Microsoft’s Virtual PC software has some new competition from Dublin, Ireland-based Lismore Software Systems Inc. Lismore on Tuesday announced the release of Guest PC 1.0, a new PC emulation software for Mac OS X. The application emulates the inner workings of a PC-compatible computer, enabling Mac users to run software that’s not compatible with their native operating system. Lismore is a veteran of the PC emulation market on the Macintosh; the company previously released Blue Label PowerEmulator, a PC emulator for Mac OS 9 and earlier operating systems that’s been around since the late 1990s.
Guest PC doesn’t ship with any version of Windows pre-installed. Instead, it comes pre-loaded with DOS and a “Windows Setup Assistant,” and is ready for you to install your own copy of Microsoft Windows with it. Microsoft sells an equivalent version of Virtual PC for Mac, though it charges US$60 more than Lismore’s $69.99 product.
Guest PC’s Windows Setup Assistant configures the Windows operating system to recognize hardware, setup the modem, prepare the network connection and ready a connection to a printer. Guest PC is being released with a “family license” that allows you to install the software on any computer used by your family. Lismore also offers free support for Guest PC.
In a FAQ section on the Guest PC Web site, Lismore applies the usual disclaimers when it comes to running emulation software: Guest PC isn’t as fast as a PC running at the same clock speed as your Macintosh, as emulation involves processing overhead, though Lismore stopped short of offering any hard benchmarks to describe Guest PC’s performance.
“Lots of applications will run without any problems,” according to Lismore, which added that if you find software that doesn’t, let them know so they can “do [their] best to make it work.”
Games that don’t require accelerated 3D graphics and high processor performance — especially older games or game with very modest system requirements — may be playable using Guest PC.
What’s more, users can install multiple PC operating systems and can make them work simultaneously. x86-compatible versions of Linux work as well, though Lismore does not “provide full support for operating systems other than Windows or DOS at this time.”
Lismore makes Guest PC 1.0 available for online purchase, and users of Lismore’s Blue Label PowerEmulator can upgrade for US$34.99. System requirements call for Mac OS X v10.3 or later; G3, G4 or G5-class processor; 2GB hard disk space, 256MB RAM, 1024 x 768 display, CD or DVD drive, keyboard and mouse.