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Take Control of Running Windows on a Mac, Fifth Edition
Essential advice for running Windows on your Mac!
Using an Intel-based Mac means you can choose the best of both worlds—running Mac OS X or running Windows—but what's the optimal way way to go about it? Cross-platform expert Joe Kissell has distilled untold hours of testing into this ebook to help you understand the pros and cons of Apple's Boot Camp versus virtualization software and to give advice and step-by-step instructions for installing and using Windows 7, Vista, or XP in Boot Camp, Parallels Desktop 6, VMware Fusion 3, and VirtualBox 4.
You'll also learn how to make Windows run smoothly on your Mac, with practical advice on how to integrate Windows windows with the Finder, share files between Windows and Mac OS X, run anti-malware software, print from Windows, and back up Windows data.
This ebook is dated. This ebook describes how to run Windows on a Mac with 10.5 Leopard or 10.6 Snow Leopard. Conceptually, much of this ebook will remain accurate from the perspective of working within Leopard or Snow Leopard with older versions of Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion, but we are no longer keeping this title up-to-date. Some of its information may become obsolete as time goes on.
If you're a VMware Fusion 3 user, check out Take Control of VMware Fusion 3 (free)
You'll find answers to questions like:
I really enjoyed "Take Control of Running Windows on a Mac." It was very informative, easy to read, and not too complicated. —Brian Henson
iPad & Kindle
About the Author
Joe Kissell has written numerous books about the Macintosh, including many popular Take Control ebooks. He's also Senior Editor of TidBITS and a Senior Contributor to Macworld, and previously spent ten years in the Mac software industry.
Table of Contents
Read Me First
Apple's Intel-based Macs offer several excellent options for running Windows alongside, or even instead of, Mac OS X. This guide covers Apple's dual-boot software, Boot Camp, as well as third-party virtualization software (such as Parallels Desktop and VMware Fusion) and solutions for running Windows applications without Windows itself. This book was written by Joe Kissell, edited by Caroline Rose, and published by TidBITS Publishing Inc.
Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m a Mac fan through and through. As I type this, I can see six Macs within a radius of ten feet in my home office. I’ve written oodles of articles, books, and ebooks about Mac software, and for the past dozen years or so most of my income has resulted, in one way or another, from my work with Macs. If I had a nickel for every time someone referred to me as “the Mac guy,” I could retire today.
And yet, although I’ve always been candid about my preference for Macs, I’m well versed in Windows, too; for years, I was deeply involved in developing and testing software for both platforms. Whether it’s performing an exorcism on someone’s virus-infected PC or walking a friend through a fiddly troubleshooting procedure over the phone, I know my stuff. Partly because I understand Windows so well, I’d always opt for a Mac if given the choice. But, like it or not, some things I want to do with my computer still require Windows. Even when working on something platform-neutral, such as a Web site, I want to be sure things look and work correctly on Windows.
In the days before Intel-based Macs, on occasions when I needed Windows I tried everything from running Virtual PC to visiting a library or cybercafé—everything, in other words, short of buying a Windows PC. That was the one step I hoped never to take, but other solutions were frequently awkward, slow, or otherwise annoying. Now, however, I can get the Mac OS X environment I love plus a fast, fully featured Windows installation, all in one box. I can even share files and network connections seamlessly between operating systems.
Achieving this state of computing bliss did require overcoming some time-consuming hurdles, however. For example, I had to figure out the pros and cons to using Apple’s Boot Camp software versus third-party products such as Parallels Desktop and VMware Fusion (and, eventually, how I could use both approaches with the same installation of Windows). Before support for Windows 7 and Vista appeared, I had to find a way to create a Windows XP CD that had Service Pack 2 already integrated, even though my boxed copy of Windows XP was manufactured before SP2 existed. And I had to make educated guesses about numerous configuration options that were documented poorly (or not at all).
Having wrestled with these issues and more, I’d like to save you that effort and offer you a set of easy-to-follow instructions. In this book, I tell you everything you need to know about your options for running Windows on a Mac, how to get around common annoyances, and what you should do to protect yourself from the big, bad world of Windows malware.
One thing I spend very little time on here is how to use Windows itself; I assume a basic familiarity with such features as the Start menu and Windows Explorer. If you’ve never used Windows before, you’re bound to be somewhat disoriented, and in that case I recommend picking up one of the books listed in the Learn More chapter.
When I wrote the first version of this book, Intel Macs had been shipping for just a few months. Apple’s Boot Camp software was in beta testing at version 1.0, and Parallels Desktop had only recently reached its final 1.0 release stage. Since then, Boot Camp has matured tremendously and is included as part of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard and later, Parallels Desktop and VMware Fusion have both undergone enormous improvements, and an open-source virtualization environment called VirtualBox has appeared. CodeWeavers has been selling CrossOver Mac, which enables some Windows programs to run without Windows itself. And, after Windows Vista received a less than stellar response, Microsoft righted many of its wrongs with Windows 7.
In this edition, I assume that you’re running Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard or later, since that’s the minimum configuration that supports Boot Camp. Although much of the information I provide about virtualization software also applies to 10.4 Tiger, only Leopard and later versions offer the full range of options for running Windows on a Mac.
The Windows-on-Mac situation will likely remain in a state of flux for the foreseeable future. As the facts change, I’ll update this book with the latest information. You can stay on top of recent developments by clicking Check for Updates on the cover (or see Ebook Extras, near the end of the ebook).
You need not read this book straight through; most people will pick one method for running Windows and read only the relevant chapters. But be sure not to skip Decide How to Run Windows, which provides important background information.
This new edition is a major revision that incorporates the latest information about running Windows on a Mac as of February 2011. The most significant changes are:
This new edition is a major revision that incorporates the latest infor- mation about running Windows on a Mac as of January 2010. The most significant changes are:
The coupon is on the last page.
The book was last updated in March 2011. It covers Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7, along with Parallels Desktop 6 and VMware Fusion 3.
The ebook assumes that you’re running Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard or later, since that’s the minimum configuration that supports Boot Camp. Although much of the discussion in the ebook about virtualization software also applies to Tiger, only Snow Leopard and Leopard offer the full range of options for running Windows on a Mac.
There are lots of great ways to read our ebooks on these devices. For more details, please read our latest Device Advice.
Feel free to ask us if you have a question about this title!
How could we not publish such kind words? If you'd like to send us your comments (good or bad, though we hope they're all good), just click the Feedback link on the cover of your copy of the ebook. Be sure to let us know if we can publish your comment. Thanks!
January 2012 -- For a long time, "Take Control of Running Windows on a Mac" was extremely popular, likely because many Mac users had important questions about how to best run Windows on their Macs. More recently, however, it seems that people who want to run Windows on their Macs have figured out what to do. And, the software needed to get Windows running has improved, so it's easier to set up and easier to understand how to configure it optimally. Thus, this ebook is no longer as essential as it once was. Although we might create a new edition at some future point, at this time, we've decided to focus our energy on other topics. Thanks to everyone who bought the ebook, and to those who sent us helpful comments about their experiences along the way!
—Tonya J Engst
September 19, 2011 --
Parallels has recently released a major new version of Parallels Desktop (version 7), and VMware has countered with its own major upgrade of Fusion (version 4). Meanwhile, the free VirtualBox has also made a great deal of progress recently. I give an overview of how the latest versions of these virtualization programs stack up against each other in Mac Virtualization Update: VMware, Parallels, and VirtualBox (TidBITS, 19 September 2011). Short version: They've all gotten so good that your choice matters less now than it ever has; except for a few edge cases, almost anyone should be content with either Parallels or Fusion, and anyone on a budget owes it to themselves to check out VirtualBox.
February 12, 2009 --
Wondering what author Joe Kissell is like in real life? Joe gave 11 presentations at Macworld Expo last month, so some of you surely met him in person then, but if you didn't, or for whatever reason, you can see him now on MacVoicesTV. Chuck Joiner from MacVoices caught up with Joe at Macworld Expo. You can watch (or listen) to their conversation, and learn about the types of Windows users that Joe encountered at the Expo. You can also learn Joe's age, and what hardware caught his eye at the Expo.
—Tonya J Engst
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