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Monday, June 20, 2011

The Simplest Answer to the Lion vs Rosetta conundrum

I have read through the forums on and elsewhere till my eyes burn. A lot of people feel upset that Apple did not retain Rosetta in Lion. They’ve grown used to Quicken 2004-2007 and don’t want to change. They’ve grown used to Word/Office 2004 and don’t want to give it up. The same with the Adobe products that cost a bundle to upgrade. They want the goodies that Lion promises, but they want to run their old applications designed for the PowerPC CPU chip. Why can’t they have both?

I feel like the healthcare practitioners who have to keep telling their patients, “No, you have to exercise more and eat less. That magic fruit you see on the Web that’s supposed to help you lose weight without sacrifice? It’s total nonsense. I’ll see you in a month with your new jogging shoes, OK?” You have to make choices in this life. This is a relatively minor one.

Dual-booting between Snow Leopard with Rosetta and Lion with the new features is the best solution I can think of, given the constraints of time, money, technical knowledge and patience. Running Snow Leopard Server through Parallels in Lion would solve the problem; but you’d better hurry up to order Snow Leopard Server at $499 a license before Apple pulls it from the market. You’ll also need more memory to run two operating systems simultaneously. And how much hard drive space do you have left? Um-hmm. Looks like you’d need an external drive to accommodate Parallels’ requirements.

So we’re back to dual-booting. It’s not as groovy as virtualization, but it does the job.

I have another idea, which would allow you to run multiple operating systems at once on a single computer. It involves the use of VNC, adequate ventilation for multiple computers, and some knowledge of networking. If you live in a cramped situation where one computer takes up too much room as is; well, go back to the previous paragraph. If you’re adventurous, wait until next month.

As for going on to other options, such as MoneyDance or iBank in place of Quicken, or Nisus Writer Pro 2.0 in place of Word 2004; I’d say,

Set up a test partition on an external drive

Clone your current setup onto this partition or do a fresh installation of OS X onto it.

Download the free trial of the program you want to try out onto the test partition and install it.

Tell us what happened.

You’re a Mac person. You can move away from the hegemony of Microsoft and Intuit. Try it and see.

I’ll give you a tip if you start setting up several of these test partitions and want to tell them apart. Use the free Onyx program to set up a custom boot screen for each one. It’s just a PNG file. Just set up a blank document in TextEdit. Type, oh, “This is my MoneyDance partition”, then press Cmd+Shift+4 to take a screenshot of just that document. Use Onyx to have it serve as the boot screen for the MoneyDance partition.


  1. Try virtual box. Install virtual box, install the os, then install whatever Micro$oft product you want.
    Runs very well. I do it all the time, from games to M$Office 2007. Dual boot is a thing of the past. Have your cake AND it eat with Virtual Box.

  2. First, Eman, thanks for your comments

    Hey, I like Virtual Box and virtualization in general, too. I suggested dual-booting as a solution for people who didn't want to switch from Quicken for Mac 2004-2007 or didn't want to install Windows or indeed, any other OS, on their Mac

    If your machine can take more RAM, then install it by all means. In my case, my 2006 vintage MacBook only takes 2 Gb of RAM. I believe that using an external hard drive to dual-boot was the best use of time, money, technical competence, and sheer patience.

    If you have set up a virtual machine to run Quicken for Windows in your Mac, I want to hear about it. My readers would like to hear about it. HOw did you export your data file from Quicken for Mac into Quicken for Windows? Any problems printing from Quicken for Windows in a virtualized environment? How much disk space and RAM did you need to add?

    There is no perfect solution that fits every Mac user. Users can learn from each other's solutions. Keep the comments flowing

    Tom Briant

  3. Hey Tom,

    I run Quicken for Windows under Parallels -- it was one of the main reasons I initially started to use virtualization.

    It's been so long (at least 7 years) since I set it up that I can't even tell you any more the details of how I did it, including what version of Quicken I started out with. What I do know is that I initially moved my Quicken for Mac into Quicken for Windows when I was running an early version of VMFusion. I used the Quicken for Windows import capability and the port was painless and problem-free -- I have a vague recollection that I may have lost some category names that were acceptable on the Mac at that time but not acceptable to the Windows character set, but otherwise, it was a breeze. My guess is that nowadays, the port would be totally seamless.

    Then when I decided to switch from VM to Parallels -- maybe 4 years ago? -- the Parallels Desktop transition was just as painless, and Quicken for Windows came over again, along with my entire Windows machine, painlessly and error-free.

    So now I'm running Parallels 6 with an MS XPPro virtual machine and the latest upgrade of Quicken for Windows -- I've probably upgraded it 3 times since I first switched to Parallels. I'm running on a 2008 early version MacBook Pro (2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo) with 4 GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM under OS X 10.6.8, which I just recently upgraded to.

    BUT I used to run the same configuration with just 2GB of SDRAM before I upgraded the RAM to the max in this machine.

    To download data from my bank accounts to Quicken I run Firefox within Windows (I've never tried to see if I can integrate my Mac-side browsers to talk with Quicken on the Windows side). To print, I output to csv and pdf files in a Mac-side folder -- I can print to my HP printer, but mostly don't need hard copies so it's greener to just create the files.

    My impression is that when I was running with only 2GB of RAM it wasn't any slower than the zippy performance I get now with 4 GB. My XPPro virtual machine is a zippy little guy that I'm totally happy with. I used to think that once (if) Intuit ever created a new Mac version of Quicken that wasn't crippled, I'd switch back over to the Mac version -- but now, even if they did, I see no reason to not keep working with the setup I have now.

  4. Hey lilymoon:

    Thanks for your comments. Folks, if you've thought about switching to Quicken for Windows running in a virtual machine, read lilymoon's comment. It's relatively easy to set up Parallels and Windows.




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