but that means formatting the drive, right? Then I would have to fuss with reinstalling every thing again...
No, Boot Camp Assistant partitions your drive without having to reformat.
But you would still need to buy Windows.
With Parallels you have to buy Windows and Parallels.
With Crossover you buy only Crossover, install an XP emulating bottle, IE 7, and Adobe Reader. With any luck it will open the pdf files. It works with most. I have it running on mine, but it won't open some pdfs, don't know why.
With Boot Camp you have to reboot to Window and back, and Parallels is a Memory hog. Parallels alone needs 2G to run decent. If you can put 8 or 16G in the iMac it helps big time.
Crossover is not that big of a Memory hog, very small footprint.
I actually have to check this out for a customer. The school system has pdf files for teachers that are password protected and will not open properly on the Mac, either in the browser or if downloaded. They open but you can't navigate off of the opening page.
I'll let you know how it goes, I need to get the link and log in info from her today. May have to wait until after school.