Written: September 26, 2016

Parallels version 12

Running Windows 10 on a Mac

In my web development business I have a need to use both Mac and Windows operating systems for browsing web sites, so one way to do that is by using a MacBook Pro with a version of Windows running virtually. What does virtual mean? Even though my hardware is a Mac, there’s a software company called Parallels that offers a product to let you install and use Windows on your Mac, although it won’t be running at full speed like on a dedicated PC. For web browsing this virtual solution is just fine for me, plus I get to continue using the Quicken software for my business accounting.

As Windows keeps upgrading versions and also Mac, I eventually have to upgrade my version of the Parallels software, so today I upgraded to version 12 of Parallels:

Parallels 12

The upgrade process was pretty straight forward and I could download and start installing the software right away:

Install Parallels 12

To keep me honest the install process has an activation code that is unique to my computer, so I don’t go around sharing commercial software:

Activate Parallels 12

Invoking Parallels version 12 there is one last app to install, Parallels Tools:

Parallels Tools

There you have it, Parallels 12 is all updated and I can use the latest version to run Windows 10 on my Mac:

Windows 10 on a Mac

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Parallels 9

Windows 8 on a Mac

A few years ago I started using Windows 7 on my Mac with software called Parallels. This allowed my to run Internet Explorer and Quicken in Windows, on my MacBook Pro laptop, something very convenient because I didn’t want two separate computers in my office – one for Windows and one for Mac.

All went well until last week, when all of a sudden I was getting no audio on the Windows side, only the Mac side. Since I had just upgraded to Parallels Desktop for Mac version 9, I was entitled to 30 days of support. My first support phone call lasted 90 minutes and they couldn’t fix the audio issue. This morning I received a follow-up email from the folks at Parallels and they said that I should just upgrade to the latest version of Desktop 9 for Mac. Thankfully, this latest version 9.0.24172 fixed the audio bug and I can now listen to audio again.

Parallels 9

The hallmark of a successful company is to keep the customer happy and fix whatever is broken. Parallels did that for me.

An alternative to using Parallels is virtualization software called vmware. I chose Parallels over vmware because it looked easier to use and install.

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Windows 8, My First Impressions

Today I read an article about Nokia, the one-time world leader in cellphones and how they are now rated as “Junk” by the financial world, and it got me interested in Microsoft because their OS runs on the newer Nokia phones. Apple has two operating systems iOS for mobile devices and Mac OS X for laptop and desktop, while Microsoft has merged their mobile (Metro) and desktop OS (Windows) into the upcoming Windows 8.

My first step was to double check that I could run Windows 8 Beta on my MacBook Pro using the Parallels virtualization software. Yes, according to Parallels this can be done.

From Parallels I went to my Virtual Machines list, then clicked the + button to add a new virtual machine, then clicked the Windows 8 choice in the lower-right corner. The 3.3GB download said about 4 hours of waiting. At the end of the download was a lengthy “Validating” phase, followed by “Your download is corrupt, try again.”

My second download ended in exactly the same state as first, failure.

Since the Parallels auto-install wasn’t working I just looked in my download directory, located the 3.3GB file, renamed it windows8.iso, then asked Parallels to install from an ISO file. Installation was straight forward after that. A bit of Microsoft humor shows up in the install because this is a Beta release they used a beta fish icon:

While waiting for the Windows 8 install to complete there’s an animated swirl of five stars to mesmerize you into a hypnotic state and forget about time passing.

The background color scheme can be selected among a dozen earthy choices:

The opening Metro screen uses tiles instead of icons, and you can make them wider, narrower, re-arrange, or un-pin them.

Microsoft has you login with your LiveID, so that it can remember your preferences in the cloud:

You can customize the lock screen with some beautiful photography included:

With the Parallels software on my MacBook Pro I now have many Operating System choices including Windows 8:

Just like Windows 7 you will find that Microsoft has many updates it wants to install, and with Windows 8 Beta I get failures to update for an HP Laserjet printer (never been attached, so unsure why it thinks that I need it at all):

Start Screen

As you setup accounts in Windows 8 the Metro UI becomes more personalized to your tastes and habits:

I setup accounts for:

SkyDrive

I downloaded the SkyDrive app for Mac then added photos from a weekend trip, and my profile photo:

I found that the background color is constantly changing in Metro. The first time you visit the background is a style pattern and solid color, then in SkyDrive the background is white, but when looking at Photos on SkyDrive the background changes to black. Thank you Microsoft for the very liberal free storage capacity of 25GB for me, that is just wonderful.

Apps

In Metro you will notice that Apps need to be updated with a number inside of a circle, clicking Store shows you:

Once you’re in an App and using a Mouse/Keyboard it’s not real intuitive how to get back to Metro, so after a Google search I discovered that I had to move my mouse to the far right side and select Start:

Once in the App called Store you can scroll horizontally to the right to see lots of App categories and suggestions. I added the free Kindle App and it looked just like what I use on the PC or Mac:

Windows 8 adds every App and Program on your computer to the Metro start page, so it’s a hassle when I downloaded the Kindle App because it gets added to the farthest right of the screen, causing my to scroll about 8 pages to even find it. I would prefer that new Apps are pinned to the Start screen on the far left with now scrolling, not the far right. On the Android when I add a new App it gets added alphabetically, while on iOS new Apps get added to the farthest right screen (still don’t like it, too much scrolling).

Desktop

From the Start screen you click Desktop and see something that looks just like the Windows 7 desktop.

The marketing folks at Microsoft want you to believe that Metro and Windows are now merged however I don’t drink that Kool-Aide because clearly these are two totally separate Operating Systems glued together, there is simply nothing merged about it. You are either working with the Metro UI or the old familiar Windows 7 UI. Honestly I am underwhelmed, but have no choice but to learn and use Windows 8 because my clients will be using it.

Microsoft documentation tells me to click the Windows button on my keyboard to switch back to Metro from the Desktop or App, however on my MacBook Pro the equivalent key is the right-hand Command button.

Finance App

Yes, the Microsoft folks went a little crazy for this App and provided maximum eye candy, charts, numbers, facts and figures:

[nggallery id=8]

Conclusions

Microsoft will certainly continue to extract their OS upgrade tax moving Windows 7 users into Windows 8. I’ve really just scratched the surface of what Windows 8 will do however I can say that this OS does have a learning curve, works OK with a mouse, and the Metro UI should work OK as a touch-based UI. Windows 8 works fast enough for me as a virtual OS under Parallels on a MacBook Pro, at least as fast as Windows 7 did.

Will your life forever be changed for the good after buying and using Windows 8? Uh, no.

Download Windows 8 Consumer Preview here, I would recommend on a PC to add a new partition and keep it separate from Windows 7, on a Mac get Parallels which will keep it separate from your other OSes.

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Windows 7 on a Mac

I’ve been using software from Parallels to let me run Windows 7 on my MacBook Pro for almost one year now. All has been well until I noticed that my C: drive was getting full.

My first response was to use Google and find out how to increase my C: drive disk space. The first page of search results suggested that I use an App called Image Tool, however I had no such App and started getting upset about not finding it. Finally in a forum the suggest was to Read The Fine Manual (RTFM).

Tough for a guy to do, so once I read the PDF manual I found the gem that I needed:

I’m now a happy camper with more disk space on C:.

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