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Parallels and Windows 8

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#1 Martyk22


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Posted 12 July 2014 - 10:05 AM

I'm a Mac guy thru and thru, but I've finally accepted the realization that unless I want to severely limit my astronomy software options I'm going to have to get Windows. From what I've read it seems Parallels works well so that is what I'm planning to get. My questions are:

1) Should I get Windows 8 at this point, are all the astronomy programs compatible and working well with it, or should I try and get a copy of Windows 7?

2) Are there any notable issues with any popular astronomy related software that I should know about?

3) Any other words of wisdom before I got down this path would be appreciated.



#2 bluesteel


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Posted 12 July 2014 - 12:26 PM

Visualization of hardware has always been an uphill battle with troubleshooting issues that will occur when installing drivers and utilizing the hardware properly on the visualized system... be prepared for that if you go down this route. You might be better off just buying a cheaper laptop that has windows pre-installed.

#3 GJJim



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Posted 12 July 2014 - 02:00 PM

The general problem with all OSes is they are moving targets in the sense that updates sometimes break things that were working fine before the update was installed. Windows by default wants to apply updates every time the machine is booted, and this can lead to frustration. If your PC is not open to the Internet, consider turning off the Windows updates.

You've discovered it's nearly impossible to put together an imaging rig using only OS X or Linux. There are promising developments in both camps, but right now neither can handle the typical situations for controlling hardware and gadgets available today. Windows is the easiest and cheapest path. I'm using W7 Pro 32-bit to run my gear and have learned to put up with its quirks. Once you get a setup that works, do not change any of the USB port configurations, or alter the power-up sequence. I know, USB on Windows is supposed to be plug-n-play, but the reality is different. Keep all of your device driver installers handy on a thumb drive - at some odd, unpredictable moment, Windows will ask to reinstall a driver and finding that long-lost CD is often difficult. I've not used W8.1 yet, and have no compelling reason to try it.

#4 Tony Finnerty

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Posted 12 July 2014 - 02:28 PM

I'm also in the process of switching from Mac to Windows for astronomy only, Marty, just so I can access ASCOM. I bought a Win8 laptop and updated to Win8.1. MetaGuide 5.1.3 had to be installed in Win7 compatibility mode, but I understand a new version will install directly under Win8 now.

I read somewhere (wish I had the link) that Maxim DL will not run under Parallels, although it will run under Boot Camp.

#5 helpwanted



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Posted 12 July 2014 - 03:03 PM

I am a Mac guy also, so just a thought... before going the Parallels path, and worrying about issues, I just bought a Win 8 laptop for my parents, brand new for $399. Think about maybe just getting a Win laptop and avoid the possible issues.
I have no idea of your finances, and it's none of my business, but I see it as cheaper than a car payment, so its worth it in the long run.
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#6 solarGain



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Posted 13 July 2014 - 07:08 AM

Marty and all.
I took the plunge with Windows some 4 months ago in April.
I meet someone who persuaded me that running Windows on my 2010 iMac (4 core) would be very straight forward; and it was.

My iMac was still at SL; I did not want to go down the Lion development route etc. VMware Fusion was shown on this guy’s iMac and it all looked simple enough.

What I did:-
1. Use SuperDuper to make a very successful copy of your files on the mac etc. to a separate HD. FREE/ $$$
SD is very clear to understand, transparant as to what is happening, a must for mac users! I have yet to pay and I undoubtedly will as some stage.

2. I then fully loaded the iMac with 16Gb of RAM, from Crucial . Very straight forward. $$$

2. I then loaded Mavericks. No issue. FREE

3. Meanwhile Windows 8.1 was on delivery from Amazon, this was then loaded. Very straight forward. $$$

4. I then had to load VMware Fusion6 a trail copy - fantastic. FREE/ $$$
I had to load it twice. With Windows I had to lower the security threshold to allow VMware to be successfully to be downloaded. Apparently is is vey common for astronomy software. Do not forget to increase the security threshold back to your preferred level of security. I paid for the excellent product.

So I went from old software - SL to Mavericks with a virtual machine software of Windows 8.1.

I haven’t had any problematic glitches. Once VMware was on the system I immediately copied a small stack of softwares - with the issue again of down grading the security feature of Windows to allow this.

You have a choice of running VMware (Windows) as a separate “single window”, “unity” or “separate
window” these all have their merits but for the most I prefer “separate” and when sharing files “unity” for instance.

I have only personal experience of VMware so you and others maybe interested.


Good luck

#7 vkhastro1


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Posted 14 July 2014 - 12:15 PM

I had the same problem.
I have been using an IMac 27" for over 3 years. Converted
from Windows 7. You know the saying - "Once you go MAC you never go back". Have a ton of astronomy programs only available on Windows.

Simple solution:
Use the MAC with Parallels - you don't have to partition the MAC hard Drive. Simply add an external hard drive and dedicate all you Windows programs on the external hard drive. I didn't both updating to Windows 8.
Best of both worlds !!

#8 Martyk22


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Posted 14 July 2014 - 01:17 PM

I chickened out and ordered a Window's laptop. :)

#9 Bob Trabucco

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 03:04 PM

Use Parallels w/ Windows 8.1 every day.  Never had a problem.  There hasn't been any software I tried to run that didn't.


STRONGLY recommend SSD.  Took it from almost unusable to quite snappy.   Max out your RAM as well.

#10 Paulimer


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Posted 10 August 2014 - 06:56 AM

I use Parallels w/ win7 on PHD2, BYEOS, DSS with absolutely no problem. My fd use the same softwares on Win8 in Bootcamp, also no problem. I don't expect there is a problem using Parallels and Win/8. 

#11 CharlesW



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Posted 10 August 2014 - 09:56 AM

iMac, MacBook, AppleTV, iPads, iPhones iPods, I'm an Apple guy. But I think you will find life a little simpler if you can dedicate an Intel based laptop to your astronomy endeavors. And I've run a bunch of astronomy apps from free to TheSkyX Pro in 8.1 and haven't had a hiccup. 

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