View Full Version : emulation of PC software w/ hardware key?

04-03-2001, 08:28 AM
excerpt: pertinent email exchange w/ gurus:
I wrote:
I have a highly specialized need. I need to run surveying software
> that is available as PC only. Additionally, it has a hardware key that plugs
> into the PC serial port. For economic and space reasons, I am going to try to
> emulate it with Virtual PC. Connectix tells me today that Virtual PC 4.0
> needs a G3. I've got a PowerCenter Pro 240. So I need a CPU upgrade. You've
> convinced me about XLR8's MACh Carrier cards. ... 2) Do you have any idea whether I
> have a chance of being successful in getting the PC software to recognize the
> dongle through the Mac's serial port and the adapter necessary to mate up with
> the hardware key? (no one else seems to).

gurus replied:
we do think it's a long-shot to think that the VirtualPC emulator will
correctly run Windows or DOS well enough to correctly take over a Macintosh
serial port and fool a PC-only hardware dongle. We also think the
performance of such a solution will leave a lot to be desired. Will it run?
Probably. Will it run in a usable fashion? Very doubtful. Even if you
purchased the latest and greatest Power Mac for $3500, we doubt this
solution would satisfy you for long. If you need a PC, get a PC. That's our

I know this software doesn't have demanding processor requirements,
so I differ from the gurus in thinking it MIGHT perform acceptably if it would run
at all. However, I feel the same way that they do about the very poor prospects
of fooling the software into recognizing the copy protect key in the serial port.

Any thoughts?

04-03-2001, 09:32 AM
Don't think it will work - I'm pretty sure that Connectix states on their VPC site that hardware dongles / copy protected software won't work under emulation..

There is a way to make the PC-only USB devices work under VPC BUT,.. and this is a big one, it may only work for selected USB things - i.e. joysticks and the like. Not sure if there are USB hardware dongles but it's highly unlikely that it will work. Performance even with a juiced G4 isn't great, and you really need to give your PC lots of RAM (we're running it on a G4 w/ 1 GB of RAM and we allocate it 256 MB (not the app, the PC when you use the Edit/Preferences option) - it's certainly usable for things like Office and coding though

Just my $0.02.


04-03-2001, 09:36 AM
If there were no serial dongle, then you would probably be fine. I would get Virtual PC at a place that will let you take it back, if it does not work. YOu may have better luck with a PCI- x86 card. They are expensive, but if it has a built in serial port - the dongle/software may not need any FOOLING to make it work and it would save space. You should also get better performance.

Maybe you should petition the software vendor to make a Mac version. If they have a unix version they may be able to port something fugly, but usable on X? Maybe they could give you a USB dongle... that might have a better shot at working. You could run a G3/400Mhz+ with VPC and have a USB card running... it might work.

I'm sure there are others who have more experience with PC emulation. I wonder if EMULATION.NET has any info?