Installing Windows on a Mac

(Originally posted Feb. 3)

Installing Windows on my Mac has been, by far, the most painful
aspect of switching. The fact that I could run Windows programs side by
side the Mac OS – no need to reboot – was pretty much what sealed the
deal in my switch to Mac. I need to run YM with Voice and VPchat
– neither are Mac-compatible, and I use them both all day, every day.
Getting up and running on the Mac took hours. Getting Windows going
took days. Why this surprised me, I don’t know.

Here’s what I did:

Installed Parallels Desktop for Mac.
The installation was relatively painless. Unfortunately the interface
isn’t very intuitive. If you plan to use it, make sure you go to the VM
menu and install Parallels tools. This will install the proper tools on
your guest OS installation. Nowhere in the interface are you directed
to do this. I stumbled on it in the Parallels support forums, which have been helpful.

Installed a legit copy of Windows XP Pro. I crashed. 4 times.

I
went to the support forums, where I learned I needed to update my
fresh-out-of-the-box Parallels software. I did so, and am now running
version 1970 (odd versioning scheme, don’t you think?)

More…On
the 5th install, I gave up when I got hung at “7 minutes remaining” for
half an hour. Then I thought I’d try again. I could hear the drive
starting and stopping. Apparently it installed just a little bit each
time. My patience paid off, and the 6th installation attempt worked.

I
planned to get SP2, then Norton. Big mistake. I couldn’t find SP2 at
Microsoft. Oh, there were many links that promised it, but none came
through. By the time I found one elsewhere, I was so riddled with
viruses and malware that I had to reinstall.

The 7th installation of XP went smoothly, albeit slowly. I went directly to the SP2 link I had found and downloaded it.

I ran the SP2 upgrade, and it failed.

I contacted several friends in search of an SP2 CD, to no avail.

I
couldn’t bring myself to buy yet another copy of XP (I’ve bought 3 over
the years), and instead decided I might as well try Vista. Did you know
there are 7 versions of Vista? Microsoft offers very little in the way
of serious comparison. After reading reviews on several blogs, I
decided on Home Premium – full version (not an upgrade).

First installation, no go. Second installation, nada.

Again
I went to the Parallels forums, where it was suggested I make a disk
image (.dmg file) of the CD using Disk Utility and install from there.
Briefly, I wandered back into the wonderful Mac world where things make
sense. Disk Utility was a breeze, even though I had never seen it
before.

I made the .dmg file, but Parallels wouldn’t let me install from it. It showed me the file, but it was greyed out.

Back
to the forums where it was then suggested I make the file an .iso file.
So I renamed it, but got the same results. I’m not sure I did what this
person meant – after this, the thread went dark.

I then went to
my friend Darrell, who knows All Things Windows. He found lots of
evidence online (contrary to what I had found) that showed lots of
people having trouble installing Vista using Parallels (apparently it
works great with Bootcamp, but then I’d have to reboot to use Windows,
which is unacceptable for what I want to do) He suggested we go back
and install XP, then run Vista as an upgrade. The forums implied
updates won’t work in Parallels, but I gave it a try. 2 tries,
actually, but neither worked. I decided to keep trying to install XP.

Darrell
gave me a direct link to a safe SP2 download. I installed XP, and went
directly there to get SP2 and Norton’s. Even that visit to that one
safe site got me a fatal virus. But I install Norton’s anyway, hoping I
can get rid of it. No way – I’m going to have to start over. By this
time my patience is definitely wearing thin… I just want to have my
fabulous new Mac up and running everything efficiently!

I
download SP2 and Norton’s via a PC and burn it to a CD. I reinstall XP
without network connectivity, which for some reason seems to make it
run at a snail’s pace. Several hours later, it fails. I try again, and
let it run through the night.

I came upstairs this morning to a
crashed Mac. I decide to try once more, this time with everything at
the default settings (I had been installing with extra RAM and extra HD
space in anticipation of Vista).

This time I plugged the network cable in, and the installation ran quickly. I unplugged it just as Windows booted up.

I
copied the compressed SP2.exe file and Norton folder to the XP desktop,
then installed. SP2 installed flawlessly this time, as did Norton. I
updated my virus definitions, updated Windows, installed VPchat, and
installed Yahoo Messenger. Both seem to be running fine, although I
haven’t tested voice yet – I’ll let you know.

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