Yesterday I had a lot of free time due to the long holiday weekend and decided to rebuild my MacBook Pro (MBP). It seemed a fitting time as I totally rearranged my home office to make it better for working extended periods mostly to get ready for a secret project that looks like might be coming pretty soon. I also received an Apple wireless keyboard to complement my wireless Mighty Mouse and got it installed right after moving all my furniture and gear around. I mentioned earlier I had some unwanted remnants of a busted Parallels Desktop removal so based on reader recommendations I decided to do a clean install of Leopard and install VMWare Fusion to make a clean running system that could also run Vista Ultimate. It took a few hours but everything went smoothly and here is what I did.
The first thing I did was to pair the keyboard so my setup was complete with an ergonomic keyboard and mouse to use with the MBP. Once that was done and Time Machine had done a backup I ran a new install of Leopard, telling it to erase the hard drive and start from scratch. The install went smoothly after which I chose to migrate my documents and settings from the external Time Machine backup. It involved 32 GB of files but only took about 45 minutes. When the system rebooted after the restore my MBP was exactly like it was before with all applications and settings properly installed and configured. It was very easy and fast thanks to Time Machine, a utility I am now very happy with.
Once the system was back in gear with the new install of Leopard I ran the Boot Camp Assistant to get Vista Ultimate installed to a 32 GB partition. The Assistant partitioned the drive and fired up the Vista install using my DVD. The install went like all Vista installs, took a while and rebooted several times and then fired up. I hadn’t printed the Boot Camp setup guide as directed as it was a lot of pages so I was a little surprised that I could no longer boot OS X after the Vista install. I didn’t panic as I knew there was a way out of this and after thinking a few minutes I inserted the OS X install DVD and it fired up the Boot Camp setup where I chose OS X for the default boot OS and then installed all the MBP drivers for Vista. Once this was done I ran Windows Update to get Vista up to date and then booted into OS X.
Once back in the familiar Leopard environment I bought and downloaded VMWare Fusion and installed it. The reason I installed Boot Camp and Vista first is because VMWare Fusion will use the Boot Camp partition install of Vista for the virtual machine, thus giving me the option of running Vista under OS X or booting strictly into Vista. This makes for a very versatile configuration that uses much less disk space and makes sure that the Vista environment is always the same in Boot Camp and VMWare. The VMWare install went well and Vista booted into a window under OS X as advertised. I had trouble with the mouse and keyboard since they are both Bluetooth until I ran the VMWare Tools under Vista and in just a few minutes Vista was running on the MBP as well as OS X, a very impressive setup. One of the coolest things I did right away was to run Vista on the external monitor at full screen. My kids were really impressed to see OS X on the MBP and Vista on the external monitor, all on the same PC. It’s a sight to see all right:
The Windows Experience Index is 4.7!
I have 1 GB of memory allocated to Vista and it seems to be sufficient which is surprising compared to how I’ve seen Vista run on every other machine. That’s not nearly enough memory but it’s fine under VMWare Fusion which is cool. I installed Office 2007 under Vista so I can work with documents either under Vista or OS X where I run Office 2004 for the Mac. I can’t wait for the new Office 2008 on the Mac, supposedly in January. I want to be able to work on my projects on either OS depending on which one makes the job easier and this setup will certainly do that.
The last thing I did was to set FolderShare to sync the documents tree on the Mac to the tree on the HP 2710p so my documents will always be with me no matter if I use the HP or the Mac. The initial sync took quite a while but now my two machines will always be in sync no matter where I create files. It’s pretty ironic that FolderShare syncs documents between the Mac and Vista better than it did between Vista and XP. That’s pretty cool and I’m happy with everything. I have used this setup for almost a day now and it’s not an exaggeration to say that the Mac runs Vista better than any other PC I’ve tried.