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I would like to run Windows (XP preferred) games and Linux on my MacBook Pro I got from school. However, there are some rules I have to follow. If I need to I will try to further clarify the rules, since they are in Swedish and there isn't a perfect translation.

  1. I cannot use Boot Camp. This is because Windows machines get viruses 24/7 and there are no viruses on Mac. Furthermore, we are using Visual Studio for about half the things we do through a virtual machine. Perfect for debugging, performance and "virtual machines don't get viruses", right? At least that's what my teachers think.

  2. I cannot change the default setup of the computer. In Swedish this basically tells me I cannot even start it up because then I will mount the drive, and make changes in RAM, and use the processor, and move electrodes from the battery and so on. They're telling me that that's way to specific, though, and that we aren't allowed to change the operating system files. I think we break that rule with each update, install or setting we ever touch.

  3. I may not use any program without first showing a receipt. The original casing, CD and the CD key isn't enough. A license like GNU is ok, though.

I basically need a way to boot into a USB drive or CD, with the ability to use network and DX9 to play games on Windows. Linux support isn't as crucial since OS X does have a lot of Linux support already. I've tried other ways of working around the rules like running games in Wine but I can't get DX9 based games to work and the FPS is terrible.

They have the right to check the computer at any time to see if there is something bad there. Swapping a harddrive will definately be noticed.

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First of all, please note that we aren't responsible for whatever they might do to you if you break their rules. Secondly, do consider that it's not your computer to do what you like with. –  nhinkle Jul 23 '11 at 21:50
    
Some fights are not worth fighting. Get your own machine, and let the very expensive glorified web browser they lent you sit at the bottom of a closet. –  Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Jul 24 '11 at 13:06
    
@ignacio I'm working hard to try to get us windows machines instead, but it's hard. Also, i'm broke :/ And I really wanna win this fight, because the rules are so stupid. –  Filip Haglund Jul 26 '11 at 19:03
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3 Answers

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What are the penalties you get from not following these rules? This sounds way too strict.

This is because Windows machines get viruses 24/7

This is factually wrong. If you pay attention to which websites you visit and which files you open, you won't get a virus, ever. There are people who run their systems without anti-virus software and they do just fine.

and there are no viruses on Mac

This is also wrong. While the chance to get infected might be lower, there are viruses for OS X, yet less common.


You have to run a native system in order to run games or anything that needs performance. While you can theoretically boot from a removable disk and use that, you will most probably see even worse performance than on a virtualized instance.

Currently I see the following ways for you:

  • Break the rules: Get another hard disk, use this for whatever you want to do, and keep the original. Swapping hard disks is nothing that would void the warranty (I guess) maybe not that easy (depends on the model). It depends on how often you might have to change it. And because you're breaking the rules, it's your risk if something happens.
  • Try it in a virtual machine, try different software (VMware, VirtualBox, Parallels), maybe some provide better performance.
  • Make a clone of your original hard disk using Clonezilla or Carbon Copy Cloner. Then, setup your system the way you want it. If you need to, you can restore from the Clonezilla backup. There will be no evidence of you changing the system.
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Those quotes are their view on the virus part. I have made viruses myself, for fun (only on my own machines) and most viruses don't want to be detected. If they are trying to steal your credit card information - why would they reformat the drive or crash the whole thing? I've tried vbox and parallels, aswell as wine and crossover. Also, some of my friends use external usb drives to run games like call of duty without problems. (games load, and run from ram thereafter) Breaking the rules result in anything from a warning (or nothing) to never getting the mac back. They decide singlehandedly. –  Filip Haglund Jul 23 '11 at 21:21
    
+1 For swapping hard drives. Keep this one, and swap in a new one and do whatever you want with it. When it comes time to give the Mac back, put the original drive back in, and it's like nothing ever changed. –  Collin Allen Jul 23 '11 at 21:42
    
@Filip I know these were their views -- but they are absolutely wrong. Too bad you can't change it, it sounds very strict. Concerning the external drive: If you have friends who can do the same, you might give it a shot. If your Mac has Firewire 800, that would be good. It depends on what you want to play, of course. –  slhck Jul 23 '11 at 21:48
    
Swapping the hard drive in a Macbook Pro is hardly simple and quick, and most likely does violate the warranty, because Apple is crazy like that. Not a very ideal solution. –  nhinkle Jul 23 '11 at 21:51
    
@nhinkle It doesn't void it on the normal MacBook, but it does in the case of the MBP, I suppose. Thing is though, unless there's a physical evidence (a scratch, missing screws), nobody would notice. It depends on the model (and the user :P) how easy it is to change though. All in all it's a very tricky case. –  slhck Jul 23 '11 at 22:27
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Without knowing exactly what you'll need to do on it, Id think a virtual machine is about the only way to run Windows XP without using Bootcamp on a Mac.

VMWare and Parallels allow you to easily run Windows with some decent performance and keep it quarantined within the VM. VirtualBox is a free alternative but I dont think it has quite the features or performance benefits of the other two. Do you need a receipt for free software?

What if you just use remote desktop and login and screen share with an actual PC? Or another alternative, you can boot Ubuntu with a thumb drive. Ill bet someone has found a way to do that on a mac.

There seems to be an awful lot of misinformation coming from your teacher so I'd suggest you not take their ideas as the only options. I dont get the reason for developing for Windows on a Mac. That makes no sense to me. You can develop almost any code natively so why even run Visual Studio. Just use an IDE like Eclipse with C#.

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I don't know about vmware, but vbox is significally faster than parallels in normal office programs. When it comes to games, though, vbox doesn't even start them. I need a receipt or a license like GNU. I've tried games through remote desktop. 100Mb/s is about the minimum over lan, and then it's laggy. And it would be rdc over internet. Could you clarify 'not take their ideas as the only options'? Visual studio is the program we are allowed to use. I personally prefer both codeblocks and xcode, but no. And isn't c# a windows only microsoft replica of java? It's slow anyway, to say the least. –  Filip Haglund Jul 24 '11 at 10:51
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I don't think there's actually any way to do this without breaking rule #3 at least, since presumably your Linux disro won't have a recept.

Anyway, your options for being undetectable are: boot off a USB(/Firewire/eSATA?) drive, make a complete image of the drive and then install the new OS, then copy the image back when you're finished, or use a VM.

The first option is probably best, since the only performance penalty is likely to be longer load times. Swapping drive images might be more time-consuming (would probably take the best part of an hour each time). The VM solution won't generally work for games, or at least newer ones, since they usually require direct access to the graphics hardware (there is some basic OpenGL support in VirtualBox, at least enough to run Unreal Tournament 2004 reasonably playably, and I've heard that some DirectX support exists too, but I haven't tested it); the same goes for VMware.

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I have vbox and parallels, and they run extremely slow. This is most likely because it's running windows 7 (because only the newest is good enough). USB or firewire boot is the way to go, i think. Licenses like GNU are ok aswell. Next term they are going to force us to run our labs on virtual enviroments aswell. One server, a virtual cisco network and at least 3 host machines, virtually, on a macbook pro. That will work great, right? I hate them for this. –  Filip Haglund Jul 24 '11 at 10:46
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