Is it better to install Windows 7 or 8.1 on my MacBook Air?

Stef V September 19, 2014
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Two years ago I switched from Windows to OS X and was perfectly happy. However, I just started this evening a course on programming and apparantly our working environment is Visual Basic (C# .NET) and Windows Presentation Foundation right from the start, whereas I was expecting something more general and cross-platfrom like Java FE.

Necessity knows no law and I need to install Windows OS my Mac. I’m familiar with virtualization options, but I have a MacBook Air (specs are included below) so that’s not an option with the limited power inside. So, Bootcamp is probably the most easy and fastest alternative for now (eventually I will purchase a MacBook Pro when my budget allows).

My question is whether – considering the specs – I should go for “Windows 7 Pro x64” or the latest “Windows 8.1 x64”? I believe both are supported, but I just want things to run smoothly (no driver issues etc.) as I will only use Windows for my courses. Thanks!

MacBook Air
11-inch, Mid 2012
Processor 1,7 GHz Intel Core i5
Memory 4 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 4000 1024 MB
121 GB Flash Storage (SSD)
Software OS X 10.9.5 (13F34)

  1. thefenriswolf
    October 30, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    Why would you install Windows on a "born to run a unix-like os" computer.
    Stay with your OSX and get Crossover (https://www.codeweavers.com/products/)?

  2. Mehdi M
    September 20, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    You Should use Windows 8.1 cause it will automatically find out the appropriate Drivers and all other requirements to run windows smoothl

    • Stef V
      September 22, 2014 at 6:10 am

      Thanks for your answer Mehdi M. but I've already gone for Windows 7 and so far no driver issues at all. The only thing I need to search for is how to reverse the direction of scrolling with the trackpad in Windows, because the two systems use opposites as native configuration.

      Anyway, I guess my Macbook Air with his 4GB RAM won't bear multiple active sessions in Visual Basic together with SQL and smoothly browsing plus the other necessities when learning to code (tell me if my assumptions are wrong). So in a few weeks, when I'm fully admitted I'll probably have to upgrade to the Pro Version. Then I will give Windows 8.1 a try, although I would prefer to virtualise it instead of using bootcamp and partition my Hard Disk. Now I just needed a quick fix and it works just as I hoped even far more better and faster than I have ever known windows 7 x64 running on a notebook.

  3. Stef V
    September 19, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    Thanks for your advice!

    I just did an effortless installation of Win 7 and I'm very happy with the result. Probably if I buy a Pro, I can try Win 8.1. Being so long out of the Microsoft scene just made me realize I had totally now idea if it was worth to upgrade (taken into account the whole mac & boot camp circumstances).

    Take care, S.

  4. Minhaz Ahmed N
    September 19, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    You Should use Windows 8.1 cause it will automatically find out the appropriate Drivers and all other requirements to run windows smoothly ... ...

  5. Ben S
    September 19, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    I'd agree; it depends on which OS you prefer. I still don't like 8 and am sticking with 7 myself, but if you don't mind the Modern screen (you can use Classic Shell to pretty much completely ignore it) and not being able to touch the screen, you'll be okay with 8.1. I've heard good things about its speed and snappiness, so it's really your call. Your specs don't dictate one option or the other as far as the OS goes.

  6. Jan F
    September 19, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    Both Windows version have pretty much the same system requirements so either one should be fine. Personally I prefer Windows 7 but that decision is up to you.

    The following page will guide you through which Boot Camp Support version you need to have all the drivers installed in the respective Windows version.
    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5634

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