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Virtual Windows PCs on Macs

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April 13, 2007 12:22:43 PM

Parallels Desktop for Mac runs Windows and other OSes as virtual machines. Bill Lake installs and tests Parallels against a native Apple Boot Camp installation of XP.
April 13, 2007 12:56:57 PM

M$ better start taking Apple as a threat to their OS. M$ needs to quit trying to rip the consumer off with their crap 32bit vista or Apple will gain market share as the price of their PC's fall. The best move M$ can make at this point is a dual boot XP & Vista 64bit. The problem with 32bit vista is it will see its 3.3GB limit before SP1 fixes the crap for a good number of its users.
April 13, 2007 3:10:34 PM

I have to laugh at the Cons portion. Who expects gaming performance in a virtualized OS?

and gems like this:

'Requires additional system memory to support Host and Guest operating systems'

Hello? This isn't a Con, it is a SYSTEM REQUIREMENT.
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April 13, 2007 6:58:57 PM

I'm a Linux user who uses Wine for running Windows applications, and I believe that Intel Macs running OSX are now supported by Wine. Wine provides a compatibility layer for running Windows programs rather than providing a virtual machine that requires a whole Windows installation. As such, the hardware requirements for Wine are virtually identical to that of Windows which allows for faster performance and game play. If you are truly serious about running Windows apps on different OS, I'd take a good look at Wine. Virtual machines do have a purpose but are too clunky and too much of a resource hog for the purposes stated in this article.

For Wine source and application compatibility:
http://winehq.org

For Darwin Wine binaries and installation instructions:
http://darwine.opendarwin.org/

A commercial version of Wine (think support):
http://www.codeweavers.com/products/
April 13, 2007 11:20:09 PM

"No VM has managed to [play 3D games]"

Excuse me but you haven't done your research. Crossover is a solution that allows you to install and run Windows programs within OS X without needing a full Windows install and also allows you to run Steam games in OS X.

Yes, you can run Counter-Strike Source in OS X. Youtube it and you'll find it.

In my experience though the software is crap. The 3D support is there, but its rudimentary and doesnt do some important things correctly, such as changing the resolution ingame. It also doesn't work with all Windows programs, and takes longer to start up and quit than a full Windows install, VM or not. Still, there is also a trial, which you should look at if ure interested in playing CSS in OS X.

http://www.codeweavers.com/products/cxmac/
http://www.codeweavers.com/compatibility/browse/name?ap...

So yeah its basically what Sandain pointed to at the end but I just elaborated on it :p 
April 13, 2007 11:36:46 PM

And by your own account, still doesn't. Was this some sort of endorsement?

Sounds like WINE to me. If I have to go through that much effort to play a game on OSX or Linux, thanks, but no thanks. I will just stick with a natively running OS like XP.
April 13, 2007 11:51:17 PM

Yes I think that when you jump to the newest version of OS X it will be even better by supporting 64 Bit Macs and doing even more with virtualization
April 13, 2007 11:55:43 PM

Well, the lack of support for gaming is a detractor verse running windows via boot camp and the memory requirements needed often exceed the suggestions of the VM software vendors. I have used VMware, Virtual PC and Parallels now and all short the needed memory to have a smooth and responsive system.
April 14, 2007 12:08:27 AM

The Crossover product is a good product but does not support all the software that a native install or VM can. Plus try getting a custom app to work. Wine has know issues running in OS X but it might work out fine but again this article was to compare running XP natively via Boot Camp verses using a VM.
April 14, 2007 12:13:29 AM

OK just running applications was not the goal, running windows was. Crossover is a good product and maybe that would be an excellent product to review in the future.
April 14, 2007 12:19:09 AM

Also Crossover is not a VM, it is an emulation software that allows you to run programs without windows. And perhaps there is a VM that will run a game or two but basically can you run Company of Heroes or maybe a newer game on any of these? Now again Crossover is a good product and maybe an idea for a new article
April 14, 2007 2:46:23 AM

Quote:
'Requires additional system memory to support Host and Guest operating systems'

Hello? This isn't a Con, it is a SYSTEM REQUIREMENT.


This isn't as stupid as it sounds. It does require more RAM to virtualize an OS than it would to run it natively. Since he wasn't comparing VT app to VT app, this is valid. The alternative to not using Parallels is running Boot Camp, and thus you run 1 OS at a time, decreasing the memory reqiurement.

It essentially comes down to running XP in Parallels with, say, 512MB RAM vs XP natively with 1GB. In that case, Boot Camp may make sense. With 2GB RAM, you could bump up the Parallels to 1-1.5GB, and then it wouldn't really have a limitation, since games are more than likely not going to work.
April 14, 2007 11:56:00 AM

If the author changed to Macbook Pro and spent through his nose (for a new machine, and all the new versions of software) then he is a nut to begin with. Sony's Vaio SZ has a better keyboard than Macbooks. To me, it also looks better, but that's a different and subjective story. (Disclosure: I have both, and need both for my work).

As for Parallels, of course it works. But working, and working swiftly, are two separate experiences. It just does not run Windows software with quite the performance that would make it a really viable option. Same as Wine on my SuSE 9.
April 14, 2007 2:17:12 PM

Quote:
'Requires additional system memory to support Host and Guest operating systems'

Hello? This isn't a Con, it is a SYSTEM REQUIREMENT.


This isn't as stupid as it sounds. It does require more RAM to virtualize an OS than it would to run it natively.

It does?

I run a host OS (XP) and 2 other virtual XP's in Under Virtual PC. My Machine has 2GB of RAM and 512MB allocated to each virtual OS.
April 14, 2007 5:54:13 PM

I'd be interested to know how the virtual network is set up. I have to use Windows-native apps at work, log on to Exchange/Active Directory etc. and test on an aspx enabled server... so, is it a virtual switch, or NAT? Can the two machines talk to each other, and have a separate presence on the network?

Currently, the workaround to use Virtual PC in this manner is impractical and time-consuming; this might make moving to an Intel Mac, god forbid, an option.
April 14, 2007 6:47:05 PM

Hehe, what a joke. This software would seem to have a very limited market. Who are the people who typically say "I want a Mac but I need my PC for (something)"? Gamers, professionals who need expensive XP software, and people who just have a few little apps that don't have OS X versions.

Gamers and professionals are out, because they need advanced 3D stuff for games and Autodesk and such. Professionals might also need computationally intensive software for rendering, simulating, etc etc, which is really best done off of a VM.

And are people who have an app or two they are used to in XP but don't get in OS X really going to pay for Parallels plus an XP license and have to sacrifice more drive space and performance just for those? I doubt it.

I don't see how they can have much of a market, but either way, the whole thing just seems silly to me.
April 14, 2007 8:44:24 PM

Wow, calling Apple Laptops expensive while quoting Sony laptop as the alternative is really a fair statement. Seems the Sony quoted here only comes with a 13.3 inch screen, a geforce 7400 graphics card and a 7200 Intel CPU for 1800 at Newegg, while the Apple I got cost 1840 with a discount with a 7400 CPU, 15.4 inch screen, and ATI 1600 graphics card, so maybe it cost slightly more but I got more screen and cpu and maybe more graphics so perhaps the idea that Sony laptop is cheaper than Apple seems fallacious and the fact that I am running OS X, Windows and Linux while he is limited to Windows and Linux on his Sony.
April 14, 2007 8:53:25 PM

As for the virtual networking it can be done as pass through with the VM getting an IP on the network, NAT or shared networking where it passes via the host IP and local only where it is isolated on the system. On of the uses that I have for the VM is to create a VM of my work PC so that I can start it, log into to the VPN client and access my windows domain and systems via my MAC from home. Works great.
April 14, 2007 8:55:20 PM

As for being nuts for paying for all the software again that is why I run Boot Camp and Parallels to run windows on my MacBook Pro so I do not have to pay for everything again.
April 14, 2007 9:00:31 PM

This software might be very limited to IT pro's that run VM's for customer support, running demo's and testing software. Also it should be noted that if you already own software such as XP you do not need to repurchase it but may just have to reactivate it on the new laptop. So this includes most power users would already own XP licenses and applications. I personally like the Boot Camp option for running windows but I do use parallels occasionally to run a copy of my work PC from home.
April 15, 2007 3:25:23 PM

That sounds promising; as long as the two machines can talk to each other directly. I can also envisage using the XP VM as a 'tunnel' via shared drives, to make Windows domain logon almost seamless from both machines...

As for who would use this -- well, there are people who need (or indeed just prefer) two operating systems. I'd not consider using Photoshop on Windows, and find OS X to be generally an aid to productivity. Windows is also necessary, for cross-compatibility issues - and my workplace has licenses galore going spare.

Try not to take it all personally. People are never happy.
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