Running Windows on my Mac – Part 1

I’ve been using Apple products for 7 years and I haven’t touched a Windows PC since leaving the last “Windows house” I worked for in 2010. It turns out that, with the wide range of Mac software on offer, I haven’t needed to. When I upgraded to Lion, the only drawback was not being able to continue using my ancient version of MS Word and Excel for Mac. The version I had was for Power PC chips only (bought when I was running Tiger on my iBook G4) and I had already extended its life with Rosetta. With Lion that was no longer possible so I decided to try Apple’s Pages and Numbers.

There are elements of Word and Excel which I miss. Honestly. It’s well known that Pages and Numbers lack the wider range of features available in the Office products, however I reckon I can manage without most of them. The other issue is that while one can open Office files in the Apple products and similarly save them in Office formats, key features such as macros and conditional formatting are not supported. Furthermore there is always the possibility that I may have to do some work on Excel files where there is a requirement to preserve this extended compatibility for Windows Excel users.

I have another issue. As a geocacher, one of the key tools I am missing is GSAK, the Geocaching Swiss Army Knife. There isn’t a Mac equivalent (or at least not a modern one), so I would need a Windows platform to run GSAK.

So, what are my options?

  1. Buy Office for Mac 2011 for around £80 and forget about GSAK
  2. Get my daughter’s Dell laptop out of the loft, use its copy of Office XP and run GSAK on it as well.
  3. Try running Windows on my Mac; install Office XP and GSAK.

Don’t like “1”.

Like “2” even less.

So let’s give “3” a go. In my next post I’ll let you know how I get on


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