Reassurance needed

Discussion in 'iMac' started by marfrie56, Apr 24, 2013.

  1. marfrie56, Apr 24, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2013

    marfrie56 macrumors newbie

    Apr 24, 2013
    Hi - this is my first post.
    I'm an old pc dog. That is, I had a 286, a 386, a 486, a pentium, on and on - thru the years, culminating in an i7 Dell with Windows 7. Needless to say, I have a LOT of experience running a PC.
    So I see the gorgeous MAC display that the graphic artists at work always prefer, and I've heard how a MAC can do ANYTHING a PC can do, only faster, safer, and better. And my Dell is functioning perfectly but I figure oh what the hell and go and buy a new 27" i7 iMac with all the upgrades. And it is a thing of beauty. An expensive thing of beauty, but a thing of beauty.
    Now, the first thing I find, is that replacing all those PC apps that I've been using for years (Paint Shop Pro, MS Access, Word and Excel, etc) is either going to be impossible or will put me in the poor house (Adobe wants something like $1800 for their CS6 package - more than I paid for my first car and getting MS Access on the MAC is going to be a discouraging, futile exercise in frustration ). Then, there are the differences in operating the thing (I am getting the hang of it) but everything takes me sooooooooo long. Dragging the cursor from one corner of this enormous screen to the other is like driving from NY to CA. So I have my PC set up right next to my MAC because I don't have all night to get my work done.
    I always heard/felt/understood that a PC is for programmers and a MAC is for artists. Will, I'm a little (or a lot) of both.
    Yes, this MAC is a museum worthy piece of aesthetics, but but if I have to get some work done (or actually, get anything done) I go straight to my PC and then play with the MAC after I've accomplished what I needed to do - on the PC. I watched my 14 day window of opportunity to return the iMac dwindle to nothing so now return is out of the question.
    On a desert island with only 1 computer? PC is the obvious choice.
    Please reassure me that I haven't wasted a slew of money on nothing, and I will grow to love this MAC and feel comfortable in my decision to "come over to the dark side".
  2. nizmoz macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2008
    Purchase for your MAC and install Win 7 so you can have both. Then install your copies of the software you have in it. Done.

    Or there is always Bootcamp (dual boot system). Win 7 on one side, and MAC on the other but you have to restart each time you want to get into whatever system you want.

  3. Tumbleweed666 macrumors 68000


    Mar 20, 2009
    Near London, UK.
    I was in a similar position to you, except I had the advantage that my old PC died so I didn't have an old one to fall back on and had to learn the Mac.

    One thing that helped was a book I bought, don't have it any more but it was by David Pogue and called something like "switching to the Mac".

    I only needed it for the first few weeks and then occasionally afterwards, but it was a life saver, each chapter was along the lines of "to do so and so on Windows you did such and such, here's what you'd do instead on Mac."

    The existing apps are a real killer though I agree. Have you checked out the latest PSE release? Considerably cheaper than the full version, contains a very high percentage of full CS6 capability.
  4. VideoBeagle macrumors 6502a

    Aug 17, 2010
    App Q&A testing by request.
    As Nizmoz said, Running PC software on a Mac is a snap. Besides Parallels there's VMWare and VirtualBox (Which is free, from Sun) for Virtualizatiom/Virtual Machine set up. Or Boot Camp which is actually just booting your computer up as Windows.

    Most real software is available for both platforms, with a couple of notable exceptions, whereby you either switch to a complementary program or go one of the above routes.

    If Adobe's CS is too much, and you're a Paint Shop Pro user, try Photoshop Elements which is their program at PSP's level. or Pixelmator or one of the open source GIMP variants.

    I'm afraid I can't tell you about database program choices if you wanted to replace Access.

    Mac OS is a UNIX variant..the idea of Mac's aren't for programers is a long dead thought, if it was ever true anyhow. Except (possibly) for the Microsoft owned languages, there's nothing you can't code on the Mac that you can on any other platform.

    I do Windows XP and 7 Tech support, and have for years. I use Macs at home. You can draw your own conclusions about which environment I think is frankly better.

    (On a desert island, I'd take a mac, btw. Will work better, using your conconut power more efficiently, and the sealed nature of the iMac makes it more seaworthy than a PC if you need a raft to escape).
  5. trustever macrumors 6502

    Jan 14, 2013
    if you really need windows than go down the route of boot camp, you will have windows running as on a pc and you will be able to use all the software you need.
  6. andydckent macrumors member

    Jun 2, 2009
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Sounds like you might want to adjust your mouse settings in the system preferences?

    Also make a Windows BootCamp partition for those Windows apps that you need.

  7. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Based on your computer history, I'm guessing you and I are about the same age. I made the switch to Macs about five years ago and had some of the same struggles you are. If I may make some suggestions...

    I ditched my Windows machine at the time, but had to use a Windows machine at work and it drove me completely nuts going back and forth trying to remember/learn how to do things on each machine and where to go for different settings and functions. I think the transition would have been much easier had I not been using the Windows machine at the same time. So my point is, you might find the transition easier if you put the Windows machine away for now and force yourself to go 100% Mac until you have decided for sure either way. If you ultimately decide to dump the Mac you will be able to get a good price for a near new iMac like yours on eBay.

    You may find it helpful to go through some of the Apple tutorials at this link.

    You can get MS Office for Mac for $115 on Amazon, so that will set you up for Office apps. Bento for Mac is a very popular database app that should replace Access for you (unless you are using very advanced Access features) and is $49. Also, take a look at Pixelmator as a PShop replacement for $15... not as advanced as PShop, but many of us find it does all we need.

    Lastly, you will many helpful people here on this forum if you get stuck on something or need a recommendation for a particular program replacement on the Mac side. Just post up if you need help. :)
  8. marfrie56 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 24, 2013
    I want to thank those that responded.
    If I went the "boot camp" route - you think I'd be able to run Access?
    I do develop access databases, using advanced functions, writing VBA and SQL.
    If I could get access running, and I go with ps elements, I might just be able to ditch the pc. I already bought office for Mac (but access is not included).
    Thanks again for any past or future responses.
  9. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Most definitely. All Bootcamp really is is a bootloader that tells the Mac to reboot directly into Windows along with the necessary Windows drivers. So Access will be running in Windows just like it always has, only on your iMac hardware.
  10. joe-h2o macrumors 6502a

    Jun 24, 2012
    Access will never be included - it's very much Windows only, so the Mac version of Office will never have it.

    I would say that the best way for you to work would be to use something like VMWare Fusion along with Boot Camp.

    I have Fusion set up on my Mac (it's a snap) and it can boot the Boot Camp partition as a virtual machine that can then run in "Unity" mode which is an amazing feature.

    Essentially it allows you to have your Windows-windows alongside your Mac windows as if they were native, so you can cut and paste between them, have them side by side, minimise them etc, as if you were just running one OS. It's worth the $50 alone I paid for VMWare.

    Even better, I can isolate the Windows OS from the internet and if anything *does* go wrong I can simply nuke and pave it and restore it from a clean image that already has all my software set up etc.

    I run an assortment of science software that is Win only (Origin, ACD Labs NMR suite, etc) and it allows me to stay on the Mac side without hassle.

    I only boot into Windows natively if I want to game, but because it's my boot camp partition I can do that easily - Windows doesn't care if it's booted in the VM or if it boots natively (although the NVidia control panel thing might complain that the GPU has gone missing occasionally since the VM doesn't give it direct access to the hardware).

    MS Access will very happily run in Boot Camp (since that's literally just Windows running on a Mac natively), or from within a VM with Mac OS X as a host OS, since it's a full version of windows running inside there.

    I gave my Mac a nice big chunk of extra RAM - 16 GB total, so that I could assign 6 GB to the virtual machine. Now when the VM is running, Windows thinks it's running on a generic Intel PC with 6GB of RAM.

    I'd also suggest that you look at the Magic Trackpad - it's much more ergonomic for traversing that enormous screen real estate, or if you want to stick to a mouse just increase the tracking speed.

    Also note that if you use a VM (or even bootcamp itself) you can remap the buttons. On the Mac side, the modifier key is Command (the propeller key) not Control, and this will carry into the VM so copy would be Command+C etc, but you can reassign this so that in Windows you are using the control key as you would when it's booted natively. It's all preference - if you do a lot of work in Windows and have got used to specific key combos that you don't want to change then you can tailor it as you need.
  11. koulmj Suspended


    Mar 18, 2013
    Go take a college class and then use the "Education" discount to buy software, the adobe collection is like 499$(or one of them is), Microsoft, and the Mathmatica people also do huge discounts, no need to go poor to transition!
  12. VideoBeagle macrumors 6502a

    Aug 17, 2010
    App Q&A testing by request.
    I use Parallels, but yeah..I have some media processing software that's windows open. i keep a compressed disc image on a usb drive and load a copy when I need it. I use the program for my project, then when done, I crumple up the Windows image and throw it away. There's something very satisfying about throwing away a windows pc when it gets buggy or bloated :)

    for Marfire:
    Also, since it sounds like you haven't moved into the mac just yet, you can easily experiment a already have boot came with your Mac, so see if you like it..see if there's a trial for parallels of VMware (reviews between the two basicly have them switching off each version for which has better features) to see how that works for you. (Or try sun's Virtualbox, which isn't as elegant as those two, but it's free)..see how you like virtual machines...
  13. marfrie56 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 24, 2013
    again, thanks to all who have replied.

    Not to try to quote each post, but a few comments:
    -I did speed up the mouse - actually already have the magic trackpad or whatever it's called. What happens is, when I want to drag and drop, and the source and destinations are any physical distance apart, I run out of real-estate on the pad and can't reach the destination. This is no deal breaker or cause for teeth gnashing - but I think a mouse would be easier.

    -sounds like bootcamp is the way to go - guess I'll give it a try. Not sure what the VMWare does on top of that. Seems like that might allow me to run both systems simultaneously - which would be a gas.

    -as far as a Mac being equally - or even more - friendly for programmers - might be the case but from the very beginning, with the PC you had to deal with a command prompt, batch files, config files, etc - where the Mac had a GUI and just worked. Actually my first computer was a Commodore Amiga - which was more similar to a Mac than a PC, and had a Motorola chip like a Mac (in those days) unlike the PC which had the intel chip. As I recall, that is.

    So thanks again and I'll let you know how things work out with Boot Camp.
    I asked for reassurance and I received it, and lots of it.
    Pretty nice place you have here.
  14. joe-h2o macrumors 6502a

    Jun 24, 2012
    That is exactly what VMWare Fusion does (or Parallels if you go with that).

    You can basically start Windows like a program, then run all your windows software, and shut it down when you're finished with it, all without having to reboot.
  15. marfrie56, Apr 24, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2013

    marfrie56 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 24, 2013
    wow. that would be great.
    I'm running Boot Camp Assistant as I write.
    Put 125GB out of the 1TB into the Windows partition.
    Hard to gauge but I want to run Mac software for the most part, and most of my data goes on an external drive anyway.
    I have a Windows 7 install disk (I always try to get the OS on disk if possible).
    So let's see how this works out...

    EDIT (later)
    after a moment of terror and a session with the Apple Care guy, everything is fine now.
    what happened was right after the bootcamp proceedure, it tried to restart but could not boot.
    instead it displayed a message saying no bootable disk found.
    that was the moment of terror.
    but the apple care session was great - he had me hold down the option key while booting.
    THen we went through the whole procedure together and this time it all worked.
    the apple guy said maybe it was the flash drive that stopped it from booting.
    that's the flash drive that the system told me to put in there in the first place.
    go figure.
    but many thanks again to all - I have windows 7 on my Mac now!
    I not only got reassurance, but a solution to the problem that was truly bumming me out.
  16. marfrie56 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 24, 2013
    Can anyone tell me how to accomplish this image backup?
    How do you create it? How often do you update it? Where is it stored? Mac hard drive? DVDs?
  17. ditzy macrumors 68000


    Sep 28, 2007
    With the trackpad, if you put two fingers on the trackpad but only drag with one of them, when you run out of space with the dragging finger you can lift that one put it back in the centre then drag it further.
    Hope I've explained that well enough.
  18. marfrie56 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 24, 2013
    I was asking about the image back up.
    I got a mouse - way prefer it to the trackpad (which is still connected as well).
  19. joe-h2o macrumors 6502a

    Jun 24, 2012
    You can use a program like Winclone to image your bootcamp partition and store it anywhere you like.

    Bear in mind it will be large (ie, the size of windows and installed apps at the very least), so you'll need a large place to keep it. I don't incrementally update my image since I just have it in case I want to nuke and pave, but it is possible to have the software keep track of the changes you make in Windows (so you always have a current state version, rather than just an image frozen in time).

    I keep mine on my external backup drive along with the Time Machine backup.
  20. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    MAC = Media Access Controller, as in MAC address. Mac = Macintosh Computer.

    As a programmer, the first thing you do when you get your Mac is go to the App Store, and download Xcode. That gives you C, C++, Objective-C and Objective-C++. C and C++ support C11 and C++11, unlike Microsoft's compilers. You get for free the exact same tools that Apple uses to create MacOS X, iOS, and all the Apple applications. Everything fully Posix compliant. You also get all the Posix tools, you get Perl, Python, Ruby, Java if you want, and Mono.
  21. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    Hang in there. Pretty soon going to your PC will feel like using your old 8-track player.

  22. 2Turbo macrumors 6502


    Feb 18, 2011
    Trust me, once you get used to Mac, it's much better than Windows. Once you get virtulization setup, running windows and osx at the same time is a breeze and the ultimate fusion. Just need enough RAM for that. :D
  23. eduardrw macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2013
    Just as an additional argument for a virtual Machine (VM - Parallels etc)
    Parallels for example has a tool which runs on you old PC and creates a "clone" of it.
    This "cloned machine will then run under Parallels on your iMAC in virtual mode - OS X and Windows at the same time.
    Your "old windows machine will be brought over totally identical with all programs etc installed.
    Just make sure you don't duplicate all of your data since the file will be big - same size as disk space used on you windows computer.
  24. Fatboy71 macrumors 65816


    Dec 21, 2010
    I was a Windows PC user for 10 years and I knew that I would be getting a new computer at the beginning of 2013.

    I was fed up with the random issues/problems I have had with Windows over the years, I was also fed up with having to run anti virus, anti spyware software.

    Around August 2012, I started my research on various forums, reading about things, asking countless questions, and getting immense amounts of help.

    From what I found out. I found that the programs I used on Windows, were either available in a Mac version or there was an equivalent application on the Mac that would allow me to do the same thing, for example, I used to use Nero (to burn CD's, DVD's) on my Windows PC. On Mac, Nero isn't available but there is an application called Toast Titanium (which does the same thing).

    From my experience, I find applications on the Mac to be more user friendly, easy to find your way around than the Windows equivalent.

    When I'd went through all the programs I used on Windows, and looked either for a Mac version or an equivalent application that would do the same thing on Mac. I found that there was only 3 programs on Windows that I couldn't get a Mac equivalent, these 3 programs I only use perhaps once or twice per month. My girlfriend is into card making and has a large collection of CD Roms that mostly will only run on Windows, so she relies on Windows much more than I do.

    With Parallels Desktop, I installed Windows 7, and its a great application to have if you simple cannot do it on Mac. It runs Windows flawlessly.

    I tried a free application first, think it was called Virtual Box. It run Windows fine, but I was wanting to use AnyDVD (which is only available on Windows). The CD/DVD drive would not show up when using Virtual Box, Windows 7. So I then downloaded a trial version of Parallels Desktop, this ran AnyDVD perfectly. Yeah try Virtual Box first, but if I'm honest I would go for Parallels Desktop as it just seems to do everything perfectly from what I've seen. The last thing you want to do is get Virtual Box installed, Windows, your programs, and then find that there's something that won't run correctly.

    My advise is this:

    1: Don't be in too big of a rush to get a Mac (this gives you plenty of time to think of and ask questions). Allow yourself a couple of months to research and ask the questions.

    2: Write down what programs you use on your Windows computer. And then you can look around to see if there is either a Mac version or an equivalent application on Mac that basically does the same thing.

    3: If you have not already joined, join the Apple Support forums. This was the place where I got the most help from if I'm honest.

    Here's the link:

    4: Have an external hard drive that will be large enough to backup your music, documents, photos that you have on your Windows PC.

    5: Once you get your Mac, try and forget the Windows way of doing things and instead learn how to do it the Mac way.

    I made the switch to Mac in January this year and I can say hand on heart that I've no regrets. I only wish I'd made the move earlier. I now use and enjoy using my computer, rather than a lot of the time having to perform maintenance, solving problems, which was the case when I had my Windows PC.

    I've had it said to me on various forums that "once you've purchased/used a Mac, you won't go back to a Windows PC". And from the experience I've had, I totally agree.

    If I was on a desert island and could only have one computer, it would most definitely be a Mac :)
  25. Tikatika macrumors 6502


    Mar 12, 2012
    Northern California
    @FatBoy, a resounding THANK YOU for your really helpful post.

    I have been in "research mode" for several months now as my 5 year old Windows desktop died and I am relying on a 6 year old Windows laptop, and my beloved iPad 3.

    There is one thing certain ... I will never have another Windows computer for precisely the reasons you stated!

    I will be getting the 21.5 iMac because of space issues. I play EQ2, SW:TOR and WoW ... Photo editing, Internet, personal business and email. I have been struggling with how to equip it and would appreciate your and everybody elses advice.

Share This Page