Educational series: Quickshow on Mac

We get asked all the time from people who are getting into custom laser shows and programming, “How can I run Pangolin software on my Mac if the programs are meant for PC?”

Quickshow XL and Beyond XL are X-Laser’s expanded versions of the popular laser control software programs by Pangolin, and both programs are indeed meant for Windows operating systems.

Fortunately, there are a couple of options you can choose to be able to run Windows-only software on your Mac, even alongside programs running in a Mac desktop, like DJ software.


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The first option is to use a feature from Apple called Boot Camp. Boot Camp will allow you to install a genuine version of Windows on a partition of your Mac’s hard drive. Then, Boot Camp lets you choose to boot (start up) your Mac as either a Mac OSX machine or a Windows machine. The only downside to Boot Camp is that with it, you cannot run Mac and Windows at the same time on your computer. You can either do OSX or Windows at one time, not both. This can be problematic for people trying to use Mac-based software and PC-only laser control software at the same time, like while playing a DJ set using Mac software and simultaneously controlling laser lights with PC software. Boot Camp comes installed on Mac machines as a Mac utility, and the only cost associated with using it is obtaining a genuine copy of Windows to install onto your Mac’s hard drive.

The second option is to use a program called a virtualizer, which will let you run Mac OSX and Windows at the same time. There are two virtualizers that we have tried, and we recommend either Parallels or VMware Fusion 8. Virtualizers allow you to run Windows on your Mac desktop, where it will appear in its own box on your screen and give you full control over the Windows desktop and programs that are meant for Windows. When you select a program to run, the virtualizer will ask which operating system you want to run the program in, and you can choose to “send” the program to Windows or OSX and run the software on whichever operating system suits it best.

Both virtualizer programs cost $79, but we tend to prefer Parallels because it is a bit more intuitive to use. Parallels also has a feature called “unity mode,” which basically removes differences between Mac and Windows operating systems, and lets you run Windows programs directly from your Mac desktop just like a typical Mac program would work.

For which version of Windows to use with Boot Camp or Parallels/VMware Fusion, we suggest Windows 10, Windows 8 or Windows 7. Avoid Windows Vista. Make sure whichever version of Windows you choose is a genuine copy, and that you have the rights to install and use it on your system.

A final tip is that it is important how much RAM your system has installed, as running two operating systems (especially at once) can be a heavy load on RAM. We recommend at least 8GB of RAM to be able to smoothly run OSX and Windows at the same time.

We hope that this info helps you get more out of your laser system, and if you have any questions, go ahead and contact us!



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