Using Windows Virtualization on Mac for Outlook Use

mfranzel
mfranzel used Ask the Experts™
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Hello,
I have a user that uses a Mac Pro for all of her office work. We, however, use Microsoft Exchange for out email. She doesn't like the way Entourage or Maill.app handle her email so she asked if it was possible for her to remotely connect to our office server and use Outlook from there. Are there any other programs out there besides Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection that allow a user using a mac to remote in and act as if one of their screens is another computer and go back and forth between the different screens (one as a mac and one as the pc)? I remember reading about something like this in a magazine, but can't find where I had found it. Also, the user has multiple monitors on her computer. I thought about using VMware or Parallels, but it is very resource heavy. I have tried it in the past and it just slows everything down.

Thanks for any help!!
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I think another question you'll have to ask is how you are going to get her to be able to attach files to email.  Something she won't be able to do through an rdp or vnc type connection.

Perhaps you can use the webmail client (Exchange 2007's version is pretty decent).  Alternatively, having her mac run a virtual windows XP might work (but you mentioned that was too slow).  Otherwise, you'd be looking at a Citrix setup and presenting her a published outlook app.  Not too cheap for 1 user.

There are a 1000 ways to skin the technology cat.
Commented:
What is sounds like you need is VMWare fusion.  With Fusion your Mac user can run Windows on Mac and then run Outlook.

Fusion has a feature called unity which when enabled, causes the Windows Application look as though it is running natively on the Mac OS.

http://www.vmware.com/products/fusion/

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Commented:
@aktharchowdhury:
On our server, we have it set to be constantly pulling and syncing files from users computers, so everything on her mac would be in a folder on the server. As for the webmail client, when you don't use Internet Explorer to access it, it disables about half of the features and goes into "Lite" mode.

@nappy_d:
As I said, I have tried both VMWare and Parallels and both are such resource hogs that we just stopped using them. I have tried that feature on Parallels and it does work well, but again, just too slow.

I have been using RDC for a while and it actually seems to be working well. It really isn't going as slowly as I thought it would. Are there any other VNC type programs that would be better for this?
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nappy_dThere are a 1000 ways to skin the technology cat.

Commented:
Parallels and Fusion are two different products.  You should at least give Fusion a try.  I run this on my Macbook Pro with 512MB of RAM allocated to Fusion for my XP guest OS. Also diasble spotlight from cataloging the Fusion directories.

You get a 30day tril with Fusion, what's it gonna hurt?  

Also Remote Desktop Client will not allow your user to view their email offline(cached mode).

Author

Commented:
Why is VMWare fusion better? Does it consume less resources than Parallels? I would certainly give this a try (I even think our company has a license somewhere for it), just from my previous experience, it has slowed down the system greatly.

Is 512MB ram good enough for just running outlook? The only thing I like about RDC is that you can set it to only open a certain program, so it will only open outlook and not even explorer.exe and it goes much, much faster.
I VPN into the office and use the MS RDP client for Mac to remotely control a Windows computer in the office. Works fine:

http://www.microsoft.com/mac/products/remote-desktop/default.mspx

Author

Commented:
That is what I am doing now and it seems to be working fine as well. Is there any downside to doing this versus VMWare or vise versa?

Author

Commented:
Also, from what I am reading Parallels is faster and speedier than VMWare...
http://gizmodo.com/5167056/vmware-fusion-vs-parallels-desktop-for-mac-which-is-faster
nappy_dThere are a 1000 ways to skin the technology cat.

Commented:
I am basing this purely from experience and day to day usage.  Give it a try and judge for yourself.

Author

Commented:
nappy_d:
VMWare seems to be working alright. The only problem I am having is accessing shares on my network by using the hostname.

For example, to access my file server, I type \\dctnetworks\filesharehere however, this no longer works. I have to type \\10.0.0.2 to access it. I have had this problem with Parallels as well. Would you happen to know how to get around this?
nappy_dThere are a 1000 ways to skin the technology cat.

Commented:
This has to do with DNS.  Your Fusion machine is not performing lookups to the proper DNS server or your DNS Servers are having issues.

Author

Commented:
How would I fix that?
1. Make sure you have installed VMWare Tools.
2. Try setting your VMWare network interface to Bridge rather than NAT.

Author

Commented:
Thanks to all of you for your solutions! My user (and me at some point) will be using both RDC over VPN with the laptop and VMWare with the mac pro.

Also, switching to Bridge made the hostnames work.

Thanks for all your help!

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