Windows in my Mac

Just a few quick comments about a recent Windows installation.

I’m a Mac users. I’ve always been a Mac user. I got my first Mac back in 1989 and have been buying Macs ever since.

Unfortunately, as the author of computer books, I found it necessary to buy and use a Windows PC when writing about Windows software such as Excel, Word, and Quicken. I’ve owned three of them (I think) since 1995 and only used them when I either needed to write a book about some kind of Windows application or load GPS data onto the data card for my helicopter’s Garmin 420 GPS. (Sadly, Jeppesen doesn’t think it’s worth developing an app for Mac OS users.)

I’m writing fewer books these days and, since giving up my Quicken for Windows title two years ago, very seldom write about anything on Windows. I like it that way. Although I have no problem using Windows, I don’t really understand its logic and waste a lot of time flailing about, trying to figure out silly little things. I don’t have that problem as much when I’m working with an application; it’s the operating system that frustrates me.

This past summer, I dragged my Windows laptop all the way up to Washington with me in case I needed it. I never even took it out of the cabinet. Nice.

This past week, I needed to revise an outline for a Microsoft Word course I may be authoring for Lynda.com. I’d written the original outline based on Word 2011 for Mac OS — the version I’m using now on my Mac. But the folks at Lynda told me they wanted a Windows 2010 version of the course. That meant two things:

  • I needed to update the outline for Word 2010.
  • I needed to install Word 2010 on my Windows laptop.

So I pulled out my Dell Latitude D820 laptop, plugged it in, and fired it up. It came to life slowly, connected to the Internet, and downloaded/installed 49 Windows updates to Windows Vista.

The next day, I attempted to load Office 2010. The computer wasn’t having any part of that. It just showed me a spinning wait cursor every time I tried to open the installer.

I looked at my Mac — a new (in June 2011) 27-inch iMac with 8GB of RAM, 2 internal hard disks, and every hardware upgrade they offered. This machine is loaded. (I deserve it. Really.) And in case 27 inches (2560×1440 resolution) of real estate isn’t enough, I have a 24-inch (1920×1200 resolution) Samsung monitor connected to it. I wondered…could I put Windows 7 on my iMac under Parallels and run it in one monitor while I ran my Mac OS stuff in the other?

The answer is: Yes, I can.

I already had Parallels Desktop 6 (from a MacUpdate offer last spring) and Windows 7 which I planned to install on my PC laptop the next time I had to write a Windows book. (Yes, I know most folks think VMware Fusion is better, but why buy a solution when I already have one?) I installed Parallels and then installed Windows 7 in a virtual machine. And then I installed Office 2010 on Windows 7. I maximized the Parallels window containing Windows on my 24-inch Samsung. And voila! Windows and Macintosh running side by side on the same computer as if they’re on separate computers.

Windows and Mac, Together

Sure beats firing up that ancient laptop. (Anyone want to buy it?)

Now if only Windows would stop updating itself every time I shut it down or start it back up.

What do you think?