Win7 down the line if you get Premium.

spiked3 wrote:

I dont know if the offer has run out or not yet, but i got the free
win7 beta a week or 2 ago and it runs fine on bootcamp. That would
hold you over until it is released for sale. I personally have not
had issues with vista (on a PC) but i know with all the bad PR on it
you may be hesitant. Search Microsoft.com and see if win7 is still
available.

OP Johnny B Regular Member • Posts: 373
Re: If all you want...

Thanks for the tip, Abbott. I've read about Crossover and then I checked it out after you mentioned it. It seems to only support Microsoft products, whereas I'm using GIS application.

OP Johnny B Regular Member • Posts: 373
Re: Windows Basic or Premium?

Hey AwkwardSwine,

If you make your way back here could you (or anyone for that matter) explain the diff. between 32 bit and 64 bit as it relates to me working my Macbook? Does it matter?

Also, a lot of the Microsoft OS discs are for system builders .... are these for people who are building their computers? Sorry, I know next to nothing about PCs.

Thanks for the help!

OP Johnny B Regular Member • Posts: 373
Re: Windows Basic or Premium?

The Microsoft site warns that the beta Win 7 can be 'glitchy' and that one shouldn't use a PC needed daily. Are they just covering their ass or should I stay away? I'd rather not spend time figuring out their glitches.

Thanks

spiked3 Contributing Member • Posts: 519
Re: Windows Basic or Premium?

I think they are mostly CYAing.

I have not encountered any glitches with Win7 with medium use.

Yes the OEM versions are for system builders, ie those who buy seperate motherboard and components, but are identical otherwise. If you installed your own memory (quite common for a mac) I think you would be close to within the spirit

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DMakogon Regular Member • Posts: 292
Re: Windows Basic or Premium?

I wouldn't depend on the beta you're using the GIS app for work, as 1) Windows 7 is not fully baked and could still contain some issues that damage / corrupt your Windows environment, and 2) it's likely time-limited, meaning it'll stop working one day and force you to move to a production OS.

As far as Vista versions, for running a single app you won't benefit at all from any advanced features. Vista Home Basic is fine, and as someone already pointed out, the Aero glass look of Vista doesn't work in a virtual environment. XP is fine too. Nothing wrong with Vista though - it's been through several updates and now SP1 (service pack), and works great. Oh - I think you asked about 32- vs. 64-bit Windows. Unless your software application is a gargantuan memory hog and you plan on giving Windows more than 3GB of RAM, you'll likely not gain any benefit with Windows x64. Plus, if you require the use of a VPN within your Windows environment, some vendors either don't support 64-bit Windows or only support it with their latest VPN server appliances (meaning, if your company uses an older model Cisco VPN server, you're stuck with 32-bit Windows).

David
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AwkwardSwine Contributing Member • Posts: 659
Re: Windows Basic or Premium?

If you decide to run windows in a VM, then you need to stick with 32 bit.
If you use bootcamp, then 64bit is a good option.

Johnny B wrote:

Hey AwkwardSwine,
If you make your way back here could you (or anyone for that matter)
explain the diff. between 32 bit and 64 bit as it relates to me
working my Macbook? Does it matter?

Also, a lot of the Microsoft OS discs are for system builders ....
are these for people who are building their computers? Sorry, I know
next to nothing about PCs.

Thanks for the help!

Corkcampbell
Corkcampbell Forum Pro • Posts: 18,073
I only have 2 megs of RAM so chose the Boot Camp route with Vista

Home Premium. I have that version on several computers with absolutely no problems. The Mac is an Air - last year's model. I wouldn't go with XP unless you have some legacy hardware without Vista drivers that you absolutely must use. I have the beta to Windows 7 (which is really Vista) but haven't tried it on the Mac.

I chose Boot Camp because I don't need to run Windows and OSX at the same time and because of my limited RAM. With BC, it really is a totally Windows machine when running that platform.

I also use the free AVG anti-virus software which works well.

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Corkcampbell
Corkcampbell Forum Pro • Posts: 18,073
Disagree. 64 bit Windows is only for those who have a specific reason

for it; much software does not work with it. You can read on these forums about the software that comes with some cameras not working with it, for example, as well as many games and utilities.

From my own experience, I would recommend Vista Home Premium, or the Windows 7 beta, if still available.

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Corkcampbell
Corkcampbell Forum Pro • Posts: 18,073
I have the beta for Windows 7 and have been debating putting it on

my Macbook Air which now runs Vista flawlessly...I hate to mess with something that I use every day and which works well. Did you use your beta to upgrade from an earlier Vista or XP in your Boot Camp partition? Any problems or concerns?

It's too bad that Time Machine doesn't work the Windows partition; that would make me worry less.

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OP Johnny B Regular Member • Posts: 373
Re: Windows Basic or Premium?

Thanks for all of the insightful feedback, folks, I really appreciate your time and knowledge. I may try the Windows 7 route, though I am concerned about the potential 'glitches,' as noted by Microsoft themselves. It appears to be not much to worry about though, due to encouragement to use it.

I actually went to download it last night but bailed when Microsoft demanded I accept their cookies so that they could keep track of when I am 'signed in.' Does anyone else feel like we are increasingly becoming subjects of the lords of hi tech? Seriously, I've been doing more drawing (you know, with an actual pencil) - not a bad thing. I guess this has been true for some time now so I'll probably go back to the site and sign up.

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