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Please do not comment on how using Windows itself is a huge downside. After several years using OSX, Linux and Windows, I can say that working on the latter OS is best for my needs.

I do own an iMac (27", mid-2010) however, and I am aware that I can install Windows 7 on it w/o using Bootcamp. Now, are there any caveats in doing so? E.g. I noticed that the iMac is heating up more than it used to under OSX. Maybe the arguably annoying abundance of hard-disk accesses under Win7 is a reason for that. Could this be a danger? Are there other issues known to SE users here?

summary: any caveats in using Win7 as main OS on an iMac?

EDIT: These helpful answers indicate that in general it might not be such a great idea to extensively use Win7 on a Mac because the hardware might wear off faster due to sub-par Win7 power management (compared to OSX).

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6 Answers 6

Never mind the heat. Unless you have a broken machine, your iMac cannot overheat to the point in which is damages itself due to automatic emergency shut downs if a certain temperature threshold.

And the downside:

  • huge inconvenience in having to reboot just to use the other OS regardless for how small a task

  • inability to view your OS X partition from windows

  • possible issues with programs that access hardware on a barebones level to which apple's drivers might not help (i've seen a few problems with windows games and some macbook GPUs for example)

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I would even consider using Win7 as the only OS on my Mac. Call me insane, but at least it solves the reboot issue the hard way. –  bcml Aug 18 '11 at 20:34
    
Further, automatic shutdown might prevent the CPU / GPU / whatever from death by heat. But constant heat might be an issue for HDD life and it's not easy to replace an iMac HDD. –  bcml Aug 18 '11 at 20:36
    
That doesn't mean we should not use our computers lol –  XAleXOwnZX Jan 10 '13 at 5:42

I have installed Windows 7 on my Macbook Pro and love it. A minor point but one annoyance is the keyboard mapping is different so things are not as intuitive. When editing moving cursor to end of line or beginning of line, top of page bottom of page, the delete key is a backspace key and there is no dedicated forward delete button. No dedicated print screen key, etc. There are of course equivalents but you have to look them up and require multiple simultaneous keystrokes.

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Being blessed with a DasKeyboard, the keymap thing is sort of a non-issue. Of course, it does not look at sleek as it would with an original Apple wireless keyboard, though. –  bcml Aug 18 '11 at 20:38
    
I would also add that I installed 32-bit Windows and am limited to 2Gig of RAM. I wish I had installed 64-Bit Windows so I could take advantage of all 4Gig of RAM on my Macbook, but then again I was more confident in getting all my apps/drivers working with the 32-bit version. –  AlanKley Apr 23 '13 at 21:31

In my opinion power management of a mac that runs windows os is really a big problem. Not only does it produce more heat than mac osx, but also shortens the battery life.

I got this problem from all of my mac and my friends' (the amount could be 30+!). Although all devices can be supported on windows, I prefer using an SSD on my mac and run Windows on the virtual machine.

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So it seems I am not the only one concerned about the heat. Thanks for sharing your experience. –  bcml Aug 18 '11 at 20:37

I put Windows 7 on an iMac for my mom. It works really well - as a silent, fast PC. Occasionally I have hiccups when it sleeps and goes into a weird reboot cycle. But otherwise the experience is great. I did notice some disk thrashing initially but it settled down. Temperatures and fans are normal. On a Mac Laptop you can expect less battery life, but no real issues for desktops.

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Windows Vs Mac wars aside, it makes a lot of sense to use a Mac as a Windows machine. PC World or PC Magazine (I always get them confused) named the MacBook Pro the best Windows machine not so long ago. Their reasoning was that Apple includes the right drivers for the different hardware components that they ship on the Mac. I don't think that means the latest drivers, but the right drivers nonetheless.

@Rabarberski speculates if Apple does not want to invest too much time and money developing good drivers. My take on this is that I don't think Apple develops their drivers, they just work with a much limited number of components and that makes including all necessary drivers in BootCamp possible (For instance, there's only a handful of different video and sound cards that the Macs have shared over the last few years). My theory is that Apple doesn't issue repeated updates to the BootCamp driver set precisely because they don't need to--the ones included work fine for all of their Mac hardware configurations.

Before switching over to the Mac, I used PC's from Acer, Compaq, HP, Dell, Toshiba and Lenovo. On each one of these systems, drivers were always an issue at some point--even the ones included in the system restore disk. Using Windows on the Mac has been the exact opposite experience and I highly recommend it if Windows is your thing. I develop software for Windows and the Mac and I dual boot using BootCamp. I am seriously considering keeping my current MacBook Pro as a Windows-only computer once I get my next Mac. Hope this helps.

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My mid-2010 MacBook Pro did not include the correct Windows drivers for the built-in Airport card to connect to 802.11n networks. I had to go and find the correct driver myself. Also, if you're planning on doing gaming on Windows, you may want to update the graphic card drivers yourself for maximum performance. Just a little counterpoint to your argument... :) –  deceze Aug 12 '11 at 2:26

I'd say the biggest downside would be that you'd always have to explain why you put Windows on a Mac.

Aside from that, driver issues (especially sound) made me abandon Win7 in bootcamp about a year ago.

I am not sure why there are these driver issues: either (a) Apple does not want to invest too much time/money in developing good ones (which would be relatively 'simple' given their low number of hardware configurations) , or (b) they do it on purpose to somehow not give you the complete Windows experience... Somehow, I am thinking the latter one is the case.

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Apple does not release many driver updates, that's true. But I've go no issues with the current ones and I do not use external devices. Thanks for the input, though! –  bcml Aug 11 '11 at 16:08

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