Windows on your Mac

Many users prefer Windows 7 over versions 8.0 and 10 which remain unfit for business due to numerous problems, regrettably misguidance and bullying from Microsoft with forced updates brings the threat of Windows 10 ever closer. It’s a good time to consider alternatives:

VM Fusion provides a way to preserve any version of Windows you wish to run by converting your PC to a virtual machine or create a new installation of Windows on your Mac. VMWare Fusion runs most versions of Windows: XP, Vista, 7, 8.1, 10 – see compatibility here and other operating systems such as linux without re-booting. You can install your windows software and isolate it from external interference, preventing Microsoft from forcing updates for example. This is very important where systems depend on specific versions of software or operating system requirements.

For example: As well as a systems analyst and network engineer, I’m a VBA programmer for Microsoft Access. In 2006 Macs replaced all my PCs since then, I’ve used successive versions of VM Fusion from Version 1 to 10 to run various versions of Windows: 2000 and 2003 server, XP and 7 on my Macs. Windows loads in its separate space like another programme and I can quickly and easily switch spaces to my word processor or spreadsheet running under the Mac OS. I keep my databases in a secure strong encrypted vault on the Mac from which XP reads once the vault is opened. In all this time, I’ve had just one irrecoverable (from Windows) BSOD about 8 years ago which took a minute to recover from the last Fusion snap shot.

VM Ware Fusion provides many benefits:

  1. Permits different versions of Windows to run on one Mac – very useful for testing or overcomming specific system requirements.
  2. Permits use of ‘Windows only’ software, such as Microsoft Access.
  3. Isolate your Windows installation from interference by Microsoft.
  4. Easily recover from a snapshot if problems occur.
  5. Share your data ie read & write to Mac from Windows.
  6. No other device drivers are required.
  7. It makes running Windows SO much easier and controlled.

Requirements:

Any modern Mac with sufficient disc space and ram will run VM Fusion, each VM requires about 40Gb of HHD space. For the later versions of Windows I’d allocate 4Gb or more to ensure they run reasonably well, with XP I use 2Gb but 1Gb will do. Microsofts recomendations are the absolute minimum, so don’t starve your guest OS.

With Fusion you can harness the full power of the Mac, allocating multiple processor cores and allocate resources as you see fit. The more ram you have the better and yes, you can adjust it later although you may be forced to re-activate Windows.

Next, download and install VM Ware fusion on your Mac, I prefer version 10 as due to issues with Fusion 11 – it’s a bit too new for my liking and V10 works fine – see the version compatibility grid for detail. The current license initiates either version 10 or 11. Once Fusion is installed, you can create a new virtual machine, import your virtual machine or virtualise an existing PC and import it to your Mac. Just follow the installation instructions, the choice is yours!

See this Youtube video below for further information (no association)


Backup your VM: If your VM is important then it’s adviseable to create an independant backup as well as take snapshots. A snapshot is exactly what it says: on the fusion menu Virtual Machine >Snapshots… > Snapshots or Take Snapshot. To copy a VM go to the Virtual Machines folder under Documents locate your VM – the file will be named with the file extension: .vmwarevm ie windowsXP.vmwarevm and will be several gigabytes in size then copy your virtual machine to a seperate drive.

Restore your VM: If your Windows VM BSODs as is often the case with an incorrect driver and refuses to start, restore your VM from a snapshot. On the Fusion menu its Virtual Machine > Snapshots… > Restore snapshot.

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