Walt Mossberg

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A PC Virus on a Mac


I’ve just downloaded the Parallels 8 software (trying to migrate some Windows software from our family PC to my MacBook Pro). Because I am now running PC applications via Parallels 8, will I need to install and maintain antivirus software as if my MacBook Pro was a PC?


Yes, definitely, and it’s included in Parallels. Since Parallels creates a virtual Windows PC on your Mac, it can run Windows software and that includes malicious software, which is almost always written to run in Windows. So, as with any Windows PC, I strongly recommend you run security software inside the faux PC created by Parallels. This software only operates when Parallels and Windows are running.


I have a desktop and laptop, both running Windows XP and Excel 2003. I use a USB stick to move spreadsheets between the PCs so I can work on them at either computer. But now I want to purchase a new laptop running Windows 7 and Excel 2010. Will I still be able to go back and forth between my new laptop and old desktop, updating an Excel spreadsheet?


Yes. Excel 2010 can handle files created in the 2003 version. But, for the older version to handle files created in the newer one, you’ll have to install a free “compatibility pack” on your desktop. It’s available at: http://bit.ly/P8iiHG. Also, there are some steps that may be needed in Excel 2010 to properly handle files created in the 2003 version. These are outlined by Microsoft here: http://bit.ly/QxeyTr.


In your review of Parallels 8, you said it ran Windows 8 very well on your MacBook Air. What are the basic specs on that computer?


It’s the latest and greatest edition of the 13″ Air that Apple offers, but doesn’t pack the power of some other Macs, like most of the MacBook Pros. It uses the midrange Intel i5 processor, not the more potent i7. It lacks a dedicated graphics card. Though my machine has 8 gigabytes of memory, the default is 4 GB, which is what Parallels recommends, though the minimum required is 2 GB.

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