How to get my old copy of XP to work on a new Mac?
March 13, 2007 1:41 PM   Subscribe

When I buy my new 24" imac, should I keep my PC and use it as a server, buy a hard drive enclosure, or just scrap my old PC?

I don't really need the storage, but I don't really want to get rid of my PC or my hard drives. I'd like to keep a working copy of XP around and use parallels for MSOffice and some games and things. Here are some other questions to consider: 1) Will Parallels work if XP isn't on the mac, but on the PC connected via a network? Or will it work if I pull the hard drives from the PC and put them in an external enclosure? I REFUSE to buy another copy of Windows and I don't have install disks for XP, just the restore ones that came with my OEM XP Pro. So basically, how do I get XP to run on my new mac? Thanks guys.
posted by smithmac_99 to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
If you can afford to, just give the PC away to someone who can use it, a relative or a friend who just wants to access the internet or something.

The restore CD's should be fine to get Windows XP running on your iMac whether you use boot camp, parallels or whatever.

I've been testing Vmware fusion for a few weeks, it's awesome.
posted by ReiToei at 1:55 PM on March 13, 2007

If you're running XP Pro or better, you can run Remote Desktop on your Mac and access your PC in a window.
posted by plinth at 2:09 PM on March 13, 2007

You wont be doing any gaming under parallels. I dont believe it even does 3D acceleration. I dont think any virtualizer can do 3d accel properly by its nature. You're going to want boot camp or keep that PC around for games.

XP OEM licenses are not transferable between computers so you will have buy or steal a copy of windows if you want windows. You do not have the full retail license (which costs 2x more and is transferable) to put on that mac.
posted by damn dirty ape at 2:11 PM on March 13, 2007

I don't have install disks for XP, just the restore ones that came with my OEM XP Pro.

Just remember that if you do this, it is not legal. The OEM Windows license ties it specifically to the hardware that it came with and is not transferrable. I don't know what impediments the OEM installer/imager has, but it's certainly not designed to be a general purpose installer, so it may not work with parallels. If you want a Windows license that you can use on any computer, you need the retail version.
posted by Rhomboid at 2:32 PM on March 13, 2007

damn dirty ape: Parallels Desktop has committed to adding 3D acceleration support in the near future, and VMware Fusion already has it as an experimental feature.

I'm not sure what you consider to be "proper" 3D acceleration in a virtualized environment, but it's clear that some form of it is close to arriving in a usable form.
posted by esd at 3:00 PM on March 13, 2007

OEM installs of Windows won't install under Parallels or VMWare, you need the full install disks. Your only option to use Windows from your Mac is a through a remote desktop. Sorry.
posted by scalefree at 4:27 PM on March 13, 2007

Best answer: Oh! Actually I believe there is an option for you, Parallels just recently released an imaging/migration tool that can take a snapshot of your PC's hard drive & use it as a Parallels image. I haven't used it myself, check the Parallels Desktop for Mac forums for details.
posted by scalefree at 4:32 PM on March 13, 2007

If I was you, I would share out the whole c:\ drive of the XP machine to the Mac, mount it on the mac, and make a cron that runs "rsync -a /Users/You/ /Volumes/XP_box_name" once a day or so. This will give you a home-grown backup solution. Keeping the XP machine around (even in a closet or behind a couch with no monitor) is FREE (parallels is $80 or so).

Also, if someday you need the XP machine in order to run some XP-only software, just lug out the kbd, mouse and monitor and git er' done.

Rather than play Windows games, you should call your Mom. She worries.
posted by popechunk at 5:15 PM on March 13, 2007

Response by poster:
Rather than play Windows games, you should call your Mom. She worries hah! that's really funny. But I do like your idea but I don't know what a cron or an "rsync" is :) Enlighten me briefly, but be gentle please
posted by smithmac_99 at 6:24 PM on March 13, 2007

Um, you could do it manually, too. Just copy the whole "house" on over there using Finder. Kick it off before you go to bed, let it run all night. Do this once a week or something.

Cron is a program on your mac that will run other programs for you on a regular schedule. rsync is a unix command line utility that "syncs up" two directories.

If you're not a CLI kinda guy, you should just blow this off. If you're willing to try it when you have the two computers, there are LOTS of folks here who could help you get it going, if you can't find me again.
posted by popechunk at 7:00 PM on March 13, 2007

Here's what I was talking about, Parallels Transporter. I'm not familiar with VMWare for OS X, it's not as far along but it might have something similar.
posted by scalefree at 7:55 PM on March 13, 2007

Keep it as a little server!
posted by tomw at 2:06 AM on March 14, 2007

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