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  1. #1

    Default Windows; Gates of Hell

    G'day,

    A few weeks ago, after much concern etc, I purchased the basest of base Macbooks for my fiancée, as she is in her final year of Psychology, and needed a reliable laptop for writing her thesis, and also to run SPSS (Windows).

    A week after the purchase, I then purchased VMWare3 and Windows 7, both at student prices. I admit - though it was very confusing - the Win7 thing was a bit cheeky, cos it is actually meant to only be an "upgrade", ie - you should already supposedly own some copy of WinXP/Vista... but their website really didn't make that clear, so I went ahead anyway.

    The installation process for Win7 was in itself not terribly hard. It was LONG... MUCH longer than it took to do a clean instal of Leopard on my eMac, for example. Installing SPSS wasn't terribly complicated either... and all seemed good.

    Then for no apparent reason one day, SPSS crashed, and soon after, caused Win7 to crash too. When the virtual system tried to restart, it had problems, that it told me it could either try to fix, or just ignore the problems. So I said to try fix... After some long time, it offered new choices - ignore, or restore to a state when it was working ok. Not wanting to lose anything, I said ignore... and sure enough, it's continued to crash randomly.

    One such crash, resulted in 1/2 of the SPSS files (namely the exe files) to just disappear! ! ! ! Not just corrupt them - they DISAPPEARED.

    I am now attempting to re-instal Win7 from scratch, and will then re-instal SPSS as well... It seems the built in fix-it utility couldn't offer any help.

    So here's the even more fun bit. In the instal process, I have realised this time - I actually paid for Win 7 Home Premium. When I first did the instal, which asks which version you wish to instal, I thought I had Home Basic. That is probably why my key would not register... (aside from the aforementioned "upgrade" issue)

    I realise that I'm running Windows on a low spec Mac, with only 2GB of RAM, from inside an emulator... but - sometimes it's incredibly painfully slow, and other times - it's actually responsive... But even when it's going good, I can't say I like it as an OS. I feel as though it's keeping me away from everything I want to do. People (died in the wool PC users) say that Macs are for dummies... Well, hell, unless they ONLY use cmd to do EVERYTHING, modern Windows is WORSE than Mac OS X at keeping the user away from having any control over their machine.

    It doesn't even provide any kind of feedback to let you know what it's doing/thinking... I love that the Dock at least shows you - Hi! I'm opening up right now! See me bouncing!

    Just some ramblings folks... nothing to see here... move along... just had to do something whilst waiting for the installer...

    cheers

    cosmic
    MacTalk - the bianca's of geekdom
    thecosmichobo - as seen on YouTube - "How Doomsday Should Have Ended!" • "Bigger on the Inside?" • "The Doctor Falls - With Hartnell!" and lots more!

  2. #2

    Default

    Personally I would recommend 4 GB of RAM when it comes to VM. It really does make a world of difference. Unfortunately it's not cheap either.

    I don't use Windows 7, so I don't know what it is like performance wise or any of the tricks. But one thing that you might try is to turn down the visual settings within windows. That is turn off the eye candy.

    Also another thing. BACKUP! BACKUP! BACKUP!

    Make a copy of the VM in a fresh state. That way if it goes tits up all you have to do is load in the copy. Fresh install in a few seconds. Also find out where her important data is kept and teach her to copy it onto the Mac.

  3. #3

    Join Date
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    Default

    I really should keep a diary for the bizarre stuff windows does on occasion.

    I've had all sorts of stupid behaviour from my various windows usage, including the lovely case of the microsoft application, used for syncing 2 folders, that will completely cripple a windows 7 machine while it's run.
    Grrrr, Arrrrghhh!!!
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  4. #4

    Default

    We've already learned that it's a good idea to look where we save... First go at SPSS she managed to save the outputs to - we still don't know where...

    Good idea about saving a fresh state. Will do that now! Hopefully now I've learned about opening cmd in command state, I can get it up and running cleanly, then get SPSS back on, and then bring back the files that yes, I remembered to back up to the Mac

    Quote Originally Posted by feeze View Post
    Personally I would recommend 4 GB of RAM when it comes to VM. It really does make a world of difference.

    Turn down the visual settings within windows. That is turn off the eye candy.
    I've seen 4GB on eBay for about $160? Under $200... So, not CHEAP, but certainly considering it cos the fiancée's been getting pretty frustrated with it...

    BUT - I've just turned off the eye candy... and - LOL - it's just like XP/Windows 2000! (Yes, I actually laughed out loud). Hopefully that will see some performance improvements alone.
    Last edited by cosmichobo; 22nd March 2010 at 11:38 PM.
    MacTalk - the bianca's of geekdom
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  5. #5

    Default

    i use win7 on one of our laptops for testing purposes, and i dont mind it, but its def not OSX.... its a fresh face to using XP at work generally, but, OSX in my mind feels nicer... win7 has def come a long way, and nice to use, but its just not my cup of tea at the end of the day
    .: iPhone 3GS - 32gig - black .:. iMac 24" Intel .:. iPad 64gig Wi-Fi + 3G .:. 2011 17" MBP :.

  6. #6

    Default

    I have heard often enough that Windows is a dinosaur OS, because they keep so much old code... Well, nonetheless I was shocked when I saw what Win7 looked like, once you told it to optimise for best speed... (ie turned off the pretty). It really does just look like an earlier version of Windows.

    Crazy.
    MacTalk - the bianca's of geekdom
    thecosmichobo - as seen on YouTube - "How Doomsday Should Have Ended!" • "Bigger on the Inside?" • "The Doctor Falls - With Hartnell!" and lots more!

  7. #7

    Join Date
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    Default

    I thought you could get SPSS for Mac? Wouldn't that be a less painful option?

  8. #8

    Join Date
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    Default

    The difference with Leopard and Windows on installs is Apple has tighter control of hardware so there is less drivers for the OS to pre-install. Windows has to include bare minimal certified drivers of the most common video cards(ATI, Matrox & nVidia), sound chipsets(Creative, Turtle Beach, RealTek, etc), IDE/SATA chipsets, iSCSI, etc. This cuts down the amount of time it takes to get a newly built PC up and running.

    Windows 7 is better at memory management than the bloated piece of junk Vista, Win7 can easily run with 1GB of memory for a virtual machine+ReadyBoost Flash Drive. Try the ReadyBoost option if you can't afford a memory upgrade.
    My Atom box had the 2GB ram module drop dead during the Win7 RC period, an intrim solution I had was a spare 1GB stick of memory and a ReadyBoost flash drive to get by until the 2GB stick was replaced.
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  9. #9

    Default

    Installing Windows 7 in a VM on my MBP usually takes around 10-13 minutes. XP takes a little longer due to the number of things you need to configure in the installer. XP boots in about 30 seconds and runs very quickly with only 512MB allocated to it. Windows 7 boots in about 45 seconds and also runs pretty quickly with 1GB allocated. Neither have ever crashed on me in a VM.

  10. #10

    Default

    happy - I'll look into the ReadyBoost - is that an option somewhere or add on?

    ada - We considered SPSS for Mac, but my fiancée was told that the equiv version for what they are using (v18) is very buggy on Mac...

    gehenna - all I can really say is that Mac OS boots WAY faster than Win7 has been doing... but then, it's also been stalling during boot/shutdown... (hence the reinstal)

    --

    RE the issue of setting VMWare to using both processors... I thought that this would be a better option than limiting it to only 1 processor, as I assumed that OS X's task manager would still be controlling whatever I was doing... so, limiting it to 1 processor would be bad, but letting it run on both, but of course being controlled by the Mac task manager, would be the best option...

    Is this wrong?
    Last edited by cosmichobo; 23rd March 2010 at 06:50 PM.
    MacTalk - the bianca's of geekdom
    thecosmichobo - as seen on YouTube - "How Doomsday Should Have Ended!" • "Bigger on the Inside?" • "The Doctor Falls - With Hartnell!" and lots more!

  11. #11

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    Default

    When you plug-in a "ReadyBoost" branded flash drive you must go to My Computer->right click on the flash drive icon and then select "Properties" and there should be a tab called Ready Boost.

    Dedicate the whole flash drive to it, this will help with wear leveling that flash memory uses. Never split the usage of the flash drive as it will cause uneven wear leveling, smaller/cheaper ones seem to have a failure trend within 6-8 months if used in a shared mode. I did an experiment on my Vista workstation and killed a 2GB flash drive within 10 months from splitting half ReadyBoost and half storage data.
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  12. #12

    Default

    I've set up a 2GB SD card as a ReadyBoost. 100% of it.

    Also kept the new VM at 1 core only, and dropped it to 768MB RAM instead of 1204MB.

    Fiancée hasn't had a chance/need to test SPSS out again to see how it compares...
    MacTalk - the bianca's of geekdom
    thecosmichobo - as seen on YouTube - "How Doomsday Should Have Ended!" • "Bigger on the Inside?" • "The Doctor Falls - With Hartnell!" and lots more!

  13. #13

    Join Date
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    Default

    I installed Windows 7 on an older PC laptop with 512 MB of RAM and it runs well enough (not sluggish at all). It an OS X, tho it is an improvement on previous winbloze shite

  14. #14

    Default

    Cosmic,
    Given the problems Microsoft causes me - running only Word and XL 2004 versions on an upscaled Mac Pro - I can only say I am not surprised by your experience, but admire you for persevering so long with anything that crap company puts out.

  15. #15

    Default

    Wow, it really surprises me how different everyones experiences are with this. I always figured everyone would be getting the same mileage out of their VMs as me, sad to hear that's not the case.

  16. #16

    Default

    gehenna, how much overall RAM does your MBP have? Which model MBP?

    I was expecting it to be "better"... I guess I should really set up an external HDD with Win7, and then boot the MBP from that, so I can compare to the VM...
    MacTalk - the bianca's of geekdom
    thecosmichobo - as seen on YouTube - "How Doomsday Should Have Ended!" • "Bigger on the Inside?" • "The Doctor Falls - With Hartnell!" and lots more!

  17. #17

    Join Date
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    Default

    It is interesting. On a production VM we have very good success with very few problems, but in bootcamp, using some different software it can range from adequate down to really awful, depending on what I'm doing.

    I think a lot of it depends on the tasks a user is doing.
    Grrrr, Arrrrghhh!!!
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  18. #18

    Default

    Slow hard drive, mate. It'd be hell running 2 os's on a 5400rpm drive.

  19. #19

    Default

    Just accidentally deleted the "good" instal, and now have to reinstal, for a 3rd time. (Had shut down the VM, then when restarted, ended up in the old VM. Then had a pop-up asking me to register the key - huhwuh I thought, cos I knew I'd done that... Figured somehow the old VM was causing it, so went and clicked delete on the inactive VM... then realised no, that's the wrong one...

    Am ASSUMING now that I can re-use my key to reinstal my software!
    MacTalk - the bianca's of geekdom
    thecosmichobo - as seen on YouTube - "How Doomsday Should Have Ended!" • "Bigger on the Inside?" • "The Doctor Falls - With Hartnell!" and lots more!

  20. #20

    Default

    Just accidentally deleted the "good" instal, and now have to reinstal, for a 3rd time. (Had shut down the VM, then when restarted, ended up in the old VM. Then had a pop-up asking me to register the key - huhwuh I thought, cos I knew I'd done that... Figured somehow the old VM was causing it, so went and clicked delete on the inactive VM... then realised no, that's the wrong one...

    Am ASSUMING now that I can re-use my key to reinstal my software!
    MacTalk - the bianca's of geekdom
    thecosmichobo - as seen on YouTube - "How Doomsday Should Have Ended!" • "Bigger on the Inside?" • "The Doctor Falls - With Hartnell!" and lots more!

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