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Running Windows (or anything else) on your Mac Discussion of Classic or running Windows, Linux and other OSes on the Mac.

Issues installing Win7


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stacktrace

 
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Hi Folks -

I would like to preface this thread that I'm not using Boot Camp nor VMware fusion to install Win7 - my intent is to completey obliterate OS X from the PC and install Win7 for my gf (she hates Lion).

So, from my understanding, in order to get Mac Book Air to boot the Win7 CD is to get rid of some Mac partition that exists on the internal HDD. I've been following instructions on how to Recovery USB thumb drive using the Recovery Disk Assistant. I have two USB drives - a 16GB one and a 2GB one. I ran the recovery tool on both thumb drives and the Recovery Disk Assistant was able to copy and verify all blocks transferred from the recovery disk image over to the thumg drives. During reboot and holding down the option button I was able to see boot options for the USB drive.

Here's the funky part, when I used the 16GB thumb drive (w/ or w/out wireless) I would see computer "think" with the Grey Apple Icon along with the circle "thingy" doing "circles". After a few minutes, the apple logo would turn into a circle with a slash through it and pretty much hang there.

When I used the 2GB thumb drive, it would actually log me in and when I loaded up the Disk Utility I wasn't able to blow away any of the internal disks' partitions. Rather when I launched the shell the root file system was the internal drive -- it's as if selecting the recovery disk did nothing to avoid the internal drive from being accessed. The net result was me being unable to format the internal disk and the error message would state "Disk Erase Failed .. Could not eject disk".

My question is, is it possible to install Windows 7 and use the (x64 Intel) Macbook Air like a regular PC? Between the 16GB and the 2GB USB thumb drives, why am I seeing two different symptoms?

Please, need some help there and thanks in advance!

Alex
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mrplow

 
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It's possible . . but... you are going to struggle with driver support etc as updates are handled via the bootcamp app installed in Windows.

Not to mention the Windows battery performance is nowhere as good as OSX.

But if you're dead set on using Windows 7 over OSX then just do a basic Lion install and then use bootcamp and set the startup disk to the Windows 7 partition so it always boots into Windows. You'll lose some disk space to OSX but you'll erradicate all the other install and ongoing support issues.

I can't finish without saying it's a real shame your girlfriend won't give Lion a go (maybe turn off the gestures, hot corners and other bell and whistles if that's the issue - my wife hasn't ever liked as the expose/spaces/launchpad type stuff flying windows here and there so I just dial everything down on her account).
Just my two cents . . . .

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SammySlim

 
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Mr. Plow is right. Long run, you're better off keeping Lion on the Mac for (1) resale purposes, (2) troubleshooting hardware issues (if you take it to Mac store it's going to create issues if only Windows is on there) and (3) managing Windows functionality. For item (3), for example, because Mac uses EFI and not BIOS, and for hardware driver support as noted above, using Bootcamp is going to be easier on everyone long term. If you set the machine always to boot to Windows, she won't notice anything different.

Another option might be to sell the Mac (or buy it from her) and just get her a Windows PC. The Mac will have a pretty solid resale.

Cheers
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chscag

 
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Another option might be to sell the Mac (or buy it from her) and just get her a Windows PC. The Mac will have a pretty solid resale.
+1 for the above advice. Using a new MacBook Air as a Win machine is a waste of money and resources. Buy her a netbook and keep the Air for yourself.
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stacktrace

 
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Here are the top three reasons why she hates it and I tend to agree:

1) Network performance issues - Speedtests state she's getting only 200Kbits/s down and 100 Kbits/s up. My linux box (on the same network) reports 5Mbits/s down and 5 Mbits/s up. Even with everyone booted from the wireless station the report remains the same. Spectrum analyzer reports no signal crossing at 2.4Ghz and no spread spectrum issues at 5Ghz nor any real interference. Tried the various forum methods to get this working (eg., deleting wifi profile, rebooting and re-adding as well as some PRAM thing I don't know much about) and still notta.

2) Network drops - Too often the mac book air disassociates from my wireless station. Again, spectrum analyzer reports no signal strength issues at all. No real help in this case from the mac world except to wait for a fix, of which no one really has identified outside of theories.

3) Weird "blackout" issues - The constant 500ms-1s screen blackout is frustrating. Again, without any real debugging the consumer is left if their mac air is broken or if this is a software (X-Windows) issue.

Regarding debugging the Air, I don't think debugging hardware issues is that difficult between windows and linux (I do this for a living actually). The root shell is something I found strange and probably need to get used to. I'm am more familiar with traditional kernels that provide module functionality and I'm not convinced if the mac lion kernel is a singular monolithic kernel. If it is then debugging hardware issues is completely reliant on debug messages and consumers have no real chance of reloading drivers in a debug mode.

Also, using a mac air as a Windows PC is really "to each their own". Liking the hardware design but desiring different software (especially when the hardware itself are generic parts) isn't something new. My only guess as to why Apple has this closed-system approach is to maintain the engineering quality - of which I 100% agree. My only concern is when major issues like the 3 described above starts to occur we [consumer] have to end up living with it or downgrading to a "known" working version (eg., SL) without really know what is really going on.

As far as boot camp is concerned, that failed as well. It fails at the point where the external USB DVD drive needs to run. I have the Samsung SE-S082 (is that the correct one?) and using all 3 available FW's (TS00, 01 and 02) all failed to initialize the install and I'm stuck with a lit "black" screen. I tested the drive on another 64-bit PC and that worked fine and this PC also uses EFI to boot. Searching forums (once again) I got left with a single blurb about "incompatibility". With that being said, I suspect the incompatibility is unique to Apple.

I don't think all my concerns can be addressed by Apple support but luckily Apple Corp is not too far away from where I work. So I may get lucky one day at a bar and get some answers but for now I'm stuck with an OS that's pretty lacking and the only way out of this mess is to buy software and downgrade to a known working version.

Alex
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SammySlim

 
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None of the above has anything to do with Lion. Period. Your Air may have a bad wifi chipset.

If you can't get it fixed by Apple to your satisfaction, just sell it. Of course someone would be unhappy with a bad network connection that keeps dropping - but if you think that's how Apple computers or the operating system works, you don't know much about Apple products.

Good luck getting the machine fixed - you should test the Air in an Apple store on their network and see what is going on. I had some similar issues on my U-Verse wifi with my 2010 Air --- found that changing to a higher wifi channel helped. There are some wifi routers that the Air's have occasional trouble with. I now use a basic Linksys router and have no issues and get 20 down, 6 up.

Cheers
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BrianLachoreVPI

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stacktrace View Post
Here are the top three reasons why she hates it and I tend to agree:

1) Network performance issues - Speedtests state she's getting only 200Kbits/s down and 100 Kbits/s up. My linux box (on the same network) reports 5Mbits/s down and 5 Mbits/s up. Even with everyone booted from the wireless station the report remains the same. Spectrum analyzer reports no signal crossing at 2.4Ghz and no spread spectrum issues at 5Ghz nor any real interference. Tried the various forum methods to get this working (eg., deleting wifi profile, rebooting and re-adding as well as some PRAM thing I don't know much about) and still notta.

2) Network drops - Too often the mac book air disassociates from my wireless station. Again, spectrum analyzer reports no signal strength issues at all. No real help in this case from the mac world except to wait for a fix, of which no one really has identified outside of theories.

3) Weird "blackout" issues - The constant 500ms-1s screen blackout is frustrating. Again, without any real debugging the consumer is left if their mac air is broken or if this is a software (X-Windows) issue.

Regarding debugging the Air, I don't think debugging hardware issues is that difficult between windows and linux (I do this for a living actually). The root shell is something I found strange and probably need to get used to. I'm am more familiar with traditional kernels that provide module functionality and I'm not convinced if the mac lion kernel is a singular monolithic kernel. If it is then debugging hardware issues is completely reliant on debug messages and consumers have no real chance of reloading drivers in a debug mode.

Also, using a mac air as a Windows PC is really "to each their own". Liking the hardware design but desiring different software (especially when the hardware itself are generic parts) isn't something new. My only guess as to why Apple has this closed-system approach is to maintain the engineering quality - of which I 100% agree. My only concern is when major issues like the 3 described above starts to occur we [consumer] have to end up living with it or downgrading to a "known" working version (eg., SL) without really know what is really going on.

As far as boot camp is concerned, that failed as well. It fails at the point where the external USB DVD drive needs to run. I have the Samsung SE-S082 (is that the correct one?) and using all 3 available FW's (TS00, 01 and 02) all failed to initialize the install and I'm stuck with a lit "black" screen. I tested the drive on another 64-bit PC and that worked fine and this PC also uses EFI to boot. Searching forums (once again) I got left with a single blurb about "incompatibility". With that being said, I suspect the incompatibility is unique to Apple.

I don't think all my concerns can be addressed by Apple support but luckily Apple Corp is not too far away from where I work. So I may get lucky one day at a bar and get some answers but for now I'm stuck with an OS that's pretty lacking and the only way out of this mess is to buy software and downgrade to a known working version.

Alex
What kind of spreadspectrum issues can be diagnosed by a spectrum analyzer??

There's either a recent or upcoming (I'm not using Lion) patch for Lion that is supposed to address some wireless issues. The issues stated are directed at resuming a connection from sleep - but it's not unlike Apple to fix other things that they haven't acknowledged as being broken. I'd imagine that you can always purchase SL and put it on the Mac instead of Windows, but really, if you're experiencing this much trouble with a new Mac - I'd be heading back to the store to try to get it resolved especially since you can't conclusively isolate this as an OS or a HW problem.
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stacktrace

 
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Hi -

I was told that the new Mac Airs does not support an SL downgrade (at least not the Air's with the i5 processors in 'em). The last thing I'm going to try before setting up an appointment at the genious bar is to reset the SMC and to recover OS X and if these issues are still persistent, off to the genius bar. I don't think I'm finding myself really enthusiastic about learning Mac's at this point unless the problem is hardware-related -- then everything experienced thus far would make sense.

My last option is to sell the thing, I just buy stuff and use it. I take the things I "just use" for granted because I just want to be a user and not a technical expert.

Alex
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BrianLachoreVPI

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stacktrace View Post
Hi -

I was told that the new Mac Airs does not support an SL downgrade (at least not the Air's with the i5 processors in 'em). The last thing I'm going to try before setting up an appointment at the genious bar is to reset the SMC and to recover OS X and if these issues are still persistent, off to the genius bar. I don't think I'm finding myself really enthusiastic about learning Mac's at this point unless the problem is hardware-related -- then everything experienced thus far would make sense.

My last option is to sell the thing, I just buy stuff and use it. I take the things I "just use" for granted because I just want to be a user and not a technical expert.

Alex
Well - it's completely up to you whether or not you want to continue with the Mac OS, but I'd have to say, given that thousands are not experiencing the issues you are, that you likely have a hardware problem. Hopefully a quick trip to the Apple store will render this but a distant memory.
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It really just seems like a hardware fault. Something that can happen with any piece of hardware from any manufacturer.

I've been repairing and building PCs for years and enjoy the whole debugging experience but if, as a user not a technical expert, I was having an out-of-the-box problem I'd have taken it straight back for resolution or replacement rather than stripping it down and rebuilding.

I think your best course of action is the one you've finally arrived at. Take it back and let Apple fix it/replace it or refund it

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SammySlim

 
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And the Air supports the Lion upgrade. No problem.

Cheers
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if your network keeps disconnecting then you do have a signal issue. i had this problem with wireless n on the 5 ghz frequency. it would occasionally drop out and disconnect until i went into my router settings and changed the channel. no issues since.

what i did to setup windows on my machine as a windows only machine is create a bootcamp partition. then when it goes into the install process delete the mac drive. format the boot partition and the mac drive. install on the bootcamp drive then when in windows recover the space from the formatted mac drive.

This worked but I had trouble down the road. the most stable system i have used has been to actually keep the mac partition and create a windows boot camp and just use it that way as a windows machine. the default osx install is small anyway. its sort of nice to do it this way because if you ever want to switch it back to all mac you can boot to the mac partition and recover the windows partition deleting it and your ready to go in a jiffy.
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SammySlim

 
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Agree with above - as discussed above, change the router channel and keep OSX on the machine.

Cheers
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stacktrace

 
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Update:

It was a hardware problem. The disk was slowly dying causing all the havoc I was seeing. RMA'd the bad one for a good one, the system was definitely more stable. Boot camp for the new Mac's requires a USB boot drive so [seemingly] any USB DVD boot drive won't work.

Win7 Ultimate on boot camp is working out great and thanks for the support everyone!
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Thanks for posting back. It's always nice to have closure on a thread. Glad it's working again.
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