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Security Vulnerabilities within VirtualPC v7

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I've recently switched to Mac after decades of Microsoft frustration.

Unfortunately I cannot completely sever the link... I need to run Quicken Home and Business which has no Mac counterpart. (Shame on Intuit, there's no file compatibility with the Mac versions of Quicken or Quickbooks!)

I also have a couple of DOS applications that need the command prompt within VirtualPC.


So my questions:

Do the security vulnerabilities of Windows XP transfer through to VirtualPC?

If yes, then is it only the "Virtual WinTel Machine" that's at risk, or am I compromising my Dual G5 running OSX Tiger?

Should I run Windows antivirus software within Virtual PC?

I haven't loaded Virex on the Mac. Should I?

Any other suggestions?



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Well any viruse that would get into VPC wont get into you OS X so you dont have to worry about using Virex.


I would guess that there are still a lot of viruses that can get to Windows even if its on VPC so getting a anti-viruse for it would be a good idea. But don't worry about it effecting your Mac.




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Yes. Virtual PC is susceptible to the same baffling security holes left lying around in Windows that native XP users are exposed to.


I also use VPC and am also a recent switcher, although to be fair I was only away from Mac between system 8 and 10.2 - having been a mac boy all my life up to that point, until around 1999 / 2000 when PC's became too cheep and too fast to ignore.


VPC essentially emulates an x86 chip, that is it reinterprets instructions written for x86 (Intel, AMD et cetera) (windows chips) into something IBM PPC chips can work with.


Unfortunately, or fortunately - depending on how you look at it, it attempts to crossover everything Windows tells it to work on, including the malicious stuff which finds it's way into Windows easier than a sexy intern to the oval office.


Obviously the risk is somewhat reduced since you (presumably) use Mac OS for browsing the net and posting and reading e-mail, so at least you're not opening Outlook Express or Internet Exploiter. Additionally it "sees" Mac OS as the internet, so you get OS X's built-in firewall too.


However bad your virtual Windows is hit, any data loss you might ordinarily suffer from, where it your "real" machine, is reduced significantly, since you can share a folder on your Mac partition (outside of the virtual NTFS disc) and store your documents on the Mac side, rather than in your virtual "My Documents" or whatever.


Sometime next year, when Mac's switch over to Intel chips, there will be real explosion in OS X compatible binaries of titles previously exclusive to Windows. On top of that we can also presume, not ones to miss a trick, that Microsoft will update VPC for x86 Macs to run Windows native, rather that VPC having to double translate using the Rosetta layer of OS X for x86 - although, to be fair, the in's and out's of that particular concept could be potentially quite damaging to the likes of Dell and other Windows PC box makers, who Microsoft are naturally keen to keep soft.


Another project to watch out for, circa the Intel transition, is called DarWine. This is a project to "port", or more precisely provide an application framework for, applications designed for Windows to run on PPC OS X - without all the bloatware which comes with a full blown install of Windows, as it is when running under Virtual PC, which is makes it so intolerably slow sometimes. Once DarWine is able to run instructions without having to translate from PPC to x86 it could well be an ideal solution for the likes of us former Windows users who miss one or two apps which are only available for Windows now we are 100% Mac.


Until then, as a work around (and without going into too much detail for legal reasons) search your favorite torrent site for an XP lite .ISO


Burn it, install it and laugh out loud.

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