So its over a month now since I installed Windows 7 on my Mackbook pro. I thought now would be a good time to review how its gone.
I’ll start by giving my overall view, pretty good. I’m enjoying using Windows 7 when I need to use Windows, which is mainly for .net development work. Once I had completed the install my first response was like many others, oh, its Vista. But after a few hours use it had grown on me, it was faster and far more responsive than Vista had ever been. This was compounded when I had the need to install the Telnet client. On vista this process took about 10 minutes, on 7 it took 20 seconds, I was impressed.
The next test came with installing my applications. To be honest I’m not in need of anything terribly taxing. Visual Studio was the main app and that installed and worked just fine. In fact I really had no problems with any software, other than the slight issue I mentioned in the previous post about ISO mounting software. One of the other reasons I have a Windows install is to play games, and I’m happy to report Call of Duty 4 runs without a problem on Windows 7. Which would have been a stopping point for me!
I like the new StartBar, being able to pin applications to it, and view a preview of all the open windows for an application is great. I tried installing Ultramon for my dual monitor setup, but that wasn’t so successful. It installs and runs, but errors at the start. It still works, but the toolbar on the secondary monitor is very thin and hard to read and doesn’t interact well with the superbar. Hardware wise, the drivers from the OSX leopard CD worked without issue, even my iSight camera worked. Any peripheral devices like printers worked with Vista drivers.
There are problems however, but not specific Macbook related problems. Explorer has an annoying habit of stopping working when you open windows. For example, you’ll open the C: drive and get a blank window. However if you open the C: drive from the run command it opens fine. However if you then try and browse from there, it stops working again, very strange error. The shutdown process hangs quite often as well, even when you dutifully shutdown every programme before initiating it.
Finally, the one big Mac related problem is VMWare Fusion. I’ve tried running Windows 7 from inside Fusion and it boots and I could eventually get into unity mode. This is with the latest VMWare tools installed and the VM set as being a server 2008 instance. The problem is I cannot get the network to work on the VM, in either NAT or bridged mode it gets a self assigned IP address and no network access. I guess this issue maybe more of a VMWare issue than a Microsoft one, but it maybe the one thing that sends me back to Vista or XP, which is a shame.
I really like Windows 7, and I’m happy to use it as a day-to-day OS. It works well on a Macbook pro, just like XP and Vista do. Software and drive support is great, but you would expect that from something based on Vista. There are some problems, the explorer error is infuriating at times, but it’s a beta, and you find a way round it. Hopefully theses issue will be ironed out by release time, and I’d be happy to use it. The Fusion issue is annoying and I really want that to work. But again its Beta and VMWare don’t officially support it. When it gets to release time, I’m sure it will work in fusions to. So overall, if you want to run Windows 7 on a Mac, go for it. It works, the drivers are support, your apps should work. Just beware of the issues I’ve mentioned and the Fusions issue. If you rely a lot on running windows in fusion, I wouldn’t go for Windows 7 right now.