Switcher needs parallels/bootcamp advice

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by B-Line, May 22, 2006.

  1. B-Line macrumors newbie

    May 22, 2006
    I am a university science/education student up in Canada and I have recently ordered a 2.0 Macbook, with 120GB HD and 1 Gig of RAM (should have it by Thursday… hopefully). I have a number of questions in regards to parallels/ boot-camp and applications but most are in regards to bootcamp/parallels (hence this forum). I am new to macs so please be gentle…

    Applications/OS questions

    1.This upcoming semester I will need to use a program called Matlab (for a numerical methods course) and I am wondering what the best way to run this program would be. I have the program for windows XP but am wondering if it would be better to run it under bootcamp or parallels. I intend to use OSX as much as possible and will only need to use this program every so often. I would like to use parallels but I am wondering if it is stable enough to be trusted with an assignment I will have worked on for countless hours.

    2. I also like puttering around with autocad 2002. I don’t do any heavy 3D rendering so would parallels be sufficient to run this program?

    3. I have a copy of Microsoft office xp. As I have previously said I would like to run OSX most of the time. I can get a copy of office 2004 from my university at a discount. I am wondering if you would suggest:

    a) waiting until a universal copy of office comes out for mac
    b) buying the office 2004 program for mac.
    c) running office xp under parallels
    d) running office xp under bootcamp

    Bootcamp Questions:

    Reading these forums it seems like it best to use the fat32 format (from my above comments would you suggest this is what I should do?)

    Some Questions:
    4. What size of partition should I make? (as you can see I use some pretty large windows software)

    5.Will using beta bootcamp cause issues when leopard comes out? (I know this is tough to answer but I am wondering if creating a large partitioning could potentially cause problems in the future)

    General Questions:

    6. How do I get rid of the extra languages that come with OSX?

    As you can see I have a large number of questions. I am really excited to be switching over to a mac, I have heard a lot of great things. If you have any pointers or good newbie resources I would love to check them out. Thanks for taking the time to read this and give your opinions! Sorry if you have seen this on macnn:eek:
  2. crees! macrumors 68000


    Jun 14, 2003
    1. MatLab is available for OS X if you have it in your budget (http://www.mathworks.com/programs/mac/index.shtml). As a normal Windows habit I save very often no matter what.

    3. See if you can get a discount verision of Office for Mac at your bookstore.

    6. When you install the OS you have the choice of which languages to include. Programs like Monolingual will remove the languages you don't need but I have found that with updates from Adobe if the update needs to patch another language that was removed the whole upgrade gets foobared and the program's (Adobe's) fail to launch (personal experience).
  3. plinden macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2004
    Of course, the best solution is to use the Mac version, but you can't afford a Mac version, Parallels should run it fine - but of course you should save and back up often. Since the windows HD is in a virtual machine, if the VM gets corrupted then the data will not be retrievable, so you would need to copy to the folder shared with the Mac. I've been using Parallels since the first beta, and I had a VM get corrupted with the first beta, requiring a reinstall. But it's been fine since then - albeit with two kernel panics with beta2 and one at the weekend with the release candidate.

    I have a lot of experience with dual booting Windows and Linux, and it's a pain. I usually end up in one or the other for weeks at a time until I need to reboot. Hence my suggestion to use Parallels as much as possible.

    However, having said that, Parallels won't be free for long. Once it's released it will $50 + cost of Windows, whereas boot camp is free + cost of Windows.

    I wouldn't think so - there's zero 3D acceleration in Parallels. Still, I have no experience with autocad.

    You wouldn't really notice any difference with Office with a universal app, if you have enough memory. It might take 5 seconds vs 2 seconds to start, but using it, it is fast enough to keep up with anything you need to do. But if you keep to the default 512MB RAM, it'll be much worse.

    Only if you need to save data from Mac OS X to the windows partition.

    If you don't store any video or music files on your Windows partition, and can keep your data and results on the Mac (I don't run boot camp though so I don't know if that's possible) you can get away with a fairly small partition. On my Dell laptop, 60GB harddrive, I've partitioned it 30GB for Windows, 20GB for Linux and 10GB in a shared FAT32 partition. Currently I have 10GB free on the Windows partition, and I reckon I could have got away with 25GB.

    No one know, but I doubt it.

    Monolingual. I think there's a way of specifying to not remove e.g. Adobe language files, but I don't have Adobe installed so don't know if that's true. If not, I'm sure there are other apps that can do this.
  4. Abulia macrumors 68000


    Jun 22, 2004
    Kushiel's Scion
    FYI, I fooled around with some MacBooks (1.83 and 2.0 Ghz) over the weekend at my local Apple Store using Microsoft Word.

    I could note no appreciable difference in speed/performance on the Intel Core Duo running Word via Rosetta and running Word natively at home on my dual 2.0 Ghz G5 PowerMac.

    I'd use NTFS unless you have a need to write to the Windows partition from the OS X partition; Windows (XP) runs better on NTFS, better cluster size, fault tolerance, etc.
  5. B-Line thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 22, 2006
    Wow, thanks for the quick responses:)

    By the sounds of things, I will buy office 2004 and preorder a copy of parallels for my matlab work

    1. I am really new to all the this virtualization technlogy. What I gather from everyone is that I could possibly run matlab through parallels but i would have to save it on a shared folder (not part of the virtual HD) to back up my work?

    2. Does this shared folder get set up automatically with parallels?

    3. Also is parallels partioning the HD?

    This is going to be my sole comupter and I originally intended to dual boot, hence why I went with the 120GB HD (probably should of went aftermarket... but oh well). I am going to try wait until leopard before I go down the dual boot road if possible.

    4. I also only have a copy of windows xp SP1, so i would have to make a slipdisc for bootcamp (if I do bootcamp). If I go parallels can I install SP2 on parallels afterwards?

    5. How much memory should I allocate to parallels (My computer will have 1 GB)?

    6. Is this memory avaliable to OSX when not running parallels?

    Thanks in advance, mac user support has been great:) sorry for all the questions:eek: .
  6. plinden macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2004
    It won't be released for a few weeks yet - try it out before you order.

    Yes, that's what I would recommend, and if you have an external HD or even a USB drive, copy to it periodically.

    That's part of the configuration. It's not set up by default, but it's easy to modify the settings (but the VM has to be shut down first).

    No, the virtual hard drive is stored on your Mac as e.g. winxp.hdd. You can also copy this to a backup.

    There are rumours that Leopard will have built in virtualization (but rumours only). Another option is that CodeWeavers are developing something that will allow windows apps to run without windows being installed, but that's several weeks if not months away from beta.

    You may have to reactivate - on MacWorld.com, one of the editors was able to activate for both while being truthful about running both in boot camp and Parallels, but I'm not sure if that's just a lucky break for him. I suppose you could argue that you can't run both simultaneously.

    Start with 256MB, you can modify it later. And yes, the RAM is available to OS X when parallels isn't running.

    Parallels have removed the link to their forum, but it's at http://forum.parallels.com
  7. Mojo67821 macrumors regular

    Apr 20, 2006
    Just be advised, if you decide to go with bootcamp than the discounted Windows discs at your university probably won't work.

    This happened to me. It seems that the discs that universities sell to students are different than basic "windows" discs. If it says "student" anywhere on the disc then it won't be bootable. Even if it's SP2, there is enough of a difference in the disc that you won't be able to boot from it.

    I would personally recommend bootcamp. I was very unimpressed with the overall look and feel of paralells. If you want full Windows functionality definitely go with bootcamp. Plus if you decide you want to play games or do something more advanced down the road, you're all set up.
  8. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    How do you use these disks even on a normal Windows PC if they cannot be booted from? :(
  9. Mojo67821 macrumors regular

    Apr 20, 2006
    It's strange. From what I understand the main reason that you can only use a windows with SP2 CD is because that was the only CD that they allowed the machine to be booted from. Not sure how that's possible as I don't know much about it.

    But as soon as I started the Install it told me that my (brand new) disc was corrupted. I tried it on my windows machine and it could not only read it fine within the OS, but I could also boot from it.
  10. plinden macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2004
    If you're willing to spend some time experimenting ... what happens if you copy the CD to your windows machine and burn a slipstream copy of it? (Once again, I'm going to plug www.nliteos.com for something to make this easy). I haven't tried it with Boot Camp, but I was able to make an SP2 CD that worked with Parallels. That's another thought, can you install it in a Parallels VM?
  11. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Oh, I'm sorry, so the disc is bootable on non-Macs, but it isn't whatever OS X is considering to be a valid SP2 disc? That's really strange.

    Speaking of which, though.... how are people installing Linux or Vista betas on their Macs? Those aren't XP SP2 discs either....

    The whole thing seems hinky. :( Not that I'm doubting you. But hinky. Has anyone else had this experience? I don't have an Intel Mac yet, but I was really thinking that using the site license deal at the University to buy a cheap copy of XP or someday Vista would make it much sweeter....
  12. Nermal Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2002
    New Zealand
    You can. I've also heard (but not confirmed) that you can successfully use your SP1 CD with Boot Camp by:

    1. Download SP2 updater and put it on a CD
    2. Run Boot Camp and install using SP1 CD
    3. Once complete, put in SP2 CD and install the SP2 update
    4. Install the Boot Camp drivers

    Again, I haven't tried this, but I've heard that it works.
  13. B-Line thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 22, 2006
    Does anyone know of any other osx, parallels and bootcamp resources/articles/tutorials that would be useful for a someone new to macs? I have checked out the stuff on the apple and parallels websites but was wondering if there are any other resources.

    thanks again for all your help:)
  14. theBB macrumors 68020


    Jan 3, 2006
    With Matlab you deal with fairly short scripts almost all the time, so if you go with Parallels (or Bootcamp) you should be able to just pick a folder on a USB external hard disk (NTFS) as your work directory and keep all of them there. Each script will be a few kB, so you'll barely notice the difference in processing time. When (or if) you create a binary Matlab data file, you can just copy them over to the safe location every now and then. Even if you lose them, creating those binary files again would probably take a few minutes anyways (unless they are the results of really sophisticated system simulations, but I've got the impression that you'd be working on homework assignments instead of graduate level work.) I would not really worry about it.

    However, I don't know about the performance of AutoCAD on Parallels. I hope it works out so that you can avoid the dual boot all together.

    Hmmm, Autocad and Matlab? Sounds like a Mechanical Engineer. :)
  15. theBB macrumors 68020


    Jan 3, 2006
    Oh, on the Office front... NeoOffice is probably gonna be intel ready in about 2 months. (Actually initial release is slated for the first week of June, but I figure it'll take a month or so before it runs smoothly.) I've heard it is quite compatible with MS Office. You might want to give that a try if you don't want to buy MS Office right away, as NeoOffice is open source, hence free.
  16. Mojo67821 macrumors regular

    Apr 20, 2006
    You can install any operating system with paralells. When I experiemented with it I installed Windows 2000.

    I've heard of people installing sp1 with bootcamp and when they try to install sp2 afterwards it does not work. I've heard that there are ways to trick the machine into installing other things, but I think you suffer from functionality issues as a result (of the lack of drivers).
  17. Eraserhead macrumors G4


    Nov 3, 2005
    If you have the edu version of Matlab, it comes with Mac Window's and Linux versions in the box (at least mine did...)

    Sorry if this has been answered before... (Though it's not universal yet.)
  18. mduser63 macrumors 68040


    Nov 9, 2004
    Salt Lake City, UT
    The student version of MATLAB is $100, and it includes Windows Mac and Linux versions on the same CD. $100 is cheap enough that most anyone who needs it can afford it.

    Anyway, not only is it not Universal, but it won't run on Rosetta either. That means that Parallels is in fact probably your best bet for Matlab right now. When the Universal version comes out, you can start running it natively in OS X.
  19. araj macrumors newbie

    Jun 2, 2006
    I have an older version of the student version of Matlab that requires that the installation CD be in the CD-ROM drive in order to run. The installation of student Matlab in Parallels goes without a hitch (on a NTFS disk), but I whenever I try to run the program, it says that I have to put the CD in the drive. This happens both when I have the physical CD in the drive and when I have a disk image of the CD loaded.

    Has anyone else had this problem and solved it?


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