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  1. #1


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    Question Recommended partition size for MBA 128gb/ W8 pro
    Hello. I would like to request forum members' input on amount of hard drive space to partition to install Windows 8 professional.

    I have a mid-2011 MBA with 128 gb. I would like to retain the recovery partition for OSX. I installed Windows 8 professional using boot camp, and partitioned 30 gb for the boot camp/windows 8 partition, following the recommendation in the official Apple bootcamp instructions.

    After installing Windows 8, I loaded MS Word and Excel 2013. After doing so, I attempted to do Windows system updates and App updates but was unable to do so. I received a message in which it was advised that my updates failed because there was lack of hard drive space.

    I checked the boot camp partition by right clicking properties. It indicated that I used all of my hard drive space on that partition.

    What are your thoughts on the amount of space to partition in light of the following?:

    1. I intend to use OSX as the primary OS
    2. I intend to use Windows 8 primarily to edit documents in Word and maybe light Excel use
    3. I would like to have enough space for System/App future updates
    4. I would like to have some (not much) hard drive space to store documents

    I am thinking perhaps 35 gb would be sufficient to cover it. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2

    chscag's Avatar
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    Windows 8 Pro x 64 bit takes up a large amount of space just for its files and system. Your drive of 128 GB is just not large enough to host both Windows 8 Pro and OS X. I suggest you consider a larger internal drive for your MBA. Also, why are you running MS Office from Windows when you could use the Mac version?

    If you really want to proceed, assign at least 50 to 60 GB for Windows 8 Pro.

  3. #3

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    When I read this question about 5 minutes ago...my first thought was (same as chscag)...128gig of storage may be a bit tight to run both the Mac OS and Windows 8. Especially if you like to keep a lot of files, photos, music, and video on the computer.

    Can it be done...probably...but things may be a bit tight as time goes by...and the "file & application load" on the computer grows.

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
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  4. #4


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    Quote Originally Posted by chscag View Post
    Windows 8 Pro x 64 bit takes up a large amount of space just for its files and system. Your drive of 128 GB is just not large enough to host both Windows 8 Pro and OS X. I suggest you consider a larger internal drive for your MBA. Also, why are you running MS Office from Windows when you could use the Mac version?

    If you really want to proceed, assign at least 50 to 60 GB for Windows 8 Pro.
    I purchased a copy of MS Office and Windows 8 Pro which I uninstalled from my old laptop which I donated. I don't want to/can't afford to buy a copy of Office for Mac. I have tried other office suites like OpenOffice on OSX, but it always results in some format issues when I open the document in MS Word on another computer.

    Quote Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
    When I read this question about 5 minutes ago...my first thought was (same as chscag)...128gig of storage may be a bit tight to run both the Mac OS and Windows 8. Especially if you like to keep a lot of files, photos, music, and video on the computer.

    Can it be done...probably...but things may be a bit tight as time goes by...and the "file & application load" on the computer grows.

    - Nick
    Well, my intent for loading W8 is to use the MS Word application, plus I like W8 so wouldn't mind using it on occasion for surfing the web, etc. I don't intend to use the boot camp partition to hold lots of personal files like pictures, documents, etc.

    My main concern is that I don't want to get into a situation where I would run out of space for the Windows 8/ MS Word updates. I see myself running Windows 8 without adding any additional programs or apps other than those already installed with Windows 8.

    Nick, would you agree with chscag that 50-60 gb should be set aside for the boot camp partition? Or something less?

    Thank you for the replies. I failed to fully consider that the boot camp partition would reduce the OSX partition to a point where it would seriously affect my ability to store files and add apps.

    Probable purchasing the MS Office Suite for Mac would solve my problem, but just don't have the funds and I don't want to resort to pirated versions.

    Thanks for the input!

  5. #5

    Raz0rEdge's Avatar
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    If your goal is primarily to run MS Office in Windows and you already own a copy of Windows 8, perhaps you can just grab a copy of VirtualBox (free) and create a VM with like 50GB maximum given to it. Ensure to create a dynamic volume. Install Windows 8 and MS Office and then ask VirtualBox how much space you are actually using. If you're actually using 25GB, then you can delete that VM, and create a new one with just 40GB and be all set for you Windows/Office needs.

    I would also suggest that you keep your documents on a Shared folder from the OS X side.
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  6. #6

    chscag's Avatar
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    Instead of using Boot Camp and partitioning the 128 GB SSD, have you thought about running Windows in a VM? Virtual Box is free and will run MS Office just fine. I ran MS Office 2010 from a VM for awhile and can not tell the difference. And yes, the minimum for Windows 8 Pro x 64 bit + apps like MS Office is around 50 to 60 GB.

  7. #7


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    I appreciate the input guys. I am unfamiliar with VM so I will read up on it. If there are some links which you recommend, I would also appreciate it. Thanks.

  8. #8

    chscag's Avatar
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    Sure. VirtualBox is free and can be downloaded from here. You can read up on it at the Wikipedia site at this LINK.

    What is a virtual machine? LINK

  9. #9


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    Quote Originally Posted by chscag View Post
    Sure. VirtualBox is free and can be downloaded from here. You can read up on it at the Wikipedia site at this LINK.

    What is a virtual machine? LINK
    Thanks. I am going to try it out. I read the wiki info and the overview on the VM website. Does VM temporarily uses the hard drive space as opposed to bootcamp which partitions that space thereby limiting its use?

    The VirtualBox site indicates that I need to create a virtual hard disk. If, for example, I create a 40gb hard disc, how is that different from creating a 40 gb partition via boot camp?

    Also the Virtual Box indicates that I would need to allocate a certain amount of RAM. Since I have 4gb, would 2gb suffice (or more)?

    Sorry, I tried to figure it out before asking. Thank you.

  10. #10

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by banditsw View Post
    Nick, would you agree with chscag that 50-60 gb should be set aside for the boot camp partition? Or something less?
    One way of looking at things is...with everything installed...how much space will everything need.

    For example:

    - Windows 8 requires 16-20gig of storage space

    Windows 8 system requirements - Microsoft Windows

    - Mac OS 10.8.3 requires 8gig of storage space

    https://www.apple.com/osx/specs/

    Then add to this:

    - the amount space you will need for all applications you want to install into each OS partition
    - space you need for music, photos, videos, and existing files from applications like MS Office, Adobe, etc.
    - free space for additional application installs & future files of all types.

    Also consider...that your intentions today...can easily change. So certainly leave yourself some "expansion room" in each partition for apps & files.

    HTH,

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  11. #11


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    Quote Originally Posted by chscag View Post
    Instead of using Boot Camp and partitioning the 128 GB SSD, have you thought about running Windows in a VM? Virtual Box is free and will run MS Office just fine. I ran MS Office 2010 from a VM for awhile and can not tell the difference. And yes, the minimum for Windows 8 Pro x 64 bit + apps like MS Office is around 50 to 60 GB.
    With respect to the space it takes on the hard drive, how does running W8 through VirtualBox and through a boot camp partition install differ. In reading about it, it appears that both take up space on the hard drive, the only difference being with boot camp, a separate partition is made, and requires a reboot.

    For purposes of my limited 128 gb, does 1 take up less space than the other?

    Perhaps I am limited by my hardware either way? Thanks.

  12. #12

    TattooedMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by banditsw View Post
    I don't want to/can't afford to buy a copy of Office for Mac. I have tried other office suites like OpenOffice on OSX, but it always results in some format issues when I open the document in MS Word on another computer.!
    With all this hoopla trying to get Window running, have you considered Pages. According to Apple - iWork - Open, save and email Microsoft Office files. the compatibility is that it works well with MS Word . . . And it is a lot cheaper than MS Word for Mac.
    Dont forget to use the Reputation System if someone has helped you out !!!
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  13. #13

    Raz0rEdge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by banditsw View Post
    With respect to the space it takes on the hard drive, how does running W8 through VirtualBox and through a boot camp partition install differ. In reading about it, it appears that both take up space on the hard drive, the only difference being with boot camp, a separate partition is made, and requires a reboot.

    For purposes of my limited 128 gb, does 1 take up less space than the other?

    Perhaps I am limited by my hardware either way? Thanks.
    The main difference is that with boot camp the space is dedicated and you have 2 distinct partitions. With a VM you are indicating the maximum space that VM may take, but what is occupied on the hard drive is what the VM really ends up taking. So if you say 60G maximum and you installation of W8 and Office takes 35G, you are not using up that extra 25G..

    But yeah the underlying issue is the lack of hardware resources. 128G is just not enough for multiple OS' when something like W8 needs 20G.

    Also on the RAM front, with 2G to OS X and W8 you will get decreased performance from both. So you want to run the VM only when you really need it.
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    Be sure to read the Community Guidelines | The more information you provide, the better answers you get, remember GIGO.

  14. #14


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    Quote Originally Posted by TattooedMac View Post
    With all this hoopla trying to get Window running, have you considered Pages. According to Apple - iWork - Open, save and email Microsoft Office files. the compatibility is that it works well with MS Word . . . And it is a lot cheaper than MS Word for Mac.
    Thanks for the suggestion. Have you had first hand experience with Pages? My main issue with the free Office suites like Open Office is that when create a document and save it, and thereafter open it for further edition in Word, I often come across formatting issues.

  15. #15


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    Quote Originally Posted by Raz0rEdge View Post
    The main difference is that with boot camp the space is dedicated and you have 2 distinct partitions. With a VM you are indicating the maximum space that VM may take, but what is occupied on the hard drive is what the VM really ends up taking. So if you say 60G maximum and you installation of W8 and Office takes 35G, you are not using up that extra 25G..

    But yeah the underlying issue is the lack of hardware resources. 128G is just not enough for multiple OS' when something like W8 needs 20G.

    Also on the RAM front, with 2G to OS X and W8 you will get decreased performance from both. So you want to run the VM only when you really need it.
    Thank you for the explanation. Under your example, will that extra, unused 25G be available for use for other purposes?

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