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Planning to buy an imac (from PC user); how well will PC pgrms. work?

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Showing 1-25 of 66 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 25, 2010 11:45:39 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 25, 2010 12:00:16 PM PST
Arline K. says:
I've been a PC user since early 80s. Have learned only what I had to learn and gotten by quite well w/o learning the "sophisticated stuff", until I get bog downs and/or viruses. Then the boys have to come and get me out of trouble. I use ACDC Pro 2 for photos mgm't and manip. Have about 4 GB of pics. Use Word and several other pgrms. I'm out of HD space (only 32 GB!!!) and need to upgrade. My sons, PC users primarily, are really suggesting my buying an iMac (Apple iMac MB950LL/A) due to less probs., etc. One of them does use an Apple laptop - both very comp. literate but live an hour & a half away and not "real" easy to come and help me. They did say they would set me all up with the transfer, etc. I seem to be in agreement about goint to the Mac since checking around. I've been told I CAN still use my PC pgrms. if I want. Just prior to this decision, I bought the WD Elements 1.5 TB hard drive, sitting on my desk. Questions: just how "easy" would it be to bounce bet. the iMac pgrms. and over to my Windows-based prgrms. when I want to? *CAN* I easily keep both my entire 32 GB contents on the new HD AND keep my iMac stuff on there too (for backup) without probs? Clearly, I'm not that knowledgeable but willing to learn the new system to once again manage all the avg. things I've done over the years. I'm "grandma" age almost; pls. keep ans. somewhat simple but I WILL copy and paste your answers for my sons to learn what needs to be done to achieve what I'm hoping for above. Thank you!! ... I'm sure I'll be b-a-a-c-c-c-k-k-k with other questions once getting the comp.


Posted on Feb 25, 2010 6:38:00 PM PST
Teenreader says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Feb 25, 2010 7:10:53 PM PST
inkslinger says:
You can install a program called Parallels on your Mac then install Windows which will allow you to run a dual operating system and switch back and forth between Mac and Windows programs easily. Parallels is fairly inexpensive and you can get it from Amazon. You would just need a version of Windows to install. It is pretty easy setup.

Posted on Feb 25, 2010 8:03:40 PM PST
stlouisbrad says:
Set aside money for Parallels Desktop for OS X. I could describe the program, but I suggest searching for Parallels Desktop 5 in Google. You will see how you can have Windows software literally running side by side with Apple OS X software. You can also run Windows in full screen mode. Your iMac will be powerful enough to run the Apple operating system (OS X) and launch Parallels Desktop from within OS X. You will need a Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7, etc. installation disc and key. I will bet you will abandon your PC after using your mac for a few months. There is also a very friendly version of Microsoft Office designed for Apple OS X computers for under $100. It works great and the files can be interchanged with all but the very latest Office for Windows (and they might have fixed that..).

I suggest your family member use the built in "Screen Sharing" software included with Apple OS X. They can, with your permission, connect to your computer from 100 or 1000 miles away and "drive" your mouse -- installing this or that, fixing things, etc.. I take care of my 77 year old Dad's Apple from 250 miles away all the time.

Oh.. and DO NOT waste your money on a anti-virus for your Mac OS X. You won't need it. You might want it for your Windows running under Parallels Desktop.

Good luck. You might want to consider the Mac Mini. It doesn't have a monitor (saving $300 or so) and will let you plug in your old keyboard and monitor, and easily switch back to your PC.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 26, 2010 7:59:21 AM PST
Greg Weber says:
Obviously, Teenreader does not use a Mac or is even familiar with them. All new Macs are capable of running PC programs through Parallels, which makes a Mac the perfect computer for EVERYONE! After using it a month or so, you will find out that you won't want to use the PC side much and you will enjoy using your Mac for its ease of use and user-friendly features. I have been using Macs and PCs for over 20 years and have found the Mac to be much more stable and easy to use - less maintenance with configuring hardware, warding off viruses and the like. Good luck.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 26, 2010 8:40:53 AM PST
Kort says:
I agree with everyone here (with the exception of Teenreader). All you need is one of the Windows emulations packages (VMfusion, Parallels, Virtualbox...) or if you don't mind rebooting to use Windows software, just use BootCamp that comes with OSX. Then you just need to install Windows and the programs you want to use. Things should be plenty fast on that model iMac.


Posted on Feb 26, 2010 3:31:03 PM PST
Arline K. says:
Thank you all so much! May I continue with other questions? So, is the VMfusion or Parallels the better of the two? When I spent a cpl. hours at the Apple Store yesterday, the assoc. told me that if I keep Windows & it's pgrms. on my Apple hard drive, I'm - in essence - still at "risk" for getting viruses, etc. He suggested it would be best to keep it on my external HD for safety, otherwise I'm defeating one of the benefits of having an Apple. Here's one of my concerns: Say I want to look back at my emails rec'd prior to transfering over to Apple for something. I'm using Thunderbird (Mozilla) right now. Does that mean that if it's on the iMac, it only takes a few seconds to "switch" over & scan those previous emails? Does it also mean I need to load the Thunderbird pgrm. onto the Apple, too, in order to read them or just the in/out box? IF it IS better to keep all Windows-based stuff on the ext. H.D., how long does it take (and how "easy") to go from the Apple OS to the ext. H.D.? Is it complicated and fussy to find my stuff on the ext. H.D.? And, lastly, what pgrm. is BEST for my sons to use to trans. over all my Windows stuff if it's onto the ext. H.D. and not the Apple drive? Thanks again.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 26, 2010 5:55:56 PM PST
Here's a protip about computer store salespeople: They are going to tell you what serves them best. Ignore them and do your own research.

If you boot into Windows, you're at risk for Windows viruses no matter where the data and programs are kept. There's no magic disinfect properties about an external hard drive, unless it's not ever connected to the machine. Depending on how the BIOS works in your particular machine, it may or may not boot properly off an external hard drive, and Windows may not work properly on an external hard drive, especially if it's seen as Removable.

Once you switch over, there's really no need to keep the PC anymore. Don't bother installing Windows, you won't miss it. If you really feel you need it, just partition off your drive and install it on the main hard drive in the iMac. If you're taking the computer salesperson to heart, just pick up one of those $329 PC laptop deals you see every once in a while to run Windows programs.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 28, 2010 5:08:12 PM PST
K. Stenlund says:
I have to add some comment here, first of all, yes it is a higher risk to get infected with virus on windows but all your data that would be on the mac side will use HFS+ filesystem and by that, not accessible via windows.

Of course you can choose to dual boot(i.e bootcamp) or virtualize windows. I use Vmware but I think parallels may be faster. so ignore that sales rep. get a mac, install teamviever (great remote program for free so you children can help you).

Try to limit the usage of pc, move all your old pictures, documents, movies etc. to the new mac. Save the old hard drive in some good place after migration(you get a copy of your old pc if you want in the virtualization)

Use the external drive for backup(time machine) and extra storage so you partion it before you start using it. Regarding the email i would export it from the old Thunderbird mail client and import it to mac mail and then start using that as email client.

iMac is a great machine, recommend warmly.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 28, 2010 8:19:32 PM PST
I'm not a tech so take my advice with a grain of salt, but I switched from PC to Mac and regretted it. I am now back to PC and i'm loving my Windows 7 system. I use Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Word all the time and just enjoy the experience better on the PC. My IM service--Windows Live--is also better on the PC than the Mac. Again this is just my personal two cents and most of these programs are Microsoft anyway so its to be expected they'd work better on a PC, but I went to Mac and quickly returned to PC.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2010 7:21:17 AM PST
Kort says:
It just goes to show how subjective this can be. I personally don't like working with Photoshop on a Windows computer! ;)

I switch back and forth from my Mac desktop to a Windows laptop, and my biggest issue is the keyboard shortcuts being different. Mixes me up every time.

Thunderbird works great on the Mac too, keep using it if you are comfortable. Hook up you external drive and it will be like any other hard drive -- not hard or complicated at all.
I don't know of a Windows program to transfer your files to the external drive. You should just be able to copy what you need. Another thought would be to just pull the HD out of your old PC and put it in an external enclosure.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 8, 2010 10:08:03 PM PST
Larry C206 says:
My situation was similar to yours. On a PC since late 80's.. This year, I bought a Mac Mini (keeping my monitor, keyboard, mouse, and printer).
This thing is tiny! 6" square and 2" high (or close to that). But I was advised the PC programs would not work on the Mac. Then I was told about "Virtual Machines" -- Look up VMware with your Google. The VMware folks have made it possible to do Windows programs on the Mac. It even brings the Windows Operating System into the Mac.

I did keep two hard drives from the PC, which hold ALL of my programs and data. My grandson took VMware software, and with some very elegant maneuvering, made a "Virtual Machine" out of those two hard drives (now each in an external enclosure). In my case, I move from "the Mac" to the "Virtual Machine"-- I've heard some folks can have both video displays on the same monitor at the same time, but I haven't done it, nor have I seen it.


Posted on Mar 10, 2010 9:23:01 AM PST
Well myself , being a PC person indept for 15 years certified tech through comptia, i switched jobs 2 years ago to Apple, i was will say a apple hater, and only Pc. With those thoughts, my first attempts in using a Apple, was bad i was lost, frustrated but with any new operating system. Learning it was not easy, but now almost 3 years in and certified for Apple technician, and have my ACSA for Apple. I never looked at PC again, i dont even own one now.

Firstly ,yes when loading windows on to your Mac, you open up the world of viruses, trojans so on, that is something we deal with while running Windows, you will have to put a virus scanner on the windows side. Upon doing alot of deployments for Schools, my new favorite tool is Deployment Studio. You can clone your windows disk, then rebroadcast it over to your Mac. Or, as most said Parralles for Mac is great tool. Boot camp is wonderful, if you want to log out and in each time. Personally, photo shop is good, always was the industry standard, now with aperture 3 , and final cut, and so many more nicer programs for the Mac , you wont want the hassle of windows updates screwing up your machine.

Also you can as someone suggested throw your old hard drive into a external case and use it that way, i would suggest a external case with Firewire ports, for faster transfering. Or atleast a USB 2.0, Windows 7 glorified windows Vista with different Icons, and have found when running Deployments of over 500 units at a time, there is plenty of bugs yet to solve in it.

With any new thing , there is a learning time, just like when windows switched to Vista, the whole world moaned , but eventually they all got used to it and learned it. So expect a little time to learn how the mac works and operates, and you will love the ease the power of it, compared to the Pc.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 11, 2010 12:06:26 AM PST
Derf says:
This is where you don't know the Mac. There are three emulation platforms to choose from to run Windows on a Mac. BootCamp, Parallels and VMFusion. With any one of these loaded on the Mac, any Windows systems from 98 up will run, then load any of the Windows programs needed straight into Windows on the Mac. AND, as a matter of fact Windows run better and faster on a Mac than it does on a PC. So do windows programs....

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 11, 2010 6:44:32 AM PST
Kort says:
Don't forget about VirtualBox. That makes four...

Posted on Mar 12, 2010 1:07:42 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 12, 2010 1:09:06 PM PST
I use both Parallels 4 and Fusion 2+3. There is something in Fusion 3 that I never noticed before. In the FILE menu, there is an option to 'Migrate Your PC...'. The rest of this assumes that you can you have the Windows and the Mac on your network at the same time. You download a piece of free software from VMWare ( ) to your Windows computer and install it. Once installed it generates a 4-digit code. You punch in that code to Fusion and about 6-8 hours later, that same computer is running 'inside' your Mac. Including most of the programs on that computer! There may be a couple of hiccups (may be some issues with Microsoft copy authentication), but for the most part it works. Nothing is removed from the Windows machine. I really works well. I had a 6 year old XP Pro machine that I tested it with. Even Office 2003 programs worked, though the VM version wanted to authenticate Office 2003 again.

I tested it with Windows 7, but that had some problems with authentication.

Supposedly Parallel's 5 has this feature too.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 13, 2010 5:52:50 PM PST
Greg says:
Preposterous! There are so many ways, Parallels, VirtualBox, Boot Camp... And they are all at no cost.

Keeping your data is as easy as just copying it over. But back to the programs, I think you'll find yourself quickly replacing what you used on Windows with much better software designed native for Mac OS as you experience it.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 19, 2010 7:55:39 AM PDT
Arline K: I was in exactly the same boat as you in January. I got fed up with the Trojans and Viruses, plus having to fix Windows on a regular basis. I got a 27" iMac i7 then and haven't looked back.

I run Parallels and have had no problems running Office2003, Quicken, and games.

No more Trojans and Viruses (on the Mac side, anyway).

The iMac software runs well and the iMac runs so smoothly, comparing a PC to a Mac is like comparing DOS to Windows.

I use the included Safari browser and Internet access is so much faster and better, there is no comparison.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 19, 2010 8:07:24 AM PDT
NRA4Life says:

I don't know if you're still investigating but I recently made the move myself. I chose VM Fusion 3 as a bridging software between the Mac and PC partition I created on the Mac's hard drive to run Windows 7. (I had seen too many postings saying there was NO tech support from Parallels.) I have run both off the same monitor at the same time without any problems. Just remember to put the Mac OS disc back in while it is running Windows after installing it. There are some files that need to be over-written. The apple techs will explain how to switch the system back to booting up from the Mac side. Remember when setting up the partition to account for moving your pictures to the Mac side. iPhoto is simple to use and the '09 version has some nice features.

As for your emails...Type O2M by Little Machines into and download the program for $10 onto your PC side. They'll send you an activation code within a day. Type that in after starting the program and it will let you convert your entire Outlook data into a Mac friendly format. Then with both running on the same screen, you can drag and drop it onto the Mac side. Import the file folders into iCal, iMail, etc. and you're done. Everything is there for you to refer back to: emails, contacts, appointments, etc.

iPhoto is easy to use. The '09 version has facial recognition and an easy naming feature which allows you to quickly label people in the photos. You can also choose a name and quickly choose from a list of photos if the person is the one or not. There is also a pretty good one touch enhancement button and the ability to tweak it further if you want.

Get iWork '09 and you can convert your Pages documents into Word .docx or Adobe .pdf formats if you need to send them to a PC.

Get the Mac, VM Fusion, O2M, iWork '09, and don't worry. I'm still learning all the ins and outs but you'll pick it up quickly for the basics.


In reply to an earlier post on Apr 19, 2010 9:14:06 AM PDT
Kort says:
Good feedback D. Thanks for sharing.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 19, 2010 3:53:54 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 19, 2010 3:56:09 PM PDT
rommyc says:
When people say "my programs," they should specify. Are they using the computer just to get onto the internet, or to do word processing or spreadsheets, or some bizarre proprietary program written in FORTRAN eons ago? Because iWorks has all the imitation MS programs the average person needs, and Safari is esentially the same thing as IE. Do you use Picaca? Then you know what iPhoto is like. Etc. etc. etc. If you're using Google Docs, then your stuff is on the cloud and it doesn't matter what kind of box you own.

Go to a goodsized bookstore and look for the several books written about switching to a Mac. You'll need them by your side for about 2 weeks, then you're good to go. I have a Mac Mini next to my wife's lappie running Windows 7 and guess what - they're just not all that different. MS has stol ... I mean copie... I mean emulated most of the Mac features so it's not even close to the chalk-and-cheese situation it was just a few years ago.

My feeling is, don't bother running Windows on a Mac (you have to buy the program, BTW which ain't cheap). Either use a Mac as a Mac because that's what you want/need, or get a Windows 7 box.

Posted on Apr 19, 2010 7:39:32 PM PDT
Jaygyver says:
Some more info, (just a real generalization here)

You boot into Windows OR Mac, runs slightly faster for higher end, high intensity applications.

Emulation programs, Parallels,VMWare, etc:
You run the emulation program in Mac OS then you run Windows and then the pc application will run in the Mac OS. Slightly slower depending on how powerful the program is. It's great if you need to use a pc application real quick and you don't want to reboot into Windows every time.

There is a huge amount of info either on Apples web site ( and in their forums or other sites on the web on how to "Migrate" over to the Mac.
I know a few friends that kept their PC applications until it was time to Upgrade then just bought a Mac version instead and a few of them said they got a "small" discount for having the PC version.
Don't forget if you or a relative is a student or teacher they can get you get an "education" discount. You give them the money to buy it for you ;). Not much but could be enough to buy the Mac version of an application.
If you get files and attachments for your work with your e-mails or get files from co-workers then you will probably need virus protection. If not then there are Mac versions of most e-mail applications. Just stay on the Mac when getting e-mail or the web? The biggest thing is you don't need virus protection right now for the Mac so if you can stay off the PC side of e-mail then you shouldn't really need any. The Mac will hold the infected file until you use the PC is the only thing.

Posted on Apr 22, 2010 4:56:17 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Apr 22, 2010 5:00:33 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 22, 2010 4:59:17 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 22, 2010 5:00:18 AM PDT
Are you serious telling people not to use anti-virus software? I run up to 500 linux systems which are even more resistant that the Mac and we always run antivirus. I know that attacks are not as frequent as PC's but they are on the increase. Don't believe that Urban myth that only PC's get viruses.

Posted on May 14, 2010 4:52:32 PM PDT
Spam Fritter says:
Any Mac user (and I am one, twenty two years on from my first) who maintains that virus protection is unnecessary is wrong. I know there isn't much out there that will infect and damage a Mac's OS, but a Mac can still be a carrier. I am currently battling the effects of a Microsoft Office macro virus which has infected more than a few computers on a large network, and while the only effect it has on the Macs is a "Do you want to enable/disable macro" type message, just let any of our users attempt to share a file with a protected Windows user. They cannot. And if they share an infected file with a daft-enough-to-be-unprotected PC user, well that's just too bad for the knuckle head who didn't buy Norton or download free AVG or whatever. No it's not. You have a cold, you sneeze, you don't use a hankie, you spread your germs... You use a hankie for goodness sake. The same applies to Macs and virus protection. You have a duty to keep your germs to yourself.
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