The Bottom Line Virtual PC 6.0 is the best way to run Windows on OS X, but it's not worth the price for older Macs. Since Virtual PC (VPC) is now the only way to run Windows on your Mac, VPC maker Connectix has only itself to best.
Virtual PC 6.0 ditches the installer program of previous versions--now you just drag the installer folder onto your hard drive, and you're done. VPC 6.0's interface runs Windows within a window but adds cool integration with the OS X Dock. If you add another version of Windows with an old OS Pack, you can update the integration features with this pop-up menu. You'll also see upon installation that VPC keeps its disk images and preferences together under the Virtual PC icon, which is a Mac OS X bundle (a folder that acts like a double-clickable application). Virtual PC 6.0 now lets you store shortcuts to Windows applications in the Dock (OS X's application switcher-cum-taskbar), much as you could, say, store icons for apps that run in OS X's Classic environment. This version of VPC also lets you place a Windows Start menu in the Dock, which you can use to select a specific Windows app.
Virtual PC 6.0 takes advantage of some hardware improvements of newer Macs, such as an L3 cache.
Connectix tech support is pricey--the first call is free, and it's $35 per incident after that--but it's cheaper than the $99 it charges for VPC for Windows. Join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or Google+, or subscribe to our RSS news feedAlan Zisman is Mac-using teacher and technology writer based in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Parallels has launched a new virtual PC programme for Mac, Parallels Desktop 9, which allows users to run Windows and Mac applications simultaneously without the need to reboot.
New features include cloud storage optimisations for iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive and SkyDrive. Parallels promise that Desktop 9 will deliver 40 percent improvement in disk performance and a 25 per cent speed increase for virtual machine startup and shutdown, compared to the previous version, as well as being able to suspend the virtual PC in up to 20 percent less time than before.


Customers will also get a six-month subscription to the newly released Parallels Access for iPad application.
As always, Connectix sells Virtual PC in a variety of packages: a plain-Jane DOS package lets you install your own copies of Windows over it, or you can buy Connectix OS Packs, which are bundles of preinstalled Windows versions that you can install all at once (and which cost between $150 and $200, sadly).
However, in order to get the latest Mac-integration features in the old OS Pack, we had to install some Virtual PC plug-ins (called VPC Additions). This lets you copy your VPC setup to another drive or Mac simply by copying one file--a very nice touch. You can use the Dock to switch between Windows apps or to switch to a Windows app when you're working in a Mac program.
The program supports hardware graphics acceleration for Macs that have video cards that support OS X's improved graphics layer, Quartz Extreme (including the Nvidia GeForce2 , 3, or 4, and any AGP-based ATI Radeon, such as those used in iBooks).
Connectix also provides free online help in the form of a knowledge base, a user forum, and a set of PDF manuals on various support topics. It enables your Mac to run Microsoft Windows system-based software, access Windows networks and share files easily with PC users.
The software also allows customers to use Mac OS X features like Launchpad inside Windows applications. The software allows customers to remotely access PC and Windows apps and use them as if they were made for iPad. The upgrade adds new integration features, including a Windows Start menu that appears in the OS X Dock. That's a simple matter of clicking the puzzle icon at the bottom of the VPC window and selecting Install Additions from the pop-up menu. Windows Dock icons feature the same basic pop-up menus as do Mac apps--you can even quit a Windows app from the Dock menu. It's a cool effect, although it takes a long time to load the Windows environment and bring up the specific app.


You can also search the drive image with Mac OS X's Find command (or Sherlock, in pre-Jaguar versions of OS X). Older Macs and those with Mac OS 9 don't get this graphics boost, however, and won't see significant performance improvements over VPC 5.0. For information on using different features, we found that you'll get an answer quickest by using the application's help system, which includes screenshots.
And you can do all this without having to leave your Mac desktop - so you can work the way you want to work. However most, if not all directly associated file extensions should be listed with its appropriate program.
Windows applications also appear in the Dock, so you can launch, switch to, or quit the programs even if VPC isn't running. If you're planning to run more than one version of Windows, you'll shell out a lot of money in OS Packs, but happily, older OS Packs will work with the new version.
That's nice, but since VPC hurts the wallet from the get-go, we'd prefer a little more free advice. To do this, click and hold the Windows program icon to bring up the Dock menu, then select Keep In Dock.
Clicking the Dock icon will launch the Windows app as well as Virtual PC (if it isn't already running).



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