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Old 17-11-2011, 20:50   #1
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MacBook Pro and Windows Programs

I'm about to pull the trigger on buying a Macbook Pro and switching over from my Windows PC...only problem is that some of the programs I have been using and like (Nobeltec, Maxsea, WxWorx) are Windows PC products. I've read a number of the threads on the site regarding Mac's and nav software. I could switch to Polar navy or MacENC, but I sort of like what I like (except for my Windows PC).

After speaking to the tech support people at each of the vendors, it sounds like many users have encountered snafus using Parallels and VM Fusion while trying to run some of these products. Most indicate that Bootcamp can work.

I'd be interested in some feedback on any "real world" problems encountered in using a Mac to run Windows programs...driver issues, conflicts, fatal problems, fixes sorted out, etc.

Any input would be welcome.

Thanks!
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Old 17-11-2011, 21:07   #2
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Re: Macbook Pro and Windows Programs

Hi,

I know Mac OS-X Lion with Parallels and Windows 7 Pro works well. I tested this on a MacBook Pro 13" and on a MacMini. The catch is that I recommend 8 GByte RAM (give 4 GByte to Windows 7). The memory expansion from Amazon costs under $50 so that's not too bad (Kingston brand)

I run this with MaxSea TimeZero Explorer. I use Parallels coherence mode with the look-like-Mac extensions. Hard to tell it isn't a Mac OS-X program that way. I also run MaxSea v10 this way but using XP. I didn't even try it under Windows 7.

When you reboot to Windows (bootcamp) you have a standard Windows PC so everything works. FYI: when you install Windows bootcamp PLUS a Windows virtual machine under Parallels or VMware, you have to activate Windows twice. Google "windows loader" for the fix.

ciao!
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Old 17-11-2011, 21:15   #3
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Re: Macbook Pro and Windows Programs

I have no problems running Windose XP in Parallels Desktop 6. But, the only chart plotter app I run on the Win side is OpenCPN, mostly use it for Airmail/SSB Fax. MacENC would be my choice for laptop chart plotter. As far as drivers, I run a couple of cheap usb/serial devices plus an Actisense NGT-usb with no problems switching them between Win/OSX.

The more/better hardware helps. i5/i7 cpu, 8g ram, and a SSD if you can afford it.
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Old 17-11-2011, 21:16   #4
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Re: Macbook Pro and Windows Programs

Nick,

Thanks for the feedback...so no driver glitches, issues or traps to watch out for?

Bob
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Old 18-11-2011, 06:06   #5
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Re: MacBook Pro and Windows Programs

If Parallels has problems, you could try VMWare Fusion.

I run Coastal Explorer, Nobeltec VNS and Maxsea v10.x using VMWare Fusion on a 2007 Macbook Pro with no problems. Also use it for Airmail and several other programs.

I have not found anything yet that doesn't run, or has problems, under Fusion (WinXP).

Mark
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Old 18-11-2011, 06:15   #6
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Re: MacBook Pro and Windows Programs

What is prompting you to want to switch? It seems your biggest concern and possible use is software that runs on windows. Why not keep it simple and just stick with windows. A new windows laptop will also run a bit less than an equivalent Mac.
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Old 18-11-2011, 06:33   #7
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Re: MacBook Pro and Windows Programs

I'm tired of screen lockups, background programs telling me they had to shut down and are no longer working, spending hours on the phone with Microsoft support techs...however, nothing seems to be error free, so "before" I make such a major commitment to change, figure I should find out what I'm in store for...I may just retire my 4 year old Thinkpad and get a new one with Win 7.
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Old 18-11-2011, 06:56   #8
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Re: MacBook Pro and Windows Programs

What's on your current Thinkpad? Vista wasn't great and had issues. Windows 7 is a huge improvement and I think you'd probably be happy with it.

I've never been terribly thrilled with the thinkpads - I feel they have too much extra crap on them. HP is what I'd recommend - they tend to be filled with less hp utilities unlike the barrage of utilities Lenovo installs.

Just my 2 cents.. IT is what I do for a living though, so I've dealt with a lot of various systems.
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Old 18-11-2011, 07:07   #9
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Re: MacBook Pro and Windows Programs

Ran XP on a Thinkpad for a number of years...been on Vista with the new Thinkpad the past 4...was going to upgrade to Win 7, but could not install 64 bit, decided to put it off, so I'm in the decision process now. Family members and friends have HP and other brands which I have used (I bought an HP Netbook with Win 7 for lite travel)...just not a Windows fan.
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Old 18-11-2011, 07:28   #10
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Re: MacBook Pro and Windows Programs

Yeah, nothing wrong with a Mac. Only reason I brought it up is because you are running windows programs that have no counter part. I think its best to choose Mac or Windows based on the apps. If the apps are available on both, then you can go with picking an OS.
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Old 18-11-2011, 08:05   #11
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Re: MacBook Pro and Windows Programs

Quote:
Originally Posted by MSB44 View Post
I'm tired of screen lockups, background programs telling me they had to shut down and are no longer working, spending hours on the phone with Microsoft support techs...however, nothing seems to be error free, so "before" I make such a major commitment to change, figure I should find out what I'm in store for...I may just retire my 4 year old Thinkpad and get a new one with Win 7.
The guts of Apple is the same as a PC, as far as CPU, memory, video, hard drive, etc. Apple does a nice job of building a very quality unit, unibody, etc.

You have to remember it is a computer and stuff happens, it's not perfect, but a whole lot better than Windose, IMO. Where Apple adds the largest value is making stuff actually work, and work together. The integration of apps is second to none. Apple tech support is the best in the industry, I suggest you spring for Applecare to get the 3 year 'bumper to bumper' support. If you've ever lost data due to a hardware problem, you'll find Apple's TimeMachine backup program worth the cost difference between Mac & PC. Hourly backups, keeps hourly for 24 hours, daily for a month, and a weekly backup until the backup drive is full at which time it erases the oldest one. You won't even know TM is running. Lost an email that you shouldn't have? No problem, with Mail on the screen, hit TM in the menu bar and view all emails by date on the backup drive.

Obviously, I'm biased, switched to Mac 4 years ago and now I actually enjoy my computer!

As far as running Windose on a Mac, I would state that it'll work:

90% using VirtualBox (free)
99.9% using Parallels or VMware Fusion
100% using Boot Camp (free)

Put Windose fullscreen in a VM on a different desktop and 3 finger swipe between Win & OSX and you'll never go back! Or, as Nick mentions, Parallels Coherence or Fusion's Unity is pretty sweet also.

The biggest problem I have with my Mac is with Microsoft software.
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Old 18-11-2011, 08:31   #12
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Re: MacBook Pro and Windows Programs

DotDun,

Thanks for the feedback...so when on your boat with your Mac you have an external hard drive attached and TM is continually backing up?

The other thing I'm curious about is whether anyone had trouble with NMEA 0183 serial to USB converters with Mac. I have an older Northstar GPS that works perfectly fine, but it uses a serial com connection.

Bob
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Old 18-11-2011, 08:57   #13
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Re: MacBook Pro and Windows Programs

Hey all.

There are several options and all modern Macbooks can easily dual boot..

All you will need is a windows license and the dualboot or parrellels software.
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Old 18-11-2011, 10:04   #14
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Re: MacBook Pro and Windows Programs

Quote:
Originally Posted by MSB44 View Post
DotDun,

Thanks for the feedback...so when on your boat with your Mac you have an external hard drive attached and TM is continually backing up?

The other thing I'm curious about is whether anyone had trouble with NMEA 0183 serial to USB converters with Mac. I have an older Northstar GPS that works perfectly fine, but it uses a serial com connection.

Bob
Unfortunately, we're part-time cruisers and more-time land lubbers, but yes, I carry the TM drive on the boat when we go. With 3 MACs in the house, I have a QNAP NAS (with .11 support) with a raid1 configuration and swap drives once a month to keep an offsite backup. So, we when go cruising, I'll swap a drive, leave a fresh one a home, and run the NAS a few hours a day on the boat while our Macs are running to catch the TM backups. I also run an image (using SuperDuper) to a portable USB drive so I have an alternative boot drive, you can't boot from TM. If we're only cruising for 2-3 days, the TM drive stays home. If TM can't find it's backup drive, he just sits happily waiting for it to return, meaning bad things don't happen if it's not connected 24/7.

I have more problems with USB serial drivers on Windows than Mac. Get the newer version of Keyspan or Belkin, you won't have any problems. AND, no more com port changes when plugging into a different USB port! That's one I never did figure out how to solve on Windose! In the VM software (Parallels, VMware, or VBox) there is a dialog box that allows you to connect/switch a USB device to either OS.

I hope this helps!
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Old 18-11-2011, 17:00   #15
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Re: MacBook Pro and Windows Programs

Quote:
Originally Posted by MSB44 View Post
DotDun,

Thanks for the feedback...so when on your boat with your Mac you have an external hard drive attached and TM is continually backing up?

The other thing I'm curious about is whether anyone had trouble with NMEA 0183 serial to USB converters with Mac. I have an older Northstar GPS that works perfectly fine, but it uses a serial com connection.

Bob
I use the cheapest no-name USB-serial cables I can find. I have 4 connected to various things hooked up to the Mac by leading all of them into a cheap (freebie) 4-in-1 USB gang. One of the cables is a 13 year old one that was a cheap no-name one even back then. Never installed any drivers, never considered if the cables were different chipsets. All worked immediately when plugged in.

Never understood why people with Windows have to worry these cables so much and buy expensive ones. Seems like everyone is always asking which cables others find that work.

Mark
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