So you got a shiny MacBook as a graduation present. While it’s a great computer, it isn’t quite compatible with everything on-campus. You’ll need Windows and Office for the best on-campus experience. Here’s how to get both with relatively little pain in the pocket:

  1. Don’t buy Vista. Wait for Windows 7 to come out. Meanwhile, grab the Windows 7 Release Client. It’ll be available for download until the 20th, at which point I’ll put up a non-Microsoft link here (it’s legal; they’ll still give you a key directly, until Windows 7′s actual release).
  2. Get an upgrade or OEM edition. On Vista, installing an upgrade edition of Vista twice (once without a key, then once with one over the first install) gave you a working copy of Windows at a significantly lower cost than a full edition of the software. There’s no reason why it won’t work that way with Windows 7. Or you can grab an OEM edition when they become available. If you’re looking for a place to buy Windows, I prefer Newegg.
  3. You don’t need ultimate. Windows 7 Home Premium is great for 95% of folks. Windows 7 Professional takes that operating system and builds on it, satisfying another 4.9%. Translation: you don’t need to shell out for an expensive Windows 7 Ultimate copy.
  4. Buy Office with The Ultimate Steal. Microsoft has a special promotion for college students (read: potential pirates if the price isn’t low enough). With the promotion, Office 2007 is just $59.95. It’s worth every penny at that price. Microsoft also offers Windows Vista Ultimate at a discount, but there’s no reason to waste money on Vista this late in the game.
  5. Use VirtualBox if you don’t want to reboot. It’s a fast and free alternative to using Windows under Parallels or VMWare Fusion, and there’s no rebooting required. One hangup: Microsoft’s activation system may not like running two copies of Windows 7 (one virtualized, one real), even though they’re on the same system. There are ways to get around this is the problem comes up, but they’re, uh, not exactly legal.

Bottom line: with less than $200 ($60-ish for Office, $120 for Windows 7) you don’t have to use the computer labs to do Windows-centric work (trust me, it’ll happen if you stick around Mines long enough).

  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email

No Comment.

Add Your Comment

Spam protection by WP Captcha-Free