My Mac is a PC Too

I have done a blasphemous thing to one so new to the Cult of Mac, I have installed Windows 7 on my MacBook Pro. Why have I done such a thing? Mostly because I can. Long before I converted to a Mac, I was a long-time adherent to Windows.

I joke around about being a convert to the Cult of Mac, but in reality, I believe that a computer is only a tool that I use to connect with others, be more productive or as a form of entertainment (I do like RPG games). So getting worked-up over which operating system or computer I am using isn’t a big deal to me, like it is to some people out there, as long as what I am using works and is dependable. My MacBook Pro has been that and more since I got it, but I did miss a few programs and I have quite a few Windows based computer games that it would be nice to use and not have to buy them again for the Mac.

Being able to have dual operating systems on your MacBook is very old news, but for many of us who switched from Windows to Apple, it is an intriguing solution to some of our questions. I figure if Bootcamp is something that Apple included in the Utilities in OS-X, they expect users to use it to install another operating system.

So I installed Windows 7 the other night using Bootcamp and have been installing Windows programs that either allow me to to sync them in both operating systems or those that I don’t have available in OS-X. The longest thing about setting up Win7 was the partitioning the hard drive, otherwise it was an easy install (just have the instruction in front of you). Now I have approximately 110GB for OS-X and 50GB for Win7, so I do have to pay attention to what I load for programs on the Windows side.

However, I am positively and totally impressed with how well my Mac runs Win7!!! image
When I first installed Win7, it was downloading and installing updates, Evernote was syncing and Zimbra was downloading my emails all at the same time, while I was wandering the Internet looking for other programs that I want to use while in Windows. I never noticed any real dip in performance or page load times in Chrome.

So far I have installed:

Microsoft Security Essentials – With Windows you have to have a Security system and I was happy with this when I was using Win7, plus the price was right.

Evernote – It was the first program I installed that was not security related. I have come to rely on this program more every day and plan to write an updated post on how I am using it now next week. It syncs across every device, so the files that I have in on the Mac side are available to me on the Win7 side.

Dropbox – Same thing I have access to all the files that I want in either operating system. You would be surprised how much information you can have with 2GB.

Google Chrome – I have been using it a lot over the past few months and like a lot about it, it still has the “ah snap” issue too often, but not nearly as bad as in the past. I do like that it syncs across operating systems and computers. Actually, it seems to work better in Win7 than OS-X (I haven’t experienced any “ah snap”.

LiveWriter – If I am going to be in a Windows environment, this is program that I will have installed – it is the best blog editor out there – period. I like the new ribbon interface and how it does everything I ask it to.

Zimbra Desktop – I needed a desktop productivity suite (mail, calendar, etc.) because I don’t own Outlook and I like the flexibility to be able to see my email off-line. Works better in Win7 than it does on OS-X (for some reason it just won’t load).

TweetDeck – My preferred Twitter client, I am comfortable with the interface and how I can post to different social media sites.

NeverWinter Nights 2 – Yep a game.

IE9 – I have heard good things about it and wanted to look at it for myself. Seems pretty good, but it is tied completely to Win7, so probably not a good choice if I want to switch between operating systems very often.

Today Office 2007 will be added to the mix, I have an extra license on my student/home edition that will fit nicely on my Mac. This should eliminate some problems I have been having with formatting of my IEPs when I send them to the secretary, even though I am using Office for Mac 2011.

I don’t plan to use Windows 7 as my primary Operating System and plan to keep using OS-X most of the time, however, it is nice to have it available when I want to use a Windows program where the counterparts on OS-X are not what I am looking for.

Do my students have access the product? Many of my students have Windows based computers at home and our computer labs are Windows based. So even though we are a MLTI Mac 1:1 school my students are exposed to Windows computers quite often.

Do I currently use a PC in my classroom? No we are a MLTI Apple MacBook 1:1 school. If I was to ever move to a different school or back to a high school, they do not usually have Macs and are generally Windows based. Having the ability to keep relatively current with Windows based software and Win7 could be an important consideration in the future.

Is Windows 7 easy to use? It compares pretty favorably to OS-X and is definitely in my opinion the best Windows operating system that Microsoft has ever released. It is a bit more labor intensive and hackers seem to attack it more that Apple’s products, but it works well. See my Win7 after a week post from October 2010.

The reality is that having Win7 on my MacBook Pro is way cool and very practical. I like the flexibility that it allows me and I can now use my old Windows programs or games which I did miss. I do have to get used to using a mouse/rollerball again and right clicking to cut/past, but that is a small price to pay for the advantages I now have. I am thinking about using a program like Parallels or something similar so I can have easy access to the Windows programs.

But for right now I will deal with the inconvenience of the having to restart my computer to change operating systems.

Recommendation: If you have a spare licensed copy of Windows XP, Vista or Win7 laying around and are missing some of your old Windows programs, using Bootcamp or some similar program to allow you to use Windows on your Mac is a good thing to try.

I have discovered that my MacBook Pro is also a great PC.

What have you done to make a difference today?
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