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Virtual PC v7 for Mac?


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MacWins
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Columbus, OH
 
2005-03-23, 01:14

Hi all,

I purchased a brand-new, loaded 15" PowerBook G4 last year around this time and have been a very happy (and loyal) Mac convert ever since. In fact, I evangelize the brand like crazy and have already bought an additional $1500 worth of Mac gadgets and software because I love the stuff so much!

Recently, due to some entrepreneurial interests of mine, I purchased some business software (an investment trading platform and a real estate platform) that run on PC's only. Since I love my Mac and think PC's are totally unstable, unsecure pieces of crap, I'd like to run the software on my Mac. As a result, I need to purchase Virtual PC.

My question is this: What is the performance of Virtual PC like? The new version is supposed to be faster, but how fast is it? Will the speed be very obnoxiously slow? The software is not too memory/energy-consuming from my understanding. I could produce the necessary system requirements if necessary.

I still have my old PC stored away in a closet, so I could technically set that up again. Or, God forbid, I could buy a cheap PC just to run the stuff! But, if possible, I'd really like to stick with Mac--the far superior performer.

Any recommendations?
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Brad
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Join Date: May 2004
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2005-03-23, 01:25

My understanding is the VPC7 doesn't bring any remarkable speed improvements to the table. One general way of describing VPC is to say that it emulates a PC process 1/4th the speed of your Mac's processor. This is, of course, a very unscientific description and both speed and perception of speed will vary on a case-by-case basis.

If this software that doesn't require a lot of intense number crunching, VPC would work fine. Most business-type software works well in VPC. Also, if you like the idea of taking your "PC" with you wherever you go, VPC would be great.

The quality of this board depends on the quality of the posts. The only way to guarantee thoughtful, informative discussion is to write thoughtful, informative posts. AppleNova is not a real-time chat forum. You have time to compose messages and edit them before and after posting.
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scratt
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2005-03-23, 01:34

Personally I would get a copy of VPC 6.
I have VPC 7 running XP on my Dual G5 and it is usable... But nothing special, which is dissapointing considering the hardware that it has to play on! VPC 7 is also much more bug ridden than VPC 6 and is now a totally M$ product with several draw backs which may or may not be relevant to you... I won't say any more.

VPC 6 (the version I have) is from the Connectix stable and I think a better product, personally.

I have VPC 6 on my 17" G4 (First gen - 1GHz) and I actually find that with Windows 98 is usable.

Forget XP. It is bug ridden anyway. Go with 98 on whatever version of VPC you are using... You will also find 98 is far less vulnerable to the big virus attacks that go around periodically...

Just my 2c.

'Remember, measure life by the moments that take your breath away, not by how many breaths you take'
Extreme Sports Cafe | ESC's blog | scratt's blog | @thescratt
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Brad
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2005-03-23, 01:43

I use Windows 2000 on my copy of VPC. I tried XP once and it was painfully slow.

One random bit of advice for VPC users that I follow is that you can disable its network connection to protect it from outside attacks. Yes, you will still have to treat your VPC like a regular PC and protect it from viruses, spyware, etc.

The quality of this board depends on the quality of the posts. The only way to guarantee thoughtful, informative discussion is to write thoughtful, informative posts. AppleNova is not a real-time chat forum. You have time to compose messages and edit them before and after posting.
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scratt
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2005-03-23, 01:45

Has anyone tried this.... ?

linky

Brad, Yeah it seems that the two verions of window to use are either 2000 or 98... Most people I know who are actually putting PCs in to commercial applications like Internet Cafes and the like all avoid XP like the plague..

I had an internet cafe in the UK before I left and we were the only one which kept working when one of the big virus attacks went round.. Our local library and the University were dead for two days because they were using XP!! Hilarious!

'Remember, measure life by the moments that take your breath away, not by how many breaths you take'
Extreme Sports Cafe | ESC's blog | scratt's blog | @thescratt
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Brad
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2005-03-23, 01:50

iEmulator appears to be a front-end for the open source (read: free) "QEMU" emulation software. I understand that QEMU is much faster than BOCHS (another open source x86 emulator), but I would strongly question the boasts made in the video where iEumator is running a benchmark tool.

QEMU itself is cumbersome and difficult to setup and run. If iEmulator provides a good interface for it, though, it might be well worth the $24. That's chump change next to the $150 for VirtualPC.

The quality of this board depends on the quality of the posts. The only way to guarantee thoughtful, informative discussion is to write thoughtful, informative posts. AppleNova is not a real-time chat forum. You have time to compose messages and edit them before and after posting.
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scratt
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2005-03-23, 01:50

Just did some more searching....

Apparently the above program is actually "Qemu".
Which is free here

Would still like to hear of anyones experience.. I may bookmark that to play with later...

EDIT: Doh! Beat me to it, Brad!!

'Remember, measure life by the moments that take your breath away, not by how many breaths you take'
Extreme Sports Cafe | ESC's blog | scratt's blog | @thescratt
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FFL
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2005-03-23, 03:52

If the PC has Windows 2000 Server or XP Pro, you can set up as a headless PC and use Remote Desktop Connection on your Mac to run your software, at much better speeds than VPC.

http://www.microsoft.com/mac/downloa...osysreq=Tr ue
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scratt
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2005-03-23, 03:54

Quote:
Originally Posted by FFL
If the PC has Windows 2000 Server or XP Pro, you can set up as a headless PC and use Remote Desktop Connection on your Mac to run your software, at much better speeds than VPC.

http://www.microsoft.com/mac/downloa...osysreq=Tr ue
That's cool.... Being the lazy "Butt flingin' user" that I am do you know if there is there a decent tutorial on this anywhere on the web?
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FFL
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2005-03-23, 04:03

You just have to enable Remote connections on the PC (tutorials should be easy to find, I forget the details), and then put the PC's IP address into the RDC client on your Mac.
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scratt
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2005-03-23, 04:28

Got that.. I am trying to run it on the same machine and when I enter localhost, or the equivalent in the Computer it doesn't like it.. Perhaps I am being dense... Please tell....

I was trying to be a smart arse basically and try serving my 17" from my G5 running VPC7 and XP Pro... But I cannot get them to see each other... They try, but either tell me there are too many connections open or the machine does not exist...

Does anyone know if this is possible? Just for kicks!!

'Remember, measure life by the moments that take your breath away, not by how many breaths you take'
Extreme Sports Cafe | ESC's blog | scratt's blog | @thescratt

Last edited by scratt : 2005-03-23 at 04:39.
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staph
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2005-03-23, 04:29

Let me assure you that Qemu is leagues ahead of Bochs in terms of speed.

There is/was a free GUI frontend done for it by some dude over at the MacNN forums. You could probably find it on Macupdate if you looked.
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HowardG
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Spokane, WA
 
2005-03-24, 13:20

If you're going to be using Virtual PC on the G4 only then I would look for VPC 6.x running Windows 2000 as your best bet in terms of performance and efficiency.

Contrary to popular belief there is no difference between Microsoft version of 6 and the Connectix version. Microsofts version is just a rebranding.

Now if you have any aspirations of eventually using it on a G5 machine, then you'll want to move to VPC 7 running Windows 2000 for best performance. VPC6 doesn't run on G5 processors, VPC 7 will run on either.
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MacWins
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Columbus, OH
 
2005-03-24, 22:30

Everyone,

Thanks for the great response and multiple suggestions. As someone who is not extremely tech-savvy, some of it is over my head a bit, but all suggestions are welcome.

What would you suggest is better: running Virtual PC v.6 (Win2000) or running a PC through my Mac via Remote Desktop? I currently don't have Win2000 Server or XP Pro, but imagine I could pick one up at a cheap cost somewhere.

How would the Remote Desktop option work differently than VPC? How much faster and more stable would it be? What hardware requirements would exist? Should I upgrade my PC since it's old (purchased in '99) and insecure/unstable?

If possible, I'd rather spend the money on purchasing a 23" HD screen than a PC that I don't really like. Because the software is not very intensive, could I run it at a reasonable speed (at least 1/2 speed) via VPC on my PB G4?

One more question--could someone please address the security concerns associated with either option? Do I need to purhcase virus protection software with either option?

Mike
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scratt
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2005-03-25, 02:04

To answer most of yuor question.. You can almost definitely pick up a PC that will outperform VPC for less than the cost of the software. You are going to have to buy an OS to go with VPC anyway, so that cost is irrelevant.

Installation...
It is as easy to configure as connecting your PC and Mac via ethernet, downloading the Remote Client software for the Mac, running it, and changing some real simple settings in the control panel on the PC.

If I was bothered about doing this now, with what I know now I would definitely buy a cheap PC and stick it in the corner... I could also then use it as a server testing bed for PHP, etc.

In either case you need Virus protection. The VPC environment is a fully functional PC running on your Mac. The two environments are protected from one another so a Virus on your emulated PC will not 'take-down' your Mac. But a Virus on the emulated PC will still kill the PC.

I am not sure how protected the headless PC under the desk will be if it is effectively runing through a remote client on the Mac... But I suspect it is just as vulnerable to attacks if it is doing anything that connects to the internet through the Mac.

My 2c.. I am sure there are others with different / more experience..

'Remember, measure life by the moments that take your breath away, not by how many breaths you take'
Extreme Sports Cafe | ESC's blog | scratt's blog | @thescratt
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Brad
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Join Date: May 2004
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2005-03-25, 02:19

Running the PC via Remote Desktop would almost certainly be faster. Much faster. RD simply pipes the video across to your Mac from your PC. The PC itself is still doing all the number crunching and drive access and such. This will also make your Mac faster since it won't be using up oodles of compute cycles for the emulation. The real PC will also guarantee you compatibility with anything you throw at it. Virtual PC sometimes (although very rarely) has problems with some software titles. Admittedly, though, the only software that ever gave me any trouble was an assembly compiler and debugger for a computer engineering class.

However, this is not to say there are no benefits to Virtual PC. VPC offers drag-and-drop of files directly between your Mac and the PC environments. It also allows you to create virtual network drives on the PC that link to folders on your Mac. Virtual PC gives you the ability to run multiple virtual systems with ease. I, for example, have a Windows 98 setup, a Windows 2000 setup with IE 5.5, and a Windows 2000 setup with IE 6.0. I have the latter two separated for testing web site code in the two browsers. Furthermore, you can pause the PC at any moment and save it for later use. Best of all, since you have a PowerBook, Virtual PC allows you to take your PC wherever you go.

Regarding security, they're the same. Neither is going to hurt your Mac, but both will need the standard PC maintenance.

Remote Desktop is just a window that displays your PC's screen. It's as simple as that. You can interact with it via your keyboard and mouse, but it'll never touch anything on your Mac.

Virtual PC offers a wholly self-contained environment. The emulated PC will never be able to access any of your files unless you explicitly attach some folder as a networked drive as I described above. However, since the emulated PC is practically a real PC for all intents and purposes, you may want to install a spyware scanner or anti-virus software on the emulated PC. Would you put "program X" on your real Windows box to protect it? If so, you should put it on the emulated Windows box as well.

The quality of this board depends on the quality of the posts. The only way to guarantee thoughtful, informative discussion is to write thoughtful, informative posts. AppleNova is not a real-time chat forum. You have time to compose messages and edit them before and after posting.
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scratt
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2005-03-25, 02:46

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad
Virtual PC gives you the ability to run multiple virtual systems with ease. I, for example, have a Windows 98 setup, a Windows 2000 setup with IE 5.5, and a Windows 2000 setup with IE 6.0. I have the latter two separated for testing web site code in the two browsers.
Thanks for expanding on my answers, Brad.

You could of course do the above on a PC.
Not running simulataneously, but then I doubt you would run them simultaneously on VPC - even though you could.

It is also worth rememebring that a downside with VPC (albeit not a particularly significant one) is that if you have a problem on your Mac, or need to shut it down you also have a problem with your PC or have to shut it down.

Oh, and I have found that having a couple of Windows installations on a laptop does tend to be a drain on hard drive space.. So much so that I have archived my XP installation on my 17". But then that is nice too.. As well as being able to "pause" a running PC for as long as you want, you can actually archive the whole damn thing - running or not - for as long as you want...

'Remember, measure life by the moments that take your breath away, not by how many breaths you take'
Extreme Sports Cafe | ESC's blog | scratt's blog | @thescratt
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Franz Josef
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: London
 
2005-03-25, 07:37

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacWins
Hi all,

I purchased a brand-new, loaded 15" PowerBook G4 last year around this time and have been a very happy (and loyal) Mac convert ever since. In fact, I evangelize the brand like crazy and have already bought an additional $1500 worth of Mac gadgets and software because I love the stuff so much!

Recently, due to some entrepreneurial interests of mine, I purchased some business software (an investment trading platform and a real estate platform) that run on PC's only. Since I love my Mac and think PC's are totally unstable, unsecure pieces of crap, I'd like to run the software on my Mac. As a result, I need to purchase Virtual PC.

My question is this: What is the performance of Virtual PC like? The new version is supposed to be faster, but how fast is it? Will the speed be very obnoxiously slow? The software is not too memory/energy-consuming from my understanding. I could produce the necessary system requirements if necessary.

I still have my old PC stored away in a closet, so I could technically set that up again. Or, God forbid, I could buy a cheap PC just to run the stuff! But, if possible, I'd really like to stick with Mac--the far superior performer.

Any recommendations?
I find VPC 7.0 slow on my PB. It needs 512MB RAM and preferably 768MB. I use it because I need it professionally on an ad hoc basis but it's not a pleasant experience.
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MacWins
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Join Date: Mar 2005
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2005-03-25, 22:04

Thanks again, everyone. This helps immensely! (Thanks Franz...it helps to hear from someone in the same boat.)

To summarize the Remote Desktop option, it sounds like the only disadvantages to Remote Desktop is that you cannot take your PC with you and you cannot share files (via drag & drop) with your Mac. Are these fair statements?

To summarize the VPC option, it seems the disadvantage is the speed at which you operate (and the purchase of extra RAM to support the emulation), since you still have to purchase virus protection software with either option. The advantages are that you can tranfer files extremely easily and you can take your "PC" with you anywhere. Correct?

Here's a few other questions:

If I wanted portability of my "PC" and chose not to get VPC for my Mac, would it be better to pick up a cheap laptop to run through my Mac via Remote Desktop as opposed to a desktop PC? I'd like to be able to run everything through a big 23" or 30" HD Cinema screen at some point.

Also, in order to share files easily, could I pick up a firewire HD to act as a backup as well as "file exchanger" for both my Mac and PC?

I think portability is paramount to my decision making due to my mobility. Is VPC the only option I have?
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MacWins
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2005-03-25, 22:22

Oh yeah, one more thing...these are my PB's specs:

Machine Model: PowerBook G4 15"
CPU Type: PowerPC G4 (1.1)
Number Of CPUs: 1
CPU Speed: 1.25 GHz
L2 Cache (per CPU): 512 KB
Memory: 512 MB
Bus Speed: 167 MHz
Boot ROM Version: 4.7.1f1

What would you recommend doing/purchasing to make it as fast/efficient as possible if I were going to choose the VPC option?
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MacWins
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2005-03-25, 22:33

Quote:
Originally Posted by scratt
Oh, and I have found that having a couple of Windows installations on a laptop does tend to be a drain on hard drive space.. So much so that I have archived my XP installation on my 17". But then that is nice too.. As well as being able to "pause" a running PC for as long as you want, you can actually archive the whole damn thing - running or not - for as long as you want...

How would I archive? Do you/can I put archive on a firewire HD? Is this the best way of doing it? If I were to do so, how much faster would it make my PB when running VPC (or just OSX)?
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FFL
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Join Date: May 2004
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2005-03-25, 22:43

With RDC you could use Windows File Sharing to share files with your Mac. VPC's drag and drop file transfer is easier and slicker, though.

You should upgrade to 768 or 1 GB of RAM. Also, how much free hard drive space on your PowerBook?
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foo
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Join Date: Mar 2005
 
2005-03-26, 10:21

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacWins
Oh yeah, one more thing...these are my PB's specs:

Machine Model: PowerBook G4 15"
CPU Type: PowerPC G4 (1.1)
Number Of CPUs: 1
CPU Speed: 1.25 GHz
L2 Cache (per CPU): 512 KB
Memory: 512 MB
Bus Speed: 167 MHz
Boot ROM Version: 4.7.1f1

What would you recommend doing/purchasing to make it as fast/efficient as possible if I were going to choose the VPC option?
You need more RAM. Once you have 1GB or more of RAM (just get a $150 1GB stick to replace your PB's smallest DIMM you have in there now) buy VPC7 (or VPC6 if you can find it at a discount). Buy the version that includes XP Home edition. That will be everything you need for a basic XP setup, and it will do all the setup work for you so you won't need to worry about it. Then install your PC software that you need to run. Then disable the network interface card on your virtual PC. Problem solved - no more virus issues(you can't be infected if the infection can't get to your PC), and you've got a way to run your old PC software at good speed, and portably too!

Remote Desktop Connection (RDC/RDP) works great. It's a fantastic choice, and it's lightning fast. It also requires a constant network connection to the PC you're trying to control, said PC must be Server 2003 or XP Pro, and it requires a lot more technical know-how than the solution presented above. For a simple, quick setup, just get VPC with built-in XP and go to town with it. You'll pay more, but you'll get a solution that will just work, out of the box, with no other setup hassles, and Microsoft will support the entire thing for you from start to finish.

That said, I heavily use VPC (EDIT: Aggh! I meant RDC!!). I do so because I have lots of PCs and I'm typically well within wireless network range of one or two of them. I'm also technically inclined, and I'm willing to troubleshoot when there's a problem.

Again, I suggest VPC with a bundled copy of XP built "inside" of it, for a very simple and fast setup, and the purchase of a 1GB RAM stick to put in your PB.

foo - owner, 1.33Ghz PB 12.1" & user of VPC7 and MS RDP1.03

Last edited by foo : 2005-03-26 at 17:34. Reason: Typo
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scratt
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2005-03-26, 13:12

Quote:
Originally Posted by foo
That said, I heavily use VPC. I do so because I have lots of PCs and I'm typically well within wireless network range of one or two of them. I'm also technically inclined, and I'm willing to troubleshoot when there's a problem.
If you have technical know how and are in wireless range of lots of PCs why the hell do you use VPC? That doesn't make sense!! Especially when RDC is free and VPC is horribly slow and expensive!

Also as an aside with a PC with XP Pro on it, connecting a Mac to a PC so that you can use Remote Desktop Connection is as simple as plugging in an ethernet cable, and then changing a couple of Control Panel settings on each machine.. Job done.

I don't mean to be picky, but I have to say your advice is a tab misleading.

'Remember, measure life by the moments that take your breath away, not by how many breaths you take'
Extreme Sports Cafe | ESC's blog | scratt's blog | @thescratt
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MacWins
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2005-03-26, 17:00

Quote:
Originally Posted by foo
You need more RAM. Once you have 1GB or more of RAM (just get a $150 1GB stick to replace your PB's smallest DIMM you have in there now) buy VPC7 (or VPC6 if you can find it at a discount). Buy the version that includes XP Home edition. That will be everything you need for a basic XP setup, and it will do all the setup work for you so you won't need to worry about it. Then install your PC software that you need to run. Then disable the network interface card on your virtual PC. Problem solved - no more virus issues(you can't be infected if the infection can't get to your PC), and you've got a way to run your old PC software at good speed, and portably too!

Remote Desktop Connection (RDC/RDP) works great. It's a fantastic choice, and it's lightning fast. It also requires a constant network connection to the PC you're trying to control, said PC must be Server 2003 or XP Pro, and it requires a lot more technical know-how than the solution presented above. For a simple, quick setup, just get VPC with built-in XP and go to town with it. You'll pay more, but you'll get a solution that will just work, out of the box, with no other setup hassles, and Microsoft will support the entire thing for you from start to finish.

That said, I heavily use VPC. I do so because I have lots of PCs and I'm typically well within wireless network range of one or two of them. I'm also technically inclined, and I'm willing to troubleshoot when there's a problem.

Again, I suggest VPC with a bundled copy of XP built "inside" of it, for a very simple and fast setup, and the purchase of a 1GB RAM stick to put in your PB.

foo - owner, 1.33Ghz PB 12.1" & user of VPC7 and MS RDP1.03
Foo (or anyone else) --

I'm planning on picking up 2 Gigs of RAM to make this run at peak performance. Is that a smart decision? Could you recommend the OWC RAM I'd need (send a link please--the cheaper the better!)?

Also, could you send a link with for the software you were referencing (the one with XP "inside" VPC)?

How do I disable the network interface card on VPC?
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foo
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2005-03-26, 17:28

Quote:
Originally Posted by scratt
If you have technical know how and are in wireless range of lots of PCs why the hell do you use VPC? That doesn't make sense!! Especially when RDC is free and VPC is horribly slow and expensive!

Also as an aside with a PC with XP Pro on it, connecting a Mac to a PC so that you can use Remote Desktop Connection is as simple as plugging in an ethernet cable, and then changing a couple of Control Panel settings on each machine.. Job done.

I don't mean to be picky, but I have to say your advice is a tab misleading.
Q: ...why do you use VPC?
A: Because I own a Powerbook, and it's portable. If I'm ever not in range of one of my PCs, I can't use them, hence I need VPC. It's also handy for testing and development - rolling back changes is very simple.

Q: RE: RDC, XP Pro, It's so simple, etc.
A: I agree. For me, it couldn't be simpler. But the OP isn't technical, and so my advice to him isn't the same advice I'd give, say, you, or to myself - we're both technical.
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foo
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2005-03-26, 17:33

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacWins
Foo (or anyone else) --

I'm planning on picking up 2 Gigs of RAM to make this run at peak performance. Is that a smart decision? Could you recommend the OWC RAM I'd need (send a link please--the cheaper the better!)?

Also, could you send a link with for the software you were referencing (the one with XP "inside" VPC)?

How do I disable the network interface card on VPC?
Q: Do you need 2G of RAM?
A: It depends on how RAM-hungry your PC app is. The short answer is almost assuredly no - you don't need 2G of RAM. That said, 2 1GB SO-DIMMs are around $150 each these days (outpost.com, kingston brand, $150 + $20 shipping/tax - $20 MIR) so it wouldn't bankrupt you, and it would run a little bit faster. I still suggest 1 1GB SO-DIMM, and then see how it goes. Give the XP environment 512MB of that (note that YOU must do this - VPC by default only gives it 256MB), and you should be fine on all counts (with an additional 1GB DIMM).

Q: Recommend OWC RAM?
A: Any PC2700 SO-DIMM works fine. I suggest buying from the cheapest vendor you can find. I bought Kingston at Outpost for $150, as I said above.

Q: Software to run XP inside of VPC?
A: Microsoft sells VPC with XP Home bundled inside of it. Rather than pay $150 for VPC, you pay $300 - $150 for VPC and $150 for XP Home. (I'm not certain on the pricing, that's just an example to illustrate why it's $300 for the VPC with XP Home bundled with it.)

Q: How to disable the NIC in VPC?
A: Same way you disable any NIC in Windows - load up XP, Control Panel, Network, right-click on Local Area Connection NIC, and select DISABLE. Done - and virus free forever! (Assuming no floppies, no other software added, etc, etc, etc.)

Last edited by foo : 2005-03-26 at 17:36. Reason: Typo
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Barto
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Canberra, Australia
 
2005-03-26, 21:28

To disable the NIC long-term, it's easier to select "Turn Off Networking" in VPC preferences.
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