Running Windows on your Mac
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I am the person who threatened my husband with divorce if he ever brought a PC into our home, which he reminds me every time I mention running Windows on my iMac. I have a good excuse though. I needed to run a banking program at work that would only run on Windows, so I convinced myself a new Intel Mac was the solution to my problem. Oh, yeah it sounds easy enough doesn’t it, but once the hardware arrives then there is the dilemma of which software to buy. And then comes the commitment to actually install and run it.
As a long time Mac user, the decision to install Windows on my new Intel based iMac was one of the scariest I’ve ever had to make. I used Dwight Silverman’s book Running Windows on your Mac to make the installation and set up, while not quite a breeze, (it is Windows after all), at least bearable.
This book is divided into three parts:
Part 1, Installing and Running Windows on the Mac
Part 2, Macintosh for Windows Users, and
Part 3, Windows for Macintosh Users
Dwight explains in the introduction of his book that “The first part of the book provides information for anyone who wants to run Windows on the Mac, while the last parts focus on specific user types.”
Part One contains eight chapters which explains the different Windows environments available for running on the Mac; Boot Camp, and the virtualization environments Parallels and VMware Fusion. Chapter One provides an overview of the three, with a chart of features of all three at the end for an easy comparison. I had already purchased Parallels and a copy of Windows XP before I received the book, and I was relieved after reading Chapter One of this book that I had chosen the very best environment for my particular need. Hardware requirements are also specified.
The remaining seven chapters of Part One detail each environment, including chapters on on advanced usage. I paid the most attention to the Parallels chapters, but in skimming through the Boot Camp and VMware Fusion sections I could see they are each contain the same attention to detail, including the always helpful tips that appear in the side margins. Using the Parallels chapters as a guide, I was up and comfortably running my WIndows environment on the Mac in a little less than two hours, which included tweaking my virtual machine.
Part Two consists of four chapters that introduce Macintosh basics to Windows users by explaining the similarities and differences between Windows and Mac. These chapters are titled Mac Basics, Inside System Preferences, Advanced Mac, and Mac Apps: An Overview. I skimmed these chapters as they did not really apply to my situation but from what I read, the writing is clear and concise, just as it is in Part One.
Part Three, Windows for Macintosh users consists of two chapters, WIndows Basics and Advanced Windows. As Dwight says in the introduction to Part Three, “Windows is similar enough to the Mac that the learning curve is not too steep.” And he’s right. He includes just enough information in these two chapters to help a newish Windows user feel comfortable with the hardware and the software. I especially appreciated the explanations about the difference between the keyboards and mice of the two operating systems.
I highly recommend this book for both beginning and intermediate computer users, especially those who need a clear explanation of the difference between Boot Camp and the virtualization environments, and those users who need advice on which will work best for their own application. Before you buy your software, make sure you buy this book. For the beginning or intermediate user, I recommend this book as 5 out of 5. This advanced computer user should compare the information in this book to those books with advanced technical information, so for the advanced user I recommend this book as 4 out of 5.
Dwight Silverman is a veteran journalist who has written about personal computers since the mid-1980’s. He is the computing columnist and technology blogger at the Houston Chronicle as well as the cohost of “Technology Bytes,” a weekly PC-help call-in show on KPFT FM. You can read his blog and columns at www.chron.com.