New to Mac, parallels vs. vmware

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by gypsy, Nov 4, 2007.

  1. gypsy

    gypsy Junior Member

    Hi everyone,
    I am new to Mac and want to use it full time. However, i still need access to cute ftp and quickbooks on the Pc. My friend who is a web designer said vmware is the way to go, best program. Yet a review in macworld said parallels newest version supports 2.0 and has some issues but overall better. Can i get some honest feedback here? I did hear parallels was very slow and used much memory in comparison.
    I want the most user friendly option available. And how does bootcamp "work" with either of them? The disadvantage to bootcamp is the re-boot necessary.
    I am excited to make a choice but seems there are pros and cons to both.
    I am running XP media center. I have no clue what Linux is/does, can anyone shed some light on this as it is frequently an issue on these threads. Does not apply to me but may be something i am interested in.
    Thanks so much!
  2. itsdapead

    itsdapead Hunter

    The first thing to realise is that VMWare Fusion and Parallels Desktop are competing products which do almost exactly the same thing (and any extra feature that one currently has will probably turn up in the other before long). If you are switching to Mac and have a couple of Windows programs that you still need, then either of them will probably be suitable. Do remember that you will need to buy a copy of Windows to go with them, though (not sure if Media Centre works - but you'd be better off with XP Home).

    If you want to know which is better you'll have to make a judgement from lots of internet flame-wars and andecdotal evidence. My 0.5c worth: If I mainly wanted a way of running Windows apps on a Mac, I'd go for Parallels, who seem to be concentrating their efforts on Windows/Mac integration for 'regular users'. If I was mostly interested in experimenting with Linux and exotic things, I'd probably plump for VMWare. (Although Parallels does work with Linux, it usually requires some tinkering to get it to work properly).

    Neither of them will turn your Mac into an ideal platform for running PC games or other "high performance" PC software, since they all have to "share" access to memory, video cards, hard drives etc. with Mac OS. That's where Bootcamp comes in, as it lets Windows take over your machine completely and use "proper" graphics drivers etc. Apart from the rebooting, the downside is having to dedicate a big chunk of your hard drive to windows - and while you're in Windows you can't access any files on the "Mac" part of your hard drive (its slightly better accessing the Windows bit from Mac bit there are still issues).

    Normally, Parallels and VMWare create a disc file that acts as a "virtual" hard drive (which starts small and grows as the drive "fills up") - and you install a fresh copy of Windows onto this drive. However, if you already have a Bootcamp installation, they can use the dedicated "windows" part of your hard drive instead, and use the copy of windows installed there. The only advantage of this is that you don't need a second installation of Windows (and all your applications) to use with Parallels - you don't get the performance advantages of BootCamp without rebooting; you open a whole new can of bugs & features (Windows "sees" a completely different machine when it wakes up in Parallels or boot camp) and you lose some of the features you get with a virtual hard drive (such as suspending the virtual machine, or making "snapshots" before experimenting with new software etc.)

    In short - if you just want to use software like "quickbooks" and "cute FTP" then there is no need to go anywhere near bootcamp.

    Its the low-level "kernel" around which a whole family of complete operating systems - some full-blown desktop systems comparable* to OSX or Windows, others tailored for phones, personal video recorders, firewall/routers - have been built.

    These operating systems often just get called "Linux" and some pedants get hot under the collar about that.

    "GNU/Linux" is more politically correct but if you apply that principle with any sort of consistency you end up with "GNU/X.Org/BSD/KDE/Samba/Mozilla/CUPS/RedHat/Apache/.../Linux" and you need a bigger box.

    They are usually "free", and that goes a bit deeper than just not costing money.

    Now go google for the rest.

    (*"comparable" in the same sense that religions, football teams and political parties are comparable... you have been warned)
  3. gypsy

    gypsy Junior Member

    wow thank you so much for the detailed explanation! Well i just purchased the new OS for my Mac and now bootcamp is part of this. However, installing windows and all additional software do not seem fun to me! So you would recommend installing direct once i have parallels or installing in bootcamp for use either way? Sorry i was overwhelmed there. I am not a computer savvy person as you can see.
    I still am not sure what vmware may offer that parallels does not vs. free email support. It appears vmware charges for much. Any thoughts? I am all about free support!
    glad i found this great forum!
    PS, is Linux so popular now? Not sure I grasp it all, my friend hosts all new websites on a Linux server, and may move mine. I use FTP so maybe this will effect me? Hope not!
  4. gruber

    gruber Bit poster


    I saw the thread and decided to join in with some questions.

    I am not a MAC user,but i got curious by it and i was checking some info about osx in general and i found this site.

    I have questions,related to this photos :
    The first screenshot is clear,a standart VM machine with Guest OS.
    But the second and the third one are very interesting,or at least for someone new to the whole project like me. Is the entire guest OS loaded in the second screenshot or only some components from the guest OS ( in that case windows ) are loaded ?
    Does Parallels make possible to have only certain software from the guest OS to be loaded ? Or it is a standart virtual machine with hidden interface from the first screenshot ?
  5. David5000

    David5000 Pro

    I use Parallels mainly for QuickBooks, as you are intending to. (I also have a VMWare Fusion setup.)

    My best advice to you is not to use Boot Camp. You don't need it, it can be difficult to set up with Parallels and it can only cause you problems. Just install Parallels and then Windows.

    Also, there is no reason for you to continue using a Windows FTP client. There are many good ones for Macintosh, including a few that are free. Cyberduck is a free one I have used, although I prefer Transmit, which is not free but very good.

    Both Parallels and VMWare have free e-mail support. You can also get support from other users on their forums.

    The fact that your Web site may be hosted on a Linux server (or a Windows server, for that matter) will have no effect on the operating system on your computer. There is really no reason for you to get involved with Linux at this point.

    Hope this helps--

  6. gypsy

    gypsy Junior Member


    Thanks So Much,
    So if you have vmware fusion and parallels both setup which do you prefer in all honesty?
    I just got Leopard today and frankly installing windows on either does not sound fun.
    I am just remoting into the pc for now but that needs to change when i travel, cannot keep PC on at home.

    I use Cute Ftp, to manage my web pages. You mentioned windows ftp client, not even sure what that is i am embarrassed to say! Either way, i need to make changes on the Mac now so if you like the program you mention is it as user friendly as Cute FTP?
  7. David5000

    David5000 Pro

    I am still using Tiger, but from what I have seen, Fusion is more compatible with Leopard. I am also using an older version of Parallels (2.5, build 3214), which seems to be more stable than the newer 3.0.

    The one thing I really prefer Fusion for is that in Parallels, if you have "Enable access for assistive devices" checked in OS X Preferences>Universal Access, you can't use Command + Tab to switch from Parallels to other Mac applications, which I find annoying. With Fusion this is not a problem.

    Also, the VMWare Fusion forum is more user-friendly.

    Cute FTP is a Windows FTP client--an application that lets you transfer files via FTP. As I mentioned, there are of course many such applications for OS X also. There is no advantage for you to use a Windows FTP client instead of a Mac one.

  8. gypsy

    gypsy Junior Member


    thanks so much,
    i have read so many threads about parallels vs vmware fusion and i heard the latest version of parallels offers much of the same now BUT uses more memory, slows machien down. What do you think?
    I basically need one or the other BECAUSE paypal does not support mas osx and i cannot print shipping labels! Now that i know i can get a free ftp license for mac i am excited! other then that just quickbooks. I am so new to Mac's and want to use it full time to learn all it has to offer but I really dread installing any of this just because i fear the space it slowing the machine down.
    Any thoughts? If Vmware is more user friendly, I am all about simplicity.
    Would you use vmware with bootcamp? and if so, why?

    Last edited: Nov 6, 2007
  9. David5000

    David5000 Pro

    Whether you are using it with Parallels or VMWare, Boot Camp is completely unnecessary to run most business applications such as QuickBooks. It will only complicate things for you. The only reason to run Boot Camp is if you are going to be running a processor-intensive application, which is not the case with QuickBooks.

    For more opinions about VMWare, you should ask on the VMWare forum.


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