I have a vast background of buying, fixing, and using all kinds of computers, mostly Macs and PCs.
I really like Windows, but I’ve been burned too many times. The way I get burned is always the same. I get comfortable with Windows, and have a backup solution in place. I performed a manual backup every week to an attached USB drive, and more recently, online backups with Mozy.
When Windows works – it’s great, as good as Macintosh. But when Windows breaks, its a nightmare compared to a Macintosh.
Over the last decade, I have had (and seen) many Windows machines crash. Either a virus gets them, or the hard drive fries, or some part of Windows gets messed up and it won’t boot up anymore.
In every case, the backup had some kind of problem when I tried to restore my files to a new Windows computer. In one case, the new computer would not recognize the old backup drive. Other times, the backup drive failed at the same time the Windows computer did. Another time, the recovered files were mysteriously not owned by me, so I could not copy, edit, or delete them.
Even the online backups with Mozy was not perfect because many Windows programs keep their data in the programs directory. And many Windows programs hide stuff all over to prevent you from copying them. Mozy backed up many copies of most of my data (so many copies, I could not determine which I should restore).
When I recovered with Mozy, not only did it take days to download, but I had up to 20 copies of some of my documents. It was frustrating to find the right version of everything I wanted.
Another problem when your Windows computer crashes is the restored files all have the same (wrong) date on them – the date they were recovered.
I prefer Macintoshes as they last much longer than PCs and are simpler to use and maintain, backup and restore. Apple’s Time Machine is the best backup and recovery software I’ve seen in a long time.
As happy as I am with Macintosh, I need to run Windows programs on a regular basis. And one out of 10,000 web sites work better on a PC. This brings me back on topic. I now run Windows on my Mac and it works so well, this is now the only way I will run Windows.
My setup is a used 24-inch Intel based iMac with 4 gigs of RAM and lots of disk space. I had a Windows XP installation disk so I used that with Parallels to run Windows XP on my Mac. You have to have a real, registerable copy of Windows. I bought mine on EBay as nobody sells new copies of XP anymore. I know people who have Windows 7 on the Mac and that works well too.
If you have never witnessed this, it is a pleasant surprise that Windows works great on a Mac. My screen is big enough to run Windows and Mac at the same time, without rebooting. It runs fast, and is very reliable. I do not miss my dead (2 year old) XP Dell laptop.
The best part is backup and recovery. To back up Windows (everything 100%) I simply connect an external USB hard drive and tell Time Machine to back up now, and it quickly backs up my 30 Gig Windows machine. It’s worry free, if my PC gets messed up, I simply restore the last working version. And I also use Mozy backup for Mac, and the 30 Gig Windows install is one file – so recovery is simple.
In conclusion, if you want to be really safe, knowing you can recover everything within an hour, consider running Windows inside a (backed up) Macintosh.