Windows for Cheap!
December 29, 2008 4:37 PM   Subscribe

Macfilter: Cheapest way to get my mac up running either xp or vista? Shelling out over $100 for windows just seems a little ridiculous.

I'd prefer an emulator over bootcamp, and just need to run a single windows app (trying to upload data from my Polar heart rate monitor)
posted by leotrotsky to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
I doubt it will work if your HRM has some sort of USB do-dad, but you might want to give Crossover a try. It is a Windows emulator that can get IE6, Office and a few games without needing to run Windows in Parallels or vmWare. They have a free trial so you might give it a shot.
posted by birdherder at 4:45 PM on December 29, 2008


You could try Wine. I wouldn't count on software that interfaces with unusual serial/USB devices to work all that well with Wine out of the box, however.

If you settle for the "kinda" legal System Builders version of XP, you can spend a little less than $100 on Windows.
posted by aparrish at 4:47 PM on December 29, 2008


Shelling out over $100 for windows just seems a little ridiculous.

Time is money and any time you spend getting another solution to work might not be worth it in the long run if eats a lot of time and is unreliable.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:52 PM on December 29, 2008


Crossover is definitely worth a shot, if it's just one app you need to run.

Alternatively, to run a whole instance of windows, there's VirtualBox which is free, but that leaves you with your 'getting a copy of windows' issue.
posted by pompomtom at 4:53 PM on December 29, 2008


Student/Educational/Employee discount?
posted by niles at 5:40 PM on December 29, 2008


It's obvious from your question that Polar doesn't ship a Mac version of their software, but have you considered looking for third-party software written for OS X that will interface with your heart rate monitor? Often when devices ship with Windows-only software, some clever Mac developer will figure out how to get data from them. A quick Google suggests this might be one option.
posted by [user was fined for this post] at 5:41 PM on December 29, 2008


I have crossover (WINE emulation)...Virtual Box is the same general thing and may work. It's free, based on wine and 100x easier.

After that, VMWare fusion, Parallels and Boot Camp are your choices (and they all require a copy of windows.)
posted by filmgeek at 6:13 PM on December 29, 2008


Virtualbox will require an actual copy of Windows to be useful though.
posted by COD at 6:17 PM on December 29, 2008


As an aside, be sure to write the company that makes your product, and encourage them to offer Mac/Linux versions of their software. If enough companies hear from enough people, windows-only crap will become less common.
posted by chrisamiller at 6:31 PM on December 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've been using VirtualBox quite a bit lately. It works really, really well for something free. You will, however, need a working version of Windows to be useful. In other words, it can't do the WINE trick and run the .exe without a Windows install as a host.

However, I was able to find this after a few minutes of Creative Googling™. Maybe it will work for you? It seems to cost about half what you wanted to spend on a Windows disk, is Mac native and actually looks pretty swanky. Makes me want to buy a Polar!
posted by littlerobothead at 8:48 PM on December 29, 2008


The last time I hit up an MS employee for a copy of Windows XP Pro, it was thirty-five dollars. Vista's probably priced similarly. I suggest you find an MS employee willing to accomodate you-- friends? family members? friends of friends?
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 9:23 PM on December 29, 2008


The last time I hit up an MS employee for a copy of Windows XP Pro, it was thirty-five dollars. Vista's probably priced similarly. I suggest you find an MS employee willing to accomodate you-- friends? family members? friends of friends?

I've never understood this line of reasoning. A non-student/non-employee using a student/employee version is just as much of a license violation as an anybody using a warezed version.

The cheapest fully legitimate solution would be to invest in the cheapest licensed Windows PC you can find, and access that machine with remote control software over your LAN. I'm sure you can get an off lease Dell/HP/Compaq with Windows 2000 license for about $20 -- or often from the garbage.
You can not, however, transfer that license to a virtual machine in your Mac. You might as well just download a warezed copy as do that.
posted by Chuckles at 11:44 PM on December 29, 2008


A non-student/non-employee using a student/employee version is just as much of a license violation as an anybody using a warezed version.

If I recall correctly, Microsoft allows (allowed?) employees to give (but not sell) items bought at the company store to friends and relatives. To keep things under control, employees have a yearly limit they can spend on discounted products.

Last time I was on the Microsoft campus was the late-nineties, so my recollection may be out of date.
posted by D.C. at 1:07 AM on December 30, 2008


D.C. is correct, Microsoft employees can buy software (and some hardware) at the company store for a discounted price. You can give this software to friends or family.
posted by mge at 2:12 AM on December 30, 2008


« Older Floors that you can eat off of (or at least not...   |   Ones and Zeroes and the air. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.