Advice - Mac to replace Windows

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by HardCode, Apr 30, 2007.

  1. HardCode macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2007
    #1
    I was thinking of buying a Mac for my wife once her PC is dead. More than what kind of machine to buy, I have questions about what the Mac can do, as fits her PC activities. Please, let me know if a Mac can do the following (and how if it isn't apparent) to assist me in my decision:

    1. Word processing as .DOC file - my wife needs to create MS Word .DOC files, and needs to be able to bring them to work for the Windows network. Can a Mac word processor save documents as Word .DOC compatible? Is a Mac word processor that can do this included with a Mac?

    2. Windows/MSN messenger - A lot of her family lives outside of the US, and they all use MSN for video chats. Can a Mac program work with MSN, so she can use a web cam to see and talk with her family on MSN? This is important.

    3. Use existing 17" LCD - Do Macs work with standard VGA/DVI LCD monitors? It would be a big savings to avoid buying an LCD. Also, are Macs USB compliant for after-market keyboards/mice, or do they still work only with proprietary Apple peripherals?

    4. Are Macs ready to dual boot to an instance of WinXP out-of-the-box? Of course, I'd need the Windows XP media. This may be important, because she needs to submit some work documents on-line sometimes, with *GASP* IE-only company web sites. Is it quite easy to get WinXP running in case it is needed?

    Thank you in advance for the responses.
     
  2. snakesqzns macrumors regular

    snakesqzns

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    Apr 26, 2007
    #2
    1. Yes
    2. Msn Yes, with video Maybe
    3. Yes
    4. Yes
     
  3. HardCode thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 30, 2007
    #3
    Thanks. But ... oh ... #2 is key. I won't win the argument with her to get a Mac if she can't see and hear her family :eek:

    EDIT:
    5. She needs access to 3.5" floppies, because the not-for-profit organization where she works has OLD Windows PCs, without even USB ports or only Win98 without USB support built-in, so a USB keychain drive is not an option. She has a USB 3.5" floppy on her PC. Will that be usable on a Mac?
     
  4. psychofreak Retired

    psychofreak

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    May 16, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #4
    Wrong (a bit) !

    2. I use Adium, Microsoft make their own messenger (crappy), and I use Mercury when I need MSN videochat, but others use aMSN

    4. NO, you need either Bootcamp or Parallels with a copy of Windows SP2. You can however buy Crossover, and not need windows, with semi-seemless integration. I recommend crossover.
     
  5. snakesqzns macrumors regular

    snakesqzns

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2007
    #5
    I don't know specifically if video chats with MSN work and if so to what extent they work.

    I have had success with video with Mac AIM to Windows AIM. There's also cross platform video using OpenWengo or Skype.

    Or just boot into Windows XP and use MSN...:eek:

    EDIT: psychofreak Don't scare him. Bootcamp is just a tool to resize your harddrive partition and a set of windows drivers. How much closer to "out of the box" do you expect?
     
  6. HardCode thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 30, 2007
    #6
    Does it have to be with SP2 on the CD media, or can you install SP1 and then do a Windows Update in the XP instance? Does WinXP Home work?
     
  7. Dimwhit macrumors 68000

    Dimwhit

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    Apr 10, 2007
    #7
    Yes, but you'll need to buy a USB floppy drive. I think they're around $40.
     
  8. skubish macrumors 68030

    skubish

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    Feb 2, 2005
    Location:
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    #8
    Yes it needs to be WinXP SP2. Home or professional doesn't matter.

    Also for MSN Messenger you could always use the windows version of MSN Messenger by using parallels.
     
  9. psychofreak Retired

    psychofreak

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    May 16, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #9
    'Out of the box' means you don't have to spend extra money (on XP), never mind spending ~30 mins installing it. 'Out of the box' means it is there when you open it and first turn your baby on.
     
  10. HardCode thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 30, 2007
    #10
    Nah, I can handle running an app to repartition. As long as there aren't any command line things needed to run, as I am not familiar with *nix environments. So far, almost everything sounds promising, except I need to get Windows XP Home that isn't a Compaq recovery CD. I am sure my XP license would still be valid running on a Mac (assuming of course I don't run it on the original PC too!)
     
  11. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

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    New England
    #11
    For what it's worth, read the EULA of your Windows XP license. You were most likely NOT granted transfer rights if your XP came preinstalled on a Compaq or other brand name machine. In general such OEM licenses are tied to the hardware they were delivered with and cannot be moved.

    Of course Microsoft is the ultimate arbiter, call them up and tell them what you are doing and they might just let you do it.

    B
     
  12. AutumnSkyline macrumors regular

    AutumnSkyline

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    Oct 5, 2006
    #12
    1. Yes, Mac OS X comes with Text edit (Think Wordpad) that should take care of your needs. If you want a more involved word processor, get Microsoft Office for Mac, or you get Neo Office, Mariner, Voodoo Pad, and Pages (which comes in iWork which also has a presentation maker)
    2. aMSN seems to be favored by users.
    3. Yes, they have all of the Above. A while ago, they moved to using standard USB 1, then to USB 2 when everyone else switched over. They also have firewire 400 on their machines for things like external hard drives.
    4. Yes, you can download the bootcamp beta from apple.com
    5. External drives are are $20 (off of amazon) (why does she need floppies? Can't you get her a thumb drive, also known as "geek sticks" or flash drives? they are as low as $12 off of amazon for 1 GB which is equivalent to 240 songs, if you are just transporting word documents it will be a cheaper, more future proof way of handling them)

    Hope I helped!
     
  13. HardCode thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 30, 2007
    #13
    She has two thumb drives, but the PCs at her job have no Internet (for e-mailing herself the files) and are dontated, old PCs with Win 98 and either no native USB plug-n-play support or no USB ports! She works for a not-for-profit organization. She already has a USB 3.5" Floppy Drive now, so transferring files from a Mac onto floppy wouldn't cost us anything more. So far, it sounds promising.
     
  14. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #14
    Another option, if she tends to use one PC at work.

    She could install a cheap USB PC card -- especially if they are running Windows 98SE. Then she can just use her USB Thumb Drives.
     
  15. InlawBiker macrumors 6502

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    Apr 6, 2007
    #15
    Hello Hardcode,

    I just went through the same thing, brought my wife's white Macbook home yesterday. Still trying to decide on one for myself, but that's another thread. My goal was ease of use and portability. I didn't deem Vista to be ready yet, so the choice was pretty easy.

    I just installed Office 2004 on it, it looks even nicer than the Windows version. It tries to install MSN messenger along with Office, so I can say 1st hand that it's supported. Not sure about the Webcam option.

    I also bought the Mini-DVI to DVI converter so she can use her external 19" LCD monitor along with the laptop monitor. This is one of the advantages of a laptop - Two Screens. Once you try this you can never go back to a single monitor.

    Next I'm looking to put a virtual XP install on it, if necessary.

    Greg.
     
  16. WannaGoMac macrumors 68000

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    Feb 11, 2007
    #16
    BTW, convince her to switch to Skype.
    it's really much better than any of the others for video conferencing...
     
  17. HardCode thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 30, 2007
    #17
    Will Skype interact with people on the MSN (video) chat client?
     
  18. re2st macrumors regular

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    May 2, 2007
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    #18
    I think Parallels will answer all those questions.

    1. Buy Office for Mac (run it natively on Mac), or just install your copy of Office for Windows on Parallels
    2. MSN for Mac doesn't do Video/Audio. aMSN does Video, but NOT audio (the same with Mercury, I guess). The only solution is running Windows' MSN on Parallels (unless you can urge her to switch to Skype or AIM/AOL/iChat)
    3. Monitors, yes (as long as it has DVI/VGA interface). Mice and keyboards, I'm not sure it can be accessed from Mac's side (but they can be accessed from Bootcamp's Windows side, not sure if they can be accessed from Parallels' Windows side, never tried yet). I think it depends on the make (hence the drivers)
    4. Before looking into Bootcamp, if she doesn't really need a full processing power (i.e. running Windows' Photoshop, Windows' video/audio editing and so on), you're better off with Parallels. You really can't tell whether you're using a program on Windows or a Mac, especially with the newest version of Parallels (again, I'm talking about normal activities such as word processing, spreadsheet, internet browsing, and so on).
    5. I'm sure a USB floppy will be accessible from either Mac side or Parallels' Windows side
     
  19. WannaGoMac macrumors 68000

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    Feb 11, 2007
    #19
    No. Skype is its own system/client. It was designed for audio and video conferencing and the quality of both kicks the ass of MSN, yahoo, etc...

    Seriously, get them to switch. You won't regret it...
    www.skype.com
     
  20. kajitox macrumors 6502a

    kajitox

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    May 2, 2007
    #20
    Seconded. I've used it in the past, but have never had many people who use video conferencing/VOIP chat...yet each time I use it I realize it's a great program.
     
  21. 9Charms macrumors regular

    9Charms

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    May 19, 2006
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #21
    For what it's worth, when my Dell laptop died I was of the opinion that I still had an XP licence, but no machine to run it on. So to make a short story long, I just used my Dell Recovery CD on a recently purchased custom PC, and everything installed properly, but I couldn't activate, so I called up the number they give you on the activation screen, and explained my situation to the nice lady. She then proceeded to give me the activation key. Your mileage may vary.
     
  22. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

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    Aug 16, 2005
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    New England
    #22
    That's exactly what I was suggesting. The EULA is one thing, but many have had your same experience. Others have not, you might get lucky or you might not. Thanks for providing evidence that some do get lucky!

    So, even though transfer rights May expressly NOT be granted in the EULA, MS is free to interpret their agreement with you in any way they so choose, just don't assume you are entitled to it. You didn't buy the software, you only licensed it subject to some restrictions.

    B
     
  23. InlawBiker macrumors 6502

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    Apr 6, 2007
    #23
    I bought Win XP off the shelf the first week it came out - it was a big upgrade from Win2k, I was so happy to get off 2000. I've been using the same copy ever since and have re-installed it many times. Every time I do I have to call MS Support and get a new key. It's a pain but they always give it to me.

    I think their database keeps track of "true violators" and is trained not to hassle the guy who may have used his copy 10 times in four years. If a license key has been posted to a forum it'll be pretty obvious, you know?
     
  24. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

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    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #24
    If you bought retail, as it sounds, you were granted transfer rights unlike an OEM license that came with a machine, and I'm surprised you even have had to call them. I have a retail XP license I've used on three separate machines, the latest being my iMac, and have never had to call MS.

    B
     
  25. GFLPraxis macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    #25
    You need Microsoft Office for Mac. That's Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Entourage (basically Outlook).

    MSN Messenger for Mac works fine, Adium also works with MSN. Unfortunately, they can't use the webcam to chat with MSN users because Microsoft has been lazy on this feature; but you can use the webcam to chat with AOL AIM users, or Skype (which rules).

    Any USB keyboard and mouse and VGA/DVI monitor will work. Depending on the system, you might need a $30 dongle (iMacs and MacBooks have a special miniature output and you just get the adapter to turn it in to whatever you need, VGA, DVI, or TV-out). However, if you use a generic PC keyboard, the Windows key becomes the Apple key, which looks weird.



    Yes, just buy a copy of Windows XP. Better yet, buy a copy of Parallels and a copy of XP, so you can run XP without rebooting.
     

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