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Topic # 138837 18-Jan-2014 13:36 Send private message

Hi all,
New Mac user here. I intend to convert my current PC to a VM but, because of its size, I'd really like to run it from a USB3 external drive, if possible. 
I've just got the Mac and would appreciate some help with suggestions about the best way to keep my PC programs running as a VM. Unfortunatly, I haven't allowed myself much time to get used to the Mac before emigrating to Canada. So many tips and tricks coming up on Google and I'd rather rely on advice from the lovely geekzoners. 

I assume Parallels is the way to go. If so, has anyone successfully converted a VMWare VM to Parallels? I have an existing VM I also want to use with my MacBook Air, again, from an external drive if possible. 

Cheers.

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Spark NZ

  Reply # 969356 18-Jan-2014 13:52 Send private message

I'm keen to know too, have you looked at the built in Bootcamp? Oddly I read a thread last nite, the user can boot to Windows or OSX or run Windows in a window. Suit a power need or easy access to Windows

I've read more than once that the best PC you can buy is a Mac, running Windows!

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Geek


  Reply # 969365 18-Jan-2014 14:03 Send private message

I would suggest running Parallels on OS X Mavericks. The latest version of Parallels supports its nicely. 

You can easily run you Windows VM of an external USB 3 drive. I wouldn't suggest USB 2.

I have the latest MBP and since I have flash memory the drive speed is stupidly fast. 
I run both Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 with no problems. 

Boots Windows in ~ 5 seconds using Parallels. Thats with the VM's stored on my flash memory. On my external USB 3 drives, I get ~ 8/10 seconds.

I suggest Parallels over VMware Fusion. I have used both. I find Parallels updates more frequently and it has better integration as well as better graphics card support. I run decent 3D applications within Windows through Parallels and it uses my MBP graphics card perfectly well.

Thanks


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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 969369 18-Jan-2014 14:22 Send private message

Parallels is nice, and it will indeed run fine from an external hdd.

As said above, make sure its USB3, it will make a big difference.

In your case (the OP) I wouldn't bother with bootcamp. The main reason to fall back on bootcamp is performance. Its running windows directly on the hardware without virtualisation etc..
If you do use bootcamp, you can also run the bootcamp in parallels without needing to reboot, but you lose that main benefit.

Parallels also has an option to migrate an existing PC to a VM. Ive done this before, and it was a bit fiddly (cant really remember the main issues I had), took a day or so of mucking around. I don't do this for any of my current VM's, clean install FTW.

Have a look here
http://kb.parallels.com/en/115007
you'll probably want to quickly skim the "Using an external storage device" section

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Geek


  Reply # 969372 18-Jan-2014 14:25 Send private message

The other problem with Bootcamp is that it has flaky support for Windows 8 and especially 8.1 where some drivers are non-existent and certain devices tend to fail.

eg. Getting a magic mouse to work can be a pain.

One of the things I love the most about Parallels is that you can continue to use your OS X shortcuts and they work in Windows because it takes care of remapping.

Pretty sweet!

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  Reply # 969374 18-Jan-2014 14:32 Send private message

Jiriteach: The other problem with Bootcamp is that it has flaky support for Windows 8 and especially 8.1 where some drivers are non-existent and certain devices tend to fail.

eg. Getting a magic mouse to work can be a pain.

One of the things I love the most about Parallels is that you can continue to use your OS X shortcuts and they work in Windows because it takes care of remapping.

Pretty sweet!


Tks for that, Parallels it is

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 969396 18-Jan-2014 15:54 Send private message

tdgeek:
... Oddly I read a thread last nite, the user can boot to Windows or OSX or run Windows in a window.


Boot Camp (as the name suggests) only works when you boot the computer, so you can't run Boot Camp in a window under Mac OS X using it*, ... BUT what you can do is use the same Boot Camp partition (external drive?) in Virtual PC or VMWare Fusion when running under Mac OS X, which gives you the best of both:
- Boot Camp for when you need 100% Windows compatibility and speed (i.e. games)

- Virtual PC / VMWare Fusion for applications less demanding

Using Boot Camp you can set-up a Mac to boot into your choice of various versions of Mac SO X, Windows, and Linux, as well as anything else that will boot on a normal PC (assuming you can find drivers for the Mac's peripherals!).


If you're a geeky hacker who likes to muck about, then instead of paying for Virtual PC / VMWare Fusion, there are some freeware / shareware options for virtulisation of Windows, but they are much less polished and messier to set-up.

Depending on your needs, there's also the WINE option which can run SOME Windows applications under Mac OS X without actually needing Windows at all. Of course because it doesn't have Windows, it does tend to be a bit flakey and choosey about what does and doesn't work (even the "compatible" list on the website is often not right), so is best for only occasional use if the application you want to use actually works.


* Note: Technically you can do this, by using virtualisation options to "boot" a second Boot Camp computer virtually within your current system, but it's not a feature of Boot Camp itself. Obviously it won't be as fast as using Boot Camp in the "correct" manner though.

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  Reply # 969398 18-Jan-2014 16:00 Send private message

How does Bootcamp compare to Parallels if you wish to boot to Windows (7)? Sorry to hijack threat Elpie, but hope it is useful info.


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  Reply # 969399 18-Jan-2014 16:00 Send private message

How does Bootcamp compare to Parallels if you wish to boot to Windows (7)? Sorry to hijack threat Elpie, but hope it is useful info.


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  Reply # 969442 18-Jan-2014 19:18 Send private message

Boot Camp gives you the drivers (for the Mac mouse, keyboard, etc.) and the process to install a version of Windows. After that you're booting into a computer which is exactly the same as any other similarly spec'ed PC - full speed, fully native, and fully compatible (well, as "fully" as any other PC maker's computer ever is with Windows :-)). The only issue might be obtaining Windows drivers for some peripherals (as a silly example, if you had a "Mac only" printer, then you may not be able to use it from Windows via Boot Camp, and a "Windows only" printer may not work from Mac OS X).

Run Windows under virtualisation with Virtual PC or VMWare Fusion (or the other shareware options) does mean Windows is of course sharing all the computers resources with Mac OS X, so Windows applications will run slower than on a normal Windows PC or Boot Camp. For most normal applications you probably won't notice it, but games or converting video for example will likely be slower. The virtualisation may mean some applications that try to hit the hardware directly (again games are the likely culprit) may not work.


Whichever method you use to run Windows, you will still need anti-malware applications on the Windows side (or disable Virtual PC / VMWare from using the Internet), but the malware won't hurt the Mac side ... short of some nasty malware completely wiping the entire hard drive of course.



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  Reply # 969512 19-Jan-2014 00:36 Send private message

Thanks all, this is really helpful. Parallels is the clear winner so I will take that route. Cheers.

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  Reply # 969569 19-Jan-2014 10:13 Send private message

The choice between Parallels Desktop and VMWare Fusion is pretty much one of personal preference. There's little real difference between the two, and the new version releases from the companies tend to keep leap-frogging each other. I'm pretty sure both have a downloadable trial version if you have the time (and download data) to try them and see which one you prefer.



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  Reply # 972847 23-Jan-2014 13:46 Send private message

That's a good tip - thanks.
I'm used to VMWare and have a VM running under Player on my Windows desktop now, so will grab a trial of Fusion and do a comparison with Parallels. Whichever runs best from my external USB3 drive will get the nod. 

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