Mac Life – Part 4 – Running Windows Programs On A Mac

Ok, you’ve got your Mac, you’ve still got your PC and you’ve set up Windows so it runs on your Mac, now it’s time to set up any Windows programs you still need and make sure they work before you finally shutdown your PC for the last time.

Most of the issues I’ve experienced can be resolved or minimised by tweaking the settings in your virtual machine or by changing the way you work, particularly how and where you store and share files which I go into more detail in Part 5.

Generally speaking most software applications run just like they do on real Windows machines but even with a top spec Mac the trade-off is speed – you are effectively running 2 computers on one machine so the more grunt your CPU has and the more memory you have installed the better.

Here’s how I got the following Windows programs up and running on my Mac, your mileage may vary.

Affmeter Pro – On the Mac
Once you’ve used Affmeter Pro manually logging into each network to check stats seems tedious and inefficient so here’s how I migrated my copy.

Download the original archive from the link in your original registration email somewhere you can get at it from Windows running on your Mac.

From within your virtual PC open the affmeter archive and it will prompt you to install the Microsoft .Net framework. On the Windows update site select the runtime version which will take some time and then install updates.

Next, make sure Affmeter Pro is not running on either machine then copy Affmeter Pro’s data file:

C:Program FilesAffmeterDataaffdata.afx

to the AffmeterData folder within the PC environment on your Mac.

Run Affmeter Pro and enter your serial number which is also included in your registration email.

That’s it. I have had a few issues upgrading between versions but it generally runs fine under Parallels.

Mailwasher Pro – On the Mac
There is an old Mac version of Mailwasher Pro but don’t waste your time with it because the current PC release is much better. You can download the current release version from the Firetrust site here:
http://www.firetrust.com/download/mailwasher-pro

Install within the PC environment on your Mac, cut and paste your registration key from your original registration email. To migrate your blacklist, friends, filters and training data to your new installation you have to copy some files.

Open the About Mailwasher dialog from the Help menu and enable the extended error logging checkbox.

On your original PC open the About Mailwasher dialog from the Help menu and enable the extended error logging checkbox.
Click on the path below to open MailWasher data files directory:

C:Documents and SettingsJoeApplication DataMailWasherPro

Within the PC environment on your Mac open the About Mailwasher dialog from the Help menu and enable the extended error logging checkbox.
Click on the path below to open a window displaying the MailWasher Pro data files directory and shut down Mailwasher Pro.

Now copy the Training folder, blacklist.txt and filters.txt from your orginal PC to the Mac.

Relaunch Mailwasher Pro. At the time I switched there was a problem with the mailpv.exe in the download archive so I had to manually recreate my mailboxes so if it’s not fixed by the time you switch you’ll have to do that as well.
Preferences are not migrated so I suggest running Mailwasher Pro on both machines and going through the Options dialog making sure everything is set up to your preferences. Finally you can toggle off the extended error logging checkbox.

I use the Mailwasher Pro preview window extensively to follow links and write Quick replies to emails and with the Parallels environment on the Mac these actions will open the default PC mac client (usually Outlook Express) and default PC web browser (Internet Explorer) but since the aim is to go Mac I was pleased to discover Parallels can be set to open internet applications either to the default PC or Mac applications – in my new Mac setup that’s Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird.

You’ll find these settings in the Virtual Machine Configuration dialog under Internet Applications.

Quickbooks Pro – On the Mac
Every affiliate needs to keep HM Revenue & Customs happy so you’re going to need some accounting software. I’ve been using Intuit’s Quickbooks Pro for years and although there is a Mac version it’s only available for the US market. A UK edition has been promised for years but I wouldn’t hold your breath – I’m STILL waiting Intuit!

The PC version runs fine within the Parallels environment on a Mac I just have trouble getting it to play ball with the my Mac network printer for which Boujour for Windows, another mac innovation, comes in handy.

Mac Life Part 5 covers using Cloud based services…

Back to MacLife Part 1…

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Mac Life – Part 3 – It’s Decision Time

Once you’ve made the decision to switch from PC to Mac and BEFORE you make the switch is the time to think carefully about the hardware you’ll need, the way you work and the applications you use.

If you haven’t already bought a Mac you can add buying a laptop or desktop machine to your research and planning. As I mentioned earlier I prefer sitting at a desk when I’m working but I eventually settled on a MacBook Pro laptop and a 24″ LED display which gives me the best of both worlds. At my desk I dock the laptop to the monitor which already has a mouse and keyboard attached along with integrated webcam and sound. To work on the laptop all I have to is disconnect 4 cables and walk, no reboot needed, it doesn’t get much better than this (one plug would be even nicer Mr Ive).

Many popular applications are available on both platforms. Most web browsers including Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer, Microsoft Office and Apple software including iTunes, QuickTime and other applications have logical alternatives on the Mac platform which are widely discussed on the Mac Switching forums which are well worth a read.

In an effort to make the time I spend working as productive as possible I’ve already been working towards using browser and cloud based applications and services including Google Apps, MobileMe, Dropbox and Evernote which leaves me with just three PC only applications I need. In my case these are:

Affmeter Pro because it gives me a quick overview of what’s happening to my affiliate income.
Mailwasher Pro because it’s the quickest way to keep an eye on all my mailboxes.
Quickbooks Pro because although there’s a US Mac version this isn’t available in the UK.

If you’re not planning on running any PC software on your Mac you can skip to Mac Life part 5 which covers cloud based services…

Before we get into the nitty gritty of setting these up on a Mac it’s time to decide how you are going to run your Windows software on your Mac. There are three main choices:

Boot Camp
Apple includes this as an optional install and it works well but you have to boot into Mac or Windows mode and I want to run both side by side and cut/paste and copy files between them in real-time so it’s a non-starter for me.

Parallels
Parallels can run Windows, Linux and pretty much any OS as a virtual machine within the Mac environment and once set up it’s an almost seamless experience. it works well and has proven reliable so I’m pleased to recommend it. There’s a free trial available so why not give it a try?

VMware Fusion
There’s a free trial available but I haven’t tried this software. It appears to offer similar features to Parallels which I’ve been using for years so, if you’re not already using Parallels, give it a try and make your own mind up before making a final decision – feel free to share your experiences by commenting below.

All three options require a legitimate copy of Windows so make sure you have that to hand before you install your chosen software.

Mac Life Part 4 covers running Windows programs on a Mac…

Back to MacLife Part 1…

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Mac Life – Part 2- Virtual Machines & OS Merging

Although I’m now exclusively using Mac hardware I am still “OS merging” – I still need Quickbooks PC accounting software and down the years I’ve picked up a few other PC only applications including Mailwasher Pro and Affmeter Pro which I don’t want to be without so I’m running them using the Parallels Virtual PC software.

Virtual Machines – Better Than The Real Thing?

(If you’re not planning to run any non-Mac software you can safely skip to Mac Life Part 3)

My Atari background offers me a unique insight into the pros and cons of working with Virtual machines compared to the real thing. Atari software ran much faster on both Mac and PC hardware than it ever did on real Atari computers and I’ve run up against all the typical issues which ALL need to be addressed before finally committing to using a virtual machine:

Switching between the guest and host OS
This can involve a complete machine reboot or a keyboard shortcut and everything in-between.

Accessing software from the other OS
Parallels makes it possible to run the host and guest OS in parallel so it doesn’t get much better than this.

Accessing, moving and copying documents and files between the OS’s
You’ll need to find a way of working which makes it easy to access documents and files which need to be available across OS’s and you’re going to have to find what works best for you on a trial and error basis.
My solution is two-fold. I run a local network with shared storage and I use remote cloud services – which I’ll go into in more detail later on.

Hardware compatibility issues
If your software relied on any hardware which isn’t supported or emulated by your Virtual machine you won’t be able to use it. There’s no easy solution to this one.

Problems with peripherals
Printing is the most common area which always throws up unexpected problems.

Keyboard layout handling
The Mac and PC keyboard layouts are different. A few crucial keys are in the “wrong” place or simply missing! Switching to a Mac and continuing to use Windows software is a challenge that requires practice and a measure of perseverance and reference tables.

Mac Life Part 3 covers what I think you should do before finally making the switch…

Back to Mac Life Part 1…

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