VmWare Fusion

Recently a client decided they just had to have a Mac. So they went and got one. The only problem: their business applications are windows-based. The answer: setting up a virtual Windows machine. The 2 most popular solutions for that seem to be Parallels and VmWare Fusion. I chose VmWare Fusion simply because I have some prior VmWare experience and wanted to have at least something familiar in the unfamiliar Mac territory

Overall verdict: I was VERY impressed. The software actually did what it advertised it would do. That doesn’t happen often.

By steps:

Creating and installing the virtual machine was extremely easy, actually easier than installing on physical hardware. Also, at first I didn’t like the performance of the VM so I played around with how much CPU and RAM I gave it. That was extremely easy too.

The thing I was impressed with the most is the seamless integration. When working with any kind of virtualized solution one of the hardest things for users is getting used to the idea of multiple, separate screens. Well, VmWare Fusion eliminates all that by letting you add windows applications to the apple dock and running them from there full screen – nice!

Other points:

– One of Windows applications for whatever reason refuses to work that way, crashes on startup. Had to teach the user how to start it first in single window view, then switch back to unity view

– I HATE Mac mouse. It’s amazing how a company that brags about being so high-tech still hasn’t figured out how to do a right-click.

– The user also hates the Mac keyboard. Because making a keyboard with a keypad is also beyond their abilities.

– I needed to get the USB printer to work in both operating systems. Unfortunately VmWare doesn’t allow sharing USB devices between host and guest. So what I ended up doing was to assign the printer to the Mac. Then I shared it. On Windows I then had to install apple bonjour software as by itself Windows is too stupid to find a printer that’s shared off a Mac.

Conclusion: If your Mac is powerful enough you can run your Windows applications on it fast, reliable and smooth. Of course it will come with an extra cost for a copy of Windows and a copy of VmWare Fusion or Parallels, but if you had enough money to buy a powerful Mac to begin with you can afford it.

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