Experiences of VirtualPC

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by AppleStrudle, Apr 28, 2004.

  1. AppleStrudle macrumors newbie

    Jan 30, 2004

    Does anyone have any experience of VirtualPC? It would be useful to be able to run some work related Windows software (Word, PowerPoint and Visual Studio) on my iBook and I was wondering if VirtualPC was up to the job.

  2. oingoboingo macrumors 6502a


    Jul 31, 2003
    Sydney, Australia
    First up, there are native versions of Microsoft Word and PowerPoint available for Mac OS X. You will be better off running those, rather than attempting to emulate a full Windows environment just to run Word, no matter how good Virtual PC is.

    That said, Virtual PC isn't all that fast. On my 1GHz 12" PowerBook, Virtual PC 6 runs well enough so that if I absolutely have no other choice, I can run some Windows software on my Mac. I wouldn't want to run an important application through Virtual PC though...it feels like a Pentium II 300MHz or 350MHz. If your bread and butter is Microsoft Office and Microsoft Visual Studio, then I would be questioning why you would want to run a Mac at all...you'd be much better off with a real PC.

    Maybe this sounds too negative. Virtual PC does its job well (ie: emulating a PC environment to run Windows on), and does so at a usable speed on iBook class hardware. However, it is nowhere near native speed by any stretch of the imagination, and if I personally had to use Virtual PC to run a Windows app for 8 hours a day to get my work done, I'd be quietly packing the iBook away somewhere safe, and getting my hands on a real PC. It's fine for casual use, but it's just not fast enough for day-in, day-out use on something like an iBook.
  3. stuuke macrumors regular

    Apr 19, 2004
    Stay away. I had an older version and it was almost impossible to work in. I purchased a newer version with reports of greatly increased speed and it still barely chugs through. You would be better off getting a cheap used pc.
  4. Horrortaxi macrumors 68020


    Jul 6, 2003
    Los Angeles
    I have version 6 and lukily I find myself using it less and less. On my dual 1ghz G4 it emulates a Pentium II 666mhz. It's sluggish and is only a good choice when you don't have any other choice.

    Office is available for the Mac.

    Visual Studio--you're on your own there. I'm not sure how it does in Virtual PC. We're boardering on my own psychopathic Microsoft issues at the moment so I'll just say this: If you want to program for Windows, maybe you should just run Windows.
  5. AppleStrudle thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 30, 2004
    Thanks people.

    Mostly I use my MAC for doing MAC stuff, but once in a while it would be useful to be able to work on things for my job (mostly Windows unfortunately). It's starting to sound like finding a second hand Window's laptop is a better bet.
  6. darraghsmyth macrumors newbie

    Apr 26, 2004
    London, UK
    :mad: I'm in exactly the same position - I'm looking in to buying a 12" PB for primarily MAC stuff. I intend to use MS Office for Mac as much as I can but I just know that occasionally I will need to use VPC for work-related stuff (cause they don't support mac's ...).


    Visual Studio is a pretty hungry app, which I use myself. I'd limit that to a windows box, if possible.

    Can you use the VPC to remote-desktop-in to a *real* PC that runs your Visual Studio?

  7. Koodauw macrumors 68040


    Nov 17, 2003
    I would agree. I think my Penituim II 233 is actually faster than VPC. I would avoid VPC if you can.

    I hear it is slightly better if you run Windows 98, or a less system hogging OS.
  8. vwguy macrumors member

    Apr 6, 2004
    Silicon Valley
    I had a client who demonstrated some pretty serious CAD-CAM software (Windows Platform) on his PB 12" using VPC and it runs fairly well with no apparent hiccups or so. All of us were pretty impressed by it...

    As for me.... I was drooling all the time... :)
  9. mactastic macrumors 68040


    Apr 24, 2003
    I run AutoCad on my TiBook. It beats buying a PC for home, but I do most of my work on a PC in the office so VPC is a stopgap for at home and in the field work. It does that ok, but it's not fun to do any major work on it.
  10. gekko513 macrumors 603


    Oct 16, 2003
    Is it possible to copy and paste between an OS running in Virtual PC and Mac OS X?
  11. jeremy.king macrumors 603


    Jul 23, 2002
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    What exactly is MAC Stuff? (and its Mac, BTW)

    I would recommend you just get a dirt cheap PC, especially if you are thinking Visual Studio. Don't bother on VPC, unless you have a lot of time to watch compilers work.
  12. Horrortaxi macrumors 68020


    Jul 6, 2003
    Los Angeles
  13. BrianKonarsMac macrumors 65816

    Apr 28, 2004

    Okay people, let's face it. Virtual PC is garbage, if your doing actual work in a business environment, and they DO NOT USE Mac software or hardware, THEN WHAT GOOD WILL YOU USING Mac SOFTWARE OR HARDWARE DO? There is no Visual Studio for the Mac, nor many of the Windows only programs that are required in a business type setting, thus the reason mac's don't fit in so well. Sure they connect no problem, and play nice on the network, but they don't run the x86 software your company is using, and Virtual PC is not up to the task of running anything. Your better off finding OS X native alternatives (if your company will allow this) or using a Windows machine to do your Windows work.

    a bargain-bin PC will blow away your emulation of Windows (until Microsoft eventually releases VPC 7...then we'll see).

    Summary: VPC is bunk. Your money and time would be better invested in using actual x86 hardware and actual versions of the software. Use the Mac for personal computing, but it looks like your professional work will have to be relegated to a PC for the forseeable future (CMON VPC 7!).
  14. vwguy macrumors member

    Apr 6, 2004
    Silicon Valley
    I have to agree with BrianKonarsMac to a certain extent... First of all, I don't think that VPC is totally garabge (although VPC 7 would be really great!). It does provide users a sufficient level of Windows workable enviorment but it would not be the same as having a Intel PC. My analogy may be wrong but it would be something like.... would you drive a sedan car thru the jungle instead of a Hummer although both of them have four wheels rolling on the road?

    VPC 6.1 (windows PC Professional version) costs about $250. With that kind of money, I would probably buy a lower end PC and runs windows program more efficiently than using VPC.

    Just my $0.02.... P-E-A-C-E
  15. el_grapadora macrumors newbie


    Jan 23, 2004
    or, if you have a windows box sitting around...

    ...there's always remote desktop client. that's assuming the wintel box has XP. i just remembered about it myself, and so i'm going to test out some gaming by accessing a wintel box over the LAN i have at my house.

    it seems silly to have a windows box just for vpc. but it seems like it could work out well if you have a network at home. don't know what you would do away from home, though.

  16. &RU macrumors member

    Mar 5, 2004
    Under similar circumstances I purchased Office v.X Pro, with VPC included. Office works as Office is expected to work, however VPC is bundled with XP. XP really needs the latest and greatest hardware to run, so in VPC it barely runs at all. Apparently Win98 and 2000 run much better. So, you can cough up for an older copy of Windows, or an older PC. The older PC will perform better, but will likely cost more, take up valuable space and generally be ugly.
  17. Celeron macrumors 6502a

    Mar 11, 2004
    I'm not familiar with Virtual PC on the Mac platform, but I run Virtual PC 2004 on my PC and its pretty damn handy. Like other people have metioned, its not going to break any speed records. Even on my P4 3.2ghz its not terribly fast. I use it when I need to test something in Linux, or Windows 2000 Server without having actually load those operating systems on actual machines.

    With regard to copying and pasting between the host OS and the virtual OS, this should work without a problem. In virtual PC 2004 I can copy and paste between Linux and Windows just fine.

    You can do some neat stuff if you install the add-ons, which only work in Windows operating systems. Once the addons are installed you can move the mouse in and out of the window and/or drag and drop files from the host OS and the virtual OS.

    Again, I know this applies to Virtual PC 2004. I'm not sure about Virtual PC for the Mac platform though because I've never used it, nor do I have a reason to.
  18. FoxyKaye macrumors 68000


    Jan 23, 2004
    San Francisco, Terre d'Ange, Bas Lag, Gallifrey





    me (G4/500, emulating a PII/266)...




    slow. :D

    Seriously, though, run everything you can get for OSX native on the Mac - you'll thank yourself when you're waiting 5 minutes to open Word in a VPC window. I've got installations of both Win2K and WinXP on my VPC, and the WinXP installation is noticably slower. If you're going to go with using VPC, I'd say that Win2K is a fine version to emulate for everyday Windows tasks. However, I'm not sure how much slower or faster having a G3 iBook with a higher chip speed than my desktop would affect VPC's performance.

    I tend to agree with the other postings that laying hands on a secondhand PII or PIII will blow VPC on a Mac out of the water, however, if you're looking for portability with your iBook then I'd say give VPC a try (maybe if you bought it these days, M$ would give you a discounted or free update to VPC7).
  19. Grimace macrumors 68040


    Feb 17, 2003
    with Hamburglar.
    Virtual PC for Mac and Virtual PC for Windows are completely different beasts.

    If you want to run MS Office, buy it for Mac. If you HAVE to have a PC program - you can use VPC if it's once in a while. If it's every day, buy a dell.
  20. Bhennies macrumors 6502

    Mar 20, 2004
    NYC & Baltimore
    I'm trying to convince my Mom to get a Powerbook, but she has two stupid windows only programs for work that she must use on her new computer. She wants a Mac really badly, but cannot be without these programs. They are in no way processor intensive programs (tax programs- she's a cpa). That kind of thing should run ok, no? Thanks...
  21. oingoboingo macrumors 6502a


    Jul 31, 2003
    Sydney, Australia
    Something like a tax program which is probably spending most of its time just accepting user input into various forms will run OK under Virtual PC. However, it won't feel as responsive as it does on a Windows machine, even a PC which is several hundred MHz slower than the PowerBook. It depends on what your level of tolerance is. If your mother needs to spend all day working with these two Windows programs in her job as a CPA, the slow speed of VPC might start to frustrate her after a while. But if she only needs to use the Windows software occasionally, it might be fine.

    I don't know if you live close to an Apple Store or an Apple dealer, but they may have Virtual PC installed on one of their demo systems and you can try it out for yourself to see if the speed will be acceptable for your (or your mother's) needs. I can't advocate piracy, but there are always the <cough-looks-other-way> 'free trial copies' that you can find on many P2P networks that may also be able to give you the necessary insight into whether it is worth buying Virtual PC, or just spending your money on a cheap 2nd-hand PC for those occasional Windows tasks.
  22. aswitcher macrumors 603


    Oct 8, 2003
    Canberra OZ
    Does VPC cop issues with spyware and viruses, just like real windoze, or does the emulation frag any such infections when it shuts down VPC?
  23. AppleStrudle thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 30, 2004
    Mac (appologies ;) ) stuff is email, web browsing and writing programs in Java or Objective-C.
  24. CmdrLaForge macrumors 68040


    Feb 26, 2003
    around the world
    Ever worked with Visual Studio ? With a dirt cheap PC you will not be happy.

    Question: I already own Windows 2000. Can I just purchase Virtual PC without a copy of Windows and install then from my original CDs ?

  25. crenz macrumors 6502a


    Jul 3, 2003
    Shanghai, China
    So maybe I'm stupid or overly patient, but I use VPC6 on a PowerBook 15" 1.25 Ghz regularly. I've made a fair amount of money doing Windows programming using Visual Studio on that PowerBook. :cool: Giving it a good chunk of RAM (384 MB out of my 768 MB) probably helps.

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