Windows business software on Macbook Pro

The business side of my life needs a Windows machine; the personal-interest (art, music) would benefit from a Mac. I’m thinking of getting a Macbook Pro. But I absolutely have to know that Bootcamp will run my Windows applications as smoothly as a true Windows machine would.

I’ll be running things like SPSS, Access, Quickbooks, etc., not just the common suite of Office products (Word, PowerPoint and Excel).

My assumption is that most people don’t by a Mac knowing that probably 75% of the time they will be running Windows apps, so I just wanted to hear from anyone who extensively used this feature about whether it would be a good idea for me to go this route.

I work with both Macs and Windows. First off, Bootcamp is not an emulator or virtual machine, it’s a tool for partitioning a Mac to run OSX or Windows. You still have to buy a copy of Windows and install it on the second partition. When you run Windows on a Mac using Bootcamp it’s no different than on any other PC.

That being said, I find the common idea that Windows is better for business, Macs are better for art and music to be both funny and bewildering. For the most part, there is nothing you can do on one platform that you can’t do on the other. There are some specific applications that are Mac only or Windows only, but there are equivalent apps on both machines. And most of the software that’s available for either, Propellorheads Reason for instance, works exactly the same on either.

If you already have a Windows machine that works well and want to try a Mac, I’d recommend getting a MacBook Pro (I use one at work and they’re great) and continuing to use your existing PC for the Windows stuff. That way you don’t have to reboot to switch platforms. It’s pretty easy to share data over a network or using USB drives.

I’d also recommend ignoring both anti-Mac propaganda and anti-Windows propaganda. They both have pros and cons, but both are fine systems.

Other options include VMware Fusion, Parallels Desktop and VirtualBox.

I’ve run AutoCAD on WIndows XP in a virtual machine under VMWare. Of course, it is now available natively on Mac OS X.

When you run Windows (or any operating system) in a virtual machine, it behaves like any other installation of that OS. Application software can’t tell the difference. Virtual machines even have hardware specs.

If your application software has specific hardware requirements for certain features, such as 3D rendering, check the specs of the virtual machine. This isn’t that much different than checking the specs of any other machine.

Those are fine for what they do, but they are virtual machines and have a bit of a performance hit and limited access to the hardware, which may or may not be noticeable. Bootcamp allows Windows to run natively on the hardware.

Do Macs play well with Windows neteworks now? Because I know the Mac lab at my school had to be on a completely different network, including separate logins. If your work doesn’t want to support a Mac, you may need Windows.

That said, when I saw this thread, I just assumed you were getting Office 2008 for the Mac. Other than the possible aforementioned networking issues, there’s really no reason to assume that a PC is better for work.

Thank you for your replies!

I didn’t mean to imply Windows was better for work, it’s just that I have existing Windows versions of my core (small) business software. I just didn’t want to take the hit of purchasing new versions just to switch machines.

Looking forward to any further thoughts you may have.

A friend of mine runs a hair salon, and due to the fact that their machines kept getting viruses they were convinced to switch to a Mac. But they needed Quickbooks so they did a Windows install and so far, like 3 months later, no issues.

But a Mac running Windows would be just as vulnerable to viruses as any Windows PC, wouldn’t it?

Yes. If it boots directly and natively into Windows, it’s the same as any other Windows PC, and needs the same anti-malware precautions. If it’s running Windows in a virtual machine, the VM needs the anti-malware precautions.