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BC2009
Nov 6, 2009, 11:11 AM
I am getting ready to finally "make the switch" to Mac and I need a Virtualization solution
to ease the transition for my wife and let me run my work environments as well.

I have been considering VirtualBox (www.virtualbox.org) which is free for personal use, as well as VMWare Fusion 3, and Parallels. The satisfaction rating seems to be lower with the Parallels users (maybe disgruntled on charging folks for 2 upgraded within 2 months of each other) so I have almost ruled it out, but I still need to decide. The big thing here is that I need this software from day one to make sure my wife doesn't have to miss a beat during the transition. I'd rather not be reinstalling Windows _again_ in 2 weeks to switch solutions.

Anybody have any experience with VirtualBox on Mac and can maybe share some of the shortcomings versus VMWare Fusion or Parallels? Is there good reason fork over the cash and go with Fusion or Parallels?

Any feedback would be great.



Bill Gates
Nov 6, 2009, 11:21 AM
VMware Fusion 2 was an excellent product. To a lesser extent, VMware Fusion 3 is as well. The current release suffers from some performance issues and as a result has created some disgruntled users over on the VMware forums. That said, a VMware employee has referred to the latest OS X 10.6.2 patch as potentially resolving some of the performance issues that Fusion 3 currently suffers from. With 10.6.2 seemingly close to release, I would hold-off buying any virtualization product until the verdict is in as to it's performance impacts.

If you choose to go the free route, and install VirtualBox, you will get roughly the same experience as you would with Fusion or Parallels Desktop. Both Fusion 3 and the new Parallels Desktop 5 both support Aero under Windows Vista and 7 guests, and Parallels introduces "skinning" to Windows applications and dialogs, making them appear Mac-like, whereas Fusion and VirtualBox do not offer such a high-level of integration. I've heard from others that Fusion is generally more stable than Parallels Desktop, but I can't personally comment on that nor can I offer any comparison with VirtualBox. Both Fusion and Parallels Desktop also offer DirectX 9 support under Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7, which suffices for a limited selection of games.

In summary, each product has it's own strengths and weaknesses. I would wait for 10.6.2 to be released if you can, so that you can give VMware a chance to perhaps improve its product's performance on the Mac. If you have the time, try downloading each product, install a VM and give it a try, since both VMware and Parallels over a trial period. Note that VMware also offers deep-discounts to students, if that applies to you. If you're on a tight budget, VirtualBox will more than suffice.

angelwatt
Nov 6, 2009, 11:36 AM
VirtualBox has been plenty good for me. I don't need it much though, generally just to use IE for web development checking. It will partly depend on the types of programs you want to run. Are there specific applications you'll need to be able to run?

BC2009
Nov 6, 2009, 12:00 PM
Use Case 1:
---------------
I will likely be installing a Windows XP and a Linux image on my new iMac so I can do my work from my iMac when working at home rather than my work laptop. I plan on getting some external hard drive enclosures for my two laptop hard drives and hook them to my iMac via USB or FireWire and then when I go to the office, I'll just swap the hard drives into the 2 bays on my laptop and be good-to-go. The Linux I will setup to boot natively or as a VM and the windows will be 100% VM (either running under MacOS at home or under Linux when on the work laptop).

Use Case 2:
---------------
My wife's computer will need to run Quicken (until we migrate to something like iBank or the new Quicken for Mac comes out) as well needing to run her PrintArtist stuff or any old programs we have that she may want (like games and and our "Learn Italian" software).

My ultimate goal is to have "No Windows", however my wife agreed to us paying the "Apple Tax" to replace our aging PCs providing she can still do the stuff she does now and be able to switch at her own pace. I'm looking forward to having our computers perform decently without the constant malware updates and threats (not to mention having a backup solution that works -- since Acronis True Image brings our machines to an absolute crawl).

mac2x
Nov 6, 2009, 12:54 PM
Interesting post; I'm thinking about this very thing too, because I'm replacing an aging Dell tower with a 21.5" iMac, and plan to install Windows 7 for MS Office and a few other insundry things. VirtualBox is my favorite (open source mainly, but I like Sun products in general), but no Aero huh? That's a shame. But is it really missed after all?

cluthz
Nov 6, 2009, 01:15 PM
I'm using vmware, the reason i choose that is because i used in on win earlier to run solaris and had good experiences with that.
I've never tried parallels, but many seems happy with it.

If I was aware of virtualbox earlier I might have gone that route, but since i already have vmware im sticking with it.

MY wmware experiences are great.
I run only a few applications that need windows and atm i have a tinyXP installation on vmware, which doesn't consume too much resources.
Vmware also integrates nicely into macos and i have my mac dock on the left side of my screen and the windows taskbar on the bottom.

My advice would be to try out virtualbox, since it's free, and upgrade to either paralles or vmware if you feel virtualbox is inadequate.

killerbee79
Nov 6, 2009, 04:03 PM
Use Case 1:

Use Case 2:
---------------
My wife's computer will need to run Quicken (until we migrate to something like iBank or the new Quicken for Mac comes out) as well needing to run her PrintArtist stuff or any old programs we have that she may want (like games and and our "Learn Italian" software).

My ultimate goal is to have "No Windows", however my wife agreed to us paying the "Apple Tax" to replace our aging PCs providing she can still do the stuff she does now and be able to switch at her own pace. I'm looking forward to having our computers perform decently without the constant malware updates and threats (not to mention having a backup solution that works -- since Acronis True Image brings our machines to an absolute crawl).

I use VirtualBox for my 64bit Win7 (used XP prior). I used this because why pay $80 when I can do it for free..... I've had no problems, performance is good (no lag or slowness at all), and it is easy to use. I recommend VirtualBox. If you don't like it, it has a feature where you can export the .iso file (this is the "harddrive" of the VM) to other virtual software. No reinstall needed of Windows. Just export .iso and import into VmWare or something and your good. I've never done this though as I've been happy with VirtualBox. If you go to virtualbox.org they have all details there. I think you can even view the user manual and just search for this in there.

Some Win7 Aero features due indeed not work like someone mentioned. Like if you have multiple IE windows open, when you hover your arrow over it in the task bar you would get a "thumbnail preview" of the windows. In virtualbox you don't, something still appears but it's just the title of the windows, no preview. So like it will say http://www.msn.com and on the line below http://www.espn.go.com or whatever. But frankly I don't care if I have these added features. Just eye candy, you don't miss any functionality.

I use it on my Macbook 2 GHz core duo with 4 gigs of Ram. I allocate 2 gigs (2048 MB) to my VM when in use leaving 2 gigs for my Macbook. Runs great.

On a side note you do know Quicken has a Mac verison now. I've been using it since I got my first Mac a few yrs ago. I got Quicken 2007 for Mac. It was very easy to switch. Followed instructions to export data out of Win Quicken and then import into Mac Quicken. No data loss, just pick up where you left off. The menus and stuff are different but very easy to get used to.

BC2009
Nov 6, 2009, 04:27 PM
I use VirtualBox for my 64bit Win7 (used XP prior). I used this because why pay $80 when I can do it for free.....


Thanks for the detailed info -- I'm definitely going to save the cash...


Some Win7 Aero features due indeed not work like someone mentioned. Like if you have multiple IE windows open.....


No Windows 7 for me -- just XP -- I intend to be done with Windows before ever having the need to upgrade (that is my hope).


On a side note you do know Quicken has a Mac verison now. I've been using it since I got my first Mac a few yrs ago. I got Quicken 2007 for Mac. It was very easy to switch. Followed instructions to export data out of Win Quicken and then import into Mac Quicken. No data loss, just pick up where you left off. The menus and stuff are different but very easy to get used to.

I've read other threads on this forum that pretty much say that Quicken for Mac is severely lacking when compared to Quicken for Windows. I am taking your experience has been different.

killerbee79
Nov 6, 2009, 10:16 PM
Yeah, XP ran great with VirtualBox. I would still be using it but Microsoft had a deal going on (I think it still is for the time being) where if you're a student you can get Win7 for $30. Either the Home version or Professional version. I figured what the hay, only $30 bucks and I need Windows for at least another 3 yrs for my college work. What if they stop supporting XP before then you know?? $30 bucks beats a few hundred anyday. So I got the Pro version.

I know Vmware Fusion users tout the "unity" feature where Mac programs can run side by side with Windows and associated programs on your display. VirtualBox has that too, it called "seamless mode" on VirtualBox. You of course still have the normal mode and full screen mode.

Check this link out below. It has a bunch of videos on the page with how to setup and use VirtualBox. I found it very helpful when starting out.

http://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/VirtualBoxTV#VirtualBoxLiveShow


I've read other threads on this forum that pretty much say that Quicken for Mac is severely lacking when compared to Quicken for Windows. I am taking your experience has been different.

My experience has been different, a good one. I wonder what those other people were trying to do......(never read those threads)

Everything that I could do and did with Quicken for Windows I can do on the Mac version. The interface and menus are different (look different too) so the steps to do something like generate a report might be different. The overall program has a different look. I can generate graphs on anything I want, or non-graph reports on anything. Track all my accounts....I never have used the bill pay feature on Quicken ever (either version) so I can't say anything about that. I am an active trader/investor and use it to track my buy/sells, performance, download quotes.....all that good stuff. Some things took a bit to learn how to do but I figured it out just by playing around in no time.

Maybe those other people were trying to do something and couldn't figure it out and got frustrated and gave up, I don't know. Like I said, I haven't read those threads.

When the Mac 2010 version comes out I won't be upgrading because they are taking some features away. Like in the 2010 version it allows you to track the overall value of your investment accounts and the value of your specific holdings. It will not, however, track investment buys and sells, nor will it provide some advanced investment performance reports. That is a HUGE loss for me as I use those features a lot. So I'll be staying with the 2007 version.

I guess it comes down to personal preference and what you use it for.

MaxTheITpro
Nov 8, 2009, 01:33 AM
Grreat forum! Well, my pal at the office here just outside Nairobi brought a new iMac with her when she came back from the US because she's tired of the constant updating (antivirus, Windoze, etc.) and system slow downs. They only need to run XP for the QuickBooks and MS Publisher. I downloaded and installed the lastest Parallels on a trial basis for her...works like a charm. Only problem is it sometimes takes a while for your devices (USB sticks) to show up when you're doing any kind of Windows Explorer file browsing in XP. Does anybody else have this issue?? It's driving her batty. I allocated 640 MB RAm and 10Gb to Parallels.

Afterwards, I downloaded the latest VirtualBox a few days ago to give it a spin. It runs XP quite well too, but we CAN'T seem to get the damn thing to access the USB drives. This is a major flaw/problem. Can some1 explain why this is the case? In this scenario, I allocated 1Gb RAM and 40 Gb HD to VBox. I have no doubts that VBox will continue to improve in the future...and the fact that it's FREE and runs on so many platforms is quite remarkable for such a piece of complex software.

Conclusion??? If I can't figure out why (or how) VBox isn't able to access my darn USB flash drives, then it's gotta go!! Parallels does this so effortlessly. It asks you wheter you want to access the drive from OS X or to the Virtual Machine. Why can't VBox do this? I guess my pal can put up with waiting for 30 seconds before Windows Explorer is able to see the attached drives in Parallels, so I might tell her to just buy an activation key.

Cheers!

dyn
Nov 8, 2009, 03:31 PM
VMware Fusion 2 was an excellent product. To a lesser extent, VMware Fusion 3 is as well. The current release suffers from some performance issues and as a result has created some disgruntled users over on the VMware forums. That said, a VMware employee has referred to the latest OS X 10.6.2 patch as potentially resolving some of the performance issues that Fusion 3 currently suffers from. With 10.6.2 seemingly close to release, I would hold-off buying any virtualization product until the verdict is in as to it's performance impacts.

I have to add that most of those disgruntled users caused the problems themselves by not reading the manual. They simply upgraded Fusion but not their vm's. Running out of date VMware Tools can cause performance issues to some extend and a lot of other different problems. This is not very bug with the smaller releases but with a big release like 3.0 there is a big impact as some features are changed/added/deleted. Problems seem to disappear like snow on a very sunny day when they update or reinstall the VMware Tools.

I'm guessing this is the case for about 90% of the users on that forum. You can clearly tell the difference between the inexperienced Windows users and the more experienced users that run different operating systems. The last part rarely reports problems and when they do they are more open and willingly to resolve the issues. It used to be a great forum but since 3.0 it has been taken over by noobs as it seems :(


With 10.6.2 seemingly close to release, I would hold-off buying any virtualization product until the verdict is in as to it's performance impacts.

Luckily both Parallels and VMware offer 30 day trials and VirtualBox is free. However, it seems to be a good day to wait for 10.6.2 before buying (or not) one of those as it may resolve certain problems. Remember that Snow Leopard itself may be causing some trouble with some programs.

I tried Fusion and VirtualBox and do not like VirtualBox. It is slower and a lot more buggier than Fusion is. Just like Parallels, VirtualBox seems to be aiming at Windows support rather than being a great virtualisation product. I need the latter as I mostly run non-Windows systems like FreeBSD, OpenSolaris and Ubuntu. Ubuntu is not much of a problem but FreeBSD and VirtualBox is not stable at all. Each time you start the vm it's a big gamble if it will work or not. I've tried several new versions and the situation get a little bit better but it did not resolve the instability problem as a whole.

I also find the GUI of VirtualBox to be as horrorable as it gets. It's nearly unusable. You need to add the vm disk as well as installation disk to its own media manager before you can even use it. Trying to change the settings for a vm is also not very easy to do as it takes a bit too many steps as well as that it looks like rocket science. For most users that just want to run Windows in OS X this makes VirtualBox simply unusable and not an option. They have fine manuals, wiki, etc. which you most definitely are going to need.

If you want to relocate the vm folder you're in for a lot of headache. Both Fusion and Parallels setup 1 folder for each vm and put everything that is related to that vm in that folder. This means the logs, the disk and the settings file. In VirtualBox this is not the case. VirtualBox sets up different folders for all vm's: you have 1 folder for all the log files, 1 folder for all the vm disks, etc. Moving 1 vm makes this procedure turn into a headache. The usb support also seems to be flaky for some users turning that into a headache as well.

For what it's worth, Fusion has also the added value that it uses about 90% of the same code as every other VMware product does. If you already use a VMware product this can be very useful as you can exchange vm's quite easily without the need to convert the vm to some format. None of the other products have enterprise level products such as ESX(i). VirtualBox however does support the open format that is used in some products for the vm disks. In theory this should make it easy to exchange vm's.

Aero and the Coherence/Unity features are supported by Fusion and Parallels but Parallels seems to be doing the best in this area (it's a lot smoother and there are far less issues with it compared to Fusion 3). Due to limitations in the graphics driver VirtualBox is unable to do things like Aero (but most likely will be able in the future).

In the end they are all great products with some flaws. You need to try them in order to decide if the advantages exceed the disadvantages.

sjinsjca
Nov 8, 2009, 04:06 PM
Fusion has also the added value that it uses about 90% of the same code as every other VMware product does. If you already use a VMware product this can be very useful as you can exchange vm's quite easily without the need to convert the vm to some format.

Unfortunately, not quite true. VMs created in VMWare Workstation on a PC using their nifty Pocket ACE capability (which optimizes a VM for use on a thumb drive) cannot be run under Fusion.

killerbee79
Nov 8, 2009, 09:52 PM
Afterwards, I downloaded the latest VirtualBox a few days ago to give it a spin. It runs XP quite well too, but we CAN'T seem to get the damn thing to access the USB drives. This is a major flaw/problem. Can some1 explain why this is the case?

When you plug in a USB device into your computer you need to mount it in the VM to use it, same as if you would insert a CD into your drive, then mount it in the VM to use it there.

I do this when using a printer in my VM (connects via USB) or a USB flash drive.

Here is how you do it on a Mac (sorry if you use a PC, never done there):

If you already done the below steps and are still having problems I don't know what the problem is. I've never had any issues.

1.) Plug in your USB device into the computer.
2.) Wait a few seconds for the computer to see it
3.) In the VM's menu bar at the top of the host screen click on "Devices"
to open that menu.
4.) Then click "USB devices", you now see a list of available USB devices to
mount.
5.) Select which USB device you wish to use in the VM.
6.) After 1 or 2 seconds the VM sees it and can be used in the VM

dyn
Nov 9, 2009, 06:02 AM
Unfortunately, not quite true. VMs created in VMWare Workstation on a PC using their nifty Pocket ACE capability (which optimizes a VM for use on a thumb drive) cannot be run under Fusion.
Yes it is completely true as I said "quite easily" ;). You can also exchange those vm's but you'll need to make some changes to it before you can exchange them with other products (in this case: leave out the ACE capability). It does not involve time consuming conversions to another vm format though. VMware has documented how to exchange vm's with their other programs very well making this process quite easily.

maflynn
Nov 9, 2009, 07:29 AM
I've tried VirtualBox and I seem to run into USB problems, its performance is subpar to vmware and the polish is not quite there.

While someone mentioned why pay 80 bucks when VB is free, I found that vmware to be a better performing product. Why use a free program that really doesn't work well when you can get something for short money that performs so much better.

I also wonder about the long term viability of virtualbox because of oracle's take-over of sun.

aljoseph
Nov 9, 2009, 07:42 AM
FWIW, I'm running OS X v10.6.1 on a 24" iMac with Parallels v4.0, WinXP Pro and Quicken 2007. Quicken is the ONLY reason I have a VM with Windows installed. I can print to my HP LaserJet printer and I backup Quicken data with a variety of USB sticks. All work well, quickly and without problems.

CBX
Nov 9, 2009, 08:30 AM
Is there much reason to go with virtualisation when there is bootcamp?

Surely if you needed windows for anything serious bootcamp would be the best option?

I can only see the point of virtualisation for dropping in to windows to test a website looks ok in IE etc, or to use the odd application every now and again.

dyn
Nov 9, 2009, 10:09 AM
I came across a video on youtube about someone comparing Fusion 3 and Parallels 5 (although it's more like an overview of Parallels 5). One thing I noticed was you actually had 3 areas in Parallels where you need to look: an icon in the menubar (which is not really functional, not many options in there), a stack with all the apps of the vm (curious how that is going to work when you've got multiple vm's) and the Parallels dock icon itself. With Fusion 3 everything that is in those 3 icons can be found in just 1: the icon on the menubar. The dock icon doesn't do much in Fusion 3, it just enables you to go to Fusion, select the vm library and drill down the apps menu of running vm's (which is a bit pointless as you can already do that with the menubar icon).
There are other strange and sometimes useful GUI decisions made by Parallels that make me like Fusion a lot more.

See for yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aHM6CKTRok

Is there much reason to go with virtualisation when there is bootcamp?

Surely if you needed windows for anything serious bootcamp would be the best option?

I can only see the point of virtualisation for dropping in to windows to test a website looks ok in IE etc, or to use the odd application every now and again.
If you're asking that question you don't understand virtualisation. Boot camp is troublesome as you need to reboot when you want to run another operating system. When using virtualisation you simply start (or resume) the vm with the OS you want to run. You can drag and drop between host (=your Mac) and guest OS (=vm) and simply put things on hold (aka suspend the vm) when you want. Virtualisation products have a special mode where you can integrate Linux/Windows stuff with OS X so it looks as if that Windows application you need to run is a native OS X application. Very useful if you just want to run 1 application (like some vm management tool for VMware ESXi which only runs on Windows or Linux).

Virtualisation is limited to what it can do performance wise (especially 3d performance like gaming). In such cases it is better to run the OS native by using boot camp. Other than that there is actually not much use for boot camp because it is annoying you need to shutdown everything, reboot and choose OS X if you want to use that. It sort of defeats the purpose and ease of use of a Mac. Imho the question should be: what reason do you have that requires the use of boot camp instead of virtualisation.

killerbee79
Nov 9, 2009, 10:11 AM
Is there much reason to go with virtualisation when there is bootcamp?

Surely if you needed windows for anything serious bootcamp would be the best option?

I can only see the point of virtualisation for dropping in to windows to test a website looks ok in IE etc, or to use the odd application every now and again.

Because with bootcamp you have to reboot to go into windows. When I first bought my Mac a few years ago (shortly after bootcamp first debuted) I did use Windows in that fashion. Rebooting to switch was annoying.

Now no more reboots and I can do things in both OS's if I wish at the same time. I'll take virtualization any day over bootcamp. Sooooo much easier.

It's all about personal preference I guess.

mtbdudex
Nov 9, 2009, 02:54 PM
My wife uses a 2D paper cutting machine,Klick-n-kut, via Windows XP.
We use VMWare 3.0 and zero issues. Machine on RH side of iMac.
http://lh4.ggpht.com/_FqTNmgNQHz8/SvTc_6M0veI/AAAAAAAAHy4/-NwU_JF3dYg/s720/IMG_4366.JPG

killerbee79
Nov 10, 2009, 10:22 PM
So with all this talk about Fusion 3 and Parallels 5, my interest has been piqued. So I downloaded a free trial of both (30 days for Fusion, 18 days for Parallels).

A bonus for Parallels was that I was able to import my VirtualBox Win7 VM. It was fast quick and easy. Fusion 3 I wasn't, or at least I couldn't see where or how (yes I did look around and try). So I had to do a complete Win7 install, also installing the programs I use like Excel, Word, etc..... :^(

One big negative for me was folder sharing on Parallels. I normally share only one folder with my Win7 VM, this contains stuff for my college classes. This is my portal between the 2. On Parallels I can still specify sharing this folder, however in order to do this I have to share my ENTIRE home directory on my Mac. So my Win7 can see my whole Mac!!!! I don't like that one bit at all. Unless someone knows a work around, my school folder has to be shared so I can't completely isolate the VM from my Mac.

On VirtualBox and Fusion 3 this wasn't the case. I could opt to share that one folder only. Better for my heart and mind security wise.

However I really like Parallels GUI and their coherence mode is AWESOME. I can access the Win7 start menu from my dock (cool as hell). Wayyyyyyy better than Fusion's Unity mode.

Fusion's Unity mode works well too. However you can't get at the start menu like on Parallels. They do have an attempted start menu like thing when clicking on the Fusion icon in the Mac task bar at the top of the screen. But I don't care for it. If that was the true blue start menu of my VM, it would be much much better.

So far Parallels is faster than Fusion and I like it better, it seems snappier. Not that I'm giving up VirtualBox yet.......Parallels doesn't have my $80 yet (yes, parallels 5 would be my choice). Maybe by the end of the trial it will have convinced me, but right now I haven't felt a reason to spend vs. free.

But for the Parallels people out there.....do you know a work around for the sharing thing??? Share one folder without sharing the HOME directory??

wrldwzrd89
Nov 11, 2009, 09:44 AM
A few notes regarding Parallels 5 and VirtualBox:

VirtualBox works pretty darn well, for a free product. However, it is a bit crashy, particularly when I tried to shut down a Windows XP VM normally.

As for Parallels 5, I'm glad I upgraded from version 4. It works great! As far as the sharing thing goes, I can look into that.

mattspitz
Nov 14, 2009, 09:08 AM
I'm experiencing very long delays when I try to run a qualitative data management program, called NVivo 8 (a big but not enormous app), on my Windows XP VM with VirtualBox. I'm wondering what people in this thread think about virtualization performance on computers that have 2gb of RAM (note, I can't upgrade past 2gb) and whether it's reasonable for me to think that if I purchase Parallels 5 I will notice significant performance improvements. Right now I'm leaning toward BootCamp, which sucks to have to reboot. But, when I ran it in the past, it handled NVivo 8 like a dream.

I should add, regarding my last post, in my VirtualBox settings I've allocated 1020 MB of RAM to my VM. So, when I'm running my virtualization software, half my RAM is dedicated to it. One last point: when setting things up this way, not only is my VM slow, but my Mac OS (10.6.1) also slows down significantly.

sushi
Nov 14, 2009, 09:53 AM
Is there much reason to go with virtualisation when there is bootcamp?

Surely if you needed windows for anything serious bootcamp would be the best option?

I can only see the point of virtualisation for dropping in to windows to test a website looks ok in IE etc, or to use the odd application every now and again.
One benefit of virtualization, is that you can use more than one OS at a time.

For example, you could have an iMac with an external monitor connected. On the iMac you have the Mac OS and on the external monitor you could be running Windows XP, for example, in full screen mode. Kind of like having two computers in one with a built in KVM that is automatic between the two computers. Very convenient.

Of the three, Virtual Box is my least favorite.

VMware Fusion and Parallels seem to leapfrog each other with each revision. Both have decent interfaces and work well. I am currently thinking which one of mine I will upgrade this time. Decisions.

brkirch
Nov 14, 2009, 10:10 AM
One big negative for me was folder sharing on Parallels. I normally share only one folder with my Win7 VM, this contains stuff for my college classes. This is my portal between the 2. On Parallels I can still specify sharing this folder, however in order to do this I have to share my ENTIRE home directory on my Mac. So my Win7 can see my whole Mac!!!! I don't like that one bit at all. Unless someone knows a work around, my school folder has to be shared so I can't completely isolate the VM from my Mac.

On VirtualBox and Fusion 3 this wasn't the case. I could opt to share that one folder only. Better for my heart and mind security wise.
You don't need to share your entire home folder in Parallels Desktop, read this help article for details on how to setup individual shared folders:
Sharing Folders and Disks (http://download.parallels.com/desktop/v5/docs/en/Parallels_Desktop_Users_Guide/30589.htm)

dyn
Nov 14, 2009, 01:02 PM
A bonus for Parallels was that I was able to import my VirtualBox Win7 VM. It was fast quick and easy. Fusion 3 I wasn't, or at least I couldn't see where or how (yes I did look around and try). So I had to do a complete Win7 install, also installing the programs I use like Excel, Word, etc..... :^(

Actually that is quite simple (you may even be ashamed after reading how simple :P). Simply click on the "Import an existing virtual machine." link in the virtual machine library (I believe this is one of the first things you'll see when starting Fusion the first time) or go to File > Import.


On VirtualBox and Fusion 3 this wasn't the case. I could opt to share that one folder only. Better for my heart and mind security wise.

Check out the vm settings, Parallels 5 has an option to isolate the vm. Checking this checkbox this will disable any folder sharing and drag & dropping for the vm. If you want to keep the drag & drop ability you can disable folder sharing. Parallels in that regard has quite some security settings you can use. However, it becomes a bit different when you're looking at the architecture of the Parallels and Fusion software. They way Fusion handles things provides for more security.


However I really like Parallels GUI and their coherence mode is AWESOME. I can access the Win7 start menu from my dock (cool as hell). Wayyyyyyy better than Fusion's Unity mode.

I actually dislike Parallels with this. Yes they have a smoother Coherence mode but VMware can fix this in Fusion updates. The problem lies in how Parallels does Coherence and the many modes it has. You have Coherence and Crystal which are like 99% the exact same thing with just the difference that with Crystal some stuff will end up in some menubar icon. That menubar icon is only used for the Crystal mode, it is useless for anything other. The problem I have is the unnecessary amount of modes (windowed, fullscreen, coherence/crystal is enough) and the fact that you have to look at 2 places for stuff: menubar and some folders/icons in the dock. In Fusion this is done a lot better because you only need to look at the menubar icon. You can access the start menu from the dock icon if you want but you'll miss out on the other options (like the ones on the View menu). If you hate the menubar icon you can hide it (option is in the vm settings).


However you can't get at the start menu like on Parallels. They do have an attempted start menu like thing when clicking on the Fusion icon in the Mac task bar at the top of the screen. But I don't care for it. If that was the true blue start menu of my VM, it would be much much better.

You can use the menubar icon which is a really nice thing (it is actually the only thing you need, everything is in that menu). If you want you can use the Windows menubar (it's called task bar) but you have to enable it first which you can do from the View menu.

I think you need to go explore the various settings in Fusion and Parallels because there are a lot of things you can do to customise them to your liking. Don't use the automatic settings when creating a vm because in Parallels you'll end up with folder sharing enabled (you can deactivate it later on in the vm settings) and things like that. So go and explore the settings :)

CBX
Nov 14, 2009, 01:37 PM
If you're asking that question you don't understand virtualisation. Boot camp is troublesome as you need to reboot when you want to run another operating system. When using virtualisation you simply start (or resume) the vm with the OS you want to run. You can drag and drop between host (=your Mac) and guest OS (=vm) and simply put things on hold (aka suspend the vm) when you want. Virtualisation products have a special mode where you can integrate Linux/Windows stuff with OS X so it looks as if that Windows application you need to run is a native OS X application. Very useful if you just want to run 1 application (like some vm management tool for VMware ESXi which only runs on Windows or Linux).

Virtualisation is limited to what it can do performance wise (especially 3d performance like gaming). In such cases it is better to run the OS native by using boot camp. Other than that there is actually not much use for boot camp because it is annoying you need to shutdown everything, reboot and choose OS X if you want to use that. It sort of defeats the purpose and ease of use of a Mac. Imho the question should be: what reason do you have that requires the use of boot camp instead of virtualisation.

I fully understand virtualisation which is why I said almost exactly the same as you... :confused:

Ie I use do quite a bit of heavy weight Java development for which I spend a lot of time in Windows (yes I know I can do it on the mac). However, as im in it quite some time and use a lot of resources I use BC.

I also use VirtualBox when I just want to "drop in" to Windows for odd tasks or non major intensive work!

Also I hardly think having to reboot if your going to be in the (guest) OS for any reasonable length of time is exactly troublesome!

tofagerl
Nov 14, 2009, 01:57 PM
It's not the rebooting, it's the fact that you can't use your regular mac apps when you're in windows, so you have to keep separate music apps browsers, blah blah blah...
VMs ftw!

killerbee79
Nov 14, 2009, 09:44 PM
Actually that is quite simple (you may even be ashamed after reading how simple :P). Simply click on the "Import an existing virtual machine." link in the virtual machine library (I believe this is one of the first things you'll see when starting Fusion the first time) or go to File > Import.

Yeah, didn't see that (it was the wee hours of the morning when I was first trying to use Fusion there at that time). Too late now.


Check out the vm settings, Parallels 5 has an option to isolate the vm. Checking this checkbox this will disable any folder sharing and drag & dropping for the vm. If you want to keep the drag & drop ability you can disable folder sharing. Parallels in that regard has quite some security settings you can use. However, it becomes a bit different when you're looking at the architecture of the Parallels and Fusion software. They way Fusion handles things provides for more security.

I know Parallels has an option to isolate the VM. However when this is checked I then cannot share my one folder that has to be shared so I can use the files in my VM & Mac. Brkirch provided a link, I have yet to check that out. Everytime before when trying to not share my Home directory on my Macbook, Parallels then wouldn't let me share my one folder. Right now I have Parallels set up to share my folder and it is sharing my Home directory also my default. Maybe the link Brkirch will say something.


I actually dislike Parallels with this. Yes they have a smoother Coherence mode but VMware can fix this in Fusion updates. The problem lies in how Parallels does Coherence and the many modes it has. You have Coherence and Crystal which are like 99% the exact same thing with just the difference that with Crystal some stuff will end up in some menubar icon. That menubar icon is only used for the Crystal mode, it is useless for anything other. The problem I have is the unnecessary amount of modes (windowed, fullscreen, coherence/crystal is enough) and the fact that you have to look at 2 places for stuff: menubar and some folders/icons in the dock. In Fusion this is done a lot better because you only need to look at the menubar icon. You can access the start menu from the dock icon if you want but you'll miss out on the other options (like the ones on the View menu). If you hate the menubar icon you can hide it (option is in the vm settings).


You can use the menubar icon which is a really nice thing (it is actually the only thing you need, everything is in that menu). If you want you can use the Windows menubar (it's called task bar) but you have to enable it first which you can do from the View menu.

Yeah, this is just personal preference. I used Fusion for a few days and just really dislike Fusion's Unity mode. I know in that mode I can have Win7's task bar showing but I don't want that. I have always very disliked "autohiding" any taskbar, just not a fan of that. However I really like Parallels Crystal and Coherence modes. Again, just personal preferences on both our parts here.

I think you need to go explore the various settings in Fusion and Parallels because there are a lot of things you can do to customise them to your liking. Don't use the automatic settings when creating a vm because in Parallels you'll end up with folder sharing enabled (you can deactivate it later on in the vm settings) and things like that. So go and explore the settings :)

I've never used the auto settings in either Fusion, Parallels, or Virtualbox. I always use my own and customize. Again, deactivated folder sharing isn't what I want to do, but I talked about that earlier.

Side Note: I have used both Fusion 3 and Parallels 5 enough now to know IF I were to drop $80 on VM software it would be Parallels 5 by a long shot. It's just been a better experience for me. From speed to the GUI layout....everything. In fact I've already uninstalled Fusion 3, just didn't like it at all.

killerbee79
Nov 14, 2009, 10:00 PM
You don't need to share your entire home folder in Parallels Desktop, read this help article for details on how to setup individual shared folders:
Sharing Folders and Disks (http://download.parallels.com/desktop/v5/docs/en/Parallels_Desktop_Users_Guide/30589.htm)

Thanks for the link. Everything in there I already knew though. But after looking around some more in P5 I found the setting I needed to share my school folder while not sharing my Home directory.

In the configure menu for shared folders there is a drop down box. "Home" by default is selected. I put that to "none". In the box below that I added my one school folder to share. So now I'm happy.

It's kinda funny because when I was first setting this up I did try and do this exact thing but everytime I selected "none" in the drop down it would gray out the box below so I couldn't add my one folder to share. Just now it didn't.

I don't know. Problem solved.

mattspitz
Nov 16, 2009, 08:25 AM
I'm now joining the Parallels world, having installed my VM with VirtualBox. I'm thrilled to know that the VM can be imported so easily. One of my problems with VirtualBox, however, was that it was very slow on my computer (perhaps a function of my only having 2GB of RAM). Would Parallels run better if I did a clean re-install of my VM, or will its performance be unaffected by importing a VM that was set up through VirtualBox?

wrldwzrd89
Nov 16, 2009, 10:33 AM
I'm now joining the Parallels world, having installed my VM with VirtualBox. I'm thrilled to know that the VM can be imported so easily. One of my problems with VirtualBox, however, was that it was very slow on my computer (perhaps a function of my only having 2GB of RAM). Would Parallels run better if I did a clean re-install of my VM, or will its performance be unaffected by importing a VM that was set up through VirtualBox?
If anything, the performance of your VM will increase with Parallels 5. That's what I found, importing my VirtualBox VM.

NT1440
Nov 16, 2009, 10:38 AM
I use VirtualBox on my 13" MBP. Works GREAT. I have Windows 7 running on my external screen and OSX on my laptop screen. Seamless mode makes it just awesome.

I wouldnt use it with less than 4GB or ram though.

wrldwzrd89
Nov 16, 2009, 10:41 AM
I use VirtualBox on my 13" MBP. Works GREAT. I have Windows 7 running on my external screen and OSX on my laptop screen. Seamless mode makes it just awesome.

I wouldnt use it with less than 4GB or ram though.
Sigh. I only have 2GB installed, and I have to allocate 1GB to my VM just to get Vista to run. It works, though it's a bit slow. Windows XP runs much better in a VM, at least for me. I also have Ubuntu 9.10 in a VM, and that works quite well though the sound is a little screwy.

Winni
Nov 16, 2009, 11:06 AM
Use Case 1:
---------------
I will likely be installing a Windows XP and a Linux image on my new iMac so I can do my work from my iMac when working at home rather than my work laptop. I plan on getting some external hard drive enclosures for my two laptop hard drives and hook them to my iMac via USB or FireWire and then when I go to the office, I'll just swap the hard drives into the 2 bays on my laptop and be good-to-go. The Linux I will setup to boot natively or as a VM and the windows will be 100% VM (either running under MacOS at home or under Linux when on the work laptop).

Use Case 2:
---------------
My wife's computer will need to run Quicken (until we migrate to something like iBank or the new Quicken for Mac comes out) as well needing to run her PrintArtist stuff or any old programs we have that she may want (like games and and our "Learn Italian" software).

My ultimate goal is to have "No Windows", however my wife agreed to us paying the "Apple Tax" to replace our aging PCs providing she can still do the stuff she does now and be able to switch at her own pace. I'm looking forward to having our computers perform decently without the constant malware updates and threats (not to mention having a backup solution that works -- since Acronis True Image brings our machines to an absolute crawl).

I hate to tell you this, but from what you are describing, there is no rationale behind your decision to purchase Apple hardware - everything that you do requires a PC, not a Mac. With those usage scenarios, the Mac -cannot- make you happy.

NT1440
Nov 16, 2009, 11:12 AM
Um, why don't you guys just take the money you would have saved from going the free virtual box route and invest in some more ram so that it runs well? I only spent $90 on 4GB of ram and the prices will only continue to drop in the future.

Are there some other advantages to VMware or Parallels? :confused:

maflynn
Nov 16, 2009, 01:05 PM
Are there some other advantages to VMware or Parallels? :confused:
Performance, features, no USB issues and support to name a few. Free doesn't always make it a better choice. Sure you save some $$ in the short run, but it comes back to haunt you in the long run.

NT1440
Nov 16, 2009, 01:09 PM
Performance, features, no USB issues and support to name a few. Free doesn't always make it a better choice. Sure you save some $$ in the short run, but it comes back to haunt you in the long run.
What usb issues?

My windows 7 performs as I'd expect it to as well.

I was just looking for specifics mostly, I don't have experience with anything but Virtualbox.

maflynn
Nov 16, 2009, 01:23 PM
What usb issues?

My windows 7 performs as I'd expect it to as well.

I was just looking for specifics mostly, I don't have experience with anything but Virtualbox.

Many people have reported issues with the usb while running VB.

rusty2192
Nov 18, 2009, 01:00 PM
Back about a year ago, I installed the trial of VMWare Fusion (the current version at the time) on my MacBook and was able to have it boot from my bootcamp partition rather than having to install it as a separate VM. That way I could go either route, depending on the performance I needed at the time.

I don't use windows enough to justify spending 80 bucks on either of the paid apps, so I'm looking into VirtualBox. Does anyone know if I can use my bootcamp partition with virtualbox like I did with fusion? If not, I think I will just stick with bootcamp.

wrldwzrd89
Nov 18, 2009, 01:18 PM
Back about a year ago, I installed the trial of VMWare Fusion (the current version at the time) on my MacBook and was able to have it boot from my bootcamp partition rather than having to install it as a separate VM. That way I could go either route, depending on the performance I needed at the time.

I don't use windows enough to justify spending 80 bucks on either of the paid apps, so I'm looking into VirtualBox. Does anyone know if I can use my bootcamp partition with virtualbox like I did with fusion? If not, I think I will just stick with bootcamp.
The answer, sadly, is no. VirtualBox doesn't support Boot Camp partitions.

rusty2192
Nov 19, 2009, 07:18 AM
The answer, sadly, is no. VirtualBox doesn't support Boot Camp partitions.

Ok, thanks for the help. I think I may just stick to bootcamp then.

tmadel
Nov 19, 2009, 09:55 AM
I'm experiencing very long delays when I try to run a qualitative data management program, called NVivo 8 (a big but not enormous app), on my Windows XP VM with VirtualBox. I'm wondering what people in this thread think about virtualization performance on computers that have 2gb of RAM (note, I can't upgrade past 2gb) and whether it's reasonable for me to think that if I purchase Parallels 5 I will notice significant performance improvements.


I have used both VMWare and Parallels and both perform poorly with less than 4 GB of RAM.

If you can't upgrade your RAM - your best bet is to stick with BootCamp

wrldwzrd89
Nov 19, 2009, 09:58 AM
I have used both VMWare and Parallels and both perform poorly with less than 4 GB of RAM.

If you can't upgrade your RAM - your best bet is to stick with BootCamp
Interesting. I haven't noticed any performance issues with 2GB of RAM in my iMac, half of that allocated to the virtual machine, running Parallels 5 with no other user applications running besides Finder. I run my VMs in full screen mode, if that makes any significant difference, and I never try to run more than 1 at once.

Flynnstone
Nov 20, 2009, 08:18 AM
I just upgraded Parallels from 4 to 5.
Its a winner for me.
OS X 10.5.8 & XP.

SeenJeen
Nov 20, 2009, 02:09 PM
VirtualBox has the least features, but it's fast and free.

I only use Windows to compare how websites look in IE, and launch the odd application.

VirtualBox beats the snot out of Parallels and VMware in boot time, and that's where it matters to me. Parallel and VMware have too much bloat for what I need.

Parallels and VMware, though, have awesome bootcamp support and are useful for people who need to run Windows all the time. I think these people are crazy, though... if you need to run Windows all the time, why not just use Windows 7? I love the Mac environment but Adobe's applications run better on Windows (I'm a web developer and designer), so chances are I'm going to switch back over to Windows (7, awesome OS) if I start to need more Windows programs. IMO at this point of time, Windows 7 and Snow Leopard are pretty even in terms of usability and stability.

JonnyMD
Jan 12, 2010, 11:16 PM
The answer, sadly, is no. VirtualBox doesn't support Boot Camp partitions.

Incorrect. VirtualBox CAN do bootcamp. I use it all the time. Takes some configuration but if you're up for it you can make it work. Google is your friend.

CylonGlitch
Jan 13, 2010, 09:51 AM
Unfortunately, not quite true. VMs created in VMWare Workstation on a PC using their nifty Pocket ACE capability (which optimizes a VM for use on a thumb drive) cannot be run under Fusion.

Ironically, instead of buying the $199 VMWorkstation, if you have a Mac available, you can buy the $79 VMFusion, create VM's and run it with the VMPlayer (free) on the PC without a problem. Works great; been doing it for a while now.

CylonGlitch
Jan 13, 2010, 09:55 AM
Many people have reported issues with the usb while running VB.

Actually, Parallels, Fusion, and VB all take a significant performance penalty when accessing the USB bus. I design USB devices and we have all the above apps to test with. Things work good, typically, but if you're trying to transfer larger amounts of data, or need something with critical timing, the only real option is Bootcamp. They typically work fine for slow speed things like mice, and keyboards, but if you're trying to scan a lot of things or transfer a lot of data from hard drives, it is going to be a lot slower.

brucet9
Jun 5, 2010, 02:42 PM
I hope you veteran and power users can sort out my needs for me, Virtual Box, Fusion or Parallels?

Mac Mini 320GB HDD, 4GB RAM, magic mouse, USB numeric keyboard, Snow Leopard latest version

I want a VM in order to use PhotoShop 7, which runs only on XP. It has better tools for color adjustment on old photos and extraction of parts of images than Pixelmator. I also would like the ability to playback some old WAV files that for some reason Snow Leopard cannot play.


Major concerns for me:
Support for the Magic Mouse.
Support for accessing image files on a USB external drive and saving back to it.
Ability to also access images on a USB drive from applications running on the host OS; Picasa, for instance. I think some VM's shut off host OS from USB drives.
Support for accessing files on CD's or DVD's
Can I shut off XP from vulnerability to viruses if I don't use IE? I use Safari and Firefox for Mac.
I use keyboard shortcuts a lot. How will they work with Photoshop 7 on XP and a Mac keyboard?

Some people mention using VM's to access Boot Camp. I don't understand what advantages there might be to doing so. Can someone explain?

Thanks in advance

killerbee79
Jun 6, 2010, 10:44 AM
My viewpoint comes from using Parallels 5. I encourage you to go to the websites for both Parallels and Fusion. You can use their VM software for free for 30 days. Play around with it and see if you like it. That is what I did. I found Fusion to be really slow and cumbersome. I found Parallels to be awesome so I bought that and went with it. I have no complaints.


Support for the Magic Mouse.
no problem here, I use a Magic Mouse with mine
Support for accessing image files on a USB external drive and saving back to it.
Again no problem. When you plug in a USB device a window will pop up asking you if you want the VM to access it.
Ability to also access images on a USB drive from applications running on the host OS; Picasa, for instance. I think some VM's shut off host OS from USB drives.
Again no problem with Parallels. You can set it up to have both the host and VM have full access to one another if you wish.
Support for accessing files on CD's or DVD's
Another can do
Can I shut off XP from vulnerability to viruses if I don't use IE? I use Safari and Firefox for Mac.
Your XP VM will still be vulnerable to viruses just as though it were a real PC. I use Microsoft's free virus software Security Essentials as protection because it is free and for what I do I have no worry of viruses.
I use keyboard shortcuts a lot. How will they work with Photoshop 7 on XP and a Mac keyboard?
Should still work. Just remember that your "option key" in XP is "Alt"

Some people mention using VM's to access Boot Camp. I don't understand what advantages there might be to doing so. Can someone explain?
Well supposedly then you can choose to either boot right into windows natively or into Mac OS and fiddle with XP in the VM software depending on your mood. However I've read that depending how you shut down XP in this scenario it might constantly prompt you to verify licenses. I personally don't mess with bootcamp, no need for me.

philryan
Jun 23, 2012, 02:24 AM
I just purchased the latest Parallels 7, upgrading from my old Parallels 4... supposedly this one is needed in order to run properly on OSX Lion.

Parallels did a great good job of importing a VirtualBox virtual hard disk file, so that I didn't have to start from scratch to create a set of Windows XP, Ubuntu, and Windows 7 VM's within Parallels.

However, VirtualBox's resume only takes a few seconds (maybe 10) on an 8GB early 2010 MacBook Pro... whereas Parallels is taking more than a few minutes to resume.

So, I'm guessing that Parallels has slightly more "user-friendly" features, and requires slightly less geekiness to manage, but this little black duck is leaning very heavily towards saying that VirtualBox is better than Parallels for most uses, and most users.

pragmatous
Jun 23, 2012, 11:51 AM
I have parallels and I use it. I think it's awesome. If you install windows in bootcamp and again in parallels yes you have to activate it twice but microsoft doesn't care because it's on the same computer. It's not a big deal.
What is even more awesome is paralllels has coherence mode where you can just launch windows apps as if it was installed locally on your mac. It's pretty cool.

I use eclipse and android virtual device and they both work flawlessly.

I am getting ready to finally "make the switch" to Mac and I need a Virtualization solution
to ease the transition for my wife and let me run my work environments as well.

I have been considering VirtualBox (www.virtualbox.org) which is free for personal use, as well as VMWare Fusion 3, and Parallels. The satisfaction rating seems to be lower with the Parallels users (maybe disgruntled on charging folks for 2 upgraded within 2 months of each other) so I have almost ruled it out, but I still need to decide. The big thing here is that I need this software from day one to make sure my wife doesn't have to miss a beat during the transition. I'd rather not be reinstalling Windows _again_ in 2 weeks to switch solutions.

Anybody have any experience with VirtualBox on Mac and can maybe share some of the shortcomings versus VMWare Fusion or Parallels? Is there good reason fork over the cash and go with Fusion or Parallels?

Any feedback would be great.

killerbee79
Jun 24, 2012, 10:49 AM
I have parallels and I use it. I think it's awesome. If you install windows in bootcamp and again in parallels yes you have to activate it twice but microsoft doesn't care because it's on the same computer. It's not a big deal.
What is even more awesome is paralllels has coherence mode where you can just launch windows apps as if it was installed locally on your mac. It's pretty cool.

I use eclipse and android virtual device and they both work flawlessly.

How does the whole activating twice thing work? I thought where ever you activate it that is where you have to use it. I use Win 7 in bootcamp only because of this (I own Parallels). I would love to be able to use that bootcamp in both parallels and bootcamp depending on how I feel at the time.

Can you go back in forth between using the install in bootcamp and parallels as you please with your double activation you did?

BC2009
Jun 25, 2012, 12:55 AM
I have parallels and I use it. I think it's awesome. If you install windows in bootcamp and again in parallels yes you have to activate it twice but microsoft doesn't care because it's on the same computer. It's not a big deal.
What is even more awesome is paralllels has coherence mode where you can just launch windows apps as if it was installed locally on your mac. It's pretty cool.

I use eclipse and android virtual device and they both work flawlessly.

Thanks for the response, but I posted that almost three years ago. I made my switch and used Fusion for a while but since then I have found virtualized Windows to be more trouble than it's worth because of having to reserve system resources for a few other reasons. If you can avoid running Windows on the Mac you get more out of your machine's resources. If you must then Parallels and Fusion are far superior to Virtual Box.

gallo889
Jun 25, 2012, 01:27 AM
How do the virtualizations stack-up running Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)? Mostly interesting in stability. USB bus support under Linux vm isn't an issue. Any mysterious hangs or performance degradations?

pragmatous
Jun 25, 2012, 07:26 PM
Ya I can go back and forth. I use parallels for basic computing like using chrome and word. If I need more power I boot into bootcamp. If I need to activate it again thats fine. If you run out of activations just call microsoft and input the code you get. It's not a person but like a phone robot thing.

microsoft doesn't care as long as you have it installed on one computer device. You have unlimited activations. I hope you know that.

How does the whole activating twice thing work? I thought where ever you activate it that is where you have to use it. I use Win 7 in bootcamp only because of this (I own Parallels). I would love to be able to use that bootcamp in both parallels and bootcamp depending on how I feel at the time.

Can you go back in forth between using the install in bootcamp and parallels as you please with your double activation you did?