View Full Version : Windows Software on a Macintosh?

02-02-2009, 03:47 PM
My daughter's laptop computer has started acting up. She has decided she wants to replace it with a Mac Book, and I have agreed to fund this replacement.

I have the Windows version of Microsoft Office, but I think I am going to need to buy Microsoft Office in the Mac version for $150 (student discount at the Apple store on line). The IT guy here at work said he thought there was a way to run Windows software on a Mac. Do any of you Mac gurus know if this is possible, and if so how well does it work?

02-02-2009, 04:04 PM
I suggested Open Office as an alternative to my daughter. Neither of us has ever used it, so she is going to ask around among her geeky friends to figure out if this is an alternative.

I looked at Open Office on a Linux machine in a computer store for a few minutes one time. It seemed quite a bit like MS Word and Excel so the change should be intuitive, but I didn't get a good idea how well they worked.

I googled this topic and came up with a program called "Cross-over Mac" that purports to make Windows software run almost seamlessly on an Intel Mac. $39.95 for a home user.

Joe (SoCal)
02-02-2009, 04:13 PM
I'm using open office on this PC I like it better than the bloat that is MS Office and you can port it on a mac


John of Phoenix
02-02-2009, 04:24 PM
I was going to suggest this too.
OpenOffice.org 3 is the leading open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more.

It's a very nice suite of software for Word, Power Point and Excel applications.

Free too. With nothing to loose... give it a try.

Dan McCosh
02-02-2009, 04:59 PM
I don't remember paying $150 for the Mac version of Office. When I bought this Macbook, I did a deal where the software was part of it. Office was one of the issues, but I don't actually remember what it cost. It's an easy thing to negotiate when buying the computer.

02-02-2009, 08:16 PM
we have a mac quack here at Best Buy does that..
He can put Windows OS and whole 9 yards in Mac desktop or laptop..

Check your local Best Buy

02-02-2009, 08:44 PM
Apple iWork also exports Office documents. Much leaner and user-friendlier than either MS Office or Open Office.

02-03-2009, 08:44 AM
I think the poor quality of Microsoft's Mac ports are intentional. Windows Media Player, now discontinued never even reached to beta stage in stability. Messenger hasn't been updated in at least 5 years and is far behind the Windows version.

Probably a way to lure users over to Windows, but I think it just makes Microsoft seem like a completely incapable developer. No way I'm replacing my entire system with their software.

George Ray
02-03-2009, 09:09 AM
Just replaced by aging/decrepit Sony laptop with MacBook. Installed Parallel's and have moved all my windows apps to the Mac and I love it. VM Ware virtualization SW gets good reviews also.

You have to buy/own a copy of MS Windows $$ at which point Parallels made the install very very easy using it's Wizard.

There are few challenges: (a) some keyboard funniness that I have not been bothered enough by it to read the docs and sort it out. (b) Serial=>USB adapter devices for my legacy gizmos was a confusing bit to get working and still can be a bit weird at times.
(c) While it is wonderful to work in the Mac environment and still have my paid for comfortable windows apps right there. For some one who is barely computer literate and/or not geekish, it is non trivial to install, maintain, trouble shoot both operating systems at once.

That said, I would not run Windows on a Mac JUST to keep using MS Office. The Apple iWork SW just got and upgrade and should meet the needs of most people. Otherwise Open Office is a good option.
Overall, it is a no-brainer to reccomend Mac over Windows for general purpose computer. The high quality tools provided as standard issue and the ease of use make it a pleasure to use.

We got the upscale version of the MacBook in large part to get the back lit keyboard (LOVE IT!) Working at night it makes a world of difference.


Boat computer side note:
The Mac is eventually to be mostly for use by my wife. The other day she had to deliver a very aging ferry up the coast for NCDOT and for her personal backup chartplotter, (she also has iNavX on her GPS enabled iPhone) I set up Coastal Explorer 2_beta under windows interfaced with handheld GPS and it worked well for her.
I have an ASUS 1000HA net book on the way for use on our boat. It is low power and runs on 12V. See thread on SSCA forum. The thread was started by Luis Soltero of StarPilot and Global Marine Networks.

02-03-2009, 10:30 AM
I'd be hard pressed to find a reason to add windows to my macbook - if only because I havn't needed a big, must have software that runs only on windows yet.

I am using "NeoOffice". I was in a hurry to get something like that running. I tried OpenOffice but NeoOffice "won out" for me in being easier to download and install. It got great reviews. I've used it to write a newsletter and some web pages so far for the past two months. It seems to be extremely stable. It has some neat features too. For example, when I put a jpeg picture in a document it automatically crunches it down enough so that it doesn't bloat the .pdf file that I publish. When I do a webpage the resulting .html doesn't have a lot of extra baggage in it. It also appears to read many of the Office formats including docx.

02-03-2009, 10:35 AM
Another vote for NeoOffice here. Very nice program that'll do 99% of what you need from MS Office.

02-03-2009, 10:44 AM
WHY run Microsoft on a Mac?? You've got a MAC!!! Forget Microsoft...

Get iWork. Wonderful. It'll import/export compatible with Msoft, and just nicer, simpler, better to use.


02-03-2009, 11:11 AM
Gonzalo, Your a generous Dad, Your daughter will like the Mac. My advice is to run the Apple version of MS Office. Reviews are not bad.

In an earlier thread I looked for advice about running Windows on a MacBookPro specifically in order to use Microsoft programs such as Photoshop, MS Office, a bunch of games(I enjoy Flight SimX), some architect design software , etc.

Decided to purchase a full retail SP2 version of Windows XP and run "bootcamp", a Mac program preloaded on intel machines that allows one to partition the hard drive and emulate a PC. My OEM version of Windows XP would not allow registration.

That was done and the MacBookPro runs Microsoft programs better than the 5 year old PC, most likely due to the greater RAM and processor speed.


Big drawbacks to running Windows in bootcamp is the lack of easy file sharing and need to restart the Mac when switching between partitions.

When I get a round tuit, will try VMFusion or Parallels software and run a virtual machine instead of "bootcamp", although this method "shares' RAM and will slow speeds somewhat.

After I made the decision to run Windows on the mac I have been using Mac iPhoto '08 editing software and very happy. If the need exists to run Adobe photoshop, I move photos over to the XP side using a USB stick.

Was given a copy of '08 Apple iWork business program, $79, but prefer MS office on the PC. Can be obtained for the Mac and the reviews are not bad.

Still very happy with the MacBook.


02-03-2009, 11:58 AM
She's the manager of the local TV station, and all the editing and creative work is MAC-based.... but the 'business' side of things seems to work better on a PC.

The "macs are for creativity; PCs are for business" concept is about 20 years out of date.

I was at a very high end post production house...Hollywood stuff....looking at a machine running an advanced 3D program. It was a PC. A lot of high end 3D programs are not even available on Macs.

02-03-2009, 11:59 AM
My wife gave Parallels a try, but eventually gave it up. You're right about the hit on RAM resources; you need lots of RAM to be able to run Parallels effectively. Also, she had lots of trouble with peripherals like printers, scanners, and USB devices..

I have seen the same comments on the various Mac forums as well. I had trouble setting up a printer. I have an Apple gift card burning a hole; might just forget the idea of setting up a virtual machine.


02-03-2009, 12:26 PM
Thanks for all your help and advice. I'm not sure yet what to do, but you've given me ideas I hadn't considered.

Open office for Mac has mixed reviews, but the main reason seems to be that it lacks the xml format support that is in the 2008 version of MS Office. I don't think that is an issue for my daughter, a college junior.

Reviews for Neo Office are universally good. I never heard of it until today, but I'll look into it in more depth.

iWork also has mixed reviews. In users forums, many people complain about lack of compatibility with MS Office documents, but none of the reviewers I've read have mentioned that. Don't know if there is a trick the users don't know about. 100% compatibility with MS Office is a must, because my daughter must turn in her assignments in Office formats. Comments from you iWork users?

Some users clearly prefer MS Office for Mac, even with other options available. Cost is an issue. I have seen the student edition for Mac as low as $100 on line. The Apple store on line wants $150 with student discount.

I don't think parallels or Boot Camp is a good option for us because I don't want to buy a new copy of Windows. (Also, they sound way too geeky for my daughter.) All we need is that she can produce documents compatible with MS Office with a robust, comfortable, not very geeky, and cheaper package.

George Ray
02-03-2009, 12:42 PM
Get a MacBook and MS Office for Mac with the student discount. Don't mess with virtualization to run MS office.

02-03-2009, 01:03 PM
Get a MacBook and MS Office for Mac with the student discount. Don't mess with virtualization to run MS office.

I agree 100%

02-03-2009, 02:08 PM
Lots of good dialog here. It's nice to see a calm - no name calling discussion involving Macs.

If anybody wants to listen, here's my feeling on the matter. If you don't think you NEED what you can get from a Mac that you can't get from a PC - then buy a PC and run Windows. It will be much cheaper for you.

If you have a Mac and feel that you can't live without Windows, for not too much more than the cost of a copy of Windows to install on your Mac, you can get a PC with Windows already installed on it to put on your desk next to your Mac.

I don't see a good reason to run Windows on my Mac. Anything a Windows machine can do can be done on a OSX machine---with some obvious exceptions.

There is software that is Windows only. 3D packages, video editing etc. If you need to use this software, compared to the cost of the software the cost of the hardware is insignificant - buy a PC. There are also 3D packages and video editing suites that are Mac only. If you have a Mac you might as well use those.

There is a loads of free software available if the free stuff you get from Apple isn't enough for you. You may find Neo Office a little sluggish compared to MS Office but it's a great substitute. Can't afford Photoshop, try Gimp or Gimpshop.

The last time I looked, a new copy of Windows was a lot more money than a new copy of OSX. I already have an OS on my machine. I don't think I need windows.

02-03-2009, 06:26 PM
When the hardware is cheaper than the software, you just know there's an inverted market :)

Let me suggest that the revenue from software has exceeded the hardware side for over a decade.


John Meachen
02-03-2009, 06:36 PM
Let me suggest that the revenue from software has exceeded the hardware side for over a decade.


Only if you want it to be that way-think penguin.

02-03-2009, 07:57 PM
When the hardware is cheaper than the software, you just know there's an inverted market :)
I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "inverted market." I don't begrudge software developers too much for trying to make some money on their products. S/W development isn't cheap. It's extremely labor intensive. And the labor force must be highly skilled. Theft of your brainchild is also a major problem if you're a developer. Charging full price for a crossplatform upgrade, however, is not the way to instill customer loyalty.