As a registered Microsoft developer, I had early access to the final release version of Windows 7, which I installed on my 17-inch MacBook Pro.
I chose the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Ultimate. I'm happy to report that it installed smoothly and worked great for the past three weeks.
Here are some tips and observations:
- Installing 64-bit Windows 7 on the MacBook Pro was easy, just use the Boot Camp Assistant that's bundled with Mac OS X.
- After installing Windows 7, install the Boot Camp drivers from the Mac OS X installation disc. The drivers are needed for operating the special function keys, like for controlling screen brightness and keyboard backlighting.
- The Mac OS X Snow Leopard installation disc (just released last week) comes with updated Boot Camp drivers. You should install these drivers so that you can access your Mac OS files from Windows. Also when I upgraded my Mac OS X to Snow Leopard, I was able to access my Windows files from Mac OS X. Very useful when you need to work with both Windows and Mac OS X.
- The MacBook Pro was able to run Windows 7 on battery power for roughly 3.5 hours, while running Microsoft Outlook and a HSPA Mobile Broadband Modem. This is roughly half an hour of battery life less than Mac OS X.
- The backup utility bundled with Windows 7 Ultimate couldn't backup my hard drive for some reason--the backup always failed with the error "The system cannot find the file specified. (0x80070002)". I'm still looking for a solution to this problem.
- The Cisco VPN client is not supported on 64-bit versions of Windows. Fortunately Windows 7 provides a Windows XP Mode for running legacy applications. The Cisco VPN client works fine in Windows XP Mode on the MacBook Pro.
Overall, 64-bit Windows 7 works very well on a MacBook Pro--Windows 7 boots quickly, feels very responsive, and it seems to take full advantage of the fast solid state hard drive and the huge amount of installed RAM (8GB). Kudos to Microsoft for an operating system that's very nicely done.