Walt Mossberg

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Mossberg’s Mailbox

Is Running Windows on a Mac Secure?

Q:

Thanks for your review of programs for running Windows on a Mac. But, if I use them, won’t I expose my Mac’s files to Windows viruses and spyware?

A:

Yes, potentially, because both of the programs I reviewed, Parallels and Fusion, can access Mac folders and files—which means any malicious software that infects Windows can do so as well. That’s why both programs come with security software. You can choose to install the security products they provide, or obtain and install your own. But I strongly recommend you use security software on any computer running Windows, even if it’s a virtual PC operating inside a Mac.

Another protective step you can take is to set an option in these programs that prevents them from accessing your Mac’s files and folders. You’ll still need security software to protect your Windows installation, but, your Mac files and folders should be isolated.

Q:

I’m trying to replace my aging Palm PDA, but all I can find are smart phones with lots of bells and whistles and monthly fees. All I want is something that can hold appointments, contacts and notes, and sync with my PC. Is there anything like that out there?

A:

The old-fashioned PDA is indeed fading fast. But there are still a few around. For instance, Hewlett-Packard still sells a $300 model called the iPAQ 111, which does have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, but isn’t a phone and thus doesn’t require a monthly cellphone contract.

Q:

Are any of the e-readers on the market compatible with the free e-books available at public libraries?

A:

This depends on the format your library uses. Sony explicitly says its e-readers can handle public library e-books, and others may as well. I suggest asking at your library. One tipoff might be if the e-reader you’re considering can handle the EPUB format, which more libraries stock. In addition to the Sony devices, the Barnes & Noble Nook also handles this format.

You can find Mossberg’s Mailbox, and my other columns, online for free at the All Things Digital web site, http://walt.allthingsd.com.


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