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  1. #1

    Member Since
    Oct 20, 2013
    Is a Mac the right choice?
    Hello All

    I need your knowledge and wisdom to help me with a business IT problem I have.

    I run a small online company with 3 other staff.
    We buy and sell items online through a third party website.
    If you can image we are a company that sells through a website similar to E-bay or Amazon supplier - sadly not all of our software is Cloud based.

    We produce our invoices and manage our sales through third party software, that is pretty rubbish and is windows 7 based - we hate it, however he need to use it.

    Currently I use a Mac Book Pro that I love using and my work rate is far higher than my staff who use Windows 7 based laptops.
    (I was stuck in Nice about 3 years ago with a laptop that went kaput. It took three days to get it working again, so when I arrived back in the UK I went straight to PC World and bought a Mac - Never looked back)!

    We have a big problem in our office, that I am trying to address and I need your advice with.

    Our Windows 7 Laptops are less than a year old (We need to use Windows 7 as that is what the software works on).
    If we switch to Macs - Can we use Windows 7 compatible software? Or will it revert to Windows 8?
    Which is the better Windows software to use on a Mac? (I donít want to use it - however it is needed to run one piece of software only.
    We need a database software programme. Currently I am trialling FileMaker Pro. I have been told that we donít need the Filemaker Server software as there are only 5 machines. (it is also on offer 2 for 1).
    I have purchased Office 365 for our computers and all that did was waste 2 days installing it and then lost our emails for 3 days.
    It is difficult to use and at £40 a month seems to be a waste of money.

    Solution - (This is where I need your advice)
    1 x desktop Mac, that can hold all of our images and use as a base computer - I would rather not have to pay for a server if I can help it.
    3 x Mac Book pro or Air, that can link together to share database contacts, that need to be updated in real time. (A database that holds names, emails and client notes, as well as invoices and inventories).
    Run the third party software though a Windows Parallel Operating System on a Mac.
    Update our contacts, diary, spreadsheets, tasks and notes in real time.
    For example a client phones in and requests information on a product, when can then log the call and any actions, which will update everybody else in the company, should they look at the clients details.
    We need to be able to look at each others diary, and amend info if required or add appointments.
    Set reminders for each other and have a task list that we can all use and amend.
    Can all this be done through iwork?

    Any advice would be gratefully received.

  2. #2

    harryb2448's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 28, 2007
    Nambucca Heads Australia
    iMac, i7 4GHz, 32GB memory, 1TB Blade Drive, OS X.13.4
    If you use BootCamp or Parallels sure it will work Windows 7 just fine. Whichever way you go, all using the same OS will be much easier.
    Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!

  3. #3

    jt1968's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 05, 2013
    Los Angeles, CA
    I run Windows 7 (on a separate partition) on my 15" MBPr with no problems - in fact, it seems to run much better than on a PC laptop!

    I used BootCamp to set up a partition for Windows 7 on my HDD, and I just hold down the "Options" key when I turn on the computer, to get the boot menu. When you're done using Windows, and wish to return to the warm goodness that is Mac OS X, merely restart the computer, and if you don't touch the "Options" key, it will automatically boot OS X.

    Please make sure you perform a full Time Machine backup of your OS X partition before you install Windows 7, just in case. My installation went smoothly without any data loss on my Mac partition, but you never know what might happen.
    iPhone 7 Plus 256GB / iPad Mini 4 64GB / iPad Pro 9.7" 128GB / Apple Watch 42mm Series 2/ Apple TV / AirPort Express

  4. #4

    Member Since
    Oct 20, 2013
    Thank you both for your replies.
    I do not want to have to restart machines to look between Windows and Mac.
    So I am unsure if bootcamp is the right way forward.
    Can you have Parallels running at the same time as Mac OS?

    How easy is it to link our iCal diaries and Address Book Contacts etc?


  5. #5

    Member Since
    Feb 02, 2010
    27" iMac, 13 MacBook Pro, 11" MacBook Air, 64G iPad, iPhone 4
    Can you have Parallels running at the same time as Mac OS?
    Parallels is a Mac program so mac OS is a requirement for it to run.
    Andy C
    27" iMac (2102), 11" MacBook Air (2011), iPad Air, iPad Mini, Apple TV2, iPhone 6 Plus, iPod Classic 120Gb, Ipod Touch, Watch.

  6. #6

    Member Since
    Oct 20, 2013
    Thanks Andy
    Sorry to sound like a Luddite, so I will install Parallels, then Windows 7 is that correct?
    Our software only runs on Windows 7.

  7. #7

    mrplow's Avatar
    Member Since
    Oct 01, 2007
    Mac Mini i5 (2014 High Sierra), iPhone X, Apple Watch, iPad Pro 12.9, AppleTV (4)
    Yes, you install Windows within Parallels. There's also VMWare Fusion and VirtualBox which all do a similar thing.

    Sharing contacts, calendars and so on can get complexe. I'd suggest looking into Google Apps. It's designed for business and can be accessed on pretty much every platform.

    You say you don't want to pay for a server but a a cheap PC just used for storage and as a hub for your team sounds like a good idea tbh. If it's purely file storage perhaps consider a NAS drive instead.

    Please use the reputation system if you think you've been helped - bottom left of this post

  8. #8
    I'd try Virtual Box before buying Parallels or VMWare. It's free, and if all you need is one WIndows program, it may be sufficient. You will need an installable copy of Windows 7, but you'd need that for Parallels or BootCamp anyway, so it's no additional cost. If VB can run your one app, then your solution will work, but be advised that those three MBPs or MBAs will need lots of memory and plenty of disk space to hold all this stuff.

    I can't address the coordination across work machines, sorry. But mrplow's suggestion to think about NAS is certainly worth considering. For coordination, you may want to look at ChronoSync or something similar, My wife uses it in her business to sync her laptop and desktop machines every night when she's traveling. That way wherever she is she knows that both machines will be the same every morning. It could be set up to sync more often, and I think it can be defined down to folders to keep in sync instead of entire machines.

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