I never thought I would say it but here it goes. Hi my name is Scott Swedorski and I am a Mac user. There I said it. As most of you know I am the founder of Tucows.com. Everything I reviewed was based on Windows. If someone asked me “Where is the Mac software?” I would chuckle, "Who uses a Mac!" After 10+ years of being a die hard windows user, I have converted to an iMac.
Well after my last hardware failure I decided enough was enough, so I purchased a Mac to see if they were as good as people claim. I have been reading a lot of articles lately about the new Intel iMac that they could run Windows using a new application from Parallels. This basically would give me the stability of the Mac that I wanted but also the ability to use Windows if I needed to. In just a few simple steps you can have Windows running on your system and honestly it runs faster than on my PC. Parallels runs inside of the Apple OS, so unlike Bootcamp, you don’t have to reboot. Just load Parallels and select the operating system you want and that’s it. As Windows loads you can have it run in a window or you can run them in full screen mode.
Parallels is also a tech support’s dream. The great thing on how Parallels works is you can have as many installations of windows as you like. As you install each operating system you specify how much disk space the install will use and then it creates two files that store all information for the windows operating system in those two files. The Windows Operating system shares all the drivers from your Mac OS, so your sound, network, CD-ROM and USB devices all work in Windows. You can then burn those files to DVD or copy them to another location. If later your windows system breaks down, you can just restore those two files and you are back up and running. This is perfect if you have a customer with problems using a specific operating system, you can just load the appropriate version and test it out.
Right now I have MS-DOS, Windows 3.11, Microsoft Bob, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows XP SP1, Windows XP SP2, Media Center 2003 and Vista. Your only limitation is the memory on your iMac. Each time you load a copy of Windows it sets aside a specific amount of memory that you can specify and change any time, and can only be used for that. The more you load, the less memory you have. Typically this is not really a big issue; just don't have every version of Windows running at the same time ;) Parallels also allows you to load other Operating systems like BeOS, OS/2 and Linux.
At CoffeeCup we use this for our tech support department. All we had to do was install the operating systems on one, configure it with everything and then copy those files to our network drive. Each support person then just copies the files to their system and opens them in Parallels and they are up and running. No configuration, setup or anything. 100% ready to go. We are part of the MSDN, so we are properly licensed.
Now that I have Windows running separately I decided to see what else can I do on my new iMac. Under Windows I have a few things that I need it to do. I primarily use it for these functions.
To do the above on Windows I had about $200.00 in software I had to purchase over the years and they were not all that reliable. I would have to fight with them all the time. I found great replacements and all of these are free or just a small donation is required.
It has been about 30 days now and honestly I have not had to boot Parallels up once. Everything I need to do can be easily done inside of the Mac OS. However having the option only one click away is great.
So with that.. “My name is Scott and I AM a Mac User!” ;)