Mac using Magic Trackpad with Parallels 8 and Windows 8 Pro - Brilliant!

Discussion in 'hardware' started by SoCalReviews, Jan 19, 2013.

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  1. SoCalReviews

    SoCalReviews Registered Member

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    I purchased a Mac Mini last year with Parallels 7 VM and installed the free Windows 8 Preview edition. I wasn't very impressed with Windows 8 Preview. Eight months of that experience with the non-intuitive control over the Metro style interface seemed so frustrating that it made me strongly dislike Windows 8. Although I was using an Apple Magic Trackpad I didn't like the function using the Metro style interface. I have also tested Windows 8 in the stores on laptops with touchscreens and on PCs using a mouse. For whatever reason those experiences using Windows 8 and it's interface designed for touch just didn't feel right.

    I upgraded from Lion to Mountain Lion last year over the summer. I just upgraded to Parallels 8 and took advantage of the limited time $39 Windows 8 Pro upgrade offer by Microsoft (good until Jan 31st, 2013...the end of this month). I downloaded the Windows 8 Pro update and installed it on top of the Windows 8 consumer preview edition. It took about two hours for the entire download and update process. When it was finished I experienced a few glitches with the screen size not being full wide screen. I had to go into Parallels settings for the Windows 8 VM and select to Reinstall the Parallels Tools. Windows 8 Pro showed Parallels Tools on a virtual DVD drive. I went to Windows 8 desktop and installed them...rebooted...and everything was perfect. The extra enhancements and shortcuts that Parallels 8 added to the Windows 8 Pro are great. Moving back and forth on the fly between OSX Mountain Lion and Windows 8 Pro is enjoyable.

    The Apple magic trackpad is my preferred device to use with Windows 8 Pro. Using up to four finger gestures, tapping and swiping on the large pad works so well and is fast and the Parallels 8 enhancements to Windows 8 are so convenient and simple to use that I went from practically hating Windows 8 and the Metro style interface (even on store PCs and laptops with touch screens) to really enjoying using Windows 8. The feel and control of an OS is critical to the experience. Before doing these software updates I was not impressed with Windows 8 or computers running Windows 8 but that has seemed to suddenly and dramatically change 180 degrees. We will see if my feelings about this lasts over the long run but so far I am impressed. I wonder if there are any advanced PC trackpads that could replicate this experience for non-Mac users. I can't imagine using Windows 8 Pro with any other devices and feature sets than this.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2013
  2. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

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    While I would not use a Mac anyway, one thing which really puts me off running Windows on a Mac is the lack of a led to show hard drive activity.
     
  3. SoCalReviews

    SoCalReviews Registered Member

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    While running a Parallels virtual machine in a Window instead of full screen mode there is an image of a small virtual hard drive on a bottom bar that shows the drive activity along with other visual system tools. With Parallels 8 on the Mac you can also control the hardware options and system devices virtually such as amount of system RAM, video RAM, dynamic hard drive memory sizing, network mode, IP addressing, wireless, Bluetooth, etc.. The amount of control you have over the VM is amazing and it feels like it runs seamlessly with OS X. I switch back and forth between VMs and OS X 10.8.x desktop about as fast as I can switch between the Metro interface and the Windows 7 style desktop and both Windows 8 Pro and OS X are fast on this relatively inexpensive base model mid-2011 Mac Mini with just a 16GB DDR3 RAM upgrade. I am considering purchasing the newest i5 CPU late-2012 base model or the next model up with a quad core i7 CPU to be used as a mini media computer/server.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2013
  4. nosirrah

    nosirrah Malware Fighter

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    Make sure to look at the turbo clock specifications, Intel likes to play games with big price swings based on base clock speed even though when turbo kicks in the base clock is overridden. For example if two CPUs only have 100 mhz in speed difference between turbo clocks but a huge price difference go with the cheaper one even if the gap between base clocks is large. With 100 mhz between turbo clocks your $ is better spent on things like more ram and better SSD. Ivy Bridge is also slightly faster clock to clock than Sandy Bridge so a 3.9 turbo Sandy and 3.8 turbo Ivy are about the same.
     
  5. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

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    Good to know, as I (unlike some people) can't live without hard drive activity indication.
     
  6. SoCalReviews

    SoCalReviews Registered Member

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    It seems strange but now I am spending most of my time using Windows 8 because it is running so smoothly in the VM and it's features are starting to intrigue me. I have my seventeen year old HP Laserjet 6L working perfectly on my Mac Mini in Windows 8 VM and Windows XP VM with a OS X 10.8 compatible parallel port to Ethernet print server and my seven year old external serial port voice/fax/modem is also working in both VMs with a USB to RS-232 serial port converter. Next up... I just finished installing Safari for Windows. :D
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2013
  7. SweX

    SweX Registered Member

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    Hello this is interesting stuff to me :D

    I Hope you don't mind me asking, but wich version did you install?
    Since afaik, Apple have stopped developing Safari for Windows.
    Though they haven't official said anything about it.

    So where from did you download Safari for Win?

    I am using Safari Ver 5.0.5 on XP, wich is very outdated and doesn't include the Plugin process wich they added somewhere after this version.

    Thanks, SweX :)
     
  8. SoCalReviews

    SoCalReviews Registered Member

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    Safari for Windows development and support was discontinued by Apple last year in 2012 but they still have a support link to download it. The requirements for v5.1.7 for Windows are a PC running Windows XP SP2 or Windows Vista or Windows 7 ( or unofficially Windows 8 ).

    http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1531
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2013
  9. SweX

    SweX Registered Member

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    Yes I knew they had stopped development (but no official word on it yet afaik), that's why I wondered what version you installed :)

    Though no version after 5.0.5 have runned well on my PC, wich is why I keep this version. :thumb:
     
  10. SoCalReviews

    SoCalReviews Registered Member

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    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013
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