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  1. #1
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    Windows on a Mac

    Over the years, I've heavily invested my time, money and training in software and hardware in the MacOS X sphere. Lately, I've also been exposed to Windows-only software, particularly in Office 2016/365 (including MS Access). I contacted Microsoft, and they told me that an Office 365 subscription would allow me to load Office 365 onto a MacOS X machine and onto a Windows partition on that Mac. In this way, I could run Access on a Mac, under Windows.

    I wanted to check on this forum to see if any professionals here run Windows on Apple hardware. Do you use VMWare Fusion or Parallels? How much RAM does your machine have? What kind of Windows software do you run in a Parallels or Fusion environment? How many of you use BootCamp instead?
    Owner of: Super Ego briefcase (Black / Indigo / Steel) with Reflective Strip, Brain Cell (Steel), Horizontal Freudian Slip, various Organizer Pouches and Key Straps, and a Side Effect (Black / Wassabi) worn as a belt-style hip-pack.

  2. #2
    Forum Member aedifica's Avatar
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    Most recently I've used VirtualBox, because it's free--all I needed to supply was a Windows license. It worked well for my needs (I needed to be able to run Active Directory Users & Computers), but for you, Parallels might be better because of the integration between host and guest operating systems, i.e. you could run Access without having to go into the Windows virtual machine for it. (I can't speak about VMWare Fusion because I only used it very briefly several years ago. It's been a few years since I used Parallels too, but I used it for much longer.)

    I wouldn't want to run it on less than 16GB RAM, but then, I don't want to do *anything* on less than 16GB because my web browsing habits eat up a lot of RAM. My biggest disappointment with the new Macs is that they didn't increase the RAM.

  3. #3
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    We seem to have revisited this frequently and again I will say that Windows somehow runs better on a Mac than in general on a dedicated Windows machine.

    I run Fusion on almost all of the systems that I administer for Windows and just do not have either problems or hefty hardware overhead in any of them.
    My own machines running Windows on a Mac range from an original 2gig of Ram 11" MBA to a brand newish 12 MBP.
    I mainly prefer Win XP and Win 7 for my own uses but have run everything as needed and just do not run into a lot of trouble. The Partition can be resized in general as needed as it is outgrown and the partition really just contains and image of the Windows Machine and this is pretty simple to work with luckily.

    I always tell people to get as much machine,Ram and Drive as they can afford but Windows also runs fine on my 2g Machine too so........

    Many of my people run Windows just to be able to run Quicken and it is critical that there is a backup plan in place that is followed every day but this is true regardless of the situation really if you want to avoid the heartache and worse that comes with Data Loss!

    You really will not know the difference once it is setup and running.

    I have also used Parallels many times and have no real negatives about it to share but I needed to choose one and use Fusion.

    Boot Camp also works just fine.

    I have 2 cousins that got the 11" Macbook Air just to run Windows and boot right to it and would not know how to boot to MAC OS if they wanted to!
    They love the machine and have no issues using them through Boot Camp as Windows Only computers with no real limitations for doing so that I am aware of.

    I was a little skeptical when they asked me if it would work but it has been amazing to say the least!
    Last edited by AVService; 04-21-2017 at 03:36 AM.

  4. #4
    Forum Member PaulT00's Avatar
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    I've run XP under Parallels in the past, on my old 2007 black MacBook (upgraded to 4Gb RAM, although MacOS could only see 3.3Gb) and it worked pretty well. The 'coherence' mode integration was very sweet and I can only imagine it will have got better over the last few years of development. I no longer run a VM on my new 12" MacBook (2015 model) as - currently - I have no windows-only software I need to use on that machine.

    The weird bit is that, as @AVService mentioned, I found that XP running in virtualisation on my mac, seemed more responsive than the same OS running on real hardware. I concluded, eventually, that the MacOS filesystem is more efficient than NTFS (at least of that era) so that virtual memory operations ran faster on the virtual machine because of optimised disk access... of course that could just have been my personal spin on the situation!

    My other half uses a VirtualBox VM to run some legacy XP software in a sandbox on a Win7 'desktop replacement' laptop, which is OK but occasionally sluggish, but I tend to put that down to the host OS!
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  5. #5
    Forum Member LilAve's Avatar
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    I use a Mac at work, but after my switch several years ago, there is still one program (Respondus, which allows me to load tests in bulk into higher education courses) that I use Windows for. Like PaulT00, I use Parallels as it garnered better reviews when I researched it compared to other similar software.

    I started out with Windows 7 and just the minimum to run it for RAM along with the base amount of harddrive space, but there are options to configure this all if you wanted to bump up how much RAM or harddrive space you want. I upgraded to Windows 10 during the free upgrade period last year, and I lost a lot of the files I had on the Windows side (I didn't follow all of the directions), so keep that in mind if you start with anything below Windows 10 or want to upgrade in the future.
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  6. #6
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    I suppose for me, for right now at least, it comes down to price.

    Parallels Desktop 12 for Mac now prices in at $60/year, so it is least expensive. When I make my move, it will likely be with Parallels.
    Owner of: Super Ego briefcase (Black / Indigo / Steel) with Reflective Strip, Brain Cell (Steel), Horizontal Freudian Slip, various Organizer Pouches and Key Straps, and a Side Effect (Black / Wassabi) worn as a belt-style hip-pack.

  7. #7
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    Running Windows 10 under parallels with no problems on a late 2013 MB Pro 13 inch with 256 gb ssd and 8 gb ram. Used to us boot camp but got tired of rebooting when I needed something from the mac side of the world.

  8. #8
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    If I buy Parallels, what is the easiest and best way to install Windows 10 on top of it? Download directly from Microsoft? I have to admit, I don't know how things work as far as admin in the Windows space. I've only ever admined Macs.
    Owner of: Super Ego briefcase (Black / Indigo / Steel) with Reflective Strip, Brain Cell (Steel), Horizontal Freudian Slip, various Organizer Pouches and Key Straps, and a Side Effect (Black / Wassabi) worn as a belt-style hip-pack.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    Over the years, I've heavily invested my time, money and training in software and hardware in the MacOS X sphere. Lately, I've also been exposed to Windows-only software, particularly in Office 2016/365 (including MS Access). I contacted Microsoft, and they told me that an Office 365 subscription would allow me to load Office 365 onto a MacOS X machine and onto a Windows partition on that Mac. In this way, I could run Access on a Mac, under Windows.

    I wanted to check on this forum to see if any professionals here run Windows on Apple hardware. Do you use VMWare Fusion or Parallels? How much RAM does your machine have? What kind of Windows software do you run in a Parallels or Fusion environment? How many of you use BootCamp instead?
    If you are always connected I recommend running a Windows virtual machine that's in a network data center. I can run around anywhere on our campus and have my "machine." It's so liberating to walk around with an iPad Pro, a mac, or even my phone and run my Windows institutional stuff.

    I don't have to support it, it's always backed up, runs fast (I can always request more CPU cores if i need to) and is always available. Worst scenario is that set up a hotspot with my phone to connect. On the iPhone or iPad Windows 10 behaves nearly the same as a Surface. It even plays movies!

    That said I'm a mac guy doing audio and video. That will likely never change.


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  10. #10
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    I have ran Windows on a Mac under three different side-by-side programs - Parallels, Virtual Box, VMWare Fusion, and then Bootcamp.

    If you are looking to bounce between Windows and OS X, any of the side-by-side options work great. If you don't mind rebooting to swap operating systems, I would encourage you use Bootcamp.

    I always seem to run into challenges when running one of the side-by-side. Driver problems, shared resources, etc... all seem to come up occasionally. Having said that it has been a couple of years since I used any of them. Since the Mac boots into Windows via Bootcamp, you will get all of the hardware resources dedicated to Windows and you will not run into any driver issues. Honestly, with boot ties so quick now Bootcamp is the way to go unless you have a need to bounce between Mac and Windows.

    Good luck!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by SKIMT View Post
    I have ran Windows on a Mac under three different side-by-side programs - Parallels, Virtual Box, VMWare Fusion, and then Bootcamp.

    If you are looking to bounce between Windows and OS X, any of the side-by-side options work great. If you don't mind rebooting to swap operating systems, I would encourage you use Bootcamp.

    I always seem to run into challenges when running one of the side-by-side. Driver problems, shared resources, etc... all seem to come up occasionally. Having said that it has been a couple of years since I used any of them. Since the Mac boots into Windows via Bootcamp, you will get all of the hardware resources dedicated to Windows and you will not run into any driver issues. Honestly, with boot ties so quick now Bootcamp is the way to go unless you have a need to bounce between Mac and Windows.

    Good luck!
    This is a good overview really and the right way to look at all of this I think.

    Only Boot Camp is letting the machine just Boot to Windows by using the correct drivers for the hardware and this affords the least invasive and most trouble free experience possible as long as the re-booting works for you when switching back to MAC OS?

    All other methods are running emulation of the Windows session inside of the MAC OS software and it simply will require resources to do that and can be more tricky to get right too.

    The only reason Apple can even get this to work at all is that every MAC uses Apple Hardware these days and there are just not that many drivers that they have to write and have ready to run with Windows on the Intel based MAC machines.

    So for the inconvenience of multi-booting you get better performance and reliability through Boot Camp AND it is FREE TOO!
    Aside from still needing a copy of Windows of course.

  12. #12
    Forum Member PaulT00's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johntubbs View Post
    If you are always connected I recommend running a Windows virtual machine that's in a network data center. I can run around anywhere on our campus and have my "machine." It's so liberating to walk around with an iPad Pro, a mac, or even my phone and run my Windows institutional stuff.
    I do that in a work setup, too. Corporate systems are available over Citrix, and there are various systems I can remote into and access 'my' stuff. It gives me the flexibility to work from a multi-monitor home office installation, any PC at the physical office, or remote in from my 12" MacBook while sitting in a cafe. All the computing interfaces I use for work are, mostly, simply terminals providing access to remote systems over the net.
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  13. #13
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    You can download the image file or have a cd/DVD shipped. MS will provide the code needed to activate it. Once you get parallels up and running , it will guide you through the process which is pretty much a standard windows install. Once that is done, parallels will install the tools it needs to make things work properly.

  14. #14
    Forum Member aedifica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rabergnc View Post
    MS will provide the code needed to activate it.
    What, for free? Please tell me more! That's not what I've experienced, but I'm willing to believe it's either something new or something I didn't know about.

  15. #15
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    No, it is not free. You need to purchase windows 10 from Microsoft and that purchase will come with the activation code. Not sure what the current cost is. I got mine as an upgrade from Windows 7 for what amounted to a nominal fee. I did purchase win 7 a while back. Back in the xp era, I did anything I could to get a copy of windows without paying for it. Life got easier when I decided to pay for the product!

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