A friend of mine works for a PR firm and they all use PCs. She’d LOVE to have a Mac. I told her she could use bootcamp or fusion - at least so I’ve heard.

If she buys an iMac, can she install & use XP SP2 w/ Office (including Outlook)? Will it work just as well as a PC? Is there a reason she’d want bootcamp over fusion or vice versa? The PR firm is her bread and butter, and she needs a new computer. She’d like to buy the iMac for her personal writing, but funds are limited - so any insight would be helpful.

Bootcamp allows you to run Windows absolutely natively. If complete assurance of compatibility and everything running just like a PC is paramount, that’s the best option. The downside is that Bootcamp requires a restart between the Mac/PC sides.

Fusions and Parallels are emulators, and allow you to run Windows + PC apps without rebooting. Both also feature ‘seamless’ modes, where you can just double-click on a PC app and it’ll launch as if you were on a PC. The downside is that 100% compatibility isn’t guaranteed, though both apps are now quite mature and probably 99% of all situations are catered for.

If the final 1% is important, though, stick with Bootcamp.

If she needs to she can use Bootcamp AND Fusion/Parallels. Bootcamp for all cases in which 100% compatibility and high graphics speed is required (e.g. for gaming), Fusion or Parallels for running Windows apps alongside Mac apps.

If she mainly uses Microsoft Office and Outlook on her Windows PC, Fusion and Parallels are excellent choices.

What I like about Parallels: You can port a complete Windows installation (incl. all settings and apps and data) into a Parallels virtual machine. Parallels offers a Transporter tool for free (she can get it from the website, she has to install it on her Windows machine and connect the PC and the Mac via Ethernet, WLAN would also do but it takes much longer). Don’t know whether Fusion also has a feature like that.


Sure, you can use any of these to run Windows XP (I use Pro, SP2, recently upped to SP3). Bootcamp requires you reboot into Windows, while Fusion and Parallels let you run Windows in a, well, window. At least in Fusion, you can easily cut/paste between the Mac side and Windows, flip around the lot as you wish, etc. I’ve found Office on the XP side in Fusion to be rather better than Office for Mac.

Fusion is said to make far fewer demands on the CPU than Parallels, and from reading in various places, folks who have used both prefer Fusion (VMware). Quite a few early users, when Parallels was the only choice, have moved to Fusion as well.

I should point out that running XP on a Mac will not make it seem anything less than the horrid slag it truly is. So it’s nice that you can shut down Windows, wash your hands with hot soapy water, and be back on Mac quite easily.

Final bit: If she’s on the net for even a few minutes while running Windows on her Mac, she’ll need all the usual virus/trojan/etc. bits installed in XP, just as if it were an XP box. There are lots of freebies out there, grisoft, etc. that work as well, if not better, than the commercial bits.

Absolutely true, though it should be pointed out - to stave off panic :wink: - that any such problems will only affect the PC side. You won’t somehow contract viruses on your Mac OS by running Windows.

That’s why the German edition of Parallels Desktop 3 comes with a 1-year-licence for an antivirus tool by Kaspersky.

And I agree: You (or your friend) should definitely install a virus scanner and keep it updated.


Thanks, everyone.

She says she’d actually prefer a reboot, so bootcamp seems to fit best.

And yes - anything that has Windows must have a virus checker.

I would not avoid going the emulator route. I use parallels for several OS (up to 10 vm, but only 4 at one time these days). windows works flawlessly for MS apps. Only apps that I have ever had issues with are hardware specific or hyper graphics intensive (adobe on my side but others seem to have it working).

I tried both and stuck with P over F. Just my preference. F does over a tool called PtoV to virtualize an existing OS.

Some thoughts on viri:
• Run using NAT or SHARED networking. Helps keep “scanners” away.
• Get and keep current a REPUTABLE anti-V prog.
• Don’t go to public sites and directly attach the wireless. Consider that instant infection even with anti-V

For the record I use a MBP17 to replace a dell D630, a Sun Blade 150, a custom redhat and debian box (p4 2@2@2.16GHz) and several test systems. never had an issue with the VM setups.

(1) Native booting versus Emulator Booting comes down to preferences and needs. Bootcamp is free, Emulators are cheap enough that investing in one is not bank breaking. Having both Bootcamp and an emulator on hand can give you many opportunities.

(2) I would go with Jaysen on this since he has extensive use of emulation. He even built a KB emulator I heard out of cheese puffs and Beer called CAPTAIN and is currently working on a three legged emulator called BARK.

(3) Windows IS A VIRUS. Once you except that things begin to make better since.

(4) AVG Free (For PC side). Not the best but better than nothing and does update definitions.

(5) A Mac Book Pro or iMac running Windows makes PC users very jealous and upset. Watch for CPU Envy as it will become apparent in any working environment.

(6) You can also create another partition and run a Linnux/Variant OS also (Like Ubuntu) and really make those PC users fret themselves silly.

(7) One drawback of “NATIVE BOOTING” is sharing files if you have a NTFS partition. Cheap Solution is a thumb drive that is formatted in FAT or create a small partition (4GB) that is formatted in FAT that is a “shared” drive between OSX and Windoze. Jaysen can explain that better than me.

(8) IE 7 is a well known virus.

(9) External HDs are really worth it now a days.

(10) If playing Games or using software that demands a LOT of PC performance NATIVE BOOTING = Better Performance than EMULATION BOOTING.

If you go with VMWare you don’t have to choose between Boot Camp and virtualisation, since VMWare allows you to ‘upgrade’ a Boot Camp partition so it works flawlessly as both - one partition, which you can boot natively into via Boot Camp, or load under OS X via Fusion.

VMWare does some tricky stuff with the VMWare tools drivers to make this work - specifically, it keeps Windows from deactivating when it sees different hardware (the real CPU, and the virtual CPU, depending on how you’re using the partition). However, the first time you do things, to set it up with the VMWare tools, Windows WILL deactivate.

So the order or installation should be:
[]Install Windows using the Boot Camp assistant. Boot into Windows to check it’s working.[/]
[]Do NOT activate Windows when it prompts you on installation. You’ll do it later [/]
[]Run VMWare Fusion and you’ll see your Boot Camp partition in the VM library. Launch it.[/]
[]Install VMWare tools. You’ll need to reboot the VM at least once doing this.[/]
[]Once the tools are installed, activate Windows.[/]


And that’s it - now you’ve got the best of both worlds. I have to have Windows on here for several work-related appliacations, so I’ve made the best of it by using my MacBook Pro as a pretty reasonable gaming machine. Virtualised for drudge work, Boot Camp for games. OS X for everything else. Best of all worlds :slight_smile: