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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

ready to load windows & parallels on new MBP-????


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queenjillybean

 
Member Since: May 21, 2010
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After owning my new MBP for a week- and contemplating the best way for me to make this machine fully functional- I broke down and spent the $300 on Windows7 and Parallels yesterday...as well as a 500GB Passport external hard drive...I am looking for the smoothest/ simplest way to do what I want and need to do...I have also come to realize that Mac to PC for ME is like being immersed in a foreign country- where I have some use of the language- but not confident enough to just start sticking discs into my new machine...
So, my question, is when installing Windows 7 and Parallels, is there a particular order that I should install? Parallels first? Is there a sticky or any good article anywhere about this or any suggestions to ease my fears?
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chas_m

 
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If you want advice, be prepared to hear something you don't want to hear, and it is this:

You should REALLY learn the Mac first, THEN think about installing Windows. There are lots of resources, most of them free, to help you get used to the "new vocabulary." Mostly its a matter of minor differences, but learning the Mac DOES mean "unlearning" some of the overly-complicated Windows procedures and tuning in to the Zen of Apple. Sorry to sound all groovy-New Age-hippy on you but honestly that's what you need to do. It's less a matter of "re-learning" and more a matter of letting go some presumptions.

This is not to say that you've wasted your money -- Windows on a Mac can be quite handy. What specifically is it you want to accomplish? Perhaps that is the best way to help you.

But to answer your question directly (in the hopes that you will consider what I've said above), there are basically three approaches to running Windows programs on Macs.

1. Boot Camp. You may have already considered this, but I'm writing it up for the benefit of other thread readers. Boot Camp is a program already existing on your Mac that will set aside a new partition of your drive and allow you to install Windows (XP, Vista or 7) on that partition. Thereafter, you can reboot the machine and choose which OS you'd like to run.

The advantage of Boot Camp is that your Mac becomes a full-fledged Intel PC doing it this way, and keeps the Mac and Windows "sides" entirely separate. Parallels (et al) can use the Windows partition Boot Camp sets up for itself as well, giving you the best of both worlds.

The disadvantage seems to be that it's really important to keep the two partitions' directories healthy, otherwise boot problems will get very complicated. Also, you have to use a Windows solution to backup your Windows data -- no Mac backup program I know of supports cloning the Windows partition. Some people feel its a hassle to have to reboot the machine to use the Windows side as well.

I personally think this system works best when someone has a situation where they need to "live in the Windows world" for work, but like to use the Mac side for more recreational computing (or the other way round).

2. Virtualisers (Parallels, VirtualBox, VMWare Fusion etc). These programs allow you to run Windows and Mac side-by-side, though of course there's a slight performance and RAM hit because both OSes are going at the same time. The Windows "partition" in this case is a huge file instead of an actual partition (though Parallels and VMWare can "see and use" an existing Boot Camp partition of Windows if you already have one). The big advantage is the convenience and the ability to run any version of any Windows (or Linux for that matter) you want, the big disadvantage is that these programs will tend to be upgraded often, along with periodic paid upgrades, which is kind of a hassle. This solution is ideal for people who need to run more than one or two Windows programs but mainly work in a Mac environment. I should mention here that VirtualBox is FREE and seems to be *basically* about as well-regarded as the other two paid solutions (but perhaps more complicated to install and with less "support" available).

3. WINE-based solutions (Crossover, et al). This program allows you to emulate the Windows APIs without actually running Windows, thus saving quite a bit of money (the other two solutions require a new, not-previously-registered copy of Windows to work). The big advantage is that you don't have the overhead and performance hit of running another OS, and can still run (selected) Windows programs (most of the major ones that 95% of people want). The big disadvantage to this method is that not all Windows programs are supported.

In your specific case, you'd install Parallels first and run that. It will step you through installing Windows on its own, surprisingly easily and quickly. I'm sure there's a tutorial or video or both on the Parallels web site, but it's pretty straightforward IME.

Again -- if you're installing Windows to get back to your "comfort zone," you are IMHO making a big mistake. Give what I said above some consideration before installing Windows, my guess is you'll find a lot of help here if you'd let us know what specifically you want to do.
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queenjillybean

 
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well, here is my issue- I am self-employed- and rely on a PC specific - proprietary- single program that I must use in order to work- i work from home (thankfully)- but I work every day- and it is all from laptop...I can perform my work functions from SnowLeopard- and am confident- in that arena- the PC side uses one document retrieval program and Adobe 9 ex-pro...those are the only two programs that I will run/use in windows-the documents are retrieved and saved in PDF format- so once I pull them out of the windows side, I can finish my work on the Snow Leopard side...I had planned to just use Boot Camp- but the latest sales person I spoke to highly recommended using Parallels instead. Last weekend, I downloaded and read about 16 hours of material on my Kindle that was PC to Mac specific...I do have a photographic memory (literally) but, I absorb my information and retain it the most effectively by physically doing/ experiencing whatever I am learning. My primary anxiety is just that- anxiety- I have confidence- but I have been doing what I do so flawlessly for 10 years- and CHANGE just really annoys me and slows me down- so I tend to obsess over the pedantic details of the CHANGEOVER to avoid the actual change...make sense? lol
It seems that a lot of the education and information is based a lot on opinions from personal experience- which I much appreciate- but I also overwhelm myself because I retain it all...
My requirements/ needs/ functions on the new Mac are so simple it is almost laughable- I research- all web based- and then compose reports for my client- all paperless- and email them- nothing fancy or high-tech- but, I must use this one program that I referenced above that is not Mac Compatible- Now, my daughter uses a mac- and uses it to type my reports and send to my client- I send all to her via email in pdf format- she has never had any issues-
Any thoughts? I appreciate any and all input thank you
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chas_m

 
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Sounds to me like you should first look into Crossover and see if the specific programs you need are supported. If not, then Parallels (et al) might work out fine for you.

Windows Applications Seamlessly Integrated on Mac OS X - Mac Windows - CodeWeavers

Important tip: if you are using Time Machine (and if not, you should!) to do your backups, remember to EXCLUDE the Parallels "Windows file" from your backups, otherwise TM will become horribly slow as it will try to backup the entire Windows file every hour! You'll want to backup that Windows "file" either manually or using a clone program. And don't forget that Windows on a Mac is just as susceptible to viruses and suchlike as it is on a PC. The Mac "side" is immune of course, but the Windows side isn't -- so be sure to load up the Windows "side" with whatever anti-virus/anti-spyware/anti-malware/pop-up blockers you trust.
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queenjillybean

 
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thank you for your post- since I bought the Windows 7, I plan on installing it- it is worth the investment- since the program I must use is how I make my money i need stability and the guarantee of least amount of glitches as possible- the program is super proprietary- and only used by very small and specific market- it is not available to the public- I will go ahead and load Parallels and then the Windows7- I am not going to do any web browsing/emailing or ANYTHING other than the document retrieval from this one program using windows- I use webroot antivirus w/ spysweeper on all of my PC's and prefer it over the others- its funny, because I had a new one in my hand and prepared to purchase when I bought Windows7 and Parallels, and the sales clerk talked me out of it...see, this is where I get so confused! He suggested downloading a free service in lieu of buying one. I feel like the initial investment of the MacBook- and the fact that it is imperative that it runs smoothly- that I would rather pay extra for the software that ensures the smoothest transition.
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chas_m

 
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I don't know if webroot antivirus w/spysweeper is the best or not (my testing done a couple of years ago showed the need to run at least TWO anti-virus programs to have any hope of catching most of them), but your reasoning seems sound to me.
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kinson

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chas_m View Post
I don't know if webroot antivirus w/spysweeper is the best or not (my testing done a couple of years ago showed the need to run at least TWO anti-virus programs to have any hope of catching most of them), but your reasoning seems sound to me.
Hi, not trying to be pedantic here, but just wanted to point out that installing two antivirus programs on windows is generally a bad practice as it often causes conflicts. Many folks do that 'cause they think it's a double layer of protection, but the result is often worse the the viruses themselves. In this case it's fine because I assume spysweeper is a spyware scanner.

Just wanted to point it out in case someone decides to install 2 AV programs after reading. Of course, it's nice to have a lot less virus/spyware stress on OSX, as I'm finding out now

Btw, no offense meant in this post, just trying to help

Cheers,
Kinson.
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