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Mac Contains Windows -- 10/24/03

I've been an Apple user since November 1981. In 1983, I became an Apple Developer and started writing programs for my software and consulting business. I saw the first unveiling of a computing windowing system on the Lisa model in April of 1983 at the Monterey, CA Developers Conference. In August of 1983 I had access to two Lisa's at one of my clients offices. It didn't take long to see this was the wave of the future for computing systems.

After the success of the Mac, Microsoft saw the light too. In the following years, Microsoft took the Mac idea and made a world-wide business out of selling that software.

I never lost my Apple loyalty since Windows 1.0 emerged. I've stayed true to Apple's cause and remain an Apple Evangelist at heart.

However, Windows Servers are everywhere. My own web site is operating on Windows Servers and at the office, I use both Mac OS X and Windows XP computers to accomplish work. At home, we are completely Mac outfitted on a wireless network connected through a firewall-router to our cable modem. There are times I need to access or control those Windows Servers or XP systems at the office and this is how I contain them.

The first tool I use is Mac OS X on my G4 system. Built into that system is a great piece of free software, Apple Internet Connect, that allows me to connect to the office Windows Server VPN (Virtual Private Network) across the Internet. The picture below is the window that appears when you start up Apple Internet Connect.

In that window you place the address of the network you wish to connect to via VPN. You include your username and password and then click the "Connect" button. Assuming you have been granted access rights to the destination VPN and that you passed into the server, your correct username and password, you will be connected and your window will be displayed as shown next.

In the above, you'll see your connection information and a real-time updating of the time you have been online. At this point, your connection is secure and now you have access to other services on the network you are authorized to access.

Onward and upward, I want to control my office Windows computer so here we go on to that procedure.

I downloaded and installed the free software application, Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection (RDC). That software allows me to connect to my Windows computer across the VPN and work with it as if I was sitting in front of it at the keyboard.

Below is the window where I configure the RDC application. I found it useful to use the various tabs and set my options then save that configuration for repeated use each time I connect. Keep each of the options to your minimum needs and your throughput speeds will be optimum and your response time during each session will be optimum.

Once I connect to my remote Windows computer, I am asked to enter my username and password for security purposes.

If I enter them correctly, I can then use my Microsoft XP office system from my home Mac system. Here is what my 19-inch monitor displays, the rest of my Mac system running while a window contains the Windows XP session. I can cut-and-paste between the two Operating Systems, share files, and print to the office's networked printers if I need to.

Yes, my Mac contains Windows when I need it to. I find the broadband connection to be very responsive using these two technologies. If you find the need to work on Windows computers at the office, but prefer to own a Mac as your personal computer, then what I have shown you allows you to accomplish that mission. There are other ways to solve the issues of Mac vs. Windows on Apple's Web Site.


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