By Todd@Smalldog.com

Do you want to leave OS X to go to OS X Jr. (also known as Vista) on your Mac? Well, unfortunately you may have some serious difficulties if you want to load your wonderful Mac with Vista. While it isn’t impossible, it is inconvenient. Here five issues to consider:

1. Legal Issues.

You know that fine print that is found in the EULA? This time you probably should take a quick read through. Vista Home and Premium forbid the use of Vista in an emulated environment. Bill says: sorry Parallels – you lose. Bootcamp still is allowed as it uses the hardware natively.

“Most customers using this technology are primarily business users addressing application compatibility needs, or technology enthusiasts,” said a Microsoft spokesperson. “So virtualization will be supported in Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate and Vista Business SKUs. Home users have rarely requested virtualization and so it will not be supported in Microsoft Windows Vista Home Basic and Home Premium SKUs.” (MacWorld 2/1/07)

Gee, thanks. Price tag for legal use of Vista: $299 for upgrade or $399 for full version. No thanks.

2. Performance.

Running Vista in Parallels has been done and tested despite the warnings in the EULA. According to testers (who were running Mac Pros) Vista works “acceptably” under Parallels but not as well as XP. Office 2007 under Vista was said to be about as fast as Mac Office on an iBook. So, like most of us that don’t own Mac Pros, expect the speed to be considerably less (source: http://www.macworld.com/2007/02/firstlooks/vistamac/index.php). Most PC users that I have talked with have said Vista does not perform well enough to justify the price.

3. Compatibility

Even under Bootcamp, Vista has issues. There are reported incompatibilities with the Mac drivers provided with the Bootcamp Beta. I wouldn’t be surprised if they fix this by the time 10.5 comes out, but for now expect certain aspects of your Mac not to function to full potential. The beta of Parallels will run Vista Ultimate and Vista Business (and even home if you like messing with legality.) The scheduled release of the newest version is Feb. 16th, so it is right around the corner.

4. Summary:

Buyer beware. If you want Parallels, with Vista I would suggest using as much RAM as possible and a higher end computer. Don’t mess around with Microsoft’s EULA as I bet they will put in some hidden “features” to dissuade you from using Vista Home and Premium. Bootcamp will be a better solution (though inconvenient) when the final Mac drivers are released. All around, if you need to use Windows, stick with XP for a while.

By Todd@Smalldog.com

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