Real Partition instead of disk image as virtual disk

Discussion in 'Feature Suggestions' started by Karsten, May 10, 2006.

  1. Andrew @ Parallels

    Andrew @ Parallels Parallels Developers


    This feature will not be in upcoming GA. It will be implemented in next version.
  2. cetuma


    That was my understanding. Released in 3.x sometime toward the end of the year.

    Raw devices will be wonderful though! Any chance you can incorporate vmdk2raw (GPL at so we can easily convert our existing vmware images to raw that can be read by the raw disk abilities in 3.0?

    That would be so amazing!!
  3. omero


    Thanks andrew for letting us now.

    Any planned schedule for GA and the next version?

    GA: July 06
    Next version: End of 06


    THanks again =)
  4. pazu


    I'm currently evaluating Parallels Desktop, and the only thing that holding me back from buying it right now is real (whole or partition) disk support. Different from most people on this thread, my main motivation for real partitions for dual boot purposes, but for -fast- file sharing between host and guest OS's (using the same partition for VM and native boot would be cool, anyway).

    Shared folders are OK, but they're somewhat slow when you're reading/writing many small files. I suspect that sharing a real partition between both OS'es would speed up things greatly.
  5. biggles


  6. rsivan


    if you make this feature I will buy sure!

    if you make this feature I will buy sure! i need because I want to use osx and windows but some case when working on hardware interfacing with my embedded systems windows run faster than parallel but i want to use single installation of windows
    Thanks to all
  7. tgrogan


    On most computers the speed of network software is multitudes faster than any disk can handle. There should be no overhead associated with networked access of disk vs. direct access - except for the way that the host OS handles networking. If your OS is time-slicing network access, then you have a problem with your choice of OS. I don't see any speed problems with my choice of OS.
  8. ccparallels


    This is "another vote" for booting off real partitions.
  9. pazu


    Cutting the "my choice of OS" generic BS: If I acutally had a choice, I wouldn't need parallels. Anyway... I'm running Windows XP on top of Mac OS X. The main application I need to run on XP is IBM Rational Application Developer 6.0, and I need RAD to access a huge tree of files that's actually located on my Mac's home folder.

    When running RAD natively (on a P4 2GHz without HT) , a "refresh" on the workspace takes somewhere between 3 and 10 seconds. When doing the same with RAD running on top of Parallels (on a MacBook, Core Duo 2.0GHz), the operation takes around two to three minutes -- not exacly "close to native".

    I don't know what to blame for this poor performance, but since the files involved are located on the host OS, and are accessed using Parallel's "shared folders" feature, I blame networking.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2006
  10. TDI



    Make sure you map a network drive within Win XP to your OS X shared folder.
    This speeds up access considerably.
  11. Anthony Medici

    Anthony Medici

    I'd want this feature for speed. Photoshop is dog slow in the virtual machine because of two reasons. Having to share ram which is tolerable. And having it's disk cache on a virtual drive. With direct access to a hard drive, like an sata drive, then photoshop would be much faster.
  12. pazu


    You mean, manually exporting my home folder in OS X and mounting it as a network drive within Windows XP, instead of using Parallel's own "shared folders" tool?
  13. mrmkirsch


    External drive support is a feature that I crave. I've got lots of FireWire and USB drives, and I'd love to have a dedicated drive for Parallels.

    That said, if and when this feature becomes available, there should be software included that can transfer the virtual drive I currently have onto the physical drive so that everything doesn't have to be reinstalled.
  14. pazu


    Ping. Just to remind you guys how important this feature is (for me, at least), and that I'm still eagerly awaiting for it.
  15. Rachel Faith

    Rachel Faith

    Yes, what he said....


    Cause its been a while since anyone posted any kind of update.

    So I am just adding my name to the list in support of this goal.
  16. cpl593h


    Just a 'me too'post. An ETA (or a beta version to test :) ) would be very helpful to me too. All my VM aren't running Windows, so I can't use the shared folders.
  17. itsdapead


    There seem to be 3 slightly different goals here:

    1. To be able to "mount" disk partitions in the same way as virtual drives. If this comes to fruition then I will be impressed.

    2. As a faster alternative to "shared folders". Don't wait up - that would involve two operating systems having simultaneous access to the "bare metal" of the same disk drive, with all the potential for conflict and corruption that entails. If they pull that off I will be very impressed.

    3. To be able to use the same Windows installation in Bootcamp and Parallels. I suspect this will confuse the hell out of windows and (for most people) screw up product activation. If parallels can fool windows into thinking its still running on the "real" machine and avoid this then I will do a Wayne's World "I'm Not Worthy" cowtow routine.

    Simply being able to mount the partitions from parallels read/write would be great (even if they were non-bootable and had to be dismounted from OSX first) as it would be a way to get data off NTFS and EXT2 drives without rebooting. (3) I suspect will be thwarted by Windows itself, while (2) might be a can of worms - looking at ways of speeding up shared folders and virtual networking would be time better spent (...but bear in mind that some of the slow-down is the overhead of managing multi-user access to the same data).
  18. cpl593h


    I couldn't have said it better. Not only NTFS and ext2, but virtually any filesystem from any OS.

    I'd just install a minimal version of, say, Gentoo Linux, which is able to mount ext2, ext3, ReiserFS, even NTFS (thanks to the new user-mode driver) or even more exotic FS's (say AmigaFS). I'd install it on a tiny disk image, with Samba as a fileserver. The complete virtual server would be tiny (as in a few megs, basically a kernel loaded with various file systems support, a Samba server and some basic tools). Then, I'd just mount the (real) partition and access it through SMB from any host (be it Mac OS X, Windows, Linux). The memory and CPU footprint should be minimal. (*)

    The two other scenarios are IMHO far less interesting: (3) using a real Windows from a real partition on the same machine will eventually go wrong in the long run. My personal advice to people wanting to use their bootcamp partition is to put Windows and its apps on a tiny partition and their data on another one so that they can use their Windows applications in a virtual machine and access their files on their real partition. A VM with Windows and whatever Windows-only app you need will take, what, 2 gigs, which is nothing, even on a notebook.

    (2) Mounting the same partition at the same time from two OS's won't go wrong in the long run: it will go wrong in the first minute you'll try that (except maybe if you mount them read-only, but that's asking for trouble anyway).

    (*) I just though of something that the Parallels team could distribute with Workstation/Desktop: a virtual machine file with just what I've described: a tiny Linux distro with support for various filesystems and a pre-configured Samba server. It would be easy to do, incredibly useful and wouldn't cost Parallels a buck, since it's all free software. Add a front-end for mounting these filesystem from the host machine through http and you've got a winner: start the VM, type its local IP in IE/Firefox/Safari, whatever, you get a list of mountable partitions, check the box corresponding to the partition(s) you want and voilà, instant, read-write and secure access to virtually any filesystem. Wow.

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