parallels is pricy though virtualbox and vmware player does the same
thing but for free though
VMWare is not free; it retails for $79 as does Parallels.
Parallels 8: 40% off retail during current MacUpdate 10 app bundle - $49:
On the Mac Mini, I run Snow Leopard on the OS side and XP on the Windows side. One of my hobbies is astronomy/astrophotography so I run "stacking" programs like AviStack, Registax, Autostakert, etc. (all Windows only, no Mac versions available) and then I have a Windows version of PhotoShop CS4 for final processing. Normally, when I sit down to do some processing, I "lock" myself down for several hours and don't have a need to bounce back and forth between the Windows side and the Mac side. The new iMac is a "previous version" (iMac 12,2 from Profiler) that I just got from the Refurb store and runs Mountain Lion. As I understand it, if I use Boot Camp, I have to move up to Windows 7 (already have a copy of 64 bit Professional); if I move to Parallels 8, it says that I can stick with XP or move up to 7. The iMac is the 3.4 GHz quad-core I7, with 8 Gb of memory currently installed, can take up to 16 Gb if needed.
You have the mid-2011 iMac which can boot Snow Leopard; this gives you options with regard to Windows XP and Bootcamp as well as Parallels.
Is it important to you to be able to continue with Windows XP or are you ready to move up to Windows 7?
I ask, because I do not want to be "long-winded" unless you want all these options.
Was the purchase from the Apple refurb Store and did they give you the original Snow Leopard Restore DVD?
All of my Windows software is "older" XP-compatable stuff. I've never worked with Windows 7 but, as I understand it, the 64 bit Pro version allows running XP software. They did not give me ANY software disks with the machine; if it crashes, I have to reload from the Apple on-line system. HOWEVER, I did also purchase copy of Snow Leopard to have around "just in case" (only $19.99 right now) so, if it's a better option, I can wipe the hard drive, install Snow Leopard and stay where I'm at software-wise. I don't know enough about Windows 7 to really know what's better. But I'm not afraid to experiment - no big deal to back up the factory-installed system, wipe the drive, go "backwards" to Snow Leopard/XP. If I don't like that, just restore the factory install, and move forward. Guess, to sum things up, I just don't know enough about Mountain Lion/Win 7/Parallels to know if it would be a "more better" way to run.
PS, additional on the iMac hardware, the hard drive is a 1Tb Western Digital Black and the graphics is the AMD Radeon HD 6970M with 2 Gb memory.
I was planning to do that tonight anyway. In fact, I plan to do two clones, one with SuperDuper and one with CarbonCopyCloner (can never have too many backups). Reading the instructions for the new CCC (Mountain Lion version), it will also clone the recovery partition on the drive along with all of the system stuff.
Apple gives instructions at the Mountain Lion help pages for cloning the recovery partition by itself to an external drive as an emergency tool. I've already done this on a USB flash drive - can't help myself, spent 40+ years doing process engineering, just can't have too many fall-back/contingency plans....
First some some discussion of which is the best approach you should take and then some instruction on how to accomplish it.
It is my belief to have both the capacity to run Windows in Bootcamp and also access it with Parallels. This approach gives you the best of both worlds:
In Bootcamp, Windows operates more efficiently. For example when I previously used to digitize HD H.264 content from my satellite HDTV using a hardware device run by a Windows driver, this driver worked with USB on a more stable basis in Bootcamp and did not function in Parallels (this example became moot when a software engineer released for sale a Mac driver for this hardware).
In Parallels, there is some loss of efficiency due to the fact that Windows is being run in "virtualization" but with the additional capability of running applications in Mac OS X concurrently with Windows and not the "dual-boot" requirement of Bootcamp. Your experience of being "locked in" may not appreciate nor need this concurrent capablity.
An addiitonal feature of Parallels is that it can access the Bootcamp partition for its virtualization file, so there is no duplication of the many GBs of hard disk space that is required by Windows. It is only installed once (but, required to be "activated" by Microsoft twice, which does not represent any practical problems).
Hence you can use Bootcamp or Parallels as desired, with little or no disadvantages to having the capability to do both!
That leaves the Windows XP issue: Bootcamp will only install into Bootcamp in Snow Leopard (and in Leopard, which is not relevant to our discussion).
So, after you have completed the clone, you should:
1. Call Apple and give them the model and serial number of your iMac and they will provide you a Snow Leopard 10.6.7 Restore Disc for that model (about $17.95).
Your retail version of Snow Leopard is either 10.6 or more probably 10.6.3 and it will NOT boot that machine nor can it be installed into it, a partion or an external drive to boot that machine.
Owning the proper Restore Snow Leopard DVD will give you resale value, as that iMac is sought after by those in the after-market who want to be able to boot into Snow Leopard.
2. I, like you, use Windows XP and have no interest in any Windows upgrade. Macs that can boot into Snow Leopard (or earlier) can install Bootcamp that supports Windows XP. In my experience, I was able to upgrade to Lion on my 2009 MacBook Pro and I can still boot into Bootcamp to use my WIndows XP. I have not upgraded to Mountail Lion, but my guess is that I will still have that capability when/if I do.
However you want to avoid all the work necessary to restore Snow Leopard on your iMac, just to install WIndows XP into Bootcamp, just so you can upgrade to Mt. Lion and restore your current files. The way to do that is to follow the instructions in this thread (and then stop once Windows XP is installed):
Afterwards you should have a Bootcamp that will run WIndows XP.
Parallels 8 is now available at a 40% discount with the March 2013 Macupdate bundle of 10 apps which I just ordered; I have been using Parallels 7 all of this time.
You can also download a 14 day free trial of Parallels 8
I am sure you will have more questions...
You're right - the Snow Leopard disk is 10.6.3 and it WILL NOT boot this computer. No loss, I can use it on my Mini - l bought that from the refurb store, it was shipped with Tiger/Leopard upgrade, I added the Snow Leopard upgrade on top of that, this disk should give me a clean install of SL for that machine. I'll have to give Apple a call about the SL restore disk.
Dennis Kulpa wrote:
...it was shipped with Tiger/Leopard upgrade...
Do you have access to a retail source for Leopard (and Tiger)?
Many people on this forum who still own PPC Macs are looking to upgrade to Leopard and since Apple no longer sells it, they discover it is very expensive on eBay.
Where did you purchase it and for how much? I would like to check that source and offer that information as help when needed.
BTW: Nice hobby!