Mac Users:Remembering Windows

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What About My Windows Applications?

People who consider switching from the PC to the Mac are often concerned about losing access to their favorite, or most important, applications. In this page, I want to briefly describe a range of options that are available to you.

Use the same software on the Mac

A lot of software, especially Microsoft Software, is available in a Mac version. For example, Office, IE and even Windows Media Player are all available in Mac versions. Files created in Mac Office are compatible with PC versions of Office, and vice versa.

Use functionally equivalent, but different software on the Mac

Instead of using the same application on the Mac, you could look at getting the same job done using native Mac software. For example, the Mac browser (Safari), mailer (Mail), and media player (iTunes) do their jobs quite well.

Run the software you need remotely via RDC

RDC is the remote desktop client for the Mac. If there is a PC somewhere in your midst that runs the application you need, this is a good solution. See here for more information on RDC.

Run the software you need inside a PC emulator

I highly recommend that you get a copy of Virtual PC for the Mac (now available from Microsoft). Rumor has it that this will soon be included free of charge as part of our standard academic distribution from Microsoft. Virtual PC for Mac creates a full fledged PC environment in which you can run any PC operating system, including Linux, Windows XP, and Windows 98. I keep my machine configured with each of these virtual machines installed. Under Windows XP and Windows 98, I've installed Office, Outlook, and a writer for a USB Audio Device ( which allows me access to those few PC applications that only work "properly 100% of the time" on the PC. My Linux installation is there primarily to test things against both Mac OS X and Linux. In general, on my 1GHz Titanium G4, software on the emulator runs at about the speed it would run native on a 500Mhz PC. It's a little cranky at times, but certainly usable. When possible, I use Windows 98 rather than XP since it provides a much lighter version of the Windows API and hence tends to run applications and the UI a bit faster.