Someone once told me that you buy a Mac if you don’t know where the power on switch is. For years I’ve always wanted to own an Apple Mac computer but couldn’t because my company has standardized on the Windows platform so all our applications were wired for the Microsoft operating system. Then came the decision by Apple to get out of the PowerPC platform and joined the Intel X86 bandwagon. I was ecstatic as I now thought I could finally use the much desired Apple operating system on an x86 computer – my PC. Alas, I soon realise things were not as simple as it seemed. Yes there were a few geniuses out in the world that tried to hack the Mac OS to run on an Intel PC but to my dismay you can’t expect to reap the benefits of the Apple operating system when you hack it into your standard Intel PC hardware.

To test the waters I borrowed a friend’s Apple Macbook. He’d been using Boot Camp for some time and swears by it. He was going away for a couple of weeks and said he didn’t plan on bringing his workhorse for the ride.

I tried Boot Camp and quickly realized a few things: (1) I have to reboot to shift from one platform to another; (2) it’s not easy sharing data between the two platforms; and (3) Boot Camp, while easy to install, took up what limited space was available on the MacBook (250GB configuration). Sure they say Boot Camp is faster because it runs native on the Mac hardware but cutting 250GB storage capacity cripples my ability to have my favourite programs and data with me when I need it.

A friend of mine loaned me an evaluation copy of Parallels Desktop 6 for Mac. With the new PD6 I get around the single biggest complaint about running Windows on a virtual machine – which it doesn’t run as fast as Boot Camp.

With PD6, I can install Boot Camp inside a PD6 instance and get the same experience as if I were running Windows 7 in native mode. And because I was using Parallels I could run both Mac OSX and Windows 7 at the same time with no rebooting.

Best of all I can now check my Outlook email and run Microsoft Word and Power Point on the VM window and be able to quickly cut and paste data from Windows 7 apps to the Mac OS X apps. It was an awesome experience!

For those of who have been following my typical reviews, you will discover this to be a totally different approach. Its largely because I’m still fiddling with this platform. If you want more info on a more details review, watch the video below. I didn’t get to try all the features highlighted in the video.

One other thing I found quite interesting with PD6 is the available of an app for the iPad (I happen to own one) meaning I can boot Windows on the Macbook using the iPad. The caveat is the Macbook has to be powered up, I have the Macbook’s IP address, and it only works on Windows running inside Mac OS X.

How cool is that?

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