Adding Windows to a MacBook Pro

Subtitle: MacBook Pro 4

At Christmas, I began to install Windows onto my MacBook Pro.

I’d bought Parallels Desktop 5 earlier in the month and set myself up to carry out the installation. Being a chef at heart and a user of technology, I liken my ability to carry out technical computer tasks to a good driver not knowing or caring how the car works: fill it up, check all levels – drive away. So I left myself the entire holiday period to go through the installation. I’d guessed (rightly) that this wouldn’t be a simple put it in > click go > installation.

The guy I spoke to at Apple said that I could easily ‘migrate’ my Windows computer lock, stock and barrel, and the Parallels installation literature didn’t shake that belief. But that didn’t happen. To cut a long, frustrating story short; the migration cannot be completed if your Windows computer (lock, stock or no barrel) has OEM software installed. Hey ho. Time to move on.

My idea has been to just carry one laptop with me wherever I go. Most of my training work is with Windows based products but the machines I own, which run Windows are not as reliable as the MacBook Pro. And of course, Windows takes an age to get itself going on a morning. By having Windows working through Parallels, I’d hoped to solve that problem.

Anyway – time passed (I was too busy to be bothered) and I managed to get a (what turned out to be dodgy) copy of Windows XP. Of course, you cannot buy XP anymore and support for it finishes this year; but that’s the version I wanted. So I deleted my part-migrated version and started from scratch. This went OK until I got to the Microsoft Validation page. Oh-no, I’m caught bang to rights. But for £95 I could purchase a validation code. So I did that and away I went.

XP loaded easily after being given a kosher validation code, then I had to go and find the various service packs. It took me back a fair bit to see Windows Movie Maker in its original (pretty bleak) clothing and to then see it as it should be – well dressed and ‘cool’. It all took a while (luckily I was able to do this whilst working on another machine and just clicking ‘go’ every now and again).

  • I downloaded Cam Studio easily enough and it worked (yippee).
  • I downloaded Photo Story 3 and it didn’t work until ….
  • I downloaded Windows Media Player 10 (I hadn’t planned this but PS3 needed it)
  • I downloaded AVG (although I wasn’t sure I needed it – I did!)

So now, all being well I can have a laptop that works when I want it to, as well as a laptop that can do Windows-based stuff – all in one machine! But do I need to install Office 2003 (which I have) or just cope with my Mac version of Office 2008 … Perhaps I need to check and see how the clever interactive stuff works (which doesn’t normally work in Apple!)

4 Responses to “Adding Windows to a MacBook Pro”

  1. Frieda Says:

    I am not sure if all this hassle is worth it. It may be because I don’t have a Mac, but I can’t understand why we should go through all this stress…
    I know people who bought Mac laptops and sold them later…
    Maybe, next time I am in the UK I need to think about getting one, just to experiment…
    Good luck with it David !!!

    • dsugden Says:

      Oh the hassle is worthwhile Freida. I couldn’t bin my MacBook Pro – it’s revolutionised the way I use computers. The hassle is remembering the downside of MS software. I’ve had no virus warnings, no need for virus software etc until I installed Windows. But the advantages are tremendous now i have it working (ish). I just need to get the virtual machine (Windows) to recognise my USB sticks – but it’s early days.

      Keep warm 🙂


  2. Helen Morgan Says:

    I have been running my mac on parallels for over a year… and I hardly ever use the windows side now as I have found mac apps that work better to replace windows ones I once thought I could never live without. I would get rid of parallels altogether except there is always the that pesky piece of software you can’t replace.
    I have also found Mac Office 2008 to be more adaptable than office 2003 once you get your head round it the only issues tend to be font related if you are transferring it onto a PC with few fonts.

    • dsugden Says:

      Hi Helen,

      Thanks for your comment. I’d tried to reply earlier but lost connection.

      I love my Mac. I bought it for all the right reasons and like you have found many ‘sorts ofs’ and workarounds to do the jobs I’ve previously done with MSoft.

      Unfortunately, I need many un-Mac bits to carry out the training I do. Many (most) of those I work with are exclusively Windows people: hence I need a platform to show Cam Studio; Photo Story 3, Windows Movie Maker (I know there’s iMovie – but they don’t all have that) as well as some of the cool stuff (interactive stuff) you can do with Word and PPT. I have Office 2008 for the Mac and i like it, but it doesn’t even look like Office 2007 in/for demonstrations and training.

      So, I needed XP. Now it looks like I need to find a copy of Office 2003 (I had one, I bought one – but I can’t find it)

      And all of this – so i don’t have to carry two laptops to work (on trains etc).

      Hey ho.

      Thanks again.


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