The Day My MacBook Died: Now What?

I am a Mac user.

I switched to Mac and OSX in 2006 when I simply could not stand the pain and frustration of using Windows. Being in a work environment at the time that used Linux, I was finally motivated to make the switch. Years later in a new “big job”, our mobile enabled work-force, which just like most other companies uses Windows, left me with a long string of laptops that continued to bring frustration: horrendous battery life, Windows memory leaks and crawling performance, rebooting, crippling corporate security software, and the like. Early last year, after complaining to a co-worker about how my Lenovo X220 had a battery life of, optimistically, 2 hours (if I turned the brightness on the screen to an indiscernible level and did nothing but read a Word document), I learned about how we could get a native MacBook. Thank, god. And I mean “native” in the sense that they wouldn’t just stick a virtual machine on your MacBook, in which case you’d have a nice-looking, crippled, MacBook Air that runs the same Windows software that drove me insane in the first place. This blissful state  of my new computer went on for just over a year. Then, while rolling-out centralized directory and password management on the fleet of Macs, my MacBook was crippled by a configuration error that took IT three rebuilds to fix. In the meantime, I got my hands on an Window 7-enabled HP ProBook.

HP ProBook 430 G1 MacBook Air 13-inch (mid-2013)
Spec Sheet
Comprehensive Review Everywhere, you know it’s the best laptop out there
Configuration Windows 7 Enterprise SP 1

256 GB SSD


Intel Core i5-4300U 1.9 GHz

Mavericks OS X 10.9.5

256 GB SSD


Intel Core i5-4250U 1.3 GHz

Wireless Mouse Could not reliably connect Microsoft Arc mouse to the Windows 7 operating system (it turns out it’s not supported), problems involved intermittent connectivity despite adjusting BLE power management settings; manual workaround needed to connect Connects on power-up, and awakening from sleep mode; holding the Magic Mouse button for a couple seconds always reconnects
TrackPad Generally fine for point and click, two finger scroll functions awkward and clunky Very smooth point and click, seamless scrolling and gestures, unbelievable difference to the ProBook: worlds ahead
Keyboard Chiclet keyboard, not quite as nice; no backlighting on the keyboard – very annoying on airplanes Backlit keyboard chiclet keyboard
  • 3.31 lbs, plastic construction
  • Trackpad keys seem a bit flimsy
  • 2.96 lbs, aluminum construction
  • Keyboard and trackpad well constructed
  • Thin, but about 33% thicker than MacBook Air on average (2.1cm at thickest point)
  • Barely fits into my Tumi 13-inch laptop sleeve
  • Smaller AC adapter than most prior laptops, but still clunky
  • Super thin (1.7 cm at thickest point)
  • Fits comfortably in Tumi sleeve
  • Well-designed and compact AC adapter
  • Smaller than the MacBook Air despite being “13-inch”
  • 1366 x 768 (control panel hung when searching for resolution information)
  • Dull and faded colors and poorer resolution, but screen supposed to be anti-glare
  • Custom fit privacy filter available from 3M
  • Bigger than HP 430 13-inch display despite being smaller
  • 1440 x 900 resolution
  • Colors and resolution crisp and vibrant
  • Custom fit privacy filter available from 3M
Sleep mode Closing the top periodically results in a crash, Windows had to restart; need to put into sleep mode to avoid problems – I am amazed this is still actually a real problem with Windows laptops Close the top: goes into sleep mode, open the top: comes out of sleep mode, every time, very fast
Battery Life Maybe 5 hours At least 10 hours, often times would not take AC adapter charging cable into the office for a full day of work
OS Features
  • Search programs and files awkward, needed to install third-party software (like “Launchy” for equivalent functionality)
  • Very little desktop management applications
  • No ability to have multiple tabs in Window Explorer
  • Spotlight quick and effective
  • Expose and multi-desktops native
  • Tabs available in Finder
Wireless Networking
  • Often times did not connect because waiting for “Work, Home, Public” prompt which did not appear right away
  • No easy access to detailed network information
  • “Fix network connection”: really? Occasionally found that wireless network adaptor would need software reset
  • No connectivity problems, occasionally had trouble pairing with iPhone WiFi personal network
  • Detailed network information available by holding down the “option key”
Microsoft Office
  • Fully functioning, able to use add-ons for PowerPoint and Excel
  • Able to use Microsoft Project and Visio
  • Many limitations in Mac version
  • Not able to use Microsoft Project or Visio, some good readers are available and are generally suitable
  • OneNote for Mac works great and better looking than Windows version
Other Applications
  • Full compatibility
  • SimplyFile add-in for Office is the best e-mail management tool (no macros available in Mac version of Office)
  • Can use Explorer in SharePoint on Safari (not available on Mac when trying to organize SharePoint files)
  • Able to use PowerPoint with few compatibility issues with Windows
  • Excel compatibility worked well, but cannot use many company tools (e.g., staffing planners, etc)
  • No compatibility issues with company internal web-sites
  • iTunes manages the iPhone well, good pairing for my mobile device
  • iPhoto available for much better management of photos than Windows
  • Symantec Authentication Client works well as needed
Stability It is normal that Windows Explorer, a fundamental system service, crashes one in a while? Base operating system always stable
  • Adequate; better than prior laptops
  • Fits into Tumi sleeve, but snugly due to extra thickness
  • Power adapter can be stuck into jacket pocket but still bulky, will be an issue in the summer with no overcoat
  • Still worry about keeping it charged; battery life can be up to 6 hours but under load can be much shorter
  • … ever notice how there is an increasingly bigger number of people using MacBook’s in the airport: PCs are not cool.
  • Best laptop to take on the road
  • Easy to carry, laptop and adapter can be carried in a sleeve with no laptop bag needed
  • Quick to go-into and come out of sleep mode
  • No fear about running out of battery

I kept a comparison log of experiences which I am sharing here below. Now, with both machines in hand, the question is: what now?Migrating Tips for Moving Between Mac and Windows:

  • Use ShareFile or Cloud Storage. Keep all your files and folders on cloud drives, which automatically syncs between computers including Windows and Mac.
  • Use Outlook folders on Server. Migration to the Outlook server will take a while, but everything will be on the Exchange server and migrates between Mac and Windows.
  • Use Google Chrome. You can keep your bookmarks in the cloud and they are automatically synced between your Chrome instances.
  • 1Password on DropBox. I moved my 1Password archive to the cloud, and it keeps in sync between my iPhone, Windows and Mac boxes.

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