It’s been close to three weeks now since I tried to switch from the PC to my new state-of-the-art iMac. The result: I’m running a very nice PC with Windows 7 Ultimate on my iMac!!!!  How can this be you might ask?

Let me reiterate my earlier summary: If you are new to computing, or if you are completely unattached to any of your PC programs, you will find the conversion to an iMac extremely simple and pleasant. It’s a wonderful platform and I look forward to the day when I can actually use it. But if you’re a veteran business user, with programs that you depend on and don’t exist in the Apple OS, or if you have legacy files that you periodically need to open in their respective Windows program…’re screwed.

I’m running Parallels 5.0, a virtual machine emulator that allows you to simultaneously run Windows on your iMac. But here’s the problem that Parallels doesn’t make explicit up front: When running the Windows virtual machine, you have to actually have a Windows-based program for any software feeding off any other Windows program.

Here’s an example. I use Outlook as my Email, Calender, To do, Notes, etc., manager. It is the industry standard….99% of business people use Outlook. When I get an email in Outlook and it has a link to a web site…I have to have the Windows version of Firefox to open it, even though I already have the Apple OS version of Firefox on the computer. Another example: If someone emails me a Word document and I click to open it, it opens Word for Windows instead of my preferred Word for Mac. So basically, over time, you wind up only having Windows programs opening because the driving program (Outlook) only wants to deal with Windows-based programs.

That’s how you wind up running your beautiful new iMac as a Windows 7 machine.

And frankly, windows is cumbersome. The best word I can think of to compare it to the Mac OS is “clumsy”. So now you’re caught using a slow, clumsy machine, side-by-side with the elegant, fast, sexy, Mac OS…which you can’t touch!

I am hopeful however. Microsoft has promised to launch Outlook for Mac in their new Microsoft Office 2011 due out next month. Once I shift Outlook over to the Mac OS, everything else will follow and the virtual machine will be reserved for obscure but valuable Windows programs that I only open once or twice a month.