Parallel vs. Bootcamp and Windows

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by kbun, Jun 2, 2011.

  1. kbun macrumors newbie

    May 15, 2011
    Hi all,

    I'm planning to buy windows tomorrow for my MBP 13" (I bough it last May). The prime reason is the use of Microsoft Excel..I've been attuned to using the shortcuts on Excel (PC) for years and really need to be able to navigate it better.

    I have a few questions below:
    1. I'm a light user (no gaming, just word/excel/homework/internet surfing) - would you advise Bootcamp or parallels?

    2. If I do install my windows CD on bootcamp, and I change my mind and want to use parallels, can I reinstall windows?? Do I have to? I don't think the CD can allow me to install twice.

    3. Anyone who has the same adherence to Excel shortcuts can comment on the ease of excel with windows on a mac? do I need an external keyboard?

    Thanks so much!!
  2. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    Parallels will read your Bootcamp installation, so no need to reinstall

    But IMO, for what you need, I would skip Bootcamp and just go for the Parallels virtual machine
  3. xxBURT0Nxx macrumors 68020


    Jul 9, 2009
    If you just want to run excel, i would recommend using parallels. It will allow you to run windows inside a "window" without restarting your computer.

    Bootcamp is only useful if you need to run windows natively.
  4. kbun thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 15, 2011
    Thanks for the quick responses! I think I was just thinking of saving the um..$70 it'd cost to buy Parallels...but if you think it's a lot more effective for my user needs, I'd go for that.

    Thanks for clarifying about the windows installation, good to know.

    Has anyone has tried using excel in parallels+windows and can verify that the shortcuts and keyboard become the same? I'm so dependent on my excel shortcuts at this point (and need to use it extensively for grad school), that I'm hoping I won't even have to purchase an external keyboard or a "cheap" laptop.

    Thanks again.
  5. xxBURT0Nxx macrumors 68020


    Jul 9, 2009
    unless you want to restart your computer every time you need to use excel, then restart again when you need to go back to OSX, I think the $70 is a small price to pay.
  6. kbun thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 15, 2011
    Thanks again. It looks like I'll go for parallels.

    Any thoughts as to Parallels vs. Vmware for someone of my needs?

  7. fat jez macrumors 68000

    fat jez

    Jun 24, 2010
    Glasgow, UK
    Virtualbox is free, have you looked at that? It's similar to Parallels and VMWare.
  8. clickclickw00t macrumors regular

    Jun 28, 2007
    or just use Excel for OSX? I don't understand why thats not a viable option. Does it not have shortcuts?
  9. konaseema macrumors newbie

    Jun 1, 2011
    Office for Mac?

    If you just want to use Excel, why not just buy Microsoft office for Mac?
  10. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    Parallels and Fusion
    6 of one, half a dozen of the other
    Personal preference

    Both have their fans
    Both have a free trial for you to test it yourself

    I use Fusion
    My GF uses Parallels

    They both do the job

    I haven't used VirtualBox, but I have heard tales of issues
    For me, it was worth paying for Fusion
  11. fat jez macrumors 68000

    fat jez

    Jun 24, 2010
    Glasgow, UK
    I use it at work to access a customer whose VPN insists on needing Internet Explorer for "secure" login, it works fine for me. It's free, it costs nothing to trial and/or keep. It's also written by Oracle (formerly Sun), so it's not as though it's some bedroom coder who is developing it.
  12. Resqu2 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 23, 2011
    I like the Mac version of Excel, not sure why the OP doesn't at least check it out, plus you don't have to fool with Windows at all
  13. Mac-key macrumors 6502a

    Apr 1, 2010
    I use VMware. Works great for my needs
  14. cherishzm macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2011
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8G4 Safari/6533.18.5)

    I use both Excel for Mac 2011 and Excel 2007 for PC through Parellels. If you work with large Excel files often, I'd recommend using Bootcamp. I have 2010 i7 MBP 17 with 8GB RAM but somehow Excel is just much slower on OS X especially with large files (5MB +)
  15. kbun thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 15, 2011
    Hi all,

    I just got up (in Asia time zone), and saw the messages, thanks for all the responses!

    I do have Mac Office 2010 installed on my Mac - to answer your question, yes the shortcuts are all different..the Mac keyboard is different in itself.

    Sadly, for those Excel monkeys like myself who have pounded away at their PC keyboards at work in Excel for years, it's like learning Excel all over again as the shortcuts and keyboard is completely different. This slows my work down more than 5x (no joke).

    I've actually been trying to tackle another question - finding Office 2003 (NOT 2007, as work uses 2003 and again the shortcuts are all different..go figure), anyone have wise suggestions? Seems like you can buy online for $120+.

    cherishzm - thanks for the tip about the bootcamp with large excel files. I guess I'll first try to use it with bootcamp and see how it goes..I can always supplement by buying parallels later on (per MacDawg, no need to reinstall windows)
  16. jwksmith macrumors member

    Apr 27, 2008
    With most Microsoft software, if you buy the latest version, you can also order older versions of the same software at a nominal price. It is a bit of a pain to find the necessary link on the MS website but I think it is there.

    If I remember right, 2003 was the last non-ribbon release. Many people still want that format.

    Good luck !
  17. scrapple macrumors regular


    Sep 23, 2004
    I use vmware.... its a great product..

    Make sure to do the bootcamp install of windows first, then after your windows bootcamp is all updated and everything, run vmware. It will recognize your bootcamp install, and all is good from there.

    Then you just click on the app, and it loads windows in about 45 seconds (inside of osx).

    I use it mostly for newsgroup stuff, as their really isnt a good newsreader for mac. (I use newsleecher).
  18. Heavertron macrumors regular

    Jun 2, 2011
    Happy Parallels user here. The integration with Mac OS X is great, Coherance mode is just what you need. I tried VMware, but I find the performance of Parallels 6 to be better, and if you ever need to run anything 3D, it has much better 3D performance.

    It works nicely with a fast hard drive though. I run it from an eSata external drive and it's fine.
  19. apd macrumors member

    Mar 8, 2011
    I know how you feel regarding Excel for Mac - the shortcuts do take some getting used to. Is it really worth buying Windows, Excel for Windows, and Parallels (or Fusion if you must!) and potentially some extra RAM for your Mac (all virtualisation really benefits from lots of RAM) just for one program?

    Wouldn't you be better either learning the shortcuts on the Mac or buying a book?
  20. johnnj macrumors 6502a

    Dec 11, 2008
    Not here
    Ha! I think that both Sun and Oracle could probably benefit from some bedroom coders. Maybe there would have been some opportunities for streamlining and a decrease in suck. I make a living managing an Oracle financials environment on top of Solaris on Sun hardware. In my experience just because something has the Oracle or Sun name on it doesn't mean it's automatically a quality product. :)

    Regarding OP, I have a Parallels VM that I set up exactly like my Windows environment on my crappy HP work laptop, so I never really need to take the HP home. Maybe you'll come for the Excel and stay for having everything else you use in a VM.
  21. kbun thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 15, 2011
    Thanks for all the comments. I ended up buying windows today and will install it within bootcamp in a few days. I think I probably may end up getting parallels (or vmware), but that will be the next step.

    FYI, I did some research on Office 2003..I called Microsoft and they said unless it was an 'open' license (sorry, forgot the exact wording), then I could not download the older version. They don't sell Office 2003 best shot is buying it off ebay for ~40-50$ it seems.

    So yes, it's quite a lot of work for Excel..haha..I guess the answer is, I'm trying to justify having gotten my mac (vs. a pc) given my really light usage and my need for using excel a decent amount....

    I'll post after I do the installation in bootcamp and make more headway :)
  22. Ccrew macrumors 68020

    Feb 28, 2011

    I'd run VMware Fusion personally, in Unity mode you can run Excel on a Mac desktop. Not having played with Parallels don't know if that's an option there.
  23. kbun thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 15, 2011
    As promised, I wanted to post on how my installation went/feedback so far. So I just installed Windows on bootcamp (figured I'll install Parallels or Fusion later if needed, but want to see how this goes first).

    First of all, easier said then done. I had to troubleshoot..including having to delete some files (by downloading iDefrag demo, because I'm cheap and would prefer not to buy the full version unless needed) so there was enough free space.

    I had to decide how much space to allocate to Windows..which involved more googling to the uninitiated me. I finally allocated 70GB (out of 250GB originally) to Windows, since I don't plan to use windows for anything other than Microsoft office and perhaps only simple utilities..yet I didn't want to worry too much about lacking space.

    Remember to format the drive so it's NTFS partition.

    Next step in my saga: Finding if I can "downgrade" my version of Office 2010 to 2003.....or as I can see, can eventually buy on ebay for ~50US. Any other ideas appreciated :)

    I must say, as painful as this process was, it's kind of cool to be able to run windows on my mac!!
  24. fattire357 macrumors regular

    May 18, 2011
    If you want your macbook to run fast using Parallels don't forget to upgrade to 8GB of RAM.

    4GB was fine for me until I started doing virtualization work... macbook definitely started stuttering, and most of the stuttering was resolved with the RAM upgrade. Still stutters a bit but its not too bad.
  25. kbun thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 15, 2011
    I did find an Office 2003 version and installed it on my windows (via bootcamp currently). I had to fiddle a little more (download a key remapping thing), but I'm very happy with the way I can move around in Excel (very much/exactly like my windows Excel at work).

    I may find the need for parallels (or vmware) later down the road as I actually start to use it more...question is, when I install it, do I need to reinstall any applications I currently installed on my windows bootcamp? Thanks!

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