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Bought a Mac Book Pro

Bought a Mac Book Pro


I finally made my laptop decision and went for the MacBook Pro.  I now need to sort out the Windows side of it.

Do I just buy Windows 8 (and update to the Pro version for £25 before end Jan), or do I need to buy a special version of Windows for the Mac?  I need to be able to use my MS Office software including Visio, Project etc and also VT+, Moneysoft, TaxCalc, Sage, Quickbooks and so on.

I don't want to mess it up so wondered if anyone could just steer me in the right direction.  I was hoping to make use of the Microsoft discounts for students when buying this software, but want the pro versions.

thanks for any help/advice.



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11th Jan 2013 18:52


Hi Eve,


I run windows 7 on a Macbook Air.  You just need a standard copy.

Install it using Bootcamp - there's loads of instructional videos etc on the web


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to soundadvice
31st Jan 2013 13:35

Mac Pro Advice

Go back to the Apple shop (even if you bought on line) and thhey will give you all options and costs. I have never experienced better support than Apple everyone one of them seem to know their stuff and cannot do enough to help.

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11th Jan 2013 19:12

Thanks Stewie - I've seen Mac versions also so was a bit confused.  I'm going to go for Windows 8 Pro, so I'll just buy a standard version of 8 and do the cheap upgrade.  Will the standard versions of Office also work on the Mac do you know?

Oh, what's Bootcamp? Is this on the Mac? My Mac's still in the box - haven't done anything with it yet and don't know what's on it.


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11th Jan 2013 22:08

old post on this...


I re-read the replies I got when I was looking for info in August.  To sum up, these are the suggestions/advice I got:


VMWare Fusion - allows me to run Mac and Windows at the same time

Parallels (in coherence mode) - allows me to run Mac and Windows separately

Bootcamp - as for Parallels but fiddly for copy/pasting between Mac and Windows and I will need to predetermine how much hard drive I provide for Windows

Virtual Box - not smooth to run


From looking at the above the top two sound the easiest.  Does anyone know if that's still the case - has technology moved on since August last year?


Also, can't I just buy my Windows software and load it to the laptop or is that the Bootcamp option I'm thinking about?

I was hoping that buying the Mac would be easy but starting to have doubts already and haven't even got it out of the box yet!  I'm not very techie I'm afraid hence the questions.


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to fmuk
12th Jan 2013 08:58


eve2206 wrote:
Virtual Box - not smooth to run


VirtualBox works perfectly for me - simple copy and paste between Mac & Windows, shared drives, 'seamless mode' so Windows apps just appear to run on the Mac desktop.  I do all my software development work on it and run 10 different versions of Sage 50, Instant & 200 on it with no problems.

You mentioned Sage in your first post - if you go for Windows 8, bear in mind that Sage only support v2012 of v2013, I've already found issues with earlier versions.


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11th Jan 2013 22:59

Office for Mac

I am wondering why you would need to use Windows at all on your Mac?  I partitioned my drive once using parallels I think and I suppose it was OK, but frankly, every time I moved from using the brilliant Mac OS to whatever heap of crap MS have out, it was a soul crushing experience.  Like buying a new pair of shoes only to discover a dog turd[***] inside!

For MS Office, windows, Excel, Powerpoint, Office for Mac is actually terrific and is made for Mac.  In fact, Excel was initialed developed by Bill Gates for the Mac only.  I have kids in school, and so got a copy from a recommended reseller on the MS website, Software4students I think.  I think I paid £37 for it.  Yes, £37 for the whole software, compared to at least £200 if I had the Windows version.  I think the price might be about £100 now, and this allows an installation on 2 macs,  but still a steal.

For presentations, I have actually been using Keynote a lot on the iPad and it is also available on the Mac.  The iPad version is really good now and provides cloud storage, meaning I can start it on one device and carry on on another.  Connects up to pretty much any projector.

I am sure there are accounting and bookeeping packages for the Mac.  I really would give yourself a break and think of all the weeks of the your life you can get back using software that just works.  I shudder at the years, it must be years, I have wasted using MS's offerings.

Just my opinion!

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12th Jan 2013 09:45

Office for Mac

Just be aware that the Mac version of Excel (don't know about the other programs) is not as fully featured as the Windows version.


Software4Students mentioned above currently has Office Professional Plus for £150 which is good value (this includes many extra programs over the basic versions especially Access). However they have quite strict eligibility conditions  (e.g. the licensee has to be a student or faculty member) and a lot of their software is for non commercial use so worth checking before you buy.

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12th Jan 2013 10:24


Not aware of any restrictions on Mac software (eg Pages), so even more reason to avoid MS.

As far as I was aware, the licencee could be me, so long as the software would be used by a student, which it is.

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12th Jan 2013 10:51

Well it doesn't support

PowerPivots for a start which for me is a deal breaker.

Re licence: This was not my understanding of the conditions and I know I have always hit snags when I have looked at them in the past. TBH I have't spent that much time looking at it but I still think it's worth checking the conditions before buying.


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By alicet
12th Jan 2013 11:07

I use Windows XP through Parallels on an iMac, and also a MacBook.  This enables me to run the Windows and Mac environments side by side, and using the Parallels Coherance mode, almost seamlessly.  The reason I need Windows software is so that I may use VT Transaction+ as bookkeeping software, together with TaxCalc.  I have Microsoft Office installed on both the Windows and Mac sides (but only because I got MS Office 2007 free as part of the MS Professional Accountants network when the launched the now defunct MS Office Accounting)

If you were to install Windows directly via BootCamp, I believe you would have to make a choice each time you logged on as to whether you were starting as a PC or a Mac, hence mychoice of using Parallels. 

I am using quite old versions, and am considering upgrading to later versions (in case everything stops working - but no problems so far).




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By Ketchup
to Wanderer
31st Jan 2013 12:54

Windows on MacBook Pro

Parallels & Windows XP are far and away the most straightforward and best options.

Seamless transfer between he two OS.

Windows XP still rock solid for so many core programmes especially if you are not a tecchie-early-adopter and must have the latest of everything now and instantly.

Not a luddite but XP and Sage 2009, MSOffice 2003 just run all client requirements and I do have a life.

Why create problems where none exist.

For all the media stuff, pics, video, etc the Mac is lovely and if you want to save money buy a refurbished one with as much RAM as possible.




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12th Jan 2013 12:27

The decision isn't just the hardware

Sorry to state the "bleeding obvious", but when moving from PC to Mac the decision is actually more a case of looking at the software than it is the hardware.

As it happens all the above solutions seem to cover the advise I got when thinking about moving but, on the Office front, as a stop gap I downloaded the free Open Office which matches the main Office products and, 18 months later, I'm still using it.

As with hosting and online accounting eventually most software will be used in that way making your choice of hardware a lot easier.

In case you've not done it, it's definitely worth viewing the Mac Basic videos and screens, especially the PC to Mac section.  Wish I'd made the switch years ago, my Mac Air is brilliant, will never buy another pc/laptop.

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12th Jan 2013 13:55

Thanks for all the advice
I bought the Mac simply because it is supposed to live longer than most other devices on the market. My original choice was HP.
My Mac has 4gb ram (my current Dell has 2gb and is always hanging). I've read that I will need 2gb to run all the MS software/OS etc which now leaves me no better off?? Unless I'm confused and my Dell is using some of it's 2gb to run Windows?
I think I will go with Parallels and 2013 vers of W8. But it's staying in the box for now - I can't afford to mess this up and believe me I am good at messing up computers, lol.
I know someone at university so should be able to get cheap software - MS prices area rip off anyway but I won't use illegal. I do have an old NHS vers of Office 2007 but fancy the 2010. Computing is so expensive but nice when you get it just right.

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24th Jan 2013 07:56


I can recommend Parellels and ther is no problem with 'messing it up' as all of the drivers etc are present within the install process to make it as easy as things can be on OSX.

I also used it as a means to log on to clients networks when needed - their IT dept is often more comfortable with Windows configurations and this makes it easy to do so. The Mac can then access the network drives.

Good luck!

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24th Jan 2013 11:01

Student software - if not a student ...


'.. I know someone at university so should be able to get cheap software ..'

@The VAT Doctor

'.. I have kids in school, and so got a copy from a recommended reseller on the MS website, Software4students ..'

Would suggest that everyone reads the relevant T&C's

Essentially if you personally are not eligible (by being a student) then why is it deemed acceptable to purchase & use a product only available for student use?

Sorry to be a kill-joy and state the obvious but this is fraud - so not quite sure why everyone thinks this is OK and no-one has commented about this on a site aimed at the Profession

Any professional who engages in this and uses fraudulent software as part of their buisness is just as culpable as any other fraudster - softaware theft, plain stealing money or benefit fraud - what is the difference?

... and how would your professional body view this action? In fact has anyone put it to ICAEW etc. and obtained a definative ruling together with information on what action they would take if someone was reported to them

You may not like M$ & their charges but is that a valid reason for this approach

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25th Jan 2013 09:40



Thanks Ben - glad to hear Parallels is easy to set up.  I'm hoping to get time to purchase this today and finally get the laptop set up how I want it.

JC - I can see where you are coming from.  S4S openly sells software to students' families so I qualify there.  It sells software for use by households and some which is specifically only for uni students.  The main caveat is that it should not be used for commercial purposes.

That's the grey area I guess.  I have already purchased MS Office 2007 and other commercial software so I don't think I will be breaking any laws.  My commercial software, i.e. VT+, Moneysoft etc has been bought and paid for.  So I do not need to use the MS Office for commercial purposes, and if I wish to draw up a project plan (unlikely) or Visio chart (unlikely) then I can access the software on my other laptop.  The reason I personally want the S4S version is to just ensure I put a clean copy on the Mac as the other laptop plays up quite often.

But this discussion has prompted me to wonder why S4S are selling professional grade software to students - do they really need it?  I doubt it.  So I suspect there are thousands of people across the UK abusing this offer.  If a student then uses the software to advertise their skills as, say, a web designer and posts that advert on a uni noticeboard or in an internet cafe, are they then violating the 'not for commercial use' rule?  Or does 'commercial use' for MS Word only seem more valid if someone was writing a book?  Or does 'commercial use' mean using it for more than 25% commercial reasons.

Has anyone defined 'commercial use'? The extent of it?  If I produce an engagement letter on Word, is that commercial use even if I don't use Word for much else in my practice?  Should I be paying around £400 to produce such a letter, when I might use Word 90% of the time for private use?  What if I write short stories in my spare time.  I might one day decide to try and get them published and maybe even earn a few quid from them - in retrospective, do I then go back and offer Microsoft £400 because I've sold something I produced on their software five years earlier?

Looking at tax case law - the courts have decided that you do not start trading until, well, you have actually made a trade (ok, it's more complex than that, but in a nutshell).  So, are you using software for commercial use only when you've actually earned some money from it's use?

I have paid a lot of money for software on my devices in the past, and have a whole bunch of key codes to prove it.  Like others here, I also pay yearly for my software for accountants.  But I appreciate the point you are making and would welcome your views on my comments.  I am not a law breaker or thief and concerned that someone might think I was.




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25th Jan 2013 10:55

Agreed this is a minefield …


Just so that I understand the situation

A new Mac has been purchased for the business and the original question stated ‘.. I need to be able to use my MS Office software including Visio, Project etc ..’You already have Office 2007 but wish to acquire 2010/11 to install on the Mac, rather than the existing legal copy you already ownThe Mac is a business computer and yet assurances are provided that when Office 2010/11 is installed on it, no business use will ever take place on this version of OfficeThe actual M$ wording below says ‘.. business ..’

With all the above facts in mind it might be stretching a point to claim that the software will never be used for business purposes

One set of wording actually says -  ‘.. The software is not licensed for any commercial business activities, nonprofit business activities, or revenue-generating business activities ..’

All M$ software is accompanied by an EULA (end user license agreement) for the specific product and it may differ between versions of the same product (2007/2010).

Whilst families of students are eligible to use the product, alumni are not – so one would imagine that once the family member has completed education the product becomes invalid.

This is backed up the T&C’s associated with M$ Action Pack products, where, if you cease with your subscription the all applicable M$ software must be removed from your machines - in the past on Aweb there have been members of the profession wanting to take this route as a 'free ride', which clearly it is not

Anyway having 2007 really does not exhonorate one from buying 2010/2011 which unfortunately should be purchased via the upgrade route

These EULA’s introduce a grey area and may not be easy to enforce; nevertheless, would anyone really want to be on the receiving end of a legal action by M$. Also don’t forget that later versions of Office have different file formats and one wouldn’t be surprised if the resulting file could be indentified by the version that created it in the first place

Finally, in today’s environment a computer with appropriate software is probably a ‘given’ in rather the same way as a desk & chair; and in theory ones charge out rates should accommodate all the overheads in running the business.

Of course no-one likes to pay for software, especially at some of M$ rates. however, it is a cost of doing business and confusing as to why certain areas are deemed worthwhile (i.e. Mac @ 3 times a pc cost) whereas the software to assist in running the business is begrudged.

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25th Jan 2013 11:08

Parallels again

I use Parallels, I did initially find it really slowed down my Mac though. After a while I upgraded the memory to 8gb and stopped pretty much everything I could from being in Windows startup and everything started working really well.

So if you are going for the Parallels option I would suggest you try and keep Windows pretty clean.

As someone said above the Mac version of Office is just not as good as the Windows one, though Google Docs is pretty great IMO. 

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25th Jan 2013 12:17

hells bells and buckets of blood...

So Parallels is likely to slow down my Mac!!! great.  I've had a couple of weeks of fast - knew it was too good to last :)

My Dell is very tired - a local computer repair shop loaded (I think) a dodgy version of Windows 7 on it (it was Vista before) and it keeps crashing.  I've only got 4gb on the Mac and the shop assistant in PC World promised me faithfully that everything would remain fast if I loaded xyz onto it.  Parallels website claims there will be no loss of performance etc etc etc.

Seems to me like the IT world is full of people telling you any old rubbish to get you to buy their products.

And they wonder why people might be tempted to save money on software!  It's all a big con.

I agree that my charge out rates should reflect my costs, except I don't really have any charge out rates yet.  I'm a new practice with a handful of clients who only want the odd tax return and a small bit of bookkeeping/advice.  I was unable to advertise for more work this month as I am being forced to move home (evicted because I have two cats).  And when I move it will probably take BT six weeks to get me connected like it did when I moved six months ago.  (Get that little violin out, lol).

So, let me think, it's been around 10 months since I earned any income other than the odd £50 here and there.  So you can see why I am reluctant to spend money on software unnecessarily at this stage.  I only bought the Mac to save money in the long run as sick of taking Dell to the clinic.

But I agree, it's probably best to be completely legit even if that means spending £400 for MS Office 2010/13 for one licence/PC, £64 to Parallels, £500-800 for MS Visio and Project upgrades and whatever else I am going to need.  Another £200 to my regulating body, and so on.  This Mac is going to be costly.  I don't want to use anything off my PC in case it has been infected or corrupted.  I can put off the Visio/Project until later and just get the necessary for now.

Thanks for all your input.


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25th Jan 2013 13:00

Why not

If your Dell is knackered and just there as an emergency backup and assuming the licence for the copy of Office on your Dell allows it, why not take Office off the Dell and put it on the Mac under Parallels and put the free Open Office onto the Dell for the odd time you need to use it?

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25th Jan 2013 14:09

good idea

I might just do that - no need to have it all on both.


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31st Jan 2013 11:40

Current Setup


I am in the same situation, my current setup is a MacBook Air running VM Ware to install Windows 7.  I run VT accounts, TaxCalc and BrightPay.  This all works extremely well and being about to flip between Mac and Windows is just the best.  VM Ware piggy backs on the hardware of the Mac, so you can use all the features.  Only one thing to point out, is the VM Ware virtual machine is about 40gb, so make sure you get a big enough hard drive.

Best thing I ever did.

Good luck

Ashton Accountancy

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31st Jan 2013 12:09

How to live in a Mac and MS world


This wont help those wanting to run MS versions of SAGE etc on the mac but is an alternative to loading office on the mac.


Look up Office 365 just launched - Basically you use software on an MS server somewhere so no need to have anything loaded locally.


Won't suit all I guess.

The studient software is licensed to those in education , when that ends they need to buy a different license. I am not allowed to run my business on my childrens software and there are more and more ways of being caught out these days. My business is more valauable than the few hundred quid I have to pay MS and the like so for me its not worth the risk of waking up one day and I cannot access anything.


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By Ketchup
to justsotax
31st Jan 2013 13:46

Running Sage Line 50 on a Mac / iPad

The easiest way to run Sage on a Mac / iPad is to use Online50's Sage cloud system. 2010#NA-452 

Call them to talk.

For more information on using Apple Macs or other non-Windows platforms with the Online50 service call us on 0871 384 3511 (Service Delivery team) or 0800 195 0835 (Pre-sales team 




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31st Jan 2013 13:21



I've got 4gb RAM and (I think) 750gb hard drive on the Mac.

I still haven't done anything! I was going to download Paralells today and put my XP or Vista on the mac and then upgrade to Windows 8 as the cheap upgrade offer runs out today - talk about leave everything to the last minute.

But now I'm interested in finding out more about 365.

How does the saying go... I used to be indecisive but now I'm not so sure!



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By jndavs
31st Jan 2013 14:29

Mac v PC

Why buy a Mac when you just want to turn it into a PC?

Equivalent priced PCs are far more powerful than their Mac counterparts and are much easier to upgrade.

About the only advantage is that the Mac OS, being a Unix derivative, does not have the same sort of virus problems that plague Windows. Many also claim that it is superior and easier to use.

- But it appears that you are intending to run a virtualised version of Windows 8, negating this.

Personally I would stick with native Mac software. LibreOffice (an offshoot of OpenOffice) can be used if you need to be compatible with MS Office.

You can use Fink or MacPorts to run most opensource software natively.



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31st Jan 2013 15:17

Beauty of the Mac is not Windows

Hi, the beauty of running a Mac is being able to avoid Windows! I'm really not sure why you would want to try and change a beautiful Mac into a lovely machine dedicated to running Windows...

Having said that it is very easy to do, and there's no need to be afraid of the machine ... being a Mac it just works straight out of the box, and it is actually very difficult to screw the thing up ... personally I wouldn't use BootCamp, since this means either booting into Windows or booting into MacOS each time you fire up ... far simpler to use Parallels or VMWare Fusion .... loading either of those is extremely simple as you just follow the onscreen instructions (which aren't many) and they both run Windows and MacOS side by side ... it's up to you which version of Windows you buy.

But I still don't understand totally why you'd want to buy a Mac purely for Windows .... yes, the machines are well made, last a long time, and do what they are supposed to do, but there is masses of dedicated Mac software, loads of online software which is independent of operating platform, and VMWare Fusion and/or Parallels for the odd occasion when you just must have a Windows programme. If you have bought the new MacBook pro with with the fantastic Retina display screen, then you've just made me very very very green with envy. Ahhhhhhhh.......

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31st Jan 2013 17:29

Best of both worlds

Hi there Eve,

Just adding my ten pennyworth in case you are still deciding! Running payroll software and working remotely for clients who bank with LloydsTSB meant that VMWare fusion was a necessity when I replaced my past-it Sony Viao with a 27" iMac. The only problem I very occasionally have is when my printer 'forgets' that it is meant to print from both Mac and Windows applications - yes, it's the Windows bit that stops functioning! Turning everything on and off again usually does the trick.

Some clients are now using cloud servers and logmein, both of which are equally happy with Mac and Windows. A couple still have VPNs which rely on Windows, but they'll learn!

As a previous poster said, the Apple support is very good - the techies there are very well trained and want everyone to love their Mac as much as they do :)

Incidentally, I had a query recently with the VMWare Fusion update and e-mailed the US support people. Imagine my surprise when I got a call from California to help me! I hadn't paid any extra for that, so it was pure goodwill on their part - I was just hoping for an e-mail back. 5* to them.

Good luck, and in your down time, enjoy the Mac side!

Best wishes


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31st Jan 2013 18:02

Not the retina one!

I didn't want to spend the extra couple hundred.  I got the one PC World did for £999.  And I only bought it because you lot told me to....haha, only joking, but everyone said it was built to last and my laptops/PCs have a habit of going belly up when I'm broke.

I couldn't decide between the HP Envy and a Dell, and PC Advisor didn't rate them as highly, and the Dell I wanted was more costly than the Mac.  I think shops like PC World rely on nervous shoppers like me.  I know next to nothing these days about software.

The Mac isn't that easy to use - too sensitive and the minimise/close button is on the opposite side etc - and I don't use any of the apps so thus far it's been a complete waste of money for me.  But I agree on being able to use it out of the box which is good.

But I need to load my VT+, Moneysoft, TaxCalc and so on onto it, and as far as I know they rely on Windows.  Plus I've heard that very little beats Excel etc.  So yes, I wanted Mac build with Windows software.   There must be something on the Mac that I will like though, but it will take me a while to find it I guess.  Just need to play around with it.

If all else fails, I'll give it to my daughter for her business which won't rely on Windows, and go out and buy the Envy with 6gb RAM.

But for now I will load the Paralells, and XP and upgrade to Windows 8.  And use my existing Office 2007 software.  No point throwing money away.  Plus I'm looking into Office 365.

Oh, and I will go into the Apple store - there's one near us.  I will probably drive them nuts though!  If I was a horse, they would have put me out to grass by now.



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14th Mar 2013 20:11

Alternative to Parallels/VMware

At present my only requirements for Windows are TaxCalc, Payroll Manager and VT. (I hope the first two become web based soon and would be great if VT started working with Google Spreadsheets but probably unlikely.)

For when the next licenses come up I'm planning to install them on a cheap (£35!) Dell desktop I bought off eBay which I keep running as a server at home. I can then use Remote Desktop to log in to it from anywhere with my Macbook.

I was worried it might be a bit sluggish but with good internet connections both sides it seems to be almost as good as using it directly.


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