Science & Tech
Bridging the gap between Mac and Windows with Parallels
If you’re a longtime Windows user, despite what everyone says, making the transition to a Mac can be difficult. Now, you’re thinking, that’s contrary to what everyone says about MacOS being easier to use and less complicated than Windows. While MacOS is easier to use, the learning curve for going beyond the dock and Apple menu is slightly steeper than we like to admit. Fortunately, Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac helps make your transition to Lion as effortless as possible.
The biggest issue most Windows users face is software. If you’ve owned a Windows PC your entire life, you’ve collected a plethora of applications you rely on for everyday tasks, such as Microsoft Access and Visio. Even if you own Photoshop or other software that has a Mac version, you only have a license for the Windows version. Rather than repurchasing the software for it to work on a Mac, Parallels Desktop lets you install Windows programs onto your Mac.
The other quintessential task Windows users face is moving all of their data to their new Mac. Parallels Desktop allows users to transfer their old data and software to their new Mac. The program creates a full “image” of their PC so they can access their Windows desktop and applications from their Mac. Moreover, the data stored on the image is accessible within MacOS X so all of their documents, pictures and music are integrated into the system.
Running Windows Programs on a Mac
Within the Parallels environment, users can choose to run their old Windows desktop as a standalone window or integrate their data with MacOS. Within the integrated setup, you can launch Windows programs from you dock. Switching between Mac and Windows apps is facilitated through MacOS by pressing the Command and Tab buttons simultaneously. This environment is referred to as “Crystal” mode within the Parallels UI.
High-end programs, such as Photoshop or InDesign, work surprisingly well in the virtualized environment. You can set Parallels to use a certain number of your processor’s cores and system memory for added performance. If you miss the start menu, Parallels can display it opposite of your dock, giving you access to the Windows UI while in the Mac platform, which is referred to as “Cohesive” mode.
Legacy Windows Hardware
New hardware products are getting better at including support for Windows and MacOS. However, some hardware remains incompatible with MacOS. Using Parallels, users can connect their legacy devices to their Mac and use it within the Windows environment. For example, if there is a mixer that does not work with MacOS, connect it to your Mac and Parallels will ask whether you want to use the device on your physical Mac or Parallels Windows image.
While Macs are gaining traction in the enterprise, it is still dominated by Windows software. As companies deploy Mac computers, employees still need access to their development or management tools. Rather than equipping them with a legacy Windows desktop, they can include the PC’s image with the Macs they deploy. For example, a developer is given a MacBook because the company is moving to Python, but they still use Visual Studio for some legacy coding. In this case, the employer can provide an exact image of their standard Windows workstation with every Mac.
Parallels bridges the gap between Windows and Macs while allowing users to “make the switch” without hyperventilating.
For more of Allvoices' coverage of Macworld | iWorld 2012, check out allvoices.com/macworld2012.