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Boot Camp, Parallels, VirtualBox Or Fusion?

Bought my first Macbook Pro over the summer and I love it...but, I have one Windows program (financial software) that I must continue to use for business reasons. Mac offers nothing comparable without starting over from Day One---not an option.

For a Mac novice like myself, is Boot Camp the better choice or VirtualBox? I'll only be using the Windows program two or three times a week so it seems Boot Camp may be the correct option. How tricky is it to set up? I have an old Vista disk that came with a Dell PC, will that disk work or should I find a different copy/version?

Thanks

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marked as duplicate by Sathya, DMA57361, studiohack, Arjan, nhinkle Dec 10 '10 at 8:07

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Depending on the nature of the program (wether it's very resource heavy or not) you can pick either option.

Personally, if the application is mission critical, I would go with BootCamp just to stick with the safe side.

In terms of the install disk; the CD/DVD that is shipped with your old dell computer is not going to work, as Dell ships recovery DVDs AND their licences are Dell OEM specific; that is, they will only install on a Dell computer.

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Thanks for the quick response. Is it relatively easy (for a novice) to install windows via Boot Camp? I have an old XP Pro SP2 disk I can use. –  Chuck Dec 9 '10 at 19:47
    
Yes, installing Windows via Boot Camp is easy; after all, that is what you pay for when purchasing a Mac, things just... work. Good luck with the install! –  akseli Dec 9 '10 at 19:48

For your usage, running Windows in a VM would work very well. If you go the Boot Camp route, it's not going to take very long before you dread having to reboot into Windows every time you want to use that one, single program.

You might want to do some more research -- it might be possible to migrate that data into a Mac-native program. However, if you're asking about financial software, things are pretty ugly for the Mac. People are probably still running VMs or using Boot Camp for no other reason than to run the Windows version of Quicken.

Neither option is tricky to set up -- they're mostly a matter of following the prompts and thinking about what you're clicking on.

An alternative option is to set up a Boot Camp partition, then afterwards set up a VM that accesses the Boot Camp partition. That way you have the best of both worlds: You can run you app in a VM for convenience, or boot into Boot Camp when you need full hardware access, and both installs use the same data. It's trivial to do with Parallels, probably just as easy with VMware Fusion, and probably a bit of work with VirtualBox.

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Thanks for the info. –  Chuck Dec 9 '10 at 19:56
    
I second the VM route. I have set this up for several users with Oracle Virtual Box so they can run their versions of Quicken etc.. It straight forward and the Macbook Pro has ample resources to power it all. This allows you to avoid rebooting which becomes a PITA –  piagetblix Dec 9 '10 at 20:42

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