windows emulation


macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 28, 2001
What if apple had a sort of windows emulator that shipped with new macs. It wouldn't have to have the windows look and feel. It could be like a windows "environment." It would recognize windows apps from the MacOS finder and launch them from there. There used to be a DOS emulator like this for Macs. Apple could advertise that Mac OS runs most windows Apps.

:cool: cool

I think that this would help apple, but it might be bad because it might not convert developers . . .

think about it . . .


macrumors 68040
Feb 24, 2001
This would make all the developers slack off and just make windows software. The quality of mac products would plummet as a result. It would end up like if Apple released OS X and everyone kept making classic applications for it. Besides, Steve's pride would never let him include emulation software :) .


macrumors member
Jan 5, 2002
i think it would be cool to release it with emulators for all windows systems, even windows xp, and linux so then it could be considered the unltimate compatability os. a total change for mac os's. but it wont ever happen


Moderator emeritus
Nov 28, 2001
down in Fraggle Rock
when i bought my biege g3 some years back apple was doing a promotion where you could get some extra ram or virtual pc (version 2 or 3 i think) for free. i think most people got virtual pc (just my observations from time in the store). i didnt like vpc very much but still use it occasionally. there are hacks out there to boot virtual pc instead of the finder. im sure these hacks can be adapted in osx to launch vpc as the classic finder. there is a hack to launch the classic finder instead of the emulated classic as well, this is interesting because it gives you both os9 windows and osx windows plus popup windows. im mentioning this because it makes it clear that apple's classic in osx allows for an amazing amount of freedom that shows the potential more integrated emulation software in the future.

so in summary: its possible. we can do it ourselves with a couple hacks. but... i dont think people want a fully integrated emulation solution. its just creepy.


macrumors 6502a
Jan 2, 2002
Denver, CO
This article at MacWindows seems relevant:

January 10, 2002 -- Yesterday we met with Connectix executives to discuss the cause of Virtual PC 5 slower performance in Mac OS X, which we reported on January 7. Connectix claims that some Apple applications don't experience the slowdowns of VPC because of extra access to the processor given to Apple applications. "There's a discrepancy between Apple apps and non-Apple apps." said Director of Product Management Kurt Schmucker.

As we've previously mentioned, Connectix says that VPC in OS X will never be as fast as it is in OS 9. Connectix claims that Virtual PC can't get enough processor power in Mac OS X because of preemptive multitasking. Virtual PC is not "event driven" (using the processor in response to user commands)--but instead needs constant processing power, which preemptive multitasking can't give it, according to Connectix. However, there are other nonevent driven OS X applications that have good performance--iTunes and iMovie, for instance. Connectix claims that Apple applications get access to the processor that other apps don't. "It's undocumented API's that give iTunes and iMovie their smoothness," said Connectix QA Manager Jeff Woolsey.

If they exist, these undocumented APIs are the kind of secret trap doors that Microsoft is often accused of using for Windows applications. However, Schmucker said he did not think Apple was intentionally withholding technology, saying that Apple already has given Connectix help with porting VPC. "Virtual PC exercises more parts of the kernel than any other application," he said. Schmucker also said that Apple is currently working with Connectix to improve VPC performance, possibly incorporating changes in a future version of OS X. We could not contact an Apple representative for a comment.

Another issue for Virtual PC 5 is that it is a Carbon application, which means it is subjected to the processing overhead that all Carbon applications are subjected to. Carbon is the fastest way to port an application to Mac OS X, enabling a developer retain large portions of its code base instead of creating a new application from scratch. (Microsoft Office is also a Carbon application.)

So, (if I read this right) it sounds as if no emulation from within OS X can ever be as fast as emulation from within OS 9.

Bummer, but as processors continue to get faster (and developers understand OS X programming better and better), maybe they will get fast enough to be tolerable. I use VPC 5 when I have to, but it is unbelievably slow.



macrumors 65816
Oct 30, 2001
London, UK
Now that more and more applications are being written specifically for OSX, I doubt whether it would be practical or useful to have a PC emulator, except as a novelty.

What's the point in EMULATING Photoshop - or Quake - on an emulator, when you can get these programs in native Mac-speak?

I have VPC 5 with Win98 Build 2, (G4 450 Cube/768Mb/OSX) and it feels as if I'm flogging a dead horse. It's useful for accessing PC-savvy programs, but I think for speed and efficiency, I'll get Maclink Plus 13 instead, and save the VPC 5 for impressing my friends...