Introduction to Virtual PC 5 using Mac OS

Many PC-based applications such as Microsoft Office now have Mac OS X-native equivalents, which has greatly alleviated previously common compatibility issues when working with both PCs and Macs. So, why do you need Virtual PC environment? From time to time you may find yourself in a situation where you need to use proprietary or Windows-centric software that will only work on a PC running Windows. Perhaps there's a scanner, printer or some other type of peripheral that you'd like to use but you don't have the Mac drivers, or you need to access a PC-based network and networked printers.

Virtual PC 5 overcomes such situations by using virtual machine technology to mimic a PC environment so the Windows software runs as it does on a real PC, even though the Windows operating system is actually running as a guest on your Mac. Connectix's Virtual PC (VPC) 5 is distributed locally by Firmware Design (www.firmware.com.au) and ships in four flavours: DOS - $241.76, Windows 98 - $540.60, Windows XP Home - $540.60 and Windows 2000 - $664.84. And yes, tech-heads, Linux and even OS/2 should also be able to run just fine. Moreover, with OS X you are able to load up to 11 guest operating systems at the same time, through the use of optional Connectix OS packs. This month we are going to look at setting up Virtual PC on your Mac.

Installing Virtual PC

Load the CD into your drive, double-click its icon on your Mac's desktop and run the Virtual PC 5 installer. Follow the installation wizard and eventually you'll be asked to enter your Mac's administrator user name and password. This done, enter your serial number for Virtual PC, which you'll also need in order to register with Connectix for access to the Connectix Care technical support pages, advice forums and knowledge database. Then hit the right arrow (where you can choose to register) and make your way through the wizard until you are presented with the Virtual PC List window. Select Start Up. This will start the PC Setup Assistant, which will help you set up VPC for optimal performance. Make your way through the Assistant, selecting the guest version of Windows that came with your copy of VPC. Try to allocate as much memory as you can to the guest Windows OS and continue through the Assistant before clicking the blue Start Up button.

For this demonstration, using a 400MHz G4 with 128MB of RAM, I allocated 80MB RAM to the guest Windows 98 OS and it was still extremely slow. The more RAM that you can allocate to the guest Windows OS, the better the results. In particular, keep this in mind if you're planning to use Virtual PC for PC gaming purposes.

Customisation

When VPC starts for the first time, it will ask you to enter a user name, location and the Windows serial VPC shipped with. Before long you'll be greeted with the Windows desktop. You can resize the VPC window from the lower right corner, or enter full screen mode by pressing -Return. You can access VPC preferences covering details such as sound and screen resolution by pressing -K. To change the settings for VPC, press -T or select Settings from the Edit menu. From Settings you can change RAM allocation as well as drive, mouse, networking and USB options, and even map keys from your Mac keyboard to act as standard PC keys - for instance, you could instruct the Option key to behave as a Windows key, as found on PC keyboards.

If you have a file on a CD that you want to open within VPC, simply place the CD in your Mac and then return to the VPC window. When in Windows mode, you can see the VPC control icons at the lower left of the VPC window. If you click on the small CD icon and select Capture Disc, you can then access the information from the disc within VPC, just as though you were using a PC running Windows. FIGURE 1 shows a CD playing from within the VPC environment.

This introduction is designed to provide you with an understanding of VPC and some of its potential uses, and also assist you with installation. If you're a Mac user with limited Windows experience, visit the PC World Web site (www.pcworld.idg.com.au) to view countless tutorials on using Windows and even Linux.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Danny Allen

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?