Windows 7 or 8? Which VM?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by Mopar, Jun 18, 2014.

  1. Mopar macrumors member

    Feb 24, 2011
    Never owned a PC, never really used Windoze - except the odd work machine (XP etc).

    As a rusted on Mac user (20+ years), what VM software should I buy (VMWare, Parallels etc) and which Windoze OS should I load it with?

    I only need it for a couple of outdated programs with no Mac alternative (MYOB, EFI tuning software etc) and want to make this as painless as possible for me and my Mac.

    Needs to be a virtual machine - not Bootcamp - so I can switch between programs, and I'm not fussed which Windoze version I use, as long as it's fairly easy to learn and reliable.

    Machine specs are 2013 Air, 1.7GHz i7, 8GB.

    Thanks. And sorry to offend the PC crowd, but I'm too old and set in my ways to start loving them now.
  2. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    I would recommend Fusion and Windows 7 for your needs

    Fusion and Parallels are pretty much a toss up, but I've always used Fusion
    And Windows 8, well, lets just say I prefer 7 and leave it at that
    The fact you won't be using a touch screen monitor is reason enough to stick to Win7
  3. Mopar thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 24, 2011
    No touch screen and reliability is my prime concern. Would a cheap version of Fusion 5 be OK for Win 7?

    As mentioned, it won't be for gaming or anything too taxing. Just something handy to run the odd Win program when I can't find a Mac version.
  4. Mopar thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 24, 2011
    Well, I've ruled out VMWare. For a start, they have no customer service or tech support in Australia. Whenever you call the local tech line number, it goes through to an answering machine in America.

    Conversely, I phoned Parallels and was talking to a tech rep in 10 minutes.

    Just an FYI for anyone else thinking of purchasing VMWare.
  5. jdelgado macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2009
    I need to give another data point. I use VMWare Fusion and live in Chile. There is no local customer service. I have contacted them a couple of times for support via email/web form. They called me and helped me solve my issues within a few hours since I submitted the support ticket. In my view, their support is excellent, even though they do not have local presence.

    I have no connection to VMWare, except for being a satisfied customer.
  6. Member2010 macrumors regular

    Jun 28, 2013

    I've never used VMWare for OSX before, but on Windows, it's pretty nice. Both "Workstation" (the paid, feature-rich version) and "Player" (the free, simpler version) are powerful and will get the job done. You get a ton of control over your virtual system and "VMWare Tools" lets you do cool stuff like drag-n-drop between the host OS and the virtual OS.

    Edit: Ah, I see you ruled it out already because they didn't have foreign support. Didn't see that post earlier.
  7. D.T. macrumors G3


    Sep 15, 2011
    Vilano Beach, FL
    I use Parallels (currently running v8) and have had outstanding results with it, but I think it’s almost a toss up between Parallels and VMWare. I got my Parallels for cheap, I’ve upgraded once for free, once for a reduced rate, so I’m still only into it for like $60-70 for 3 major versions and 3 years of very few issues.

    I’ve got a few VMs setup, but my main one is Win7 that runs a couple of versions of Visual Studio, MS SQL, Oracle, some other dev tools like EMS SQL. Works great, runs nicely in the background. Hardware is seems perfectly supported from ports to the FT camera.

    One of the perks of Parallels (that may be offered in VMWare now[?]) is a mode called Coherence, where Windows apps just run in their own, isolated windows right in OSX - versus running in a single Windows-window :D

    I know of at least one person who was running HPTuners in a Parallels VM. :cool:
  8. cookiesnfooty macrumors 6502


    Jul 1, 2009

    I usually use exclusively Parallels, however recently I installed VmWare and tested that with the same VM (imported it with all the same apps running).

    Performance testing both Parallels always won, I am sure VmWare is useful for some things, especially Linux but for Windows I prefer Parallels.
  9. drsox, Jul 3, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2014

    drsox macrumors 65816


    Apr 29, 2011
    Be aware of two things with the current version of Parallels.

    1. There are some bugs in using Shift and Ctrl with Win7 and Parallels9. Basically they don't work !
    2. If you want to swap drives and/or machines with the same Parallels installation, then Parallels counts that as a change of installation. You are allowed 2 changes of installation (so 3 instances) and then the initialising of the installation fails - it comes up with an error message - licence invalid or some such. Then you have to contact Parallels and a. explain and b. beg for a reset on the counter. After making you feel like a naughty boy they usually do a reset. But, there's no guarantee of doing this quickly. See the messages on the Parallels forum.

    I'm doing some troubleshooting on drives at the moment (USB vs internal), S830 vs S840Evo vs S840Pro, as well as trying out 3 versions of the Mac Mini. So it's real pain to have to do this reset nonsense (Windows activation anyone ?)

    So I'm switching to VMWare. The shift etc keys work and there's no such reset problem.
  10. Cythth macrumors regular


    Feb 24, 2013
    Lake Jackson, TX
    To answer the OP's question: VMWare and Windows 7 is the way to go. I've tried Parallels but preferred VMWare. But, as others have stated, it's a toss-up. As for Windows, stay away from W8 or W8.1.... it's the reason I became a Mac guy.
  11. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I rock with win8, and its a fine OS. I think its fine, there are simple solutions to get the start menu back and avoid the metro interface.

    My recommendation is windows 8, and VMware - I found in the past Parallels to be to unstable.
  12. Member2010 macrumors regular

    Jun 28, 2013
    windows 8 explanation

    Windows 8 does have a start menu - it's just a bit larger, and that confuses some people. The only real problem with it is the boring visuals and the lack of transparency. Most of the Aero features are still there, just slightly neutered. I think of it as "paradise lost". It has some neat features like the hybrid shutdown, built in security software, and stuff like that, but it's just ugly to look at. I will say that the 8.1 update helps functionality and familiarity a lot (it makes a world of difference), but still doesn't fix the inherent ugliness. If you're just looking to get some work done on a familiar OS, Vista or 7 is the way to go; if you're looking for a really fast install and don't care about visuals, 8 will work well enough (just be sure to upgrade to 8.1).
  13. Mopar thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 24, 2011
    Just as an update, I ended up with Parallels 9 and Windows 7. Parallels is great - the only bug I've been able to find is when connecting peripherals (mainly my printer) while Windows is running, the machine insists on printing via Windows instead of OSX. The simple fix is to turn off Windows while printing.

    Other than that, Coherence is nice and you hardly even notice that Windows is running, as it's just like running another OSX program.

    Performance is good and I have no complaints at all.

    As another update, I tried contacting VM Ware on at least five separate occasions - including contacting a rep here in Australia who passed on my enquiry to head office in the US - and not one person ever got back to me.

    I cannot recommend VM Ware to anyone outside the US, though I'm glad the person from Chile had better luck than I did at getting customer support.

    Then again, I'm glad I went with Parallels in the end.
  14. MacMini-Windows macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2014
    Have you considered codeweaver? No Windows license fee required and it runs most windows software - just check their website if your software is supported. Advantage is that the windows software will run at native speed unlike when you use a VM.
  15. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    The problem with that is not all software runs on CodeWeaver. I think its a great idea on paper but on execution is another thing.
  16. MacMini-Windows macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2014
    Obviously I was not clear enough in my post but often software will run even if it has not been mentioned. At times functionality is reduced and if you can live with that then this may still be an acceptable solution.

    It does not cost a lot of time to test (there is a trial period) rather than rushing out and spend money on Windows and Parallels or Fusion. Windows is not particularly cheap and then every time a new OS X release comes along you have to buy another Fusion / Parallels license.
  17. SlCKB0Y macrumors 68040


    Feb 25, 2012
    Sydney, Australia
    As someone who has had to deal with parallels extensively over a period of years in my professional life I will never, ever use another parallels product again and where possible, neither will my company.

    They gave me a key for parallels desktop 9 for free and I paid money for fusion... That should tell you something.

    I don't care if they pick up the phone .. They are a terrible company to be avoided at all costs. Besides they have like 3 people in Sydney and they are all sales... Wait until you raise a support ticket with them.


    Or you could just use play on mac for free
  18. xraydoc macrumors demi-god


    Oct 9, 2005
    I prefer Windows 8.1's flat look to the XP-but-transparent windows that was Windows 7 (and Vista).

    Add a Start button utility (and maybe a utility that lets you run Metro apps in a window) and Windows 8 is ready to go.
  19. MacMini-Windows macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2014
    Going by the recommendations here on Macrumours I initially bought Parallels and could never get it to work on my Mac mini. Raised a support ticket and was given the brush-off. Finished up buying Fusion. Latency had me installing Windows in Bootcamp, I need real time reponse not a mouse lagging half a second or more and I need full function key functionaility to my programs, not having a function key do something with the virtual software.

    I am investigating Codeweaver and have some hickups with the program that need to work with it. Have not had the time to check if there is a work around for it.

    But many thanks for pointing out playonmac - was not aware of it and will give it a go as well.


    Classic start menu is free and works well. The rumour is that Windows 9 will bring back a start menu and let you run apps similar to an application under 7.

    I actually liked 7 a lot and hated Vista, downgraded to XP and ran that until Windows 7 SP1.....

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