8 Replies Latest reply: Nov 19, 2012 8:27 AM by Rudegar
Dan in MD Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

First, let me say that I did my own comparison of Parallels 8 and VMware 5 a week or two ago, and while they both were pretty good, Parallels provided a smoother end user experience.

 

I have three new 2012 Macs (MacBook Pro Retina 16GB/256GB, Mac Mini 2.7 16GB/256GB, and a MacBook Air 2.3 8GB/256GB) as well as a 2010 Mac Mini 8GB/500GB.

 

I intend to install Parallels 8, Win 7 Pro, and MS Office 2010 on each of them. I have brand new (not yet used) OEM Win7 Pro 64-bit system builder discs and licenses. The primary purpose is to have MS Office available on each. For the Mac Mini 2010, I will be doing some video encoding work, but that that's a queue it up, start it, and come back tomorrow task.

 

I've read extensively about Parallels and the pros/cons of Boot Camp vs running a VM from an image. Obviously, with Boot Camp, you have the capability to boot into Windows 7 to gain all of the hardware power. With Parallels as an image, you can run Windows software simultaneously with Mac software and you gain the capability to capture snap shots to preserve configuration baselines. With Boot Camp, you'd have to image your partition to take a snap shot.

 

My question is how smoothly Windows 7 handles switching between both environments. Presumably, the system drivers will be vastly different. Further, I've read of activation issues with Windows and Office (presumably because Microsoft's software detects a different operating environment).

 

Is it really worth it to install/configure Boot Camp and then use Parallels 8 (running Boot Camp if I want the extra speed such as for a Windows game)? Or will this arrangement ultimately bring me a bag of hurt.


Mac Pro (Early 2008), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2), ATI 5770 Video Card
  • 1. Re: Bootcamp and Parallels
    BobTheFisherman Level 6 Level 6 (10,970 points)

    Windows and Office run as well on an Apple  computer as they do on a Windows computer.

     

    If you want the best of Booting natively using a Bootcamp installation of Windows and the convenience of a Parallels or Fusion installation of Windows, install Windows using Bootcamp first then configure Parallels/Fusion to use your Bootcamp installation of Windows as its guest operating system.

     

    You will then be able to alternately, depending on your needs on any given use, to boot directly into Windows or use the same installation through Parallels/Fusion. You have the best of both worlds with a single installation of Windows and Office.

     

    Both Parallels and Fusion provide Windows licensing procedures on their respective sites. On install of Windows you will need to licence/activate Windows/Office. When you configure Parallels/Fusion to use Windows you will need to license/activate them again. This is a painless automated process that only needs to be done once. You will likely need to use the automated telephone licensing option. Read the instructions on the Parallels/Fusion sites.

     

    I've been running Windows this way professionally for several years on several different Apple computers. I've never had any issues. In fact my perception is that Windows runs better on Apple hardware.

     

    I'm not sure what you mean about switching between the operating systems. If using a Bootcamp installation you boot independently into each operating system and each runs natively. There is no switching. If using Parallels or Fusion you have both operating systems running at the same time. Windows is just running in a Window. So you can change Windows just as you can with any application.

  • 2. Re: Bootcamp and Parallels
    weileongtan Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    BobTheFisherman wrote:

    I'm not sure what you mean about switching between the operating systems.

     

    I googled and came upon this, and I think I have the same question as the threadstarter. 

     

    Basically, what I think he means, is that "is there a problem alternately using Parallels (within OS X) of the boot camp partition, and switching to actually booting the Mac up into Windows (as Boot Camp is originally intended to work)?" 

     

    With Windows, when a PC is booted up and it detects any kind of "hardware change", the hard disk will start grinding as it "detects and installs new hardware".  Since the Parallels environment and the "raw hardware" of the Mac should (?) look different to Windows, does that mean that when you launch the boot camp partition "within" Parallels, does Windows think it's booting from a new computer (and therefore starts mucking about with device drivers etc.), and what happens when another day you boot into Boot Camp directly (i.e. without Parallels)? 

  • 3. Re: Bootcamp and Parallels
    BobTheFisherman Level 6 Level 6 (10,970 points)

    No there is no problem using the Windows installation from either booting natively or using Parallels. Windows can be started using either method when needed.

     

    Being able to use Windows interchangeably using Parallels or booting natively is the main purpose of setting up Windows using Bootcamp Assistant then using this installation as the Parallels target system.

  • 4. Re: Bootcamp and Parallels
    Dan in MD Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I decided to go with Parallels without Bootcamp for my two new 2012 laptops, but use Bootcamp without Parallels for my 2010 Mac Mini.

     

    Part of the issue is licenses. MS Office wants to be activated twice, once for Parallels, once for Bootcamp.

     

    The other issue is versioning. I created a 75GB partition called "Virtual" on my laptop hard disks in which I placed a 64GB plain Parallels vm file.  I was able to copy off this VM periodically in case I made any bad decisions. I can also take periodic backups (not via time machine, which excludes this partition). Not so easy with boot camp.

     

    Another issue is suspending, which you can do with Parallels without Bootcamp.

     

    On one of my laptops I have to user accounts and I applied the permissions in terminal   to allow two users to share a Parallels VM - worked perfectly. http://kb.parallels.com/en/9303

  • 5. Re: Bootcamp and Parallels
    Csound1 Level 8 Level 8 (35,320 points)

    BobTheFisherman wrote:

     

    Windows and Office run as well on an Apple  computer as they do on a Windows computer.

     

    I'm going to (marginally) disagree with that, I have stated before that in my view Windows running in BootCamp is always heading towards failure, you just don't know how long that will be. While running it all works just like it would on a PC but the chances of failure are increased running under BootCamp because of the compromises made to accommodate the different and numerous partitions.

     

    I recommend a VM for Windows, stable, reliable, easy to backup ..... what's not to like

  • 6. Re: Bootcamp and Parallels
    BobTheFisherman Level 6 Level 6 (10,970 points)

    I've been using Office professionally for years on Windows computers, in VMs, and in Bootcamp installations of Windows. I've never had any issues, other than those typical of Office and Windows. But that's not to say that at some time I may.

     

    VMs are good. I use Fusion and it has worked well for me.

     

    Marginal disagreement is good.

  • 7. Re: Bootcamp and Parallels
    Csound1 Level 8 Level 8 (35,320 points)

    BobTheFisherman wrote:

     

    I've been using Office professionally for years on Windows computers, in VMs, and in Bootcamp installations of Windows. I've never had any issues, other than those typical of Office and Windows. But that's not to say that at some time I may.

     

    VMs are good. I use Fusion and it has worked well for me.

     

    Marginal disagreement is good.

    Add Boot Camp oddities to the 'typical Windows ones' and you have more thingsto go wrong. As I don' play games a VM and a decent amount of Ram works best for me, but, as ever YMMV.

  • 8. Re: Bootcamp and Parallels
    Rudegar Level 6 Level 6 (19,490 points)

    I renember computerworld something like that tested a macbook pro and it was the fastests laptop they had run Vista on

     

    I game a lot on my imac in bootcamp and it generally performs better then the same games for osx

     

    and even if I didn't game then VM's would mixed with me currently only having 4GB memory be painful for ms visualstudio and other more demanding programs that I use

     

    but of cause a switch between osx and win8 (in my case currently) take longer then opening and closing a VM

     

    ran win8 and linux in oracle VitualBox (free vm player) and it ran ok but had to close a lot of osx program to get enough memory to fire up those VM's