Time is running out on Parallels if USB support is not forthcoming

Discussion in 'Parallels Desktop for Mac' started by patches, Jul 5, 2006.

  1. patches

    patches

    Messages:
    18
    Put me down as another user who must have USB support or I will be demanding a refund. It's been almost a month since the GA release and we have heard nothing about a timetable for USB support or why some devices work and some don't and what we have to do to be in compliance.

    The reason I'm writing this with such urgency tonight is that the Dell laptop I've been using with my USB smart card had another hard drive go bad tonight. I'm not replacing yet another, I'm going to use my wonderful macbook pro.

    There's boot camp and there's iEmulator (anybody used this?). As much as I really like Parallels, as great a product as it is, it's not the only game in town.

    A lot of us feel stranted out here by lack of support, by lack of any kind of recognition that we good customers deserve to have products that work the way they were advertised.

    Please at least give us a clue! Will you support USB or not? When?
     
  2. wesley

    wesley

    Messages:
    396
    Actually, as far as virtualization-inside-OS X goes, Parallels IS the only game in town.
    iEmulator, GuestPC, WinTel, BOCHS, and QEMU are all currently emulation solutions.
    Boot Camp is a multi-booting solution.

    Here's what I can tell you about these emulation stuff that are available.

    iEmulator and WinTel, while both commercial products that you have to buy, are basing the core tech on the free and open-source project QEMU. WinTel also uses BOCHS core for 'alternate' emulation (BOCHS is also open-source).

    Interestingly, there's a free OS X port of QEMU available as well, called Q. I'm a paid user of iEmulator, but I realized now that it is essentially Q, repackaged with different icons. Sadly, refund was not an option. I'm now currently following Q development closely. They're also working on virtualization module, but the progress is slow. iEmulator seem to get the features of Q about... a month late. At least it sort of means the guys did the testing of the build, and updated the documentation. Oh, yeah, docs.. that's the good part about iEmulator, but if you're a techie who knows the way around things it's pretty useless.

    Sadly, none of the QEMU ports to OS X has functioning external USB device support.
    BOCHS is more of a proof-of-concept emulator. Highly portable, extremely slow. Even if it supported certain features I wouldn't use it for any useful amount of time.

    As a side note, if you want to try running Vista beta 2 inside OS X, Q / iEmulator is the way to go. The latest build supports the ACPI thingy.

    As far as I can see, GuestPC is an independent effort, but is only available for PPC Macs only. It does apparently have USB/Firewire support, it it'd be quite interesting if it ever gets ported to Intel Macs.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2006
  3. dkp

    dkp

    Messages:
    1,367
    You haven't said what USB product you're having problems with. Have you discussed this with that product's vendor? Perhaps they are not compatible with USB 1.1, for example. The reason I bring this up is because every USB device I own works perfectly and that includes my Treo, my SanDisk memory sticks, USB serial port adapter, Sony camera, and more.

    You also have not mentioned if you've determined if the either or neither os is seeing the device. Perhaps the wrong one is grabbing it? We don't know because you're whining, not debugging. Help us help you.

    dp
     
  4. patches

    patches

    Messages:
    18
    I have said in previous threads that I am using a GemPlus GemPC433-SW smart card reader. Nobody from Parallels has responded to these threads. Whether it is USB 1.1 or not I do not know as I cannot find any technical specifications for this product on the Gemplus web site. The product is over 3 years old, has USB 2.0 been around that long?

    The Gemplus is logo certified to work with XP. There are no OS X drivers for it. I'm not going to open a support case with Gemplus for a product that's over 3 years old to find out why it won't work with Parallels.

    As I have also said previously, OS X sees the device and identifies it by name in System Profiler. The device is listed in the list of USB devices in Parallels. Trying to have Parallels use it returns the message that has been discussed hundreds of times on this list. If the system process or some other process is grabbing it and not letting the Parallels process access it, I'd like to find out how to unmount it from OS X. I have not seen that anybody on this list has been successful in doing that for non-storage devices.

    Why are your devices working? Is it simply because they are all 1.1 compatible? Is that the solution for the hundreds of instances of similar problems people are discussing here? You are certainly in the minority in your success, congratulations.

    As far as the verb you chose to describe my request for support, up yours. I purchased a product that is in general release and is not working as advertised. I want to know if and when it will. I purchased this product for my business and I'm basing business decisions on the fact that they said it will work. If it won't, I want to know so I can go a different route and I want my money back. You can call it what you want, I call it consumers legitmately not putting up with vaporware. Pretty simple.
     
  5. VTMac

    VTMac

    Messages:
    340
    If I were you I'd do two things:
    1. I'd get a refund. Hopefully you paid via Credit Card as that opens more options.
    2. I'd never buy prerelease software unless I'd validated it worked for my needs before GA. In my case I didn't purchase until Beta 6, so I bought then.

    I hope you get satisfaction and I hope you find an alternative. I wouldn't waste your time (it will be a waste) with Q, QEMU, iEmulator, or Bochs. It sound like Boot Camp or a dedicated PC are your only options as of today. I suspect the landscape will look much differently in 3-6 months. By then, I bet VMWare is an alternative, along with possible having a virtualized Q, and I would think (hope?) more robust USB support in Parallels.
     
  6. akac

    akac

    Messages:
    144
    I think the biggest issue here is the lack of response and support. Parallels is a very small company, but they should be able to put out SOME info.
     
  7. tech_head

    tech_head

    Messages:
    38
    Have you tried the following:
    1. Putting a card in the reader and letting OSX mount the card.
    2. Unmounting/Ejecting the card from OSX.
    3. Now trying to attach the device in Parallels.

    This process works for my card reader and external HD. OSX will grab it. When I eject then I can get Parallels/XP to see them and use them.

    tech
     
  8. Moondougie

    Moondougie

    Messages:
    38
    I feel you frustration,

    I can't get either my SanDisk Cruzer Titanium flash card reader or my Lexmark P915 printer to work. The Lexmark driver installer sees the printer to install the software but then Windows XP can't recognize it in order to print anything.

    XP also recognizes both of these devices when I plug them in and tells me that I should use USB 2 so I can talk to them faster, but I haven't yet been able to figure out how to do so within Parallels/Windows. When I tell Windows to safely remove the SanDisk flash drive, it recogizes it's there and even calls it a SanDIsk Cruzer Titanium (by name) - but I can't get Windows to display the contents of the folders/files on the flash drive.

    I have other USB devices, like my Treo and iPod, but these are the only two I want to use with Windows - I sync my iPod and Treo to my Mac, not to Windows - but I do want to print and I do want to use the cruzer to share files from other machines and haven't yet been able to do so, nor find any help on these forums to figure out how to make either of them work.

    In the beginning of beta, we often got replies from Parallels staff, but I haven't seen any in a long time either…I'm not personally ready to ask for a refund yet, but I can understand someone wanting to (especially if using USB devices were more important to them than to me at the moment.
     
  9. sloosley

    sloosley

    Messages:
    25
    hello out there … patience is a virtue.

    If you don't want the fun of messing with a brand new, revolutionary product, don't! If your business depends on XP, then by all means buy a Dell!
     
  10. patches

    patches

    Messages:
    18
    How does one eject a non-storage device from OS X? That would be awesome if doable.
     
  11. extensivegroup

    extensivegroup

    Messages:
    48
    Disk Utility is located in Applications-->Utilities

    If the device is present, highlight it

    File--> Unmount (Volume)
     
  12. sloosley

    sloosley

    Messages:
    25
    Nice tip tech_head. Works as advertised! Cool. Thx
     
  13. dkp

    dkp

    Messages:
    1,367
    And that is pretty much the secret to most of the USB devices - one or the other can use it but not both and the trick is to know how to turn it off in the OS that you don't want to own it.

    dp
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2006
  14. patches

    patches

    Messages:
    18
    Unfortunately, I can see the USB smart card reader in System Profiler, but it is not listed in the Disk Utility. Bummer.
     
  15. petard

    petard

    Messages:
    6
    The GEM PC 430 USB reader works fine for me

    tech_head seems to have confused a smart media reader with a smart card reader. that's OK though, because smart card readers seem to work even more easily on my system. :)

    I'm using the GEMPC 430 USB reader, which is almost the same reader as the 433. The differences between the two are very minor and shouldn't matter from the parallels perspective. All I did to make it work was the following:

    0. Boot my VM and log into it.
    1. Plug in the reader.
    2. Choose Devices->USB->GEM PC 430
    (I have autoconnect disabled)
    3. Click next through the windows found new hardware wizard and let it fail.
    4. Download and install the driver from the gemplus site.

    That's it. It worked. I'm using a macbook pro 15.4" 2 GHz machine with OS X 10.4.7, an activated, release version of parallels and windows server 2003 with the parallels tools installed.

    What application are you trying to use with your reader? I just used a homegrown diagnostic tool, but it worked fine.
     
  16. dmgwork

    dmgwork

    Messages:
    81
    USB support

    I saw a post somewhere giving a hint that there should be some USB improvements in the future release, but I believe that release was due to be released last week. I havent seen any new releases yet. Is there anyone running a beta that is having better results on usb?
     
  17. patches

    patches

    Messages:
    18
    Unfortunately, I can't get past step 2 above. When I choose the reader from the Devices-USB menu, I get the 5-10 sec message. Windows never sees the device. Oh how I wish I could get OS X to let go.

    I have a 17" macbook pro with OS X 10.4.7, same w/Parallels, and XP SP2 completely up to date with hot fixes.

    I consult at a company that uses a smart card in order to establish a VPN session and log on to their corporate network over the internet. I haven't needed to do this yet with the mac, but I will soon.

    Thanks
    Mike
     
  18. petard

    petard

    Messages:
    6

    Are you (or have you) tried to use the reader with any mac applications on the system? It sounds like a mac app may be trying to monopolize your reader. Make sure the mac app is not running. Also make sure that pcscd is not controlling the reader.

    Also, do you have the parallels tools installed into your XP VM? If not, mount the iso and run the installer.
     
  19. patches

    patches

    Messages:
    18
    I agree that an OS X process is trying to hold on to the reader.

    Parallels tools are up to date and I don't have any mac applcations running that would grab the reader. Pcscd, on the other hand, may be a culprit. There are a few threads over at discussions.apple.com about problems with it.

    Is there a way to disable pcscd or otherwise prevent it from grabbing the reader?

    Thanks
     
  20. patches

    patches

    Messages:
    18
    Windows can see smart card reader, but????

    Here's the latest.

    When i attach the smart card reader to a USB port, pcscd is visible in activity monitor. When I kill this process, I am able to have Parallels mount the reader.

    And, as long as I didn't have any drivers installed, Windows could see the reader. Great success!

    I installed the latest drivers from Gemplus, and while attempting to shut down windows, one of the processors on the mac (intel, dual core) goes to 100% and stays there. I detached the reader and then the shut down finishes normally. Next time, when rebooting with the USB device attached and with Parallels having successfully mounted it, again, 100% CPU during the XP boot. Nothing happens until I detach the reader.

    Inside windows, XP is using minimal CPU. The Parallels process in OS X is what has one of the processors pegged.

    Progress, to be sure, but I'm not out of the woods yet. If anybody has any ideas I'm grateful.

    And many, many thanks to Petard for helping me get this far.

    Mike
     

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