Friday, April 07, 2006

Windows on the Mac: Good or Bad?

At first glance it may appear that having a Mac computer that can run Windows is a waste of time. Why install Windows when there is a better operating system on the computer? There is also the fact that one has to reboot the computer to switch between operating systems.

Here are some things to consider.

Good points:

  • Some schools may require Windows to be installed. Of course, they may not require you to use it. In other words, these dual units could allow you to bring in an otherwise forbidden computer.
  • Some programs may only run on Windows. For example, your school may have a computer class that uses a programming tool only found on Windows. So, if you have a class lab with one of these classes, it does not mean you cannot have a Mac lab for all the other periods of the school day. Up to now, you would have been stuck
  • Dual units may be a good way to allow Windows people to experience the Mac world while holding on to the knowledge that they can always see XP again. If you believe XP is better, it could be a way to introduce XP to a Mac user -- good luck on that.
Bad points:

  • Two operating systems cost more than one.
  • Anyone wanting to use Windows programs and Mac programs at the same time will be disappointed.
  • It clearly makes your units more complex. You have to update two operating systems and not just one.


pmo200g said...

Hi Thane,

I think there's another issue that could be put in the "Bad Points" section...namely, with Windows installed on a Mac, it then becomes more open to viruses and attacks. Anything that can happen to a PC can now happen to a Mac running Windows...



Thane said...

Hey. This is an interesting point and one I thought about. I'm not sure a Windows virus can harm the OS X side because the system is dual boot. This means one OS is running at a time. So an infected XP system would not see any OS X applications running in memory -- as opposed to emulation.

Now, can XP see the OS X file system? I'm not sure it can. It would depend on how the file systems are situated. XP may not even see OS X's file system. Let's say it can, a virus may not see anything it can use.

Most viruses are email based. No reason to look for files in OS X. The virus may look for the registy. No problem for OS X. Plus, XP viruses are written for XP. In other words, even if they saw OS X, they would not have code to take advantage of it.

If I find out differently, I put up another posting. If anyone else knows, please put up a comment.