HELP deciding between Boot Camp x Parallels Desktop x Virtual Box

mabhz

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 4, 2019
7
0
Hi all!

This is my first post here and I need counseling deciding which way to go to start using Windows 10 on my Macbook Air.

I want to find the BEST option to run Windows on my Mac, considering the smallest space required on SSD and the best performance.

I will continue to use Mac OS 95% of the time, and very ocasionally will switch to Windows to run apps that have no appropriate version on Mac OS.

Scenario:
Macbook Air mid 2013, i7, 8Gb RAM and 512 SSD, running Mojave latest update.
SanDisk 128 GB flash drve connected all the time to USD, formatted with ExFAT.
MacOS partition will be the main one, with ALL data files stored in it.
I wont run any games on any OS and wont even install OFFICE on Windows, only on MacOS.

What I need:

1. A solution that uses less space on HDD;

2. I would prefer to install Window on the flash usb drive, but it seems like its almost impossible, right?

3. I need Windows to VIEW and EDIT all files stored on the Mac OS and vice-versa;

4. I would preffer Windows to have excellent performance like MacOS does, because I will use it for MP3 and Video enconding and similar tasks once in a while.

IMPORTANTE: I have NO problem restarting the machine everytime i need to switch OS´s. Thats definitely not an issue for me, since I will stay on MacOS 95% of the time.

Thanks for any help and advice!!
 

sam19

macrumors newbie
Apr 24, 2010
17
1
Bath,England
I have a 2013 mid MacBook Air same as you, I run windows 10 bootcamped off a 60gb external SSD but looking to get a 256gb USB Stick to run it all off so its less hassle,

personally I would run it off the usb and use something like dropbox to switch between files, running off a external OS drive is fine.
 

Mikael H

macrumors 6502a
Sep 3, 2014
643
277
If you need maximum performance, you’ll want to run boot camp. If you decide to go for virtualization for simplicity of implementation and want maximum performance in that context, stick to Parallels or VMware Fusion.

If you want maximum performance, you probably won’t want to use a USB stick for file storage, if that's what you mean by flash drive.

There are ways of accessing the Mac's file system from Windows (for example https://www.paragon-software.com/home/apfs-windows/), but you'll have to read up on performance and potential issues - I'm not informed enough about those products. One important thing to note: There's a lot more malware available for Windows than for the Mac, so if Windows can access the Mac's file system natively you run a higher risk of malware damaging the data you care about.

Windows and efficient use of disk space is kind of an oxymoron, but you will likely manage with ~60 GB dedicated to Windows. Remember that you want 20% free space for efficient use of the file system, meaning with a 60 GB partition you shouldn't actually use more than 48 GB, where Windows will likely eat at least a third of that out-of-the-box, and grow with installer bloat as you run updates and install/uninstall software.

And needless to say: Keep backups of both systems.
 

Mikael H

macrumors 6502a
Sep 3, 2014
643
277
PS: Does your workflow for video and audio encoding require Windows, or could you just as well do it in macOS? If you move that part of the workflow, do you still have the same requirement for ultimate speed in Windows? Otherwise I’d definitely recommend simply running the other Windows software you need out of a VM through Fusion or Parallels. It will simplify your life a bunch.
 

mabhz

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 4, 2019
7
0
Thanks for all the replies, foks! Im still thinking about whats the best option to go. I kind of like the idea of having a 50Gb installation of Windows 10 on my Macbook just "lurking" there, waiting for the moment i might need it. It happens very occasionally, but when it does, its usually urgent and MacOS just dont cut it, like running PowerBI and some other stuff.
 

skizzo

macrumors regular
Apr 11, 2018
229
59
you're going to want to use bootcamp, period. unless you stuff at least double the amount of RAM in your current system, I don't think 8GB is going to be a pleasant experience booting OSX Mojave to emulate Windows 10 in a virtual machine. Both OS's need to share that 8GB and that's basically the bare min to run things well on just one of those OS's.
 

iPhonagain

macrumors member
Dec 28, 2009
86
9
Indy
I've been using Parallels for years and it is fantastic for me, quick performance and easy access to Windows files within MasOS.
 

Spankey

macrumors 6502a
Sep 30, 2007
751
235
NJ
Not sure what size SSD you have. I always go the 512GB size so 256 for each OS.

I would go Bootcamp and either store files in iCloud or OneDrive. Never been happy with the Parellela or VMWare options.
 

ADGrant

macrumors member
Mar 26, 2018
48
24
Agree with others here, 8GB of RAM is not enough to run a VM. Stick with Bootcamp and give your Windows boot partition at least 128GB of the 512GB you have.
 

mabhz

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 4, 2019
7
0
Again, THANKS A LOT for everybody who was kind enough to spend some time and share their advices. All have been extremelly valuable to me and I have taken every single comment into consideration. Thansk! Wish everyone all the best!
 

hfg

macrumors 68040
Dec 1, 2006
3,566
276
Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
With VmWare Fusion (and, I am told, Parallels), you can create a BootCamp bootable Windows installation, then use that same disk installation as a VM while in OS X. The best of both worlds ... bootable and VM Windows, with a single disk image so as not to consume double the disk space.

However ... with a VM only installation, the consumed disk space can grow as necessary as you use and populate Windows applications. With a BootCamp bootable Windows, you need to create a partition from the beginning large enough to hold your anticipated Windows environment. There are methods available to resize the Windows partition, I use WinClone for this purpose and to keep a current backup snapshot of my Windows installation in case I need to reinstall it ... all done within OS X to avoid creating problems with my Mac side installation.