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3 Ways to Use Windows on Your Mac

3 Ways to Use Windows on Your Mac

    One of the biggest reasons that Windows users have a hard time making the switch to a Mac is that they have obtained years and years of Windows software. Of course there is no real way to run Windows apps natively on the Mac operating system. But, instead of not becoming a Mac convert or starting your application collection from scratch, you can use these 3 ways to use Windows on your Mac.

    Remote Desktop

    One of the fastest ways to get Windows running on a Mac, especially if you already have an installation of Windows (XP, Vista, or 7 Pro or higher) is to use the free Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection application that is available for your Mac. You will need to do some initial configuration, like making sure that your Windows PC is accessible through a firewall and allows for remote desktop connections.

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    To allow remote desktop connection on Windows do the following:

    XP

    1. Click Start and then right-click My Computer.
    2. Click Properties.
    3. Click the Remote tab, and then click to select “Allow users to connect remotely to this computer”.
    4. Confirm the change.

    Windows Vista/7

    1. Click the start button and in the search box type “Control panel” and hit Enter.
    2. Double click the System icon.
    3. Under Tasks to the left click Remote settings.
    4. One the System properties dialogue under the Remote Desktop heading, choose Allow connections from computers running any version of remote desktop
    5. Click apply.

    If you are on a local area network with the Windows computer that you just allowed to be remotely accessed, all you need is the computer’s IP and that it be turned on to access it from the Remote Desktop Connection application from Microsoft. Simply enter your IP, click connect, and you are good to go.

    Virtualization

    If you don’t want to remotely access your PC, keep Windows with you on your Mac, and have the ability to use your Windows apps next to your Mac apps, then virtualizing Windows inside of OS X is the way to go. There are a handful of great virtualization suites out there including Parallels Desktop ($79.99) and VMware Fusion ($49.99). But, if you want virtualization done for free, you may want to look into VirtualBox that was originally created by Sun and is now owned by Oracle.

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    Virtualization is a great way to use Windows on your Mac but can be a little bit of a bear to setup, especially if you aren’t familiar with virtualization at all. The process basically includes installing the virtualization software, creating a new virtual machine, and then installing Windows on the new virtual machine. The creation of the virtual machine (especially with Parallels and VirtualBox) is pretty straightforward. Where you can run into issues with the virtual machine is when you are trying to virtualize certain hardware components and setups, but for most users, they will never have to touch these options.

    Another thing about virtualization is that you will need a valid license and installation media for the version of Windows you want to install.

    Probably the hardest part of virtualizing Windows on a Mac is installing Windows on the virtual machine. If you have installed Windows before with succes, then this won’t be an issue, but for those that have never installed Windows, it could pose a problem.

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    Luckily there are some great tutorials for installing Windows from the Microsoft Support Site. Also, since Windows Vista, the installation process has become much easier.

    Boot Camp

    While virtualization is a great way to use your Windows apps alongside your Mac apps, some power users may want the full power of their Mac hardware to run Windows. For this type of user I suggest using Apple’s Boot Camp to install Windows on a totally separate partition on your Mac. This gives you the ability to boot into either OS X or Windows when you turn your compter on.

    The benefits of using this type of setup is that you get to use the power of your Mac to run Windows, rather than using a less powerful virtual machine because it doesn’t have to share resources with the “host” operating system. Also, using Windows 7 natively on a Mac is pretty great and can prove to be a better user experience than most of the high-end PCs that are available.

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    The installation guides for Boot Camp can be found here on Apple’s support site. Just choose the installation guide that is applicable to your Mac to make it happen. Once again, you will have to know how to install Windows natively and have a valid Windows license and installation media to get this to work.

    Go forth, you cross-platform warrior

    Now that you have the ability to use Windows on your Mac you can use pretty much all the software in the world. Pretty awesome, huh? You can now turn into a cross-platform, Windows on Mac warrior.

    Resources

    More by this author

    CM Smith

    A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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    Last Updated on February 15, 2019

    7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

    7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

    Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

    Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

    Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

    So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

    Joe’s Goals

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      Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

      Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

      Daytum

        Daytum

        is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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        Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

        Excel or Numbers

          If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

          What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

          Evernote

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            I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

            Evernote is free with a premium version available.

            Access or Bento

              If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

              Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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              You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

              Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

              All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

              Conclusion

              I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

              What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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