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Windows 7: Potential Mac Switcher -advice?

28 Aug 2010   #1

Planning on switching from Mac to Windows 7 - buying new PC
 
 
Potential Mac Switcher -advice?

I switched to a Mac Pro three years ago and with Tiger it was Great, with Leopard it slowly gums up with crud and I have to keep doing a reinstall from scratch. I tried Snow Leopard upgrade but the same "permission" problem is still there. Will have to do a completely formatted new install of the system -- again. Lots of users are having problems with Snow Leopard, by the way.

That was basically why I switched from Windows. It sounds as though Windows 7 might have improved things? I have an old laptop with XP2 that I use on rare occasions, but am pretty much out of touch.

I am ready to buy a new machine and am seriously considering going back to Windows. Actually I started with Dos -- really dating myself.

When I switched to the Mac there was a forum to help; Is there any forum aimed specifically for those who switch to Windows?

Maybe you can help me with some answers:

1. The Mac Pro interiors are clean and easy to swap out drives, add ram and cards. No tangle of cords. I don't suppose the Windows PCs have improved that way?

2. I read that only with Win 7 Pro, can you get older XP programs to run. But does that mean limiting some of the function or power of Win 7?

3. The restore feature never seemed to work. The old Roxio "Go Back" was a lot more helpful for me. Is the new restore better? I used Acronis and was able to restore my drive with that, but wonder if the OS restore has improved.

4. On the Mac I had all four hard drive slots filled (interior) and always had an interior clone in case I had a problem. Could boot up into the clone and work on the original from there. (I couldn't get into it at all after an update on my original system drive, which is why I took it to the Genius Bar. Don't know why they did an archive reinstall of my clone. That messed it up and was about the last straw.
Sort of dual boot, but the second boot drive is the clone. It just works faster than restoring and allowed me to finish what I was working on before taking care of the problem on the original. My question here is if that is something possible in Win 7?

5. Speaking of hard drives, I have a dozen of varying sizes. Four inside the computer. I keep my data off the boot drive. I don't use raid, but work with files on one data drive and then sync to the other. Several are exterior drives and several more are bare drives in exterior cases. I work with thousands of photos and since losing a years worth of work to a bad zip drive and two corrupted backups, I am paranoid and keep several backups on site and off site and the one inside the computer.
Now finally to the question: They are all formatted with the Mac guid system. It seems to me that once I tried to reformat for Windows and neither the Mac nor the old XP laptop would do it. I bought a program to use in Windows to read the Mac disks, but would hate to rely on that as a permanent solution. Has anyone been able to reformat a Mac drive for Windows? Is there any third party software that will do that?

6. Last question: are there many programs that won't run in the 64 bit mode? Is a reboot necessary to switch from 64 to 36 bits?

Sorry this has been long winded. Hope you can help with some of the questions anyhow. I've just started looking into it and have a feeling more questions will come up. (which is why a forum for switchers to Windows would be great!)

Thanks!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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29 Aug 2010   #2

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

Hi marliz and a warm welcome to the Forum,
I have no experience of Macs so cannot really help on most of your questions but I don't like to see a post that gets no response at all.
I can answer one point though, It is No1 above . "The Mac Pro interiors are clean and easy to swap out drives, add ram and cards. No tangle of cords. I don't suppose the Windows PCs have improved that way?"

That depends entirely what make you intend buying. Why not build your own or go to a company that will build for you to your exact specifications. You can then specify exactly how you want the interior to look so far as cable tidies etc are concerned. There is a Tidy Cable enthusiast on this Forum. Perhaps he will read this and comment. Meantime I will try to find him as his signature showed his passion for tidy insides. Plenty of screenshots too if I recall!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Aug 2010   #3

Windows 7 Professional SP1 64-bit
 
 

I can help with a couple questions.

2) With Windows 7 Pro, what you get is an option to download and install what is called "XP Mode". Basically, you have a fully functional and licensed version of Windows XP that runs in a virtual environment. It looks like a normal window, and can have other windows open inside of it. You can use fullscreen mode, where it looks like you just have XP installed. I believe their is also a way to have XP minimized while the other windows stay on the screen, to give the appearance of running the programs natively is 7.

6) This question was asked kind of oddly. Since you mentioned modes, I will clarify that you can only have 32-bit or 64-bit installed on one partition. Most programs made within the last 10 years will work fine in 64-bit. If you have some random 16-bit application or game, then that will not work. It works like this, 32-bit Windows can run 16-bit and 32-bit software, but not 64-bit software. 64-bit Windows can run 32-bit and 64-bit software, but not 16-bit software. 16-bit software is pretty hard to find now-a-days, but sometimes you will find the random 8 year old program that was a hybrid 32-bit and 16-bit application.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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29 Aug 2010   #4
whs

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

ad#3) the windows restore and Windows 7 imaging does work if you know how to deal with it (which is not obvious for imaging). I think you will be better off to stay with Acronis. Many people recommend that. I myself prefer free Macrium because it is so easy to use - but if you are used to Acronis, this may not be an argument.

ad#5) I would copy the files to a NTFS formatted drive(s) - with Mac you should be able to do that. Else I would try a live Linux distro.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Aug 2010   #5

Planning on switching from Mac to Windows 7 - buying new PC
 
 

mitchell thanks for the response. I hate to see unanswered questions too, on forums where I frequent, and now you've given me an idea I should have thought of, just a welcome is a plus. It leaves a person feeling empty and a bit stupid when there are no responses.

Petey7, thank you. It sounds as though a reboot isn't necessary for xp, if it's a virtual window. I had a few utitlities and programs in Windows that I missed.

Sorry I made question 6 unclear, but if I understand, and 16 and 32 bit software (couldn't remember the 32 bit so took a stab and plucked 36 (?) out of the air) are each on a separate partition, that would mean a reboot to change, correct? On the Mac, Photoshop users (like me) use 32 bit for plug ins, just waiting for them to come out in 64 bit.

Thanks again!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Aug 2010   #6

Planning on switching from Mac to Windows 7 - buying new PC
 
 

whs, I think part of my problem with the early restore was I didn't get it as well as I did Roxio's Go Back. Acronis was a sanity saver. I did like to try different software and got myself in trouble a few times.

Unfortunately if I copy the files to another drive, it doesn't make the drive I'm copying from usuable. That's one of my biggest concerns. Four of the drives are 2 TB and others are 1TB. The 500 GB drives I don't care as much about. But I have a fair amount of money invested and don't want to use the drive for doorstops. It seems there must be a way to reformat those Mac formatted drives to NTSF. I'll have to try another search.

Though the savings from switching and not needing to buy a new $5000 plus Mac Pro, makes the loss look a bit less painful. Just a bit. :-)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Aug 2010   #7

Windows 7 Professional SP1 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by marliz View Post
Petey7, thank you. It sounds as though a reboot isn't necessary for xp, if it's a virtual window. I had a few utitlities and programs in Windows that I missed.

Sorry I made question 6 unclear, but if I understand, and 16 and 32 bit software (couldn't remember the 32 bit so took a stab and plucked 36 (?) out of the air) are each on a separate partition, that would mean a reboot to change, correct? On the Mac, Photoshop users (like me) use 32 bit for plug ins, just waiting for them to come out in 64 bit.

Thanks again!
Indeed, no reboot is needed to use XP Mode. You just start it up or close is like a normal program.

With Windows 64-bit, all software is stored on the same partition. 32-bit programs are stored in a different Program Files folder, to keep them organized better. I'm not sure what the Mac equivalent of a Program Files folder is called, but I think the name for it in Windows is self explanatory. In 32-bit Windows you just have a folder called Program Files. In 64-bit Windows you have Program Files for 64-bit programs, and Program Files (x86) for 32-bit programs. Since you bring up Photoshop specifically, I will confirm that 32-bit Photoshop runs in 64-bit Windows just fine and the plugins work as well.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Aug 2010   #8

Planning on switching from Mac to Windows 7 - buying new PC
 
 

Maybe it's just on the Mac that some plugins aren't working yet on 64 bit.

The Mac equivelant to Windows Explorer is the Finder which has fewer features, but was ok after I learned to use it. The Program files are under "Applications."

I think you mean that if you are in the 64 bit partition, you can run 32 bit programs from there. That sounds doable if most work.

Thanks again!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Aug 2010   #9

Windows 7 Professional SP1 64-bit
 
 

Unless you set it up a certain way, there will only be one partition. One.

Maybe Macs are different. 32-bit programs can run natively in 64-bit Windows without a problem. If you use 64-bit version of a program, 32-bit plugins won't work with that program, but if you have 32-bit program, it will run in the 64-bit OS, and 32-bit plugins will work with it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Aug 2010   #10

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

So it looks like you will be joining us with Windows 7. Hope so, you experie nce looks as if you will be able to offer much help to others here! (time permitting, of course, you sound like a very busy person)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Potential Mac Switcher -advice?





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