Microsoft Windows

How to Seamlessly Run Windows Programs on Your Mac with Parallels

Sometimes, Mac users need to run Windows software. Maybe there’s a program you need for work that doesn’t offer a Mac version, or maybe you occasionally need to test websites in Internet Explorer. Whatever you need Windows for, Parallels is the best tool for the job.

Why Use Parallels Instead of Boot Camp or VirtualBox?

Sure, you could set up your Mac to run Windows with Boot Camp, but that means restarting your computer every time you need to use Windows. Parallels runs Windows within macOS, using what’s called a Virtual Machine. This allows you to quickly switch between the Mac and Windows desktops. You can even combine the two desktops, if you want, and run Windows software right on your Mac desktop from your Mac’s dock.

Virtual machines are complicated, but Parallels makes it reasonably simple to set one up and use it. There are other virtual machine options available to Mac users, including the open source Virtualbox, but Parallels is different in that it’s designed exclusively with Mac users in mind. Parallels costs more (since VirtualBox is free and Parallels is not), but there are hundreds of little design touches that help make running Windows within macOS as painless as possible, and that make setting everything up quick and easy. it’s well worth the cost.

How Much Does Parallels Cost?

Browsing the Parallels website, it can be a little tricky to find out what the product actually costs. So here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Purchasing the latest home version of Parallels Desktop costs $80 as of this writing. This lets you run Parallels on a single Mac.
  • Upgrading from one version of Parallels to another generally costs $50, and will probably be necessary every couple of years if you keep installing the latest versions of macOS.
  • A $70 annual subscription gives you access to all updates “for free,” according to the Parallels website.

If you just want to try out Parallels and see if it works for you, you can: there’s a 14 day trial of the software, which you can access without providing a credit card number. There’s also Parallels Desktop Lite, which is free on the Mac App Store and lets you create both Linux and macOS virtual machines. Parallels Desktop Lite can only run Windows virtual machines if you pay for a subscription, however.

One more note: purchasing Parallels does not give you a Windows license, or a Windows product key. If you have a Windows installation CD or USB key handy with a valid license you can use that, otherwise you will need to purchase Windows 10 from Microsoft to create a Windows 10 virtual machine.

We’ll point out that you don’t technically need a product key to install and use Windows 10—Microsoft basically gave up enforcing their license requirements with Windows 10, and you can download Windows 10 right from Microsoft at no cost (you’ll probably want it in the form of an ISO file). Legally speaking, however, you still need a product key to use Windows, even in a virtual machine.

How to Install Windows in Parallels

Got everything you need? Good. The new virtual machine wizard, which launches the first time you open Parallels, makes the process simple.

Assuming you already have a Windows CD or ISO,…

Why Microsoft needs the iPhone to accomplish its mobile goals

Microsoft is shifting its mobile strategy.
Microsoft is shifting its mobile strategy.

It wasn’t that long ago when Windows Phone was an important topic at Microsoft’s Build developer conference.

But you’d be hard-pressed to tell from watching this year’s keynotes. Like last year’s event, no one in the parade of Microsoft executives who took the stage made any mention of Windows Phone.

Except for that one moment.

Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president in Microsoft’s Operating Systems Group, was demoing a new OneDrive feature from the upcoming Fall Creators Update on a Windows Phone. As soon as he said the words “Windows Phone,” someone in the audience let out an inexplicably enthusiastic “Woot!”

“Thank you,” he said, before continuing the demo. He didn’t mention Windows Phone again. Later, a slide appeared. “Windows PCs ❤️ All Your Devices,” it proclaimed. The first smartphone on the slide? An iPhone.

That almost perfectly encapsulates Microsoft’s mobile strategy right now. And, yes, despite the…

Microsoft’s new strategy is really touchy-feely

Terry Myerson has a holistic vision for Microsoft.
Terry Myerson has a holistic vision for Microsoft.

Satya Nadella changed Microsoft.

That’s the assessment of Microsoft Executive VP for Windows and Devices Terry Myerson who was recalling the very first staff meeting with the newly installed CEO three years ago.

“He deeply was convicted about refreshing our mission statement,” said Myerson, who sat down with me a few weeks ago, just hours after unveiling Windows 10 S and the Surface Laptop.

Myerson looked a little drained (“I kind of feel like I go down in a dark cave for two days before these events”) and was careful not to tip anything coming at this week’s Build Developer’s Conference, but he wanted to explain Microsoft’s transition from a company that builds good products to one that more intentionally marries form and function. It all started, it seems with the new mission statement:

“To empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.”

Nadella, Myerson told me, wanted Microsoft to ingest the mission statement so it became part of company culture, “as the purpose behind what we were doing every day.”

Nadella, it seems, agonized over every single word. Myerson described Nadella’s process:

“‘Should we say, “Everyone on the planet” or should we not? Is that necessary?’”

“‘Should we say people and organizations or just people or just organizations?’”

“‘Is empower the right verb in the mission statement?’”

Getting it right was important because it would define Microsoft and its future projects.

“[Nadella has] internalized that as a mission behind everything that we’re doing and has led our culture behind that. That is now why we do everything we do at Microsoft.”

That effort to “empower” has led, somewhat naturally, to Microsoft’s new focus on creators.

It’s a somewhat risky framing device as not everyone thinks of themselves as “creative,” but Myerson and Microsoft aren’t just thinking about artists, musicians, and designers.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at Microsoft Build 2017 where he spoke of developers' opportunities and responsibilities.

Image: Lance Ulanoff/Mashable

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at Microsoft Build 2017 where he spoke of developers’ opportunities and responsibilities.

“I’m not a musician and I’m not an artist by any means, but I love being part of a creative…

Watch Windows 10 running on ARM with full support for existing Win32 apps

During a Windows 10 on ARM session at Build 2017, Microsoft shared some more details about Windows 10 on ARM. Not only will Windows 10 on ARM support Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps, Win32 apps in the Windows Store, but also existing Win32 apps.

Back in December 2016, Microsoft first revealed that it will allow Windows desktop apps to run on mobile ARM processors, but the company did not disclose a timeframe for when to expect such devices. Last month, Qualcomm shared that the first ARM laptops running Windows 10 won’t arrive until Q4 2017.

“For the first time ever, our customers will be able to experience the Windows they know with all the apps, and peripherals they require, on a mobile, power efficient, always-connected cellular PC,” the session’s description reads. Watch Hari Pulapaka, Microsoft’s lead program manager in the…

What’s New in Windows 10’s Fall Creators Update, Arriving September 2017

Windows 10’s Fall Creators Update, codenamed Redstone 3, will be released in September 2017. Here are all the new features Microsoft announced at its BUILD 2017 event on May 11.

There will be many more new features and small changes that make Windows better to use, just as there were in previous updates. We’ll learn about those through the Insider Previews released between now and September, so check back with this post for more useful, smaller, geeky features.

OneDrive Shows Files in the Cloud, Downloading Them on Demand

Microsoft announced “OneDrive Files on Demand”, which allows some files to be stored in the cloud and available to you without being synced on your local device. An older version of this feature appeared in Windows 8.1, and people have been asking for it since. Dropbox and Google Drive are incorporating a similar feature, too.

Interestingly enough, this works with files in the Desktop and Documents folder, so it isn’t just limited to files in the OneDrive folder.

When you try to open a file that isn’t stored on your PC, Windows will download it and open it for you. This is implemented at a low level in the operating system and works with any application, even command line ones.

Windows Syncs Your Clipboard Between Your PCs and Phones

There’s now a cloud-based clipboard that allows you to copy and paste data between your devices. This will work in Windows without developers having to do anything. Copy something on one of your Windows PCs, and it’ll be available on the clipboard on your other Windows PCs. It’ll also work with Microsoft’s SwiftKey keyboard on iPhone and Android.

The Microsoft Office team is working on a clipboard history feature, allowing you to paste things you’ve copied to your clipboard in the past. That’s just one example of what app developers could do with this feature, and Microsoft hopes other app developers take further advantage of it.

Microsoft Graph Tracks Your Activities, and the Timeline Helps You Resume Them Anywhere

According to Microsoft, “the Windows PC will help you roam from device to device using the Microsoft Graph”. Windows knows whether you were working on a document, playing music, browsing the web, reading news, or watching a video through the Microsoft Graph. There’s a new Timeline feature that shows the activities you perform on your PC over time, and it’s searchable.

Cortana’s “Pick up where you left off” feature suggests activities you might want to resume when you switch to another PC.

This feature works iPhones and Android phones, too. If you install the Cortana app, Cortana will prompt you to pick up where you left off on your phone when you leave your PC. Cortana is aware of your timeline, so you can choose to resume activities you were working on. Perform an activity on your phone and it will appear in the timeline on your PC later, too.

To make this easier to set up, there’s a new “Phone” icon on the main Settings app screen that will guide users through setting this up. This will also enable syncing notifications with Android devices and syncing reminders to iPhones and…

Microsoft unveils Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, coming ‘later this year’

At its Build 2017 developer conference today, Microsoft announced the Fall Creators Update for Windows 10. The company detailed a slew of new features coming to its latest and greatest operating system, all free. The update is slated to arrive “later this year” (that likely means September 2017, but Microsoft isn’t committing to a specific timeframe). Windows Insiders and developers will be able to play with it sooner.

Windows 10 is a service, meaning it was built in a very different way from its predecessors so it can be regularly updated with not just fixes but new features, too. Microsoft has released many such updates, including three major ones: November Update, Anniversary Update, and Creators Update.

As part of the update, Terry Myerson, executive vice president for Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group, showed off Windows Story Remix, a new creative app built with .NET that uses the Microsoft Graph to transform your photos and videos. Think of it as the successor of Windows Movie Maker, with 3D features. It automatically brings together your photos and videos, or even those shared by your friends and family, to create stories with a soundtrack, theme, and cinematic transitions. You can also add 3D objects to your photos and videos or turn them into a canvas for drawing on with Windows Ink.

Lorraine Bardeen, Microsoft general manager of Mixed Reality Experiences, gave a demo that emphasized the collaborative nature of the creative app. There is image recognition technology for people and objects, Android and iOS versions…

Xamarin Live Player makes debugging mobile apps as easy as scanning a QR code

Xamarin Live Player makes debugging mobile apps as easy as scanning a QR code

Debugging mobile apps on a desktop device is a pain, especially if you’re a new developer trying to get started. You have to install a bazillion resources just to start, and testing an iOS app with a Windows PC is a hassle, to say the least. Xamarin’s new Live Player wants to change all that, and make debugging an app as simple as scanning a QR Code.

Normally, debugging an app means installing gigabytes of SDKs and emulators, which can take…

How to Use Multiple Monitors to Be More Productive

three-monitors-one-computer

Many people swear by multiple monitors, whether they’re computer geeks or just people who need to be productive. Why use just one monitor when you can use two or more and see more at once?

Additional monitors allow you to expand your desktop, getting more screen real estate for your open programs. Windows makes it very easy to set up additional monitors, and your computer probably has the necessary ports.

Why Use Multiple Monitors?

multiple-monitors-in-use

Multiple monitors give you more screen real estate. When you hook multiple monitors up to a computer, you can move your mouse back and forth between them, dragging programs between monitors as if you had an extra-large desktop. That way, rather than Alt+Tabbing and task switching to glance at another window, you can just look over with your eyes and then look back to the program you’re using.

Some examples of use cases for multiple monitors include:

  • Coders who want to view their code on one display with the other display reserved for documentation. They can just glance over at the documentation and look back at their primary workspace.
  • Anyone who needs to view something while working. Viewing a web page while writing an email, viewing another document while writing an something, or working with two large spreadsheets and having both visible at once.
  • People who need to keep an eye on information, whether it’s email or up-to-date statistics, while working.
  • Gamers who want to see more of the game world, extending the game across multiple displays.
  • Geeks who just want to watch a video on one screen while doing something else on the other screen.

If you just have a single monitor, you can also use the Snap feature to quickly place multiple Windows applications side by side. But how useful this feature is depends on your monitor’s size and resolution. If you have a large, high-resolution monitor, it will allow you to see a lot. But for many monitors (especially those on laptops), things will seem very cramped. That’s where dual monitors can come in handy.

Hooking Up Multiple Monitors

vga-port-next-to-dvi-port

Hooking up an additional monitor to your computer should be very simple. Most new desktop computers come with more than one port for a monitor—whether DisplayPort, DVI, HDMI, the older VGA port, or a mix. Some computers may include splitter cables that allow you to connect multiple monitors to a single port.

Most laptops also come with ports that allow you to hook up an external monitor. Plug a monitor into your laptop’s DisplayPort, DVI, or HDMI port and Windows will allow you to use both your laptop’s integrated display and the external monitor at once (see the instructions in the next section).

This all depends on the ports your computer has and how your monitor connects. If you have an old VGA monitor lying around and you have a modern laptop with only DVI or HDMI connectors, you may need an adapter that allows you to plug your monitor’s VGA cable into the new port. Be sure to take your computer’s ports into account…

How to Disable OneDrive and Remove It From File Explorer on Windows 10

Windows 10 includes OneDrive, but if you’d rather not see it, there are several ways to disable OneDrive and remove it from File Explorer on Windows 10.

Home Users: Uninstall OneDrive Normally

Starting in Windows 10’s Creators Update, you can now easily uninstall OneDrive like you would any other desktop program. Only Windows 10 Home users should do this. If you’re using Windows 10 Professional, Enterprise, or Education, skip this step and use the below Group Policy Editor method instead.

Head to either Control Panel > Programs > Uninstall a Program or Settings > Apps > Apps & features. You’ll see a “Microsoft OneDrive” program appear in the list of installed software. Click it and click the “Uninstall” button.

Windows will immediately uninstall OneDrive, and the OneDrive icon will disappear from the notification area.

(If you ever want to reinstall OneDrive in the future, you’ll need to run the OneDrive installer buried in the Windows system folder. Just head to the C:\Windows\SysWOW64\ folder on a 64-bit version of Windows 10 or the C:\Windows\System32 folder on a 32-bit version of Windows 10. Double-click the “OneDriveSetup.exe” file here and Windows will reinstall OneDrive.)

There’s one problem with uninstalling OneDrive this way: The empty OneDrive folder will still appear in File Explorer’s sidebar. If you’re fine with that, you can stop now. OneDrive has been removed and is no longer doing anything. However, if the empty OneDrive folder bothers you, you’ll need to use the below tricks.

Home Users: Remove the OneDrive Folder From File Explorer by Editing the Registry

If you have Windows 10 Home, you will have to edit the Windows Registry to remove the OneDrive folder from the File Explorer’s left sidebar. You can also do it this way on Windows Pro or Enterprise, but the Group Policy Editor method is a better solution for cleanly disabling OneDrive.

Standard warning: Registry Editor is a powerful tool and misusing it can render your system unstable or even inoperable. This is a pretty simple hack and as long as you stick to the instructions, you shouldn’t have any problems. That said, if you’ve never worked with it before, consider reading about how to use the Registry Editor before you get started. And definitely back up the Registry (and your computer!) before making changes.

To get started, open the Registry Editor by hitting Start and typing “regedit”. Press Enter to open Registry Editor and give it permission to make changes to your PC.

In the Registry Editor, use the left sidebar to navigate to the following key. In the Creators Update, you can…

Does PowerShell Work on Other Operating Systems Besides Windows?

It can be very frustrating when your professor says one thing about PowerShell and various websites seem to offer solid proof to the contrary. Does PowerShell actually work on non-Windows systems or not? Today’s SuperUser Q&A post has the answer to a puzzled reader’s question.

Today’s Question & Answer session comes to us courtesy of SuperUser—a subdivision of Stack Exchange, a community-driven grouping of Q&A web sites.

The Question

SuperUser reader FredSavage187 wants to know if PowerShell works on other operating systems besides Windows:

My computer science professor recently gave us a quiz and one of the questions was, “True or False: PowerShell works on Windows, Mac, and Linux”. The correct answer was “false” and he maintains that PowerShell is a Windows only thing. But I found a couple of websites that say otherwise:

PowerShell is open sourced and is available on Linux [Microsoft Azure Blog]

PowerShell Repository [GitHub]

Which one is actually correct? Does PowerShell work on Linux and Mac OS as well as…