As you may know, last weekend I bought my first Mac. In a week, I’ve made a ton of progress and am starting to feel rather comfortable with the new OS. My first impression remains strong: The Mac is awesome. It takes fewer clicks to get things done, it is faster than PCs of equivalent power, and it is much more intuitive. There are still a few things to do, like check with Adobe about cross-platform upgrades of Dreamweaver, Photoshop, and Acrobat.

I have, however, managed to place one very important piece of the migration puzzle: Getting FoxPro up and running.

Virtualization

To get Windows running on the Mac, you basically have two options: Dual boot via Boot Camp or use Virtualization. Boot Camp was not a great option for me because I want to work in the Mac and share items between the Windows install and OSX. For virtualization, I seemed to have three choices: VirtualBox by Sun, VMware Fusion, or Parallels Desktop for Mac.

Reviews for Parallels were slightly better overall, and I got a recommendation from a colleague, so I went with it. For less than 100 Euro, this software is simply incredible. Installation was as simple as downloading and running the installer. These were the steps I took:

  1. Downloaded the latest version from parallels.com
  2. Double-clicked “Install Parallels Desktop”
  3. Went through the Wizard, clicking Continue through each step
  4. Accepted the terms of the license
  5. Selected my Mac’s HD for the install destination
  6. After the install finished, I moved the icon to the Dock
  7. Started the software and from the Help menu clicked “Activate Product”
  8. Entered the activation code that Parallels sent me via email
  9. Clicked ‘New’ from the File menu to create a new VM via the OS Installation Assistant
  10. Selected “Windows Express Installation”, Next
  11. Selected “Windows XP”, Next
  12. Entered the XP product key, set some basic settings, and gave the VM a name
  13. Chose to allocate more resourced to the VM than to Mac OSX
  14. Clicked Finish

Next, I installed Windows XP Professional using the new VM window created by Parallels. This was the fastest XP install I’ve ever done. Not only that, but the entire process was the same as if I had been on a PC (just in a window — which is a bit ironic). When Windows booted for the first time, and I heard the familiar Windows theme, I felt a sense of cool calm overcome me. This was going to work.

Ejecting the CD

During install, I had to insert my Windows 2000 disk (I have an Upgrade copy of XP Pro). I think it took me about 30 minutes to figure out how to eject the XP Pro CD from the Mac! Here’s how I did it:

  1. Right-click on the CD icon in the footer of the Parallels Desktop window
  2. Choose ‘Disconnect’
  3. The CD drive will re-appear in OSX’s Disk Utility application, where it can be ejected.
  4. Right-click on the CD icon in the footer of the Parallels Desktop window to reconnect when ready

When the VM is running, it ‘owns’ the CD drive. Because I was installing XP Pro, I didn’t have any obvious way to eject the disk. There’s no button on the Mac and I wasn’t yet ready to straighten out a paper clip! The above steps are a bit of a hassle, but certainly doable.

Two-times the Charm

Of course, I had to do it all twice (my fault). I have an XP Pro version 2002 CD without any Service Packs. After Windows installed, I went straight for Windows update and let it install SP2. It failed with some read errors and then Windows would no longer boot. So, I deleted the VM and started over. No biggie. This was easy. This time, I installed SP1 and then went straight for SP3. That worked and now I’m golden. After getting all the other updates, I was ready for the Fox.

Installing Visual FoxPro v9

Ok, so there was nothing to installing FoxPro. I literally put the CD in, installed the prerequisites, and then VFP. No surprises, no issues, no problems. I ran some basic checks and so far everything seems to run fine. I’ve yet to do any development but if I have any issues, I’ll be sure to report them.

I recall at FoxForward 2007 seeing a few Macs. If you’re using VFP on your Mac — let me know about it. I’d like to know how you’ve done it (Boot Camp? VM Ware?) and if you’ve encountered any issues.

Lord Voldemort

Lastly, I’ve named my XP Pro Virtual Machine “Lord Voldemort” of Harry Potter fame. My entire home network is named after various Harry Potter characters. I named my iMac Dumbledore.

This seems totally appropriate.