Mac Happens

Windows on Your Mac

Evan Kleiman - 1999.08.31

Many people want compatibility with the Windows world without being forced to give up the ease and all around greatness of the Macintosh. Enter Connectix Virtual PC. This little wonder of a program lets you run Windows and Windows programs on your Mac.

But like its real life counterpart, Virtual PC is a little buggy at times. But never fear - you can fix most of these bugs and get it up and running at it's peak in no time at all.

Here are some common problems, and their solutions.

One of the biggest problems with VPC is its slowness. When you first install this program it only gives your emulated Windows machine a little memory. This is because most computers don't have a lot of real memory. But you can easily alleviate this problem. First, make sure your Mac has enough memory. You can get more real memory (many mail order places and some dealers give you additional RAM when you buy your iMac), or you can use a thing called Virtual Memory (today's theme seems to be virtual, doesn't it?).

To use Virtual Memory, open the Memory control panel, then click the button that turns Virtual Memory on. As a rule of thumb, never add more than double your real memory as virtual memory. Also keep in mind that Virtual Memory is slower than real memory.

Now click the Virtual PC icon once and Get Info (Command-I). In the drop down menu, select the Memory option. Then change both numbers that are editable to higher numbers. You should see a bit of a speed increase. (Windows really loves a lot of memory.)

Another big problem is Virtual PC just not wanting to work at all under system 8.6. To make this program work, install the Virtual PC 2.1.3 update (available at < http://www.connectix.com/html/updates.html>).

The last big problem is things being too small. The default hard drive size is only a mere 260 MB! But you can make your Windows hard drive image bigger. If you go into the Extras folder in the Virtual PC folder, you will see an application called "Hard drive expander." Launch this program and you can increase the size of your virtual hard drive.

Even though there are still some minor inconveniences within the program, these fixes will make your emulated PC experience much better. But, of course, it is Windows, so you can never expect it to work flawlessly!

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