So what do you do when your employee get’s a Mac?

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So what do you do when your employee gets a Mac computer?In today’s society the need for access from home to the work site is key; however, things may be a little different if your employee has bought a Mac – that is a Mac computer, not a raincoat! It will be noticeable if they work on their Mac that character sets will be changed when received in a Windows machine (on older Macs and versions of ‘Office for Mac’ you can often get corruption in documents where foreign characters or currency symbols are used which can lead to confusion).

There is however a solution to the problem which is known as operating in ‘Bootcamp’. This means that you can boot a Mac into the Windows environment but you cannot use Mac programs at the same time.

Anyone buying a Mac has this option built in however it is important to note that Microsoft specifically state that they do not support this. You will also have to supply a copy of Windows to install in Bootcamp.

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If you are happy about data security and encourage working from home it would be worth getting to grips with some of these technical differences.

Noticeable glitches to a regular windows user

  • Macs do not have a right click
  • Macs do not have a scroll bar.

If you go into a Windows looking screen and you can’t right click you probably think no problem I’ll use the keyboard shortcuts. This is not straightforward as you have to use a command button and not the usual control button. You can use ctrl in Bootcamp but this causes confusion in the opposite direction if your user is used to working with a Mac.

Indeed many users coming from a Mac world find using Windows programs as anachronous as Windows users using a Mac.

There are some versions of common Windows programs that have been ported to the Mac but these often miss out important features. For example Microsoft produce a  version of  Microsoft Word  which runs natively on  a Mac however it will not recognise field codes and other forms of automation unless a completely separate program has been written on a Mac using Mac coding for this. An expensive solution!

Solutions offered to this by third party retailers

A notable one is ‘Parallels’.

Parallels takes your Windows applications and makes them work as though they were native Mac apps.

This can really help with productivity as users can use their familiar command (cmd) key combinations to cut and paste between their existing Mac apps and the newly available Windows apps.

Rather than running the cut-down versions of Microsoft Office available for the Mac, users can use the full Windows versions from their Mac Finder bar (the Mac Desktop)

The way Parallels does this is to create a virtual machine within your Mac environment to run Windows. This does need a licensed copy of Windows to install but it can use the version if one is already installed in Bootcamp.

The installation is relatively straightforward and there is a nice wizard to walk you through the steps.

Once installed the Parallels virtual machine will boot up on start-up of your Mac and a new icon will appear in the application bar which will list all applications on your Windows machine.

Starting one of these brings up a Mac style window within your application. This will respond to both normal Mac commands and Windows ones (both cmd and ctrl). Some Windows apps do require right-clicks and this can be done by tapping with two-fingers on the touch pad.

For the experienced Mac user this is an easy way to work with Windows applications and for the Windows user moving to Mac it gives them the familiarity of the Windows environment without having to boot into Bootcamp.

One further advantage that Parallels brings is that it comes supplied with a remote server to allow you access to your Mac and Windows programs from an iPad. I will cover this in more detail in another article.

In conclusion Parallels is a very effective way of sharing Windows and Mac environments to enable all your staff to work remotely regardless of the machine they use.

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