Ideal configuration for Windows 7 BootCamp and VMware?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by lazerbrains, Jan 25, 2012.

  1. lazerbrains macrumors regular


    Sep 22, 2011
    I am looking to put Windows on my Mac, but I would like to be able to boot natively into it in Boot Camp when I need to really work on a project or play a game, but would also like to be able to just fire up internet explorer for testing while just in OS X using VMware Fusion 4.

    I am on an Early 2011 MacBook Pro running Mac OS X Lion, 500 GB hard drive, and 16 GB of RAM.

    What is the best configuration for doing this? I am not looking to use Windows for much more than testing, but will be loading some 3D software and a game or two. The question I have are:

    1) How much hard drive space should I give the Boot Camp partition?
    2) Is there anything special I need to do to get Windows to activate right on both the Boot Camp partition, and in VMWare Fusion 4?
    3) How much RAM should I assign in VMware is for the VM to run smoothly?

    Any other tips on this would be much appreciated.
  2. Wang Foolio macrumors regular

    Jan 11, 2010
    1) As much as you think you'll need/can spare. My 1TB hard drive has a 200GB partition for Boot Camp, and I probably have a 30-50% of that filled (a couple of games plus MS Office and Adobe CS programs).

    2) The process is basically the same as installing it on a PC (with the exception of Boot Camp Assistant burning you a CD for drivers), but be aware that switching from VM to Boot Camp usually means you have to re-authenticate your copy of Windows. If you assign your VM half your processor cores and a fraction of your RAM, it will notice when you boot directly to Windows and it has access to the full system resources. Basically it thinks you stuck an old hard drive into a different computer.

    3) With XP it's easy to decide how much RAM to allocate your VM, because 32-bit couldn't use more than 3-4GB anyway. With Win7, I'd say you can't go wrong with 8GB. If you're worried about taking too much away from your Mac side, try 4GB. That's plenty for most purposes, any if you need to do much in the way of gaming you'll probably be booting in Boot Camp anyway.

    That should do it. Fusion 3 has never given me any grief.
  3. lazerbrains thread starter macrumors regular


    Sep 22, 2011
    Thanks for the tips! Very helpful!! I was going to do this this way, so that I can have the best of both worlds. Boot Camp and VM. However if I have to constantly re-authenticate, won't that mean that I will have to continually call Microsoft? I was told by VMware, that that wouldn't be a problem.

    Is there anyway around the re-authentication problem?
  4. Wang Foolio macrumors regular

    Jan 11, 2010
    Not 100% sure what triggers the authentication request and what doesn't, but in December when I restarted my computer in Boot Camp for the first time in a while, it forced me to re-authenticate before I could proceed with installing The Old Republic. It only took a couple of minutes on the phone, but it was annoying. Hasn't done it again since...

    Back before I installed Fusion, I did read somewhere that this was a possibility, so I wasn't exactly blindsided by it.
  5. lazerbrains thread starter macrumors regular


    Sep 22, 2011
    Thanks for the info. I am using this for work, and it would be terrible if that happened at a mission critical moment. I can't leave a meeting, and call Microsoft, or have it look like I had a unlicensed version of Windows either. (nor do I want to carry around another computer)

    Does anyone have any more information on what causes, or how to stop windows from trying to re-authenticate when switching from booting from the VM to the actual bootcamp partition?
  6. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    Parallels and VMWare provide a tools package that mitigates this. The only time it has been a problem for me is when the tool was updating and I re-authenticated the VM before the new version of the tool package was installed.

    Generally it's not a real issue as you get a grace period once the authentication has be triggered. You'd just get an annoying dialog box for a while.

  7. lazerbrains thread starter macrumors regular


    Sep 22, 2011
    Thanks. I will give it a try and report back what my experience is.

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