Install Parallels w/Bootcamp or not?

Discussion in 'Parallels Desktop for Mac' started by gajacobsen, Jun 8, 2007.

  1. gajacobsen

    gajacobsen Bit poster

    Have 20" iMac Intel C2D successfully running XP Pro under Parallels without using bootcamp. Now have Intel C2D PB Pro 2.2 GHz, but wish to know whether to install XP Pro under bootcamp first, then Parallels.

    What are advantages/disadvantages of using Parallels with XP Pro installed under bootcamp first?
  2. John Purins

    John Purins Member

    Boot Camp disadvantages: Windows is running your Mac hardware. You basically have good hardware being run by a mediocre operating system.

    Boot Camp advantages: None that I can think of.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2007
  3. dkp

    dkp Forum Maven

    If you play computer games or require tools that need full 3D/DirectX support then BootCamp will help. In that case Parallels will use that Windows installation rather than having you install a second copy on a virtual hard disk.

    There are interesting challenges. In BootCamp Windows is running on native hardware. In Parallels that same installation is running on emulated hardware and so has to reconfigure itself each time you change modes. That seems to me to be a lot of thrashing of drivers.

    There's probable nothing to keep you from using BootCamp and still installing a second version of Windows that runs on a virtual drive, but the two environments will always be out of sync, require multiple patches/updates, blah blah blah.

    If you need native hardware access for performance or features that won't run without it, use BootCamp.

    I don't use or need BootCamp so have not installed it.
  4. gajacobsen

    gajacobsen Bit poster

    dkp -
    I won't be playing games or other 3D programs. Need Windows only for Palm desktop, a genealogical database program known as Personal Ancestrial File (PAF), possibly a GPS program, and access to Internet Explorer for a web-based site that only recognizes IE. There may be one or two other Windows only programs I may use later.

    From what you have written, it sounds like I do not need to install Boot Camp.

    Next to last question: Will hard disk requirements and RAM usage be less by installing XP Pro within Parallels only?

    Last question: Do you know anything about VMWare Fusion, which does much the same thing as Parallels, but apparently is an older company?
  5. John Purins

    John Purins Member

    Installing Boot Camp means that you will be partitioning your hard disk. Mac OS X will be installed in one partition and Windows in the other. Under this scheme, when you start your computer, you'll choose the operating system that you want to boot your computer with. This is the purpose of Boot Camp.

    If Windows is chosen, you'll have Windows running on the hardware just the same as it does on a PC. This means that you'll be exposed to the same security and reliability issues as any other Windows user. Security issues include the thousands of viruses and other malware software that Windows users have to constantly deal with.

    You're asking if you should install XP under Boot Camp first and then Parallels. Do you mean that you would not be booting Windows from Boot Camp but would just use the Boot Camp partition with Parallels?

    You may want to review the Parallels Desktop for Mac User Guide. It has a chapter about Boot Camp and Windows XP.

    Palm makes a Mac OS X version of Desktop and there is a Mac OS X version of Internet Explorer so two of your requirements can be met without using Windows at all. I don't know anything about the PAF program and so can't help you there. Which GPS program are you using?

    Hard disk requirements will be less by using Parallels only and RAM usage would be approximately the same. Of course, if you boot your computer with Windows, then Windows will be using all of the RAM.

    VMware is a respected company in the emulation field and I'm sure that Fusion will be a worthy competitor to Parallels. They have a website where you can get information about Fusion.

    You're correct... you do not need to install Boot Camp.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2007
  6. gajacobsen

    gajacobsen Bit poster

    John Purins -

    Sorry I did not make myself clear. I understand that Boot Camp creates a partition on the Mac HD which allows Windows to be run at native PC speeds, and that this requires booting into one system to get into the other, which is very inconvenient. I'd rather not have to boot up each time I wanted to use Windows. Since I'm not a gamer, I have not notice any reduction in speed using XP Pro in the iMac, although there is a visible shakiness of an XP window when moving it across the screen.

    My question was whether running XP Pro out of Boot Camp through Parallels required more HD space and RAM than simply running it through Parallels only. My MBPro 2.2 only has a 120 GB HD, 70 GB of which is already in use without using Boot Camp or Parallels.

    The Mac version of Palm desktop was last updated in April 2004 and there is no indication Palm intends to support it further. Also, I really prefer Palm's Windows desktop because, IMO, it is more "Mac-like" than their Mac version. I have been using the Windows version on an IBM ThinkPad and am looking forward to having quick and easy access via my Intel MBPro.

    I have looked over VMWare Fusion software pretty carefully, and it is still in Beta testing (version 4). I'm a little reluctant to install both VMWare and Parallels due to possible XP Pro certification (authorization?) problems which may occur from Microsoft. Also, I use both the 15" monitor from the MBPro and a Dell 24" LCD, and have read where there have been some problems with dual monitor use under Parallels (but have heard nothing on the subject regrading VMWare). I was hoping to find someone who has used both VMWare and Parallels to get a feel for which way to go.

    It is exciting to have Windows capability on the Mac. Virtual PC has never worked very well for me. Thanks for your interest and comments.
  7. qad

    qad Junior Member

    I did not have any issues with authorization when using both VMWare and Parallels (NOT while the other is running! Just on the same computer!), but I use Vista, not XP. XP may differ, but I think problems are unlikely.

    It's my opinion Coherence is more mature than Unity, in terms of useful features (drop shadows don't excite me; making Windows NTFS partitions auto-available via MacFUSE does as someone who utilizes TrueCrypt for disk encryption (NO native Mac support is a drawback). VMWare seems to use less processor time.

    I also dual monitor with both systems, in the sense of fitting one on one window and using OS X on the other. I have not had issues with either Parallels or Fusion.

    As for 'which way to go', I suspect I will buy Fusion when it is released (more useful for my server needs, with support for running Fusion-created images on Linux and Windows with free server apps) and continue using Parallels (coherence support more mature at this time). There is a lot of debate here on Macrumors and on this forum, to which I think is mostly overrated hogwash. You need to use whatever works best for you, so get the Trial or Beta and test them both.
  8. gajacobsen

    gajacobsen Bit poster

    qad -

    Thanks for your reply. Guess I'll try them both (already have Parallels on wife's iMac, so will put VMWare on the MBPro initially). As I said, this is an exciting time within the Mac world.

  9. akp

    akp Member

    Although it seems like you basically got your question answered, I just wanted to chime in and point out that the main advantage of running Parallels (or Fusion) on your Boot Camp partition is to avoid a second Windows installation, assuming you are already using Boot Camp. Not only does it save disk space, but you also avoid having to reinstall and reconfigure multiple copies of Windows.

    The main disadvantages are that a number of features are not available when using your Boot Camp partition. Most importantly, you cannot make snapshots (backups) of your VM and you cannot pause your VM.

    If you are not already using Boot Camp, which it seems you are not and have no compelling reason to, then the disadvantages clearly make this option undesireable.

    Personally, I am using my Boot Camp partition because I often need to be able to run DirectX and 3D apps, which neither Parallels nor Fusion support (yet).

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