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Using Virtual PC to skirt the school requirements.
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MollyT
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Jul 21, 2004, 09:54 PM
 
I am a student who is about to begin my Masters in Library Science at the University of Washington, and my particular program is mostly administrated online. The school has strict requirements on what machines we can use- 1 GHz PC, 256 MB RAM (more is suggested), Windows XP, office 2003, etc. The School gives me software they've designed, which I would be willing to bet is nothing too memory-hogging...

So, I was raised with PC's and now I'm completely sick of them. (i'm sure i don't need to say why) I've been trying to transition to Mac for a few years, and my plan was to buy the Powerbook G4,1.33 Ghz combo drive and an additional 256 RAM. (for a total of 512) My impression is that on a network, no one can tell if you are running VPC or an actual PC.

Is anyone using the latest version of VPC & windows XP (stripped down or not),
& not for gaming purposes, that can tell me what kind of speed you are getting? Especially if you can compare it to the speed you might get on a PC with the above specs?
I've seen a lot of complaints on the message board about vpc and winxp together and people selling their software, so I've started to have 2nd thoughts about my sneaky plan.

Other things to know- Buying two computers isn't an option. I will have high speed internet. I must have a laptop. I checked with tech services at my school, and they informed me that if I buy a Mac, I forfeit my rights to tech support. (in such a rude way that I was even more inspired to ignore them)

Advice? Thanks!
     
Ω
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Jul 21, 2004, 11:30 PM
 
Tech support - who needs em? Typically they are bunch of w**kers.

As for VPC, if you can get away with it run 2000. XP is a CPU hog. As long as the program you need can run on it, it should be fine. They most likely want one setup to make their life easier, not due to performance/needs.

If you do use XP, then turn of all the redundant eye-candy to help speed it up.

You might want to find out exactly what they are running app wise to get a feel for what they are after.

If all else fails, claim that they are discriminating against your rights to use the computer of your choice!!

     
leperkuhn
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Jul 21, 2004, 11:47 PM
 
4 years of computer science here, I was told i MUST have a mac. HA. bought a b&w right before I went, and never regretted it.

Anytime I actually really did need a PC for something (and it was pretty rare) i just used a lab computer.

Originally posted by MollyT:
I am a student who is about to begin my Masters in Library Science at the University of Washington, and my particular program is mostly administrated online. The school has strict requirements on what machines we can use- 1 GHz PC, 256 MB RAM (more is suggested), Windows XP, office 2003, etc. The School gives me software they've designed, which I would be willing to bet is nothing too memory-hogging...

So, I was raised with PC's and now I'm completely sick of them. (i'm sure i don't need to say why) I've been trying to transition to Mac for a few years, and my plan was to buy the Powerbook G4,1.33 Ghz combo drive and an additional 256 RAM. (for a total of 512) My impression is that on a network, no one can tell if you are running VPC or an actual PC.

Is anyone using the latest version of VPC & windows XP (stripped down or not),
& not for gaming purposes, that can tell me what kind of speed you are getting? Especially if you can compare it to the speed you might get on a PC with the above specs?
I've seen a lot of complaints on the message board about vpc and winxp together and people selling their software, so I've started to have 2nd thoughts about my sneaky plan.

Other things to know- Buying two computers isn't an option. I will have high speed internet. I must have a laptop. I checked with tech services at my school, and they informed me that if I buy a Mac, I forfeit my rights to tech support. (in such a rude way that I was even more inspired to ignore them)

Advice? Thanks!
     
JKT
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Jul 22, 2004, 06:31 AM
 
Originally posted by MollyT:
Other things to know- Buying two computers isn't an option. I will have high speed internet. I must have a laptop. I checked with tech services at my school, and they informed me that if I buy a Mac, I forfeit my rights to tech support. (in such a rude way that I was even more inspired to ignore them)
The only thing I've ever needed IT support for is my IP address(es).
     
Jean-Miche
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Jul 22, 2004, 07:01 AM
 
Originally posted by _?_:
T.
As for VPC, if you can get away with it run 2000. XP is a CPU hog. As long as the program you need can run on it, it should be fine. They most likely want one setup to make their life easier, not due to performance/needs.
If you do use XP, then turn of all the redundant eye-candy to help speed it up.
This a copy and paste of a document for optimzing XP for VPC:

"Optimizing Windows XP Professional and Home Edition
For Connectix Virtual PC.
This document provides information on how to optimize Windows XP Professional and/or Home Edition to improve performance under Virtual PC.
Windows XP contains many visual effects, themes and other enhancements that give the operating system the new XP look
and “feel”. When run in Virtual PC however, these visual enhancements affect the overall feel and performance of the operating system – especially when compared to a Windows 2000 operating system. This document explains how to disable these enhancements to improve performance.
These optimizations can be applied to any version of Windows XP Home or Professional running in either Connectix Virtual PC for Mac or Connectix Virtual PC for Windows.

System Properties
The following features are controlled through the System Properties dialog which can be accessed by clicking the Start button, choosing Control Panel and then selecting System.

Visual Effects
Windows XP contains a variety of special effects and visual enhancements such as animated menus, fade effects, cursor shadows, menu shadows, etc. Disabling some of these settings can make Windows XP feel “snappier” when opening menus and windows.
Follow the steps below to optimize the Visual Effects settings.
• Open Control Panel from the Start menu and choose “System”.
• Choose the “Advanced” tab.
• Select the “Settings” button under the Performance section.
• Check the “Adjust for best performance” box and click “Apply” to apply the settings.
Note: If you choose the “Custom” option, you can selectively enable or disable specific effects. The cursor shadowing effect can have a noticeable impact on performance. If you choose to leave some of the effects on, Connectix recommends that you at least disable the cursor shadowing effect.

Remote Desktop
Remote Desktop allows another user to control Windows from a remote location. This function can also be used for support by Microsoft technicians to provide support by controlling your operating system (upon request) for troubleshooting various issues. Unless you have a need for remote operation of Windows XP and are experienced in setting up the
connections and preferences, it’s recommended that you disable this option.
• Choose the “Remote” tab
• Make sure both “Allow Remote Assistance…” and “Allow users to connect…” are unchecked
and click OK.

System Restore
Windows XP contains a feature known as System Restore which allows you to restore your OS back to a pre-defined point. This feature can be useful if you have significant data on your drive and you experiment with various beta software and/or drivers that could conceivably cause instability in the operating system.
This feature requires monitoring of your drive(s) and data on a continuous basis and a fair amount of overhead resources to run. Unless you have a great need for this functionality, you can opt to disable it.
*Note that you can use the Undo Drives feature in Virtual PC to reverse changes made to an operating system. Consult the Virtual PC manual or built-in help for more information on using Undo Drives.
• Choose the “System Restore” tab.
• Check the “Turn off System Restore on all drives” box and click OK – confirm OK when asked if you’re sure you want to disable System Restore.

Automatic Updates
Windows XP contains functionality to check the Microsoft Windows Update website on a regular basis to determine if any operating system updates are available. This feature may still be active even when a machine is not connected to a network. Updates can be downloaded automatically or the user may choose to simply be notified that updates are available. However, it is possible for the user to perform these operations manually
whenever desired by simply clicking the “Windows Update” option in the Start menu while connected to the Internet. To improve performance, Connectix recommends that you turn off the Automatic Updating feature and invoke it manually from time to time.
• Choose the “Automatic Updates” tab.
• Uncheck the “Keep my computer up to date…” box.
• If this box isn’t displayed, then check the box that says “Turn off automatic updating…”
Once the changes above have been applied, close the System Properties dialog by clicking OK. You’ll be asked to restart the PC – allow Windows to restart before continuing to the next section of optimizations.

Display Properties
A variety of special effects and features can be optimized in the Display Properties dialog.
Display Properties
To access Display Properties:
-Open Control Panel from the Start menu and choose Display.
• Choose the “Desktop” tab and set the Background to “None” (the first available option).
• Select the “Appearance” tab.
• Under “Windows and buttons”, choose “Windows Classic Style” from the drop-down menu.
• Click the “Effects” button.
• Uncheck all options and click OK.
• Click OK to close the Display Properties and apply the changes.
Start Menu and Taskbar
There are several areas of the Taskbar and Start Menu that can be optimized for better performance.

Start Menu/Taskbar
To access the Taskbar properties:
-Right-click (CTRL-click) on the Windows XP Start button and choose “Properties” from the menu that appears.
• Choose “Classic Start Menu”
• Click the “Customize” button
• Select the “Show Small Icons in Start Menu” option
• Uncheck any other items that you may not use to reduce the number of items that appear in the Start menu

Folder Options
The way that items in folders are displayed can have an impact on the perceived speed of the operating system. Follow these steps to optimize folder views in Windows XP.
• Open My Computer.
• Open the C: Drive (Local Disk).
• Choose “Folder Options” from the “Tools” menu.
• Make sure “Use Windows classic folders” is selected.
• Select the “View” tab.
• Uncheck the “Automatically search for network folders and printers” option.
• Click “Apply”.
• Click the “Apply to All Folders” button.
• Click OK to close the Folder Options dialog."
Jean-Miche
     
Randman
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Jul 22, 2004, 07:33 AM
 
If you can afford it, I'd consider more ram. If you have 1GB, you can allow VPC to run at 512, which will give you a pretty big jump in performance (especially once you turn off the eye candy).
Also, check on what Office versions will be required. As a student, you can get the Edu version of Office 2004, which has a nice compatibility function with older, and/or peecee, versions of Office.

This is a computer-generated message and needs no signature.
     
codywalton
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Jul 22, 2004, 11:31 AM
 
As long as you buy a butt-load of RAM and aren't trying to run any 3D software (games, maya, etc.) through VPC, I think it should wok fine.
     
Cadaver
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Jul 22, 2004, 07:16 PM
 
On my 12" PB 1.33GHz, VPC 6 with Windows 2000 runs about how I would expect a 800MHz low-voltage P-III to perform. Functional.

If you're going to go the VPC route, I suggest more than 512MB RAM for your PowerBook. 768MB at the minimum, so VPC/Windows can have about 384MB of free RAM in which to breathe. If you can afford it, boost the PowerBook to its maximum.

And my advice is to avoid WindowsXP on VPC. Its quite noticeably slower than Windows 2000. Perhaps that will change when VPC 7 is released, but for now the sweet spot is with Win 2K.

I have no trouble using Word, Excel and PowerPoint in VPC (1.33GHz 12" PB). EndNote 6 also runs fine in VPC. The VPN client for my office also runs just fine.

     
alligator
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Jul 23, 2004, 08:24 AM
 
I just installed VPC on a new 1.3 GHz PowerBook. I'm running Windows XP Pro. It tests out as a 287 MHz Intel machine - even with 512 MB RAM allocated to it.

My advice would be this: get a low end Windows box ($200 - $400) for the "required" software at work. You might even get away with buying a computer from a local store that sells used equipment.

Then go and buy your Mac, using it as you would want. That way you are not causing problems at school, and you can still do what you want on your own time.

VPC is not the solution you are looking for - but I think you should buy the Mac anyway. Spend the money you would have spent on VPC on a cheap and dumb Windows machine.
     
videian28
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Jul 23, 2004, 09:46 AM
 
hmm.. I have VPC installed on my 1ghz rev b powerbook, it does ok, if you need to surf the web or use office documents it is fine... anything that is light work should be no problem...anything more than that, not sure
     
absmiths
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Jul 23, 2004, 10:50 AM
 
Originally posted by alligator:
My advice would be this: get a low end Windows box ($200 - $400) for the "required" software at work. You might even get away with buying a computer from a local store that sells used equipment.
A low-end laptop for $200? Not likely.

VPC can do anything you want - it is all a matter of how patient YOU are when you work with it. I used to test I.E. 6 pages with all sorts of crap on them in VPC 5 on a 300Mhz G3!

Whatever you do - don't even look at VPC 5 in OS X - it sucks. VPC 6 is the only usable OS X version in my experience.
     
iluvmypowerbook
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Jul 23, 2004, 10:55 AM
 
Originally posted by videian28:
hmm.. I have VPC installed on my 1ghz rev b powerbook, it does ok, if you need to surf the web or use office documents it is fine... anything that is light work should be no problem...anything more than that, not sure
How about using VPC to run Visual Basic.net on a 1.33 G4 PowerBook with 768 Mb Ram?
I know it will not be perfect but do you think it will be ok?
     
Powaqqatsi
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Jul 23, 2004, 11:01 AM
 
I would also buy a cheapo PC to run that software and a Mac for everything elso.

OT: What is a Master in Library Science ?
     
Jean-Miche
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Jul 23, 2004, 12:26 PM
 
[QUOTE]Originally posted by absmiths:
VPC can do anything you want - it is all a matter of how patient YOU are when you work with it. I used to test I.E. 6 pages with all sorts of crap on them in VPC 5 on a 300Mhz G3![/QUOTE

I use VPC 6 with 98 SE and OS 9.2.2 with an iBook 300 Mhz. All is fine for me for Office, P2P, MSN Messenger 6.2, IE, OE... You have to maintain the PC just for a real PC. That's all.

Whatever you do - don't even look at VPC 5 in OS X - it sucks. VPC 6 is the only usable OS X version in my experience.
VPC 6 is faster than VPC 5 with XP. With the document I put in, the Connectix document, usable for all versions, it's more fast than without. Try it.
Jean-Miche
     
Gavin
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Jul 25, 2004, 07:35 AM
 
MollyT:

There may be a gotcha or two where VPC won't do the trick.

At Seattle U the pc requirement really came down to 2 things:

1. there is a "blue book" testing program they use to let you take the test with the computer - they don't have to read your handwriting...

2. there is a program the tallies how many pages you print in the library so they can charge you for the paper.

No. 2 is simple - don't print anything in the library or computer lab

No. 1 uses some funky serial connector that actually does require a PC.

The pc wonks in the computer lab at Seattle U gave my friend a bunch of BS about how you just can't use a Mac for serious work like word processing. They honestly wouldn't tell her why the school was forcing her to buy a pc. After a phone call to the president of the university the wonks grudgingly revealed that it was all about the windows system hack that charged her 10 cents for every page printed. So Word for mac wasn't "compatible" because they couldn't get their dime.

Another friend was at UW a couple years ago. The thing then was the special ppp dialer you needed to get into the school's network from off campus. It did some abnormal auth thing and they didn't have a mac version.

I'm sure the UW still has other such BS. This kind of crap changes every year when some software salesman buys lunch for the dean's technology staff. Get on a UW mailing list and ask last year's students what the requirement really is.

http://mailman.u.washington.edu/mailman/listinfo

Make sure you write a letter of complaint to the head of the department.

And stay out of Earl's
     
Jean-Miche
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Jul 25, 2004, 09:24 AM
 
Originally posted by alligator:
I just installed VPC on a new 1.3 GHz PowerBook. I'm running Windows XP Pro. It tests out as a 287 MHz Intel machine - even with 512 MB RAM allocated to it.
That's wrong.
VPC has consistently reported an emulated CPU speed of 4x the Mac's bus speed.

66MHz bus Macs report 266Mhz.
100MHz bus Macs say 400MHz.
133MHz bus Macs report 533MHz
167MHz bus Macs report 667MHz.

but you could check it on your machine:
In Windows 98 SE: go to start then programs then accesories then System tools then (this is the last one) System Informations.
Microsoft system informations is now open. In it, go to the tools menu and click on DirectX diagnostic tool. It's long to open just like in a real PC.
In the DirectX diagnostic tool window, you will see in the tab System, just over the memory processor Microsoft CPU P6, MMX, frequency ...MHz.

W XP is very similar to W 98SE. I believe you will find your emulated processor on your machine.

Use the document I put in for optimizing XP Pro.
And when VPC 7 will be released buy the upgrade version for the Mac graphic card taken account.
Jean-Miche
     
proton
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Jul 25, 2004, 10:24 AM
 
Originally posted by Jean-Miche:
That's wrong.
VPC has consistently reported an emulated CPU speed of 4x the Mac's bus speed.

66MHz bus Macs report 266Mhz.
100MHz bus Macs say 400MHz.
133MHz bus Macs report 533MHz
167MHz bus Macs report 667MHz.
Guess that'll be fun on a G5...
800 MHz bus Mac reports 3.2 GHz
900 MHz bus Mac reports 3.6 GHz
1 GHz bus Mac reports 4 GHz
1.25 GHz bus Mac reports 5 GHz

/me ducks

- proton
     
MollyT  (op)
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Aug 12, 2004, 08:55 PM
 
I wanted to thank/update everyone who responded.
I took the plunge and ordered my PB the night before class started.
(and 1ghz of RAM from ramseeker to supplement the 512) I also went for the lovely little ipod rebate they're offering.
On the first day, much to my delight, I counted 7 students in the class who had brought Macs, and were (ostensibly) using them to take notes. I talked to each of them on the sly,
and basically they all had the same plans that I did, and now we can form our own forum to support each other. Hooray!
     
Gavin
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Aug 14, 2004, 02:41 AM
 
Sounds cool.

Drop back in a couple months and let us know how it goes.
     
xbot
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Aug 15, 2004, 01:01 AM
 
I've found Windows NT to be the fastest OS for VPC. If you want a copy, try eBay. I saw some people selling Windows NT for 1 pound sterling over here in the UK.
     
MrForgetable
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Aug 15, 2004, 02:50 PM
 
Originally posted by absmiths:
A low-end laptop for $200? Not likely.

VPC can do anything you want - it is all a matter of how patient YOU are when you work with it. I used to test I.E. 6 pages with all sorts of crap on them in VPC 5 on a 300Mhz G3!

Whatever you do - don't even look at VPC 5 in OS X - it sucks. VPC 6 is the only usable OS X version in my experience.
by low end windows box, he meant a desktop.
iamwhor3hay
     
ghporter
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Aug 17, 2004, 09:05 PM
 
The school's computer requirement is almost certainly because they want EVERYBODY using the same software, and that software is Windows based. This shouldn't be a problem for you and a well-configured installation of VPC. RAM, RAM, and more RAM are the usual cure-alls for VPC, and that shouldn't hurt you here.

However, you don't get too much "bang for the buck" in hunting down every bell and whistle that XP has-some use an extra clock cycle or two, and it could take you hours to track down the switch that turns them off! Instead, look for the biggies that Windows makes easy to alter, like animated menus and so on.

One thing to look into: many schools have a special licensing deal with Microsoft that gets students SERIOUS discounts on MS software, including operating systems. You could find that your bookstore has fully legal, brand new copies of XP for $25 or so-and you get that good feeling that you're using the OS your department wants you to! Besides, the school's IT department probably provides tech support for configuring XP, which is a great help, considering how wierd and arcane some of XP's configuration options are.

Good luck, and let us know how the Library Science thing (software and all) works out. Heinlein once pointed out that the real cutting edge science is Library Science, without which we'd all drown in facts without any way of making sense of them.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
   
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