- Virtual Machine - There are at least three software packages available that allow the Mac user to run Windows as a virtual computer within the Mac environment. AGDATA has limited experience with VMWare Fusion, and Parallels desktop. We also know of Oracle Virtual Box.
Parallels Version 11 costs around $100, and runs quite seamlessly on a current model Mac. VMWare Fusion is around the same price and is also quite well respected in the community. Virtual Box is Open Source software and hence can be downloaded and installed for free.
In all cases, you will also need a copy of Windows to install within the virtual machine. Old stock copies of Windows 7 may be available around the traps if you look. List price for this would be around $300. Microsoft have released a boxed full install copy of Windows 10, I have seen the Home edition of Windows 10 available supplied on a USB drive from major electronics retailers for around $180.
- Dual Boot - The Mac comes with a system called BootCamp. This allows Windows to be installed as a second operating system. Under BootCamp, when you start the computer, it will ask which OS (Operating System) to launch. Then that is what it will run until you restart the computer. You will need to purchase a copy of Windows for this option also. See notes for the VM above.
- Phoenix Live - Phoenix Live operates on the cloud. The program runs on our servers in Brisbane, your computer simply acts as a terminal to that server. You may access your Phoenix Live system from any windows PC or Mac (Even a tablet like an iPad) as long as you have a reliable internet connection available to the machine.
My recommendation is either Phoenix Live or Parallels with Windows 10 as long as the Mac has sufficient resources to run both operating systems. Any current MacBook Pro or iMac will do fine. Upgraded memory (eg 8GB) would be an advantage. I would question the hard drive space available on a smaller MacBook Air with the SSD (Solid State Drive), or in fact any Mac that only sports an SSD. I worry that 128GB drive capacity would run short running two operating systems. Apple now offer 512GB SSD (or flash storage) on some of the Air range.
Which ever method you choose, you will need to invest some effort in knowing your system. At AGDATA, our support people know the Phoenix system intimately. Phoenix is a Windows application, and as such, we also know our way around the common and current versions of Windows. The Mac however is system that we have limited experience with. When you call us for assistance, you will need to be able to have a Windows screen running on your Mac. We will not be able to assist you from the Mac screen. You will need to be able to install the software that allows you to use two operating systems if you choose this method, then install Windows within that environment. Then you will need to be able to launch Windows. From there your system will function much like any other windows computer. You may need to configure the software that allows you to run two operating systems so that you can share an internet connection and other resources (like a printer) between the two operating systems. Parallels will run in three different modes, (full screen, Window and Confluence). You will need to understand these modes and how to switch between them.
Don’t confuse a copy of Microsoft Windows with Microsoft Office. Microsoft Office for Mac will give you a copy of Word and Excel for your Mac, but it is not Windows, so will not allow you to run other Windows applications, such as Phoenix.
B Eng (Agric), GradCert Precision Ag, Cert IV Training & Assessment
Senior Support and Training Manager