Newbie Question on Migration from Windows

Discussion in 'Apple' started by Ken_McAlinden, Sep 15, 2008.

  1. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    My motherboard on my five year old HP Media Center PC developed thermal problems not worth my time and resources to diagnose and fix, so I finally decided to join Mac nation and picked up an iMac.

    There are a few Windows XP exclusive applications that I would still like to run from time to time (portable music player software, Interactual DVD player for the occasional DVD review of a title with ROM content that is not Mac-friendly, etc.), and I am trying to figure out the best way to go as far as using Boot Camp and/or Parallels. I do not need or want to deal with Vista, so all I really want is to be able to run legacy XP stuff from time to time. My SATA hard drive from my PC is intact, and I have a USB 2.0 dock for it so I can retrieve whatever files I need.

    Essentially, I am wondering what would be the cheapest way to go. Would Parallels work with my existing XP Media Center drive without having to purchase another copy of Windows XP to install? If the answer is no (which I suspect it is), then I will probably just go with buying a copy of XP to install on a partition and using Boot Camp. I would be using the XP stuff so infrequently that I would not mind the inconvenience of rebooting, so I might not go with adding Parallels in that case.

    If this topic has been covered extensively in another thread, then just point me in that direction. Otherwise, any helpful or random thoughts are appreciated.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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    I haven't tried this myself, but there seems like there is a remote chance that if you put the old XP drive in a FireWire enclosure, when you boot the Mac, you can hold down the Option key, and it will show the external drive as bootable, and then you can boot XP from there.

    If you can boot and XP actually starts instead of dying a horrible death because the hardware has changed too much, then Windows Genuine Advantage will probably complain that the machine has changed too much. At that point, you could call in and plead your case. Most likely, it was an OEM copy, but since you had a hardware failure, you might be able to claim this as a very radical "motherboard swap".

    Do this only if you have or can borrow the FireWire enclosure. New, they can cost more than another OEM copy of XP, and that new XP will definitely work. Again, the chance is slim, and a USB enclosure will almost surely not work (in both cases because the old drive does not use the "GUID partition type")
     
  3. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Ken,

    I am probably talking out of my ass here about Windows XP,
    but unless you have a standalone XP disc (which I doubt since
    it is Media Center), I don't think you can run Parallels and XP
    off that external. But hey, I would sure be interested to see if
    you could.

    Parallels, in my opinion, is the better way to go if you don't intend
    on playing games. It's integration with Mac Leopard is just amazing
    to the point that you can run both on top of each other swapping files
    between each and running a Windows and Mac program at the same
    time.

    Problem is the extra cost here. XP runs $174 for the home version
    which is all you need and Parallels runs about $80.

    BTW, how do you like your Mac thus far? You getting the hang of it?
     
  4. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    WinXP Home OEM is about $80. That's what I use.

    I've read many comments saying that Fusion is now better than Parallels (in contrast to when I bought Parallels 14 months ago and Fusion wasn't yet available.)

    You might get by for free: VirtualBox is a free virtualizer from Sun that seems to do the basics well. But last I heard, it couldn't connect to a BootCamp partition.
     
  5. Will_B

    Will_B Producer

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    A related noob question here. I'm a PC, and all my external hard drives are formatted for what Windows PCs use. I don't recall the name of the format, but I am aware that it is different than what Macs use. So if I switched to Mac, would Macs be able to see my files on my externals, or would I have to reformat everything? And if I reformatted the externals to the Mac format, then when running Parallels, would the Windows half of my Mac be able to see the files?
     
  6. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    OS X can read & write FAT32. OS X can read, but not write, NTFS.

    Solely for migration, OS X can read your Windows hard drives. When I migrated, I had both computers networked (search online; it's not obvious how to do it) and copied from PC to Mac.

    Depending on how you need to use these files with a Mac, you may be able to leave them as is. Or you may want to back them up, reformat the drives to the OS X version (HTFS Journaled) and copy data back.
     
  7. Will_B

    Will_B Producer

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    Ok, that is helpful. Thank you.

    One more question, then: What kind of drive would a Mac read & write when it is running XP on Parallels?
     
  8. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Presumably XP via Parallels would read and write FAT32 and NTFS drives, but I don't know specifically. I suggest checking directly with Parallels, either tech support or their forums for that. I don't have any NTFS drives, so I can't test it.
     
  9. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    I use VirtualBox and its actually pretty good for freeware.

    FYI you can boot from a USB or Firewire drive with intel based Mac's (older PowerPC's needed firewire).
     
  10. Keith Plucker

    Keith Plucker Screenwriter
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    VMware Fusion has a utility that can take your existing Windows installation and turn it into a virtual machine for Fusion. The problem is that you have to run/install software on your Windows machine for it to work. Would that be possible on your current system?

    Check it out here: VMware Fusion - Migrating Your Windows PC to Your Mac Easily - VMware
     
  11. Will_B

    Will_B Producer

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    Ken can resume control of this thread now. I'm still trying to repair my Win PC so hopefully I can save this knowledge for the future... I know eventually I'll get a Mac, and I thank you all for your replies.
     
  12. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Ken,

    How are you making out with your new Mac these days?

    Kind of looking for a progress report.
     
  13. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    Everything is hunky dory. The only hiccup in my migration is that for some reason, the double sided printing feature of my HP inkjet printer is not supported for the Mac.

    The last bit of my migration from my "dead motherboard" PC was to retrieve my contacts and archived messages from Microsoft Outlook. I installed Outlook on my 40GB Bootcamp XP partition, opened up the pst file from my old hard drive, and exported everything I needed to text files.

    I had to uninstall Parallels because of a problem with some software on my XP partition, and I have not gotten around to reinstalling it yet.

    Regards,
     
  14. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Great to hear!
     

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