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Windows on Mac: Who, What, When, Where...but WHY?

COW Library : Apple - Windows on Mac : Tim Wilson : Windows on Mac: Who, What, When, Where...but WHY?
Windows on a Mac: Who, What, When, Where...but WHY?
A Creative COW Feature Article

The iPhone. The Future.
Tim Wilson Tim Wilson
Boston, MA USA

© All rights reserved.

Article Focus: Sure it's possible, but why would anybody want to run Windows on a Mac? There are a bunch of great reasons for people using either OS -- and plenty more for people who have to use both. The Cow's Tim Wilson takes a look at some of the options for working with 2 --or even more-- operating systems on the same computer. Sometimes, even at the same time!


From the Windows side, it's easy. Even though they dropped “Computer” from their name, Apple makes pretty good computers. REALLY good computers, actually. So why not run the OS you want to, or have to, on really good computers?

Now then, Mac zealots, with your “I would NEVER do that to my Mac” snickering, or horror or whatever. I'm going to wait while you get all that out of your system.

Shall we continue?

The thing is, there are still many, many apps, including some represented here at the Cow, that don't have Mac equivalents: 3D Studio Max, Camtasia, Softimage XSI, Sonic Scenarist, Sony Vegas, Adobe Audition, On Location and get the idea.

Stepping just outside of the Cow corral, you'll find apps like AutoCAD and many other visualization packages, Adobe Framemaker, and front ends for servers that play out all kinds of media actually MADE on Macs – all Windows only.

That's not counting all the science and enterprise business computing environments that comprise the majority of the world's computers, like secure access to corporate networks..where you'll often find Mac software hosted.

And not counting the dual platform software that runs faster, has more features and works better on PCs, say, Outlook or Quicken.

That's also not counting the ability for migrators to use already-purchased Windows apps in the Mac OS.

But games? We're definitely counting games.

Detour #1

Here's my favorite game commercial – in fact, one of my favorite commercials of all time.



Detour #2

Here's where I'm coming from. I've been a Mac user since before many of you were born. Back in the day, I built my business exclusively on Macs, ran a Mac user group, the whole deal.

So how did I become a dual-platform guy? Well, a bunch of PC folks showed up at the door with big bags of money. Did I mention the big bags of money?

I've now used Macs 3 times longer than I have Windows, and I love using them together. I'm writing this on a MacBook Pro running least until I reboot. I'll be using Leopard again soon enough. In my third decade of computing, these are my favorite 2 OSes yet.

So anyway, the DSL guy comes to hook up the new gear. He wants to load the access software. I hand him my computer, running Windows Vista Ultimate. When he notices it's running on a MacBook Pro, he turns white as a sheet.

“I don't know anything about Macs,” he says.

“Don't worry, man,” I say. “It's a Windows machine.”

Now the sweat is shooting off his head so hard that I duck. “But I DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT MACS!!” he says.

“Buddy, relax. It's a Windows machine. Forget you ever saw the Apple on the case.”

So he calls headquarters. “I don't know anything about Macs,” he says to them. “What do I do?” The tech on the other end of the line asks what version of the OS he's looking at.

He turns to me, whispering now, “I don't know anything about Macs. What version of the OS are you running?”

I look him right in the eye, and speak very slowly, but loudly enough for the tech on the line to hear: “I'm running WINDOWS VISTA ULTIMATE.” I hear the tech laughing. She gets it. I'm holding a Mac in my hand, running Vista. For all practical purposes, it's a PC.

Of course I think my boy here is going to barf from the strain. That is, if the top of his head doesn't blow off first. I might have been able to help him if I'd added a simple sticker to cover the glowing fruit on the back of my MBP....

Windows Vista on MacBook Pro

...but it might have made things worse.

You Must Be This Tall to Ride This Ride

You probably already know this, but just to be sure: Intel Macs only.

Strolling the Cow meadow, I see that the vast majority of Windows-on-Mac crowd is doing so on MacBook Pros. There are a number of desktop-specific options to talk about later, but everything here applies to both desktops and laptops.

If you're one of the millions of Mac users who find themselves needing or wanting to use Windows applications, or one of the millions of Windows users who are buying these super-slick Mac computers strictly to run Windows, you already know about the Boot Camp Assistant.

It's not an application, of course. As the name suggests, it's an ASSISTANT, to make it easy to get Mac hardware drivers onto a PC partition that it also helps you create. It also installs a Windows control panel with a VERY few options for you. Here's a typical screen:

Boot Camp

Don't spend it all in one place, kids.

The beta versions of the Boot Camp Assistant were annoying to install, to put it charitably. So if you tried it and didn't want to bother again, or if it sounded like too big a hill to climb, I understand. But the release version that you have today in Leopard? Ridiculously easy. In fact I created a partition and installed Vista even faster than I UPDATED to Leopard.

Okay, some sleight of hand there – pretty much any fresh install is faster than pretty much any full-scale update. But it was still fun to observe.

Here's how easy it is to configure your Mac to run Windows.

Partition. Install Windows on the new partition. Use the Option key on start-up to choose your OS, and set your default so you can do this a little less often. The End.

Not quite 3 steps, but still a breeze.



Don't succumb to the temptation to format your Windows partition as FAT32. It might seem easier because each OS can both read and write to it, but you're going to pay a whole lot in performance and file management pain. Do it right; go with NTFS.

Better to spend a few simoleans on a couple of utilities...and the fact is that you probably need 'em both. The first is MacDrive. It's a simple Windows app that allows you to read and write to every kind of Mac volume, and format too – hard drives, removable drives, you name it. It's so indispensible that, more often than not, you can find it bundled with Windows on Mac software like VMware Fusion or Parallels.

(FWIW, there's also TransMac. I used it years ago...until I saw MacDrive. I prefer it, but I'd always rather have options than not. Wouldn't you?)

Paragon NTFS Mac from does the same thing in the other direction: Mac folks can read and write PC-formatted media.

For an interesting free option, take a look at the Mac Developer Playground at Google Code. There's a bunch of cool stuff there that's useful to non-coders, including MacFUSE. The description is mighty code-y: “makes it possible to implement a fully functional file system in a user-space program on Mac OS X, 10.4 and above.” Run it through Google Translate and you get: run Windows and other stuff on a Mac.

Here's why MacDrive and NTFS Mac are so cool, and so important. It's easy to overthink how to divide the partitions on your dual-booting Mac. You can't change 'em either. But with these two apps, it doesn't really matter as long as you leave yourself enough room for the applications and OSes on each side of the boot. You can use the other volume as file storage.

I don't suggest you make a habit of it, but I was able to use the other half of my volume as a video storage drive using these tools. I spent more time with the application running on the Windows partition and the media drive on the Mac partition. Love it.

Of course, you might know exactly how much space you need for each partition. If you only need Windows for a few applications or games, a partition of 30 gigs or so might do just fine for you. And if you're a Windows user who'll never use the Mac side of your computer, give yourself all but 15-ish gigs for the the Windows side. Your math-age may vary, and you're golden.

So why go through all this for the privilege of REBOOTING from the Mac side to get to Windows? Because that's the best way to use media applications like Audition, Vegas and the like. And Windows folks, this is how you avoid ever having to look at the Mac OS again after you've set up your system.

Again, you can't easily resize the partitions you've allocated for each OS. Especially with the limited space on a laptop drive, take a few easy easy steps to stay out of trouble. Depending on your relative OS needs and the size of your partitions, you may only need one of MacDrive or NTFS Mac...but you'll be glad to have at least one of them.


Crossing over

There's the dual boot method that you set up with the Boot Camp Assistant. There's the virtualization approach that Fusion and Parallels take, and which I'll look at right after this. Because THIS is cool: Codeweaver CrossOver Mac

Unlike dual booting, and unlike virtualization, you don't even need to buy a copy of Windows. It's like magic. Seriously. Install your Windows apps with one click, then run 'em through OS X. You can even doubleclick any Windows doc or file, including an email attachment, and shazam, you're up and running inside the Mac OS.

Click for larger, courtesy of

CrossOver Mac lets you run Windows on Mac without buying Windows

Especially since there's no copy of Windows, there are some compatibility issues. Codeweaver has a regularly updated list of supported applications, along with the specific ways that these apps work, and don't work.

One of the ways that CrossOver established itself was as the performance leader for games, including some of the most popular PC games of all time, such as World of Warcraft and Half Life 2. Our pals at Wikipedia remind us that “Maximum PC awarded Half-Life 2 an unprecedented 11 on their rating scale which peaks at 10, and named it the "best game ever made."

Other apps that Crossover Mac runs include AutoCAD, ACT!, Quicken, Visio, LotusNotes – even CS3, for folks who have the Windows version and want to use it on their shiny new Macs.

And pretty much all of them run at darn near native speeds.

Oh yeah, and Crossover Mac runs Linux too, a theme to which we'll be returning.



VMware Fusion and Parallels Desktop

Parallels Desktop came first for the current generation of Windows on Mac virtual machines. That's what this section covers – software that creates a software environment that looks to Windows like a piece of Wintel hardware. It's not just for running Windows applications either, but some genuine integrations. Here's an image of mirrored folders for Pictures on Mac, and My Pictures on Windows.

Parallels Desktop

Geezers like me remember that the first virtualizer in our neck of the woods was Virtual PC – dog slow, but it was the only software way to fly. OrangePC made an add-in hardware emulation card. It suffered the fate that many acceleration cards do – couldn't keep up with the pace of CPU development.

And integration? WHAT integration?

So what happened to Virtual PC? MSFT bought it, and refined it to run...Unix. That theme again. If you live in the world of servers, Linux is never very far away.

Anyway, hard on Desktop's heels came VMware Fusion, bringing some twists.

One of the first to note is that VMware is a company that has established itself as the entrenched Jean-Louis Gaseeincumbent in the virtual machine world, supporting DOZENS of OSes – Linux yes, but also Red Hat, Windows ME (uhm...), Ubuntu (why would you NOT say that word if you have the chance?), Novell, Solaris, and, through a clever tweak, the BeOS.

(BeOS!! Where have you gone, Jean-Louis Gassee? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you.)

Like CrossOver, Parallels and Fusion allow you to run Windows at the same time as the Mac OS, no reboot required. When you visit their websites, you'll see feature sets with different names that largely resolve to the same set of features: drag and drop between the OSes, copy-paste, shared folders, assigning apps from either OS to open any file by default, Expose support for Windows windows, Windows apps living in the Mac OS dock, and on and on.

Note that Fusion had Windows apps living in the dock from the beginning, and Parallels has it in beta as we speak. Ah, competition! Each company driving the other to do better! A beautiful thing. Everybody should have a rock-solid competitor on genuinely equal footing, don't you think?

VMware FusionHere's a teensy tiny peek Fusion running a clearly Windows version of Outlook in Mac. And I gotta tell you, this is a classic example of an app with sooooo many more features on Windows. Really good ones too. Anyway, click it for the rest of the story.

Note that I'd have used bigger images for Desktop if they'd posted 'em. Maybe competition will change that too.

Although it came later, I give the nod to Fusion, for its heritage as much as anything else. The company has a long history of bullet-proof virtualization built on servers – no failure allowed. Fusion also supports 64-bit OSes and a second processor. No pokey performance under virtualization allowed, either.

Not that Desktop is without its charms. I really like Parallels Explorer, which gives you access to Windows folders and files without launching Windows.

Both applications offer a tres slick feature for folks who'll never use the Windows OS outside the Mac OS: you don't have to create a dual-boot partition use the Boot Camp Assistant, along with a separate installation of Windows. Instead, you can install Windows from within Fusion and Parallels...and if you've already installed a dual-boot partition, both applications can use it for their virtual machines.

The nod for slickness once again goes to VMware: you can import VMs from other products like Parallels, Virtual PC, and Office (recent Mac versions have offered virtualization options), and make them Fusion environments. Hey, and guess what? As I write this in March 2008, they're offering a competitive rebate. Gotta love that too.

Balance is all

Balance is all. Zen, baby.


It's easy to go overboard on these comparisons, though. The two apps often have different names for the same feature, then ding each other for "missing" it. Yes, there are differences, but they're sometimes more subtle than you'll care about. So take a look at each company's website. Both apps are in motion, so don't sweat the details. Just pick the one that makes the most sense for you TODAY.

Like Crossover, Fusion and Parallels offer free trials. I don't recommend installing them all, mostly because I have no idea what will happen if you try -- and I wouldn't be surprised if your computer has no idea what's happening either. But if you want to go for it, maybe check out Fusion last, since you can import your Parallels volume into it.



Asking whether a tricked out MacBook Pro is faster than a tricked-out Windows-only laptop isn't at all interesting to me.

Apple sez, "Run Windows on Your Mac"


If you have a laptop on either platform that you're happy with and meets your needs, no need to mess with any of this. A Windows user who needs a new laptop will find the Mac a big improvement over their old Windows computer – because the new one is NEW.

That said, you can find plenty, plenty reviews in the PC mags saying that Vista on MacBooks is the way to go. Lots of performance testing to back it up, but also a lot of talk about how much fun it is. For example, MobileTech says, “We were shocked at how well Vista Ultimate ran on the 1.6GHz MacBook Air.”

So you've got your copy of Windows on your dual-boot partition. You'll still need to do a separate installation inside your virtual machine created with Fusion or Parallels if you go that route. Two machines, two Windows installs. No worries – virtualization is esplicitly allowed in the Windows EULA, so even though you need to do a separate installation, there's no need to buy a new license.

In fact, Microsoft recently extended this. Originally, it was only the 2 most expensive flavors of Vista that could legally virtualize. Not that there was any technical limitation, just a legal one – and I KNOW you kids follow the rules laid out in EULAs, right? The end user license agreement? Of course you do.

Anyway, now you load ANY of the editions of Vista into the virtual machine of your choice.

It should just work, and you likely won't have any trouble. But if you have problems, you can easily solve them by phone. MSFT phone support by humans is actually pretty good, among the best I've encountered. (Insert your own joke about getting better with practice.) You can also activate the second installation through an automated phone process. The number's on the back of the box. Bring your serial number and a pencil: you'll give them your numbers and get a whole bunch of new ones back.


You need this, and it's free.

Both Windows and Mac users should download the free utility “Input Remapper.” As the name suggests, you can remap keys to make your keyboard behave more like the keyboard of your favorite OS. But there's a whole lot more, including controls over fan speed! This is what Apple's Boot Camp control panel should have been. This is a small portion of one of the screens. Click it to see more -- like the real-time monitoring of all the functions that Input Remapper controls. Many more options where this came from, too.

Input remapper


As our man Mr. Flav would say...

Don't believe the hype. Or the anti-hype.

I keep mentioning Vista. I like it a lot. It's as fast and as stable as any OS I've used, including Leopard. The migration challenges are totally overblown, because Windows users never had to go through the pain that we Mac users experienced going from OS 9 to OS X.

Or perhaps the most heinous transition ever, from System 6 to System 7.

Or maybe from Apple II to Mac. Ahhh, good times.

All of these were far, far more disruptive than Vista. And all were wobbly at the beginning. And all got unwobbly in the fullness of time. And all were eventually better than what preceded them.

More on brushing aside the fog of anti-Vista hype in another article.


A final word about platforms...

...including this flying one from 1956.

A flying platform, neither Mac nor Windows

I've said for years that if you're playing for keeps, you have to play on Windows. Certainly not ONLY on Windows, but it's a rock-bottom requirement. The Mac OS is pretty and powerful and creative. Windows can make you rich.

Yes, you can be very, very happy making 5% of the world very happy. But EVERYBODY's happier if more like 95% of the world is happy, right? And even if that's not the point, you CAN get richer from that, right?

There are some folks who lamented that Apple dropped the word “Computer” from their company name. I'm not saying I expected it, but I've certainly felt for years that the word “Computer” was too limited for what they were actually doing.

The first major Apple OS component to make its way to Windows was QuickTime.

Then Airport, Apple branded hardware for connectivity.

Next comes iTunes. It started playing music and movies, evolving into large-scale media DISTRIBUTION.

After that came iPod. More Apple hardware, managed with iTunes from Macs or PCs.

Then Mac computers themselves, now able to run Windows better than just about anybody else.

Apple TV. Hardware that combines both connectivity and media distribution, again managed with iTunes from Macs or PCs.

Then Safari. Connectivity and distribution.

Then iPhone. Connectivity and distribution.

I have these in the wrong order, and I'm leaving out a few, but is the picture starting to come together? We live with Mac as a creation platform that Apple's not giving up on...but connectivity and consumption know no platform. Or, in Apple's case, they're building platforms independent of OS. Outside the world of computing itself, Apple's 5% market share of computer sales means nothing.

This new, transcendent platform is where Apple is playing for keeps: a platform built on the foundation of shiny objects –yeah yeah, including computers -- and cool stuff to play on them.

Many of these shiny things, and the way to play cool stuff on them, came out exclusively for Mac users first – so maybe you could say that Mac users are the beta testers the other 95% of the computing world.


I'm just saying.


An old-fashioned Mac tent revival


And so, my Mac-using brothers and sisters, let us freely step onto the transcendent platform, and into the world of Windows as we must.

My Windows-using brothers and sisters, we step boldly onto the transcendent platform where Apple is truly playing for keeps. Step into light, my computing brothers and sisters, and feel the warmth on your skin. I'm thinking it's somewhere around 95 degrees.

Detour #3

If you liked the Gears of War trailer earlier in this article, feel free to check out the full version, about 3 minutes long. A beautiful short film, really, directed by Joseph Kosinski. The music is Gary Jules's cover of Mad World (originally by Tears for Fears) that was used in the movie Donnie Darko.


This has been an overview of a handful of ways and whys to run Windows on a Mac, but here on earth, it's never as simple as it looks. Next time, we'll look at shooting the troubles you may encounter along the way. We'll also look at some of the keys to success that others have found. If you can't wait, you can find out more in the Cow's Apple: Windows on Mac forum.

On your way, check out Part 2 of this series.




Re: Windows on Mac: Who, What, When, Where...but WHY?
by Pat Hughes
I am surprised and am wondering why the most recent comment is 2 years ago and the oldest comment is 7 years ago. The youtube videos in the article don't work. I am wondering since this article was obviously written around 7 years ago that much of what is said isn't true today. Just wondering.
@Pat Hughe
by Tim Wilson
Hi Pat,

The videos were all of commercials. Fun stuff to add flavor to the article, but none of them contained germane tutorial information. In fact some of it was explicitly retro, like the original iMac commercial with Jeff Goldblum from 1998.

Otherwise, the information still works I think. To be honest, I stopped using Macs altogether not long after I wrote this article, so I'm no longer in a position to test it myself. I've yet to hear from anyone that these steps just aren't working though.

If you have a specific question about the topic, rather than about the article, it might be better to post in the Windows on Mac forum where more people will see it. :-)

Re: Windows on Mac: Who, What, When, Where...but WHY?
by kapil beserwal
Dear All,

I would like to ask can i create or please send a link for BOOTCAMP partition option to have windows 7 in my i mac?

As currently i dont have this option in utility( i mac):-(

Model Name: iMac G5
Model Identifier: PowerMac8,1
Processor Name: PowerPC G5 (3.0)
Processor Speed: 1.8 GHz
Number Of CPUs: 1
L2 Cache (per CPU): 512 KB
Memory: 2 GB
Bus Speed: 600 MHz
Boot ROM Version: 5.2.2f4

Many thanks
Windows on Mac: Who, What, When, Where...but WHY?
by Jon Yiesla
Well...RDC is just a piece of remote control software. So, you should be able to use something like VNC. There are many flavors of VNC that are free for windows and I would assume that they would work on XP Home, but I don't know that for sure..have always used the Pro version. So, if VNC does work on home, then Leopard has built-in VNC that works OK. The main issue that I've seen with it is screen refreshes aren't as good as with RDC. If you're running Panther, and I think Tiger, you should try Chicken of the VNC. I use that on my old imac running Panther and it works wonderfully.
Windows on Mac: Who, What, When, Where...but WHY?
by Danny Baron
Thanks for the suggestion. Tried it. For a long time. Finally realized that it only works with XP Pro and my partner is running XP Home. Terminal services is switched off in XP Home.

Do you (or anyone) know of another way to connect and a Mac with a PC over the internet?
Windows on Mac: Who, What, When, Where...but WHY?
by Danny Baron
jhyiesla, I would like to clarify one thing. Are you running Remote Desktop inside XP pro -- or inside Leopard? I'm wondering because remote desktop is the only thing I need to use inside XP and I would love to use it without having to do a Windows install. But i have noticed the application is not available inside MSN Messenger for Mac.

Windows on Mac: Who, What, When, Where...but WHY?
by Andreas Kiel
Tim - Many thanks for this excellent article!!

But I just want to add my 2 cents to it.

Obviously most of the users use a laptop to install Windows where under many conditions the Win installation works fine, because the laptop doesn't care about mice. Running a desktop machine you have to disconnect your Apple mouse to make it happen or connect a "native Win" mouse upfront (this is confirmed by Apple Support).
One of the conditions with Leopard is that the disk has to be formatted in GUID format, so elder installations which use a migration of your data to the new system and/or or use a drive initialized under Tiger may won't work with this final version of Bootcamp.
Also even though Leopard does allow to format a drive with NTFS I hadn't been successful with that on several machines
Another drawback (for me) is that the release version of Bootcamp does not allow any more to install a Win system on an external drive - so no more "Win to carry".

Parallels Win installer will work in any case. For me it has big disadvantage: Win on Parallels does not support Firewire, which Apple claims to be supported with the release version of Bootcamp.
Parallels though does support all the NTFS stuff quite nicely if you know when to to hook up an external drive.
Also Paragon has updated their NTFS drivers for Mac - so (reading) writing to NTFS drives will work better now with Win disks attached

Andreas Kiel
Windows on Mac: Who, What, When, Where...but WHY?
by Jon Yiesla
I'm running RDC on Leopard and accessing an XP machine that way. I have a couple of problems though. Every once in a while it will just drop and reconnect for no apparent reason. Second, I've had a couple of programs running on the XP machine that have made the RDC hang. Fortunately these aren't very common programs. Display update is a little laggy like when I delete a number of emails from Outlook.
Windows on Mac: Who, What, When, Where...but WHY?
by Tim Wilson
Great question, Dean. I'm looking into it. I've been backing up both sides separately to be sure, and would start by restoring the Mac side...but I wonder if I can back it up all once by using MacDrive or NTFS Mac on one side or the other. Look for an answer in the next installment.
Question for Tim
by Flyer
Sorry to post again, but my last question seemed to get lost in the back and forth of this last Mac/Win here it is again...

Great article! And very timely for me as I'm seriously contemplating getting a Macbook Pro and installing Windows in one form or another. But I have a question. I keep full "image" backups of my whole system with a program called "Acronis" and I was wondering if I created a windows partition on the MacBook Pro, could I restore the image to that partition and thus avoid all the hassle of re-installing every program. I had a hard drive crash once and was able to do it on the new drive in my windows machine so I was thinking it might work in this mac/windows scenario. And if would work, will I be able to use "Fusion" or only bootcamp?

Thanks for any advice on this!
Windows on Mac: Who, What, When, Where...but WHY?
by Chris Heuer
Woaaaa!!! Serious correction!!! That would be "Luke at the end of Empire".

My apologies. I worked really late last night. Sorry!
Windows on Mac: Who, What, When, Where...but WHY?
by Chris Heuer
I'm a hardcore Mac guy, mainly because I've never been able to keep a PC running smoothly and happily. I still don't know why. I'm NO good under the hood. No driver, wrong service pack, anti-virus software slowing everything down... no, it's the spyware and what the hell is adware? I know you can balance all that and make a PC run smoothly... but "I" can't.

I know it sounds cultish but the Mac just works and runs all of my programs (except Fusion) beautifully. That is why every time I hear someone griping about their PC, I tell them to get a Mac. Not to be obnoxious but because I truely believe it will fix their problems. I really do mean well!

I've been so happy to be away from all of the issues I associated with Windows that putting it on my Mac was something I was resisting (kind of like Luke at the end of Jedi!). UNTIL... Tim had to go and make my life complicated again.

Bottom line, as I read the article, I found it quite balanced. In fact, maybe weighted a bit toward the PC side as I am now seriously considering Windows for my Mac... "Your not my father!!!!"
Windows on Mac: Who, What, When, Where...but WHY?
by Tim Wilson
This is a two-sided story, Scott. The article began with a few paragraphs about why Windows is essential for a complete computing experience. Mac alone is never enough. I also noted throughout the article that I was using Vista as I wrote, and that I viewed my Apple computer as a PC. That said, I consciously left it as a Rorschach. It was a 2-sided story. I've gotten offline email thanking me for taking such a PC-oriented position.

I'm always going to let readers have the last say, but that's mine. Again, I'm only too happy to provoke conversation. :-)
Windows on Mac: Who, What, When, Where...but WHY?
by charles gallagher
Wonderful article. I had Parallels on a MacMini and it was super. I since moved to a MacPro and dropped the idea of a virtual machine figuring there was no way rendering in AFter Effects or Sony Vegas wouldn't be slow when using the pc so I stuck with Boot Camp.

Unfortunately I found a problem that I think belongs to boot camp. I added memory. When looking at the amount of memory on the Mac side, I saw all 4 megs. When I looked on the Windows side, I saw only 2 megs! I was told this is a restriction of BootCamp. I returned the memory before I purchased Leopard but I suspect this problem continues. Do you know of it?

I write because the single biggest improvement I could make to my system would be to add memory to memory intensive programs and I am being cheated out of that ability.

Thanks again for a great article.
Windows on Mac: Who, What, When, Where...but WHY?
by jhyiesla
Wow, you've just described the last couple months of my life. We're primarily a PC shop, but I've fallen in love with Macs and I've been experimenting with running them in our environment. I've run XP Pro via BootCamp, baremetal on the Mac, under Parallels and under VMWare Fusion. I was not aware of the ability of the CodeWeaver product so will have to give that a try.

As much as I'd like to go strictly with the Mac, you are right in that there are some really useful and necessary applications that have no Mac equivalent. We also use some web-based apps that will NOT run in anything less than IE 6. I've been very impressed with how XP performs on the Mac in whatever format I've tried. Right now, I'm accessing a PC with the Beta 2 version of Microsoft's Remote Desktop Connection. It's nice in that it doesn't steal a lot of resources from the Mac, but is a beta. I've had a number of instances where it just reconnects for no reason, but other than that it works pretty well.
Windows on Mac: Who, What, When, Where...but WHY?
by Ron Lindeboom
While you seem over-sensitive to those you refer to as the "Cult of Mac," I am always surprised -- though not really -- at those who are even more rabid in their platform religiosity than Mac users. Over the years, I have found *some* Windows users to be far more rabid than Mac fanboys. Across the COW in a typical week, it is the PC users who bash Macs far more than the other way around. Me, I tire of it all and just wish that people would reserve religion for matters of conscience. Computers hardly qualify.

Me, neither Apple nor Microsoft pays me to use their stuff. I pay them. And so I could care less whose system I am on; I merely use the right tool for the job. Sometimes, that means I am on a Mac, other times I am on Windows. When something is *really* important and requires true stability -- the kind that means you do not reboot a system or turn it off for a year or more at a time -- then I use Linux.

Me, I know Tim -- very well. I think you read far more into his words than he ever put there. He has HUGE amounts of respect for Microsoft and the platform. But only an idiot would be blind to what Apple has brought to this party over the last 25 years or so.
Windows on Mac: Who, What, When, Where...but WHY?
by Danny Baron
Tim, excellent article about Windows on Mac! Thanks so much. Now I have too much to think about. I was just about to get XP but after reading this and your other articles
Windows on Mac: Who, What, When, Where...but WHY?
by Tim Wilson
Chris: Great idea about working with email/internet on the Mac side. More people should.

Dan: I love the idea of adding FCP to a Windows guy's bag of tricks...but most of the talk I've seen has been Mac guys adding Windows stuff. Maybe try asking in the forum?

Jeff: The software's free. I guess they couldn't afford a spellchecker. :-)
Windows on Mac: Who, What, When, Where...but WHY?
by Jeff Hackbarth
Not to be picky, but do they really spell it like "Backligth Limits"? Just curious. :)

Very informative article - thanks!
Windows on Mac: Who, What, When, Where...but WHY?
by Dahmooser
Finally after 15 years of having to sadly leave my Quadra 800, after having a IIe, I can finally buy a mac with no concerns AND feel that paying more is worth the price of admission.

Tears in my eyes, harmony is finally here!

Avid on a PC, FCP on a mac, no sacrifices.

Outlook and Quicken (terrible on a mac, don't use it) on a PC, Itunes, and Aperture on a mac.

the possibilities seem unlimited today.

why are so many people focused on viruses? why live in fear? Backup OFTEN!

And based on another article I read, if you're still worried, add Ubuntu to your OS mix, and worry not about hacking or viruses.

Thanks for the wonderful article.
Windows on Mac: Who, What, When, Where...but WHY?
by Scott Lissard
Oh and by the way; you're right. Just about the time I got past "Detour #2" I figured the rest of the article was sprinkled with little jabs at PC users.

If it were not for the little detour attempting to illustrate how dumb a typical PC user is and the other double entendre aimed at making fun of the PC I might have bothered to read the rest of it. (Which turns out to be pretty good.)

Looking at the date of the email, maybe this was Tim's attempt at some April 1st fun, in which case I'm indeed the April Fool.
Windows on Mac: Who, What, When, Where...but WHY?
by Dan Asselin
Tim as a Windows only editor/ae guy I have often thought of adding FCP to my bag of tricks. I also need a new laptop. Do you think a MBP with dual OS's would fill my needs?

By the way thanks not only for this article but for sharing your other insights as well over my time browsing the COW.
Windows on Mac: Who, What, When, Where...but WHY?
by Chris Heuer
Thanks! This is an issue I've been struggling with for a while and haven't followed up on. I'll just leave the e-mail and internet stuff for the OSX side! Thanks for shedding light on this topic.
Windows on Mac: Who, What, When, Where...but WHY?
by Tim Wilson
Thanks for the cows, Chris!

I should have addressed this, and will in part 2. Your **Windows partition only** is indeed vulnerable to Windows viruses, etc. It can't spread to the Mac side.

A couple of things to keep in mind. I've been using Mac since 2000, my wife since 1995 (another Mac lover, but in her govt job, Win is the thing). In that time, I've only heard of one widespread virus, which ONLY affected your address book in Outlook. As much as I love Outlook on Win, I keep my address book elsewhere. :-)

As for local viruses, just keep your email junk filters fresh, and stay away from dodgy porn and warez sites -- breeding grounds for viruses. I probably shouldn't be telling you this, but I've turned off every security protocol I can find on both Mac and Win because I hate the whole permissions nonsense. I haven't had a glimmer of trouble on either side of the boot.

Last but not least, Vista has a great backup program. You can set it to automatically back up every day, and it runs quietly in the background. Bad things of every sort can happen, so regular backups for both partitions is a good idea.

That's just me. I'll spend some time researching this before I write part 2 to see how my experience fits. Thanks for bringing this up.
Windows on Mac: Who, What, When, Where...but WHY?
by Scott Lissard

I am sorry you didn't like my post and I'll admit it was a bit harsh.

I'll also be the first one to tell you that overall they are both GREAT systems. My issue is really not technically with the Mac.

My issue is with the cult of Mac and their tendencies to bash PCs every chance they get.

You only have to look as far as Apple's own Mac vs PC Ad Campaign to see Mac heads thumbing their noses at PC users, usually over issues that are equally as troublesome on a Mac.

But Mac fanatics need to understand that bashing my OS hurts just as much as someone bashing yours. For that reason platform wars are often just as forbidden from online forums as politics and religion.

Just as well I typically wouldn't say anything in an online forum. But the editorial staff starts the platform bashing I feel like they should know better. (this is not the first time I've seen a CC article with this sort of slant)

On top of it all, I didn't go looking for this article, it showed up in my email. So again, sorry if my little tirade upset you, but as you said:
Get used to it...
...or just keep jumping to conclusions.
In response to Scott Lissard...
by Ron Lindeboom
Clearly some people get all the exercise they need simply by jumping to conclusions.

If you had actually bothered to read the article you would have seen that it covered MANY great reasons to use Windows, and add it to a Mac. The article is actually written by someone who has come to the Mac from a largely PC background of the last 10 years or so and was the product manager for both Boris FX and Avid.

If I could rate responses, I'd give your response no COWs, no points.

Unfortunately, over the years I have found that the only people I know that are more rabid in their deification of platforms than Mac fanboys, are the ones who can't figure out that all of this crap is merely silicon, plastic and a little metal and hardly worthy of treating it any more seriously than that.

Your response includes some of the most childish remarks I have read in the COW in years.

Lastly, I use Macs, PCs and have an entire Linux network to boot. Many of each. None are perfect. They all suck in certain areas. Get used to it...

...or just keep jumping to conclusions.
Windows on Mac: Who, What, When, Where...but WHY?
by Flyer
Great article! And very timely for me as I'm seriously contemplating getting a Macbook Pro and installing Windows in one form or another. But I have a question. I keep full "image" backups of my whole system with a program called "Acronis" and I was wondering if I created a windows partition on the MacBook Pro, could I restore the image to that partition and thus avoid all the hassle of re-installing every program. I had a hard drive crash once and was able to do it on the new drive in my windows machine so I was thinking it might work in this mac/windows scenario. And if would work, will I be able to use "Fusion" or only bootcamp?

Thanks for any advice on this!
Windows on Mac: Who, What, When, Where...but WHY?
by Chris Heuer
Is it true that your Mac is vulnerable to all of the viruses, spyware and other malicious gack on the web while operating in Windows? I'd love to run Fusion 5 on my Mac but don't want to risk it or bog it down with tons of protection programs like Norton. Any advice there?
3rd shared Data partition
by Eric Carter
Great article, Tim!

As far as advanced partitioning for the purpose of sharing data between Windows and Mac OSes, have you considered the creation of a 3rd shared data partition? The only downside, as far as I can tell, is that it has to be a FAT32 partition. Other that that, it is another free and effective data sharing technique. Have a look at the how-to I created here:
Windows on Mac: Who, What, When, Where...but WHY?
by Scott Lissard
Gotta love an article that starts out, "Sure it's possible, but why would anybody want to run Windows on a Mac?"

I always find it funny when mac heads don't understand why PC folks hate them so much. It's cause we are tired of hearing you gloat about your supposedly superior system.

If you want to join the cult of Mac, go right ahead, but seriously, could you just keep the rhetoric to a minimum?

And just to answer that question for you: It's really nice to resize their windows with any edge of the window; instead of only using the bottom right hand corner to grab it. Or maybe we want to change a file name WHILE we are in a save file requestor, you know, like without having to quit out of the save request, go into finder, navagate to the folder, rename the file and then go back to your program and save the file. Or maybe we don't want to play russian roulette with file permissions. You mac heads don't even realize how deficient OSX is in some areas that are critical to a smooth operating system.

There are PLENTY of reasons not to want to use the operating system many believe was coded by GOD himself. When I find a reason to run OSX on my PC I'll let you know. I haven't yet.

BTW I use both OSX and XP extensively every day.

Windows on Mac: Who, What, When, Where...but WHY?
by Tim Wilson
Thanks for the kind words!

re: a new laptop. If you're running Windows, there's no question that you can buy a faster laptop, with more features, for less money than an MBP. But I like the way the MBP looks, I love its backlit keyboard, and I love being able to run the Mac OS. For me, it's 50-50 proposition...but for any Win user, why NOT have the option of at least peeking at Mac? Also, if you run iTunes, it runs much better on Mac. :-) So any iPodder looking for a laptop should look hard at this.

re: the virtual machine image. You're right. I either needed to take the time to explain it, or delete it. I deleted it.

Also, I tried to find an appropriate Gassee photo. Even with the "anything goes" filtering at GOOG pix, no love. But I added that image from a deck of Belgian playing cards. I'm not sure what they're playing, but I like it anyway.
Windows on Mac: Who, What, When, Where...but WHY?
by Hammer

i started reading this article in humor, remembering all the things that i had to learn the hard way about setting up win on my mac.

i didn't think it possible that i might actually learn anything new in that particular area, but there actually were a few pointers!

and in my exp, xp sp3 is not only the most stable win ever (no biggy there..), but also runs way faster than on pc hardware :) *duh*

Windows on Mac: Who, What, When, Where...but WHY?
by Timothy J. Allen
Tim, your article has thrust me squarely back into the mire of indecision about which laptop to buy next. But I

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