I have a Mid 2010 MacBook Pro 13 inch model which has been a great computer. One of the best things I’ve done to the laptop is add Windows 7 as a dual boot option with the Boot Camp software that is included free from Apple. The installation process took about two hours and required that I have a Windows 7 installation disk. The process went smoothly and soon I was able to boot my machine into the world of Mac or the world of Windows.
After using the machine in this configuration for over two years I can offer three compelling reasons you may want to do the same.
1. Screen Fonts. As a writer, I use my laptop a lot. I may sit down at a writing session and write for hours at a time. This can be hard on the eyes, if the screen is not sharp. There is a fundamental difference between the way Apple displays fonts and the way Windows does. While Apple strives to make font display more accurate, Windows strives for sharpness.
For me, the Windows fonts are much easier on the eyes, especially when I have to view them hours on end. The Apple fonts tend to look blurry and run together in small font sizes. I’ve tried numerous modifications, but I can’t get the Apple fonts near as clean as the Windows ones.
2. Windows Live Writer Blogging Software. As a blogger, I’ve tried numerous blogging programs on the Mac. I’ve tried Mars Edit, Qumana, and Ecto. None of them can compare to Live Writer for Windows. Live writer is full featured, allows you to directly import pictures and video, and interfaces well with WordPress. Live Writer downloads the WordPress theme from my blog and creates and editing interface that replicates it exactly. This free program from Microsoft is the best in the business. Unfortunately they do not offer a Mac version.
If you are a blogger, this may be one big reason to add Windows to your machine. I use this program a LOT and it works like a dream on my MacBook. I can’t imagine blogging without it.
3. Internet Explorer. I have never been a fan of Internet Explorer, the de-facto browser in Windows. I have also never been a fan of the Safari browser on the Mac. For years I’ve used Firefox or Chrome and have been very happy with the results. Unfortunately, there are certain web sites that are designed specifically for Internet Explorer, since it has had the largest browser market share in the past. Unfortunately, just like Live Writer, Internet Explorer is not available on the Mac.
If you have certain e-commerce or banking sites that don’t work properly in Safari, or Chrome, having Internet Explorer can be very helpful. I don’t use it often, but when nothing else works, it can be the difference of working on the road or not.
Features: I love my MacBook Pro. The battery lasts a long time, it’s lightweight, the screen is bright, and the keyboard is backlit. Bottom Line… It just works! Adding Windows 7 has given me even more flexibility. The Boot Camp software works well and allows me to use my favorite blogging software. I find I use my MacBook about 70% in Windows and 30% on the Mac side. I’m not a big fan of Lion, Apple’s newest version of OSX. It slowed my machine down on the Apple side and has caused some headaches. Hopefully Mountain Lion, due out soon, will remedy some of these problems. Until then, Windows 7 allows me to get my work done.
While there are other programs such as Parallels that allow you to use Windows 7 in a window while running OSX, I’ve had some minor issues with them in the past. If you need to switch back and forth between operating systems on the fly, the $79 parallels option might be worth the price. With Boot Camp, it’s either a Mac or a Windows machine. Simple… and it works.
Install Windows 7 On Your MacBook
Next Steps: If you want to install Windows 7 on your machine using Boot Camp, Apple offers some step by step instructions here.
If you are not comfortable with the process, I would suggest taking your machine to your local Apple retail store and have them install it for you.
I would recommend a Windows partition of at least 30 gigs to give you space to save files and install software. The basic Boot Camp installation with Windows 7 and MS Office takes up about 16 gigs on disk.
Since the Apple partition and the Windows partition use different file formats, you’ll need to use an external USB drive to share files or use an online solution like Dropbox. I currently use Dropbox and Evernote, cloud based apps which work great for sharing between operating systems.
Overall: This simple dual boot solution has made this laptop incredibly versatile. I can run almost anything on it from the entire suite of Microsoft products, to the complete line of Apple Mac software including Apple iWork, Apple iLife, and even the sophisticated Final Cut Pro.
Question: Have you tried Windows 7 on a Macbook?