How well does Vista run on Macbooks?
November 4, 2007 10:00 AM   Subscribe

How well does Vista run on a Macbook Pro (or Regular Macbook)? How do the windows functions (like right-click, etc.) work? Are there things that won't work or will be different that may annoy me while running Vista on Apple hardware? Also, can I default it to boot into Vista and NOT in OS X? I'm talking about bootcamp and not parallels or fusion.

I am looking to get a new laptop and was thinking of getting a Macbook Pro just to have the option of working in OS X from time to time, but I want to know how well it really runs Vista and how to do things like right-click (the lack of the button on a macbook is almost a deal breaker for me).

And please don't tell me that if I switched to OS X I'd just prefer it and never go back -- that's not what I'm asking.
posted by adi to Technology (14 answers total)
Put two fingers on the trackpad and click. That's a right click. Works on both the Windows and Mac side.

Also, no experience with Vista, but XP is flawless.
posted by trevyn at 10:07 AM on November 4, 2007

The fastest Windows Vista laptop is a Macbook Pro according to PC World.
posted by onalark at 10:08 AM on November 4, 2007

PC World thinks it's just about the best laptop out there for running Vista. I run XP on mine and it works better than it did on my old XP-only notebook. Plus, you get a free leopard OS that you can use, relegate to a tiny partition or remove entirely.
posted by TeatimeGrommit at 10:10 AM on November 4, 2007

Fair warning, however. Last I checked Apple hadn't shipped 64-bit Vista drivers for the Macbooks. The 32-bit Vista drivers are available now.
posted by TeatimeGrommit at 10:12 AM on November 4, 2007

That's funny... I just installed Vista on my MBP C2D this morning. Works great!

Like trevyn said, 2 fingers + click = right click.
posted by mpls2 at 10:17 AM on November 4, 2007

Recent Apple convert here with a Santa Rosa MBP. Was a hardcore PC user way back to DOS and early Windows iterations. One of the reasons I picked up the MBP was for the potential purpose of multibooting Vista/XP or Ubuntu. To answer your questions:

Vista runs blazing fast on a MBP. Well, that's relative to other machines as it runs like a hog compared to OS X and Ubuntu.

The right-click functionality (my greatest hurdle in going mac was the single button and prior poor efforts at contextual right-clicking) on the new systems is amazing with 2 finger tap. It took a few days of getting used to, but now I honestly hate having to use other machines with two buttons and I'll tell you why. Most of the time if you're surfing around on the laptop your hand will be positioned with your thumb on the button and index finger on the trackpad. Now to right click, all I do is drop my middle finger and press down with my thumb on the button. Poof, "right" click. This has come to feel far more ergonomic and convenient than shifting my thumb over to another button. Essentially, movements at the level of the wrist and thumb are no longer necessary. It works out of the box in both OS X and Vista. Ubuntu takes a bit of tweaking.

As a side note (even though you don't want to hear it), I expected to run linux and occasionally XP or Vista on the machine with minimal use of OS X. But after putting it through its paces, I ended up running OS X 95% of the time, and rarely load Windows (mainly to run MediaMonkey which has no equal for futzing around with media, and stupid Internet Explorer which is required to access some work-related web content). Ubuntu is still a bit too much hastle even with Gutsy. In fact, I got rid of my multiple partitions and now just run XP through VMware Fusion in OS X since the only limitation to this is possibly graphics-intensive gameplay.
posted by drpynchon at 10:38 AM on November 4, 2007

The fastest Windows Vista laptop is a Macbook Pro according to PC World.

While that may have been true then, I note that the Apple laptop tested beat the equivalent Gateway by 1 point, which is not really statistically significant. Also, Apple's laptop cost significantly more ($3,000!). The speed advantage at that time came from Apple and Gateway being one of the first companies to deploy Intel's Santa Rosa chipset, and everyone else was running on a much slower bus. That's no longer true.
posted by meehawl at 11:09 AM on November 4, 2007

Response by poster: Can you have it default to booting into Vista though rather than OS X (with OS X still on the machine)? Can I later decide to have it boot into OS X automatically without any reinstalls?
posted by adi at 12:59 PM on November 4, 2007

yes you have a choice for what is the default operating system to boot into. yes osx is still there so it isnt a problem to boot into it.
posted by DJWeezy at 1:17 PM on November 4, 2007

According to this forum post it does seem to be possible to set and change your bootcamp default OS.
posted by whir at 1:17 PM on November 4, 2007

All you have to do is hold down the (ALT) OPTION key while the laptop is booting and you will be prompted as to which partition (Mac OS X) or (XP/Vista) you want to boot to.

Default behavior is to boot into whichever OS you choose last.

I bought a MBPro about a week ago.. using Bootcamp to dual boot it OS 10.5 and XP... it rocks... I'm a 10+ year veteran from the Windows world and i actually find myself liking OS X (my time is split about 50/50 in each OS... but thats mostly for learning)
posted by jmnugent at 6:12 PM on November 4, 2007

One comment if you plan on using the builtin Isight camera. I dont know for sure about Vista... but XP loaded the drivers fine, however I have not yet been able to find an application that behaves (correctly detects and uses) the iSight camera.

XP built in "Camera and Scanner Wizard" shows a live-preview correctly/successfully.. but thats about it. I havent been able to find a chat program (tried many) that cooperates with it.

not sure if thats a dealbreaker for you.. Other Vista users would need to chime in ....
posted by jmnugent at 6:18 PM on November 4, 2007

Correction.. I just tried MBPro builtin iSight in Skype and it works
posted by jmnugent at 6:40 PM on November 4, 2007

I hope this isn't a derail, but does anyone know if the s-video out works while running Windows? (I think it didn't as of the last beta version of bootcamp).
posted by nobody at 6:49 PM on November 4, 2007

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