Monday, January 26, 2009

Windows 7 with VMWare Fusion on Macbook white

Intel Macs can run Windows on a separate partition with Boot Camp, but it's also possible to use VMWare Fusion to run Windows side-by-side with Mac OSX. So is the free Windows 7 beta trimmed down enough to cut it?
Clever: Works off Boot Camp installation without installing a different copy.
Stupid: Unusably slow on a non-pro Macbook.

My experiences:

Although it loads eventually, it is sloooooowww. When I boot to Windows 7 directly (without Fusion) the system is usable and runs nearly as fast as a Windows XP box, but booting up in Fusion is filled with black screens and the spinning blue disc thing from Vista. It also drags down Mac OSX.

When you first boot up, you're asked to update with VMWare Tools. This helped the mouse pointer and graphics speed a little, but it is still like operating Windows 3.1 standing in treacle (ah, memories).

My measly 1GB RAM is no way enough for Windows 7 because Fusion shares that RAM with Mac OSX, cutting it down to 512MB.

Mac Brainiac verdict: Running Windows 7 on a vanilla Macbook through VMWare Fusion is only recommended for those with more RAM and processor grunt. However, Windows 7 runs smoothly on a Macbook with Boot Camp. Windows XP is also happy to run side-by-side with Mac OSX with Fusion.

What I used
: I installed Windows 7 beta build 7000 on my Macbook white first generation 1.83GHz Intel with 1GB RAM.

I used VMWare Fusion 2.0.1 to run Windows 7 virtually from within Mac OSX Leopard 10.5.6.

Share your experiences with running Windows 7 on a Mac in the comments below, but make sure you leave your machine's specs.

1 comment:

  1. Had windows 7 beta running on a macbook pro 2.4 with 4GB inside fusion running fine. I only gave the VM 1GB of ram. The Aero type stuff didn't work but I didn't have 3D enabled, don't know if that would have made a difference or not.

    The RC runs great on normal PC hardware and is a quick as XP on the same machine which vista ran a dog on.