Installing Parallels itself into a separate partition

Discussion in 'Parallels Desktop for Mac' started by mcg, Apr 15, 2006.

  1. mcg


    Hey folks,

    I haven't installed Parallels yet because I'm just getting the feel for my new MBP. (I am a long-time Windows user making the switch...) I understand that this is beta-level code, and I wouldn't mind crashes or even kernel panics, but the stories of entire hard disks being lost is giving me enough pause not to continue yet.

    However, I had an idea: what if we created a separate Mac partition, separate from the primary system partition, and installed Parallels and the WIndows disk image into that partition? Would that provide an extra layer of protection from these potential catastrophes? That is, if a serious error does occur, one that would potentially cause disk corruption, would that corruption be limited to this extra partition? If so, that seems safe enough for my sake.

    Of course, assuming the answer is yes, the next question is: is this even possible.

    Thoughts would be appreciated.

  2. MarkHolbrook


    I like the idea. I don't know if it is possible either. I just ordered a MacBook pro. I'm testing Parallels right now on a Mac Mini. I have say I'm impressed and I'm expecting good things but for my MacBook Pro (which will be my development life) I need reliability. I hope it can get to a point very soon where it will not crash and destroy the disk.

    So far on the mini I have not done enough to see any serious problems but I did have 2 "press the button and restart" situations.

  3. bps1


    HD Partitions

    1, I don't see why you can't have your Virtual drive on an external HD, and

    2, you can copy your Virtual drive to a DVD, if it's smaller than 4 gig.

    I have Bootcamp and the Parallels' program and this program suits my needs a lot better than a dual booting setup. I use very few programs in windows and this is just perfect.

  4. constant


    Maybe this wont work as Parallels installs into particular directories. Those directories are not on "trashable" partitions.
  5. mcg


    bps1---an external disc is a definite no-no for me. My whole plan is to be able to put this on a MBP and take it with me.

    constant---well, if you're right, you're right---but I'm thinking that, at the very least, moving the virtual drive to a separate partition could provide some protection, eh?
  6. constant



    Moving the virtual drive is a real good idea. If anything has to happen with your host OS or Parallels, at least you will save your virtual installation.
  7. shoei


    using BootCamp partition AS Parallels' partition

    I'd like to be able to use the same partition for both BootCamp AND Parallels. That way I can choose how to run XP (e.g. full machine vs. in a window) on an as needed basis while keeping the same set of apps, user config & data in that world. Also avoids eating up double the HD space otherwise available to OSX.

    Any thoughts on how to accomplish this?

  8. Neuron


    These ideas won't help with the disk corruption that people have had. Their corruption was not directly the fault of Parallels, but was a by-product of a kernel panic that caused the operating system to crash while the disk was in an inconsistent state. Having Parallels and/or the VM image on a seperate partition would have made no difference whatsoever.
  9. flafeer


    I agree with Neuron on this one. I don't see a benefit to installing parallel or it's VMs on another partition.

    But what I may do is move critical projects I'm working on to another partition so I can dismount that partition when I'm doing things like installing a new VM or running heavy processes in the VM.

    BTW, with beta 3, I find that normal/light use of my win2003 VM including deploying new objects against a ECM server inside that VM is now stable (knock on wood). But I definitely do a backup of my drive right before I install a new VM or do any major reconfiguration. Being able to just unmount a critical partition to protect it would be faster and easier.
  10. constant



    You can't do that.
  11. Paul Linden

    Paul Linden

    What you should do, if you're worried about corrupting your OS install, is to create a sparse disk image, formatted as HFS+, mount it, and install your VM (or copy and existing one to it).

    A sparse disk image is one that resizes as necessary, ie. you can create a 40GB sparse disk image that starts out as 2MB if unformatted and 28MB formatted as HFS+. Then install Windows and it'll be 2.5-3GB, and will grow as you install more apps up to a maximum 40GB.

    I think there's a way of doing via Disk Utility, but I'm a Unix guy, and did this by hand.

    So, open Terminal, and type (this will put the sparse disk image on your desktop - it can be anywhere, but it makes it easier to find):
    cd Desktop
    hdiutil create -size 40g -type SPARSE -volname WinDisk WinDisk
    Double click on this, and it'll mount WinDisk, and this will show up on your desktop. You can name it whatever you want or set the size to whatever you want (ie. 40g above specifes the max size as 40GB). You can also put more than one VM there.

    The actual location is /Volumes/WinDisk. This is what you should browse to when installing.

    Any changes made by Parallels will be to this volume only.

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