How many actually have an activated & working Windows 10 Boot Camp partition as a Parallels VM?

Discussion in 'Windows Guest OS Discussion' started by purged, Aug 14, 2019.

  1. purged

    purged Bit Poster

    Including Parallels employees?

    Like, you must be a unicorn if you do, because this is the most frustratingly delicate thing on Earth to accomplish.

    First you can't seem to use the free Windows 10 upgrade entitlement that virtually everyone acquired, because this is not specifically a product key. So even if you bought Windows 7 or Windows 8 retail, and then go the free 10 upgrade, well, sucks to be you, because you're not allowed to activate both the Boot Camp partition and a VM at the same time under a digital entitlement. So what, am I supposed to just buy Windows 10 Pro all over again for $199 simply because I have an entitlement and instead need a product key? The answer is probably yes, but don't expect anyone to give you a clear answer.

    Speaking of a lack of clarity, even if you are one of the six people that specifically bought a Windows 10 retail product key, you're still in for a fun ride with Microsoft activation call centers! Nope, none of this is automated, every time you need to reinstall Windows and set this little delicate dance all up, you are essentially forced to call some far away remote call center and explain to people (who all have thick accents and whose native language is not English) what "Boot Camp" and "Parallels" and "Macs" and "Virtual Machines" and "Partitions" are, in as simple English as you can muster. And guess what? They won't understand you anyways. They are not technical and only know the stock terms that get them through 99% of calls. So here you are fighting with someone on the phone trying to explain that you need to activate both a native install and a virtual machine of that same installation, and it's basically a miracle when someone finally gets it (yes hello sir, did you upgrade your hardware?). And you have to do this each and every time you decide to reinstall, with no guarantee the next representative will understand or allow you to activate.

    Third, even if you are one of those rare souls that got through both of these near-insurmountable hurdles, get ready for the next challenge: keeping both instances in harmony. Used to all your Boot Camp drivers loading up and just working every time you boot into Windows natively? Well Parallels is gonna walk right all over that. After you've booted into your Boot Camp partition through Parallels as a VM a couple times, the Bootcamp.exe startup executable just goes poof and gone, which means no right click or Boot Camp Control Panel or anything when you boot back to native, and your only recourse is to download the WindowsSupport driver files from the Boot Camp Assistant in macOS, copy it over to Windows, and reinstall the drivers in Boot Camp each and every time Parallels disables them via the VM. Which is every time.

    If you can't tell, I'm pulling my hair out trying to get this to work, and I've come to the conclusion that it's far more trouble than it's worth. Has ANYONE had a smooth as butter ride setting this up? Or is it really as bumpy and fragile as what I've come to understand?
  2. JohnA7

    JohnA7 Bit Poster

    I was able to get this working, eventually. On two Macs in fact, one at work and one for personal use. It absolutely is a massive pain to get Windows - the same installation of Windows - activated both under boot camp and Parallels. First of all, neither copy can use an OEM key. That was my IT guy's fault and wasted about an entire day of me getting nowhere.

    Now, assuming it is an off the shelf copy, what I did was activate the Parallels boot first, then rebooted into Boot Camp. When I tried to activate it there it freaked the F out about me changing the hardware, and I suppose to Windows it looks like a massive hardware change compared to what's needed to run in Parallels. I was able to - eventually - get the 11,000 digit code needed to properly activate it due to a hardware change. SAVE THIS CODE

    Then, believe it or not (believe it) I rebooted to the Mac and Parallels, and then it freaked out and asked me to activate. Again. (This is the third time for the same copy of Windows.) Luckily I could short circuit the phone call this time because "all" you need to do is enter the same 11,000 digit code you got above.

    The first time I dealt with this it was entirely over the phone, the next time (just a couple months ago) they thankfully allowed me to do it via a web site.

    The other problems - drivers going missing or needing to be updated, Boot Camp control panel breaking, the track pad no longer working in Windows, among other issues, came and went and were entirely different on my MacBook Pro vs. my iMac. But after enough practice I could get them working pretty quickly after I changed, and sometimes I didn't need to do anything.

    My theory is that Windows Updates occasionally broke the other version than the one I was running when I performed an update. I eventually stopped using the native Boot Camp and have since deleted the partition and moved exclusively to pvm files which - oddly - have better disk performance than when running on a native NTFS partition (I tested this many times, I was so confused).

    Most of this I blame on Windows, a little bit on the way Apple handles Boot Camp (but at the same time they didn't need to at all and it's nice that it's an option).
  3. TylerC4

    TylerC4 Bit Poster

    May I ask how you were able to get the Boot Camp control panel to show up in the notification area? The Boot Camp control panel shows up in the (slowly becoming deprecated) control panel and I can access all of it's functionality there, but it sure was much nicer to have it in the notification area so I could more easily access it.

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