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Installing Virtual PC for Mac

Figure 1 shows the installation screen that appears once the CD is mounted on the desktop. Notice the OS X "feel" to the panel. This is a product that understands what we OS X users expect: a sense of style and an uncluttered interface.

Figure 01

Figure 1 The main installation screen.

Double-click the install icon to begin the installation. You might also want to review the manuals in the folder as well as the Read Me file.

Figure 2 shows the clever installer layout. You can learn a lot from this panel. For example, there are three main stages to installing Virtual PC and Windows. In this article, I take more of a direct approach. Because I subscribe to Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN), I install Windows from a special DVD, thanks to an enterprise pricing agreement. If you bought the bundled version, you'll be led nicely through every step of the process.

Let's move on and begin the Virtual PC installation. Click the Continue button after reviewing the panel.

Figure 02

Figure 2 Virtual PC installation stages.

Before performing the installation, Virtual PC runs a small program check (as all good Mac OS X programs do) to determine whether installing is possible. At this point, if your hardware can't support the product, you'll get a warning. Happily, my gorgeous iBook G4 meets the criteria. The next panel provides a scrolling view of the Read Me file. Of course, like me, you'll accept the software agreement in the second panel to get closer to the actual installation.

Next, choose a volume on which to install the software (see Figure 3).

Figure 03

Figure 3 Designating the installation volume.

After clicking the Continue button, you'll have a chance to designate the type of installation to perform. I prefer a custom installation, started by clicking the Customize button; I like to see if there are unnecessary items I can keep off my machine. Tutorials? With today's products and operating systems? Bah humbug! Extra copies of AOL or other freebie software? Give me a break!

As you click each component on the Virtual PC manifest, you see the stated purpose of the software and whether installing it is optional (see Figure 4). When you're ready, just click the Install button to start the process.

Figure 04

Figure 4 Installation options.

Modern security practices make us aware of software installation in progress, often by asking for a password. Password protection helps prevent the kind of "installation behind the scenes" that plants Trojan horses on the machine. (Trojans are a class of software that can do everything from record your passwords to allow remote access to your computer.) To continue this installation, you must provide the ID and password of an account with Administrator privileges on your Mac. Figure 5 shows the type of screen you'll see and what information is expected.

Figure 05

Figure 5 Authorizing the installation.

As a convenience, Virtual PC goes beyond the basic security practice of asking for the password. It gives you a warning panel. This panel warns you that a reboot is required and asks if you still want to go forward with the install. Sure! After all, I'm only in the middle of writing an article.

For some reason, Tiger isn't enjoying the virtual switch that Virtual PC supports (see Figure 6). It doesn't like the startup items. Rather than get into this problem now, I'm going to decide whether to fix or disable these features later. I'm sure an update will be available soon to address this problem—plus, I know that these features aren't required to get Windows XP Professional up and running on my iBook. (These troublesome items are advanced features that allow me to create private networks, which allow all of my virtual machines to work on one big stealth network.) Right now, all I need is Internet Explorer so I can view my company's Webmail system.

Figure 06

Figure 6 Deciding to fix a problem later.

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