Install Windows w/ Bootcamp...OR...Virtual Machine...OR BOTH?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by magentawave, Jul 16, 2009.

  1. magentawave macrumors regular

    Jun 8, 2009

    I have a few relatively light-weight Windows-only programs that I need to start using on my Macbook Pro. I'm deciding whether to install them on Bootcamp or use VM Ware Fusion.

    A couple questions please...

    1) To use Windows with Bootcamp, do I need to install Windows XP on Bootcamp?

    2) What is your opinion? Go with Bootcamp, or install a virtual machine? I am aware that Bootcamp requires a restart to return to my Mac - and that programs will work faster on Bootcamp over a virtual machine.

    3) But what if I installed BOTH (Bootcamp and a virtual machine using VM Ware Fusion) just until I figure out what I prefer? Does that mean that two separate instances of Windows XP installation will occur on my hard drive?

    4) Regardless of whether I use Windows with Bootcamp or a virtual machine, can I save work I've done with my Windows programs in a Seagate external hard drive that is formatted for Mac OS Extended (Journaled)?

    5) What is the best way to format an external hard drives that will allow me to read and write with a Mac and a Windows computer?

    Thank you very much!

  2. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas
    Virtual Machine Seems like then way to go


    Given what you have said, I believe the virtual machine makes the most sense, unless one of them cannot run on it

    That's probably the best method, and yes you will have two versions of Windows on your hard drive as they cannot share.

    Yes? You can also access your Windows HD from OSX regardless of what you use.
  3. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    1) Yes, you will need your own copy of Windows. You will need XP SP2 or higher, or Vista, or Windows 7

    2) Personally, I like using Boot Camp and prefer the flexibility of booting natively. If you plan to game, that is the only way to go.

    3) No, there are not 2 separate installs. Just install through Boot Camp first and have the VM read the Boot Camp partition. It works seamlessly.

    4) Yes, you can save your work to an HFS+ (Mac OS drive), but you would either need to use MacDrive (not free) or just clone the drive with WinClone

    5) In order to read/write to the same drive from OS X and Windows you will need to either format the drive as FAT32 or use NTFS-3G on the Mac side to read write to NTFS drive or use MacDrive on the Windows side to read/write to the HFS+ drive. Check out the various file systems here: MR Guide: File Systems

    NTFS-3G will allow OS X to read/write to NTFS (Windows) and it is free

    MacDrive will allow Windows to read/write HFS+ (Mac OS X), but it is not free

    Regardless, back up your data before you begin!
    Print the Boot Camp Assistant directions and follow them explicitly

    Woof, Woof - Dawg [​IMG]
  4. -tWv- macrumors 68000


    May 11, 2009
    1)Yes, you will need a copy of XP Service Package 2 or higher. I personally would run the Windows 7 RC because it is free and it has great new features and an awesome interface, compared to Vista or XP. You would have to burn the .iso file from that download to a DVD.

    2+3) I would just install XP with bootcamp and then either boot into that partition or use vmware fusion to boot that partition virtually. Make sure you back up before you do this. Then you can decide if your programs really require bootcamp or you could just follow the video on vmware's website for making a virtual machine out of an existing disk with the vmware converter. You could then use that vm created from the bootcamp install instead of bootcamp. If you decide to do this then delete your bootcamp partition to take back that space.

    5) Follow MacDawg's instructions. I personally have my cross platform external HD formatted as NTFS and use ntfs-3g on my mac. This is the free solution without having to deal with the limitations of the FAT format.
  5. pb1300 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 29, 2008
    Aigio, Greece
    I personally like BC. Also, good info as usual Dawg.
  6. magentawave thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 8, 2009
    I already have Win XP (sp2 or maybe its sp3?) and VM Ware Fusion ready to install.

    A) Regardless of whether I initially install Windows XP in Bootcamp (and maybe install a virtual machine too), would I install all my Windows programs in the same partition that I installed XP in? And if so, will the Windows virtual machine be able to access those Windows programs from that same partition?

    B) How large should I make the partition on my hard drive for Windows using Bootcamp? Can I easily adjust the partition size up or down later?

    C) Are there any disadvantages to using NTFS-3G over MacDrive?

    D) Does using NTFS-3G for a Mac to read an NTFS formatted external hard drive slow down the accessing of files?

    D) Is NTFS a better format than Fat32?

    E) The format for my Seagate external hard drive is currently "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)" and that isn't compatible with Windows. I want my external hard drive to read and write to all these: My Mac, Bootcamp running XP, and a virtual machine running XP...AND...I want my Acer Windows computer to be able to read and write to my external hard drive too. Would reformatting my currently formatted Mac OS Extended (Journaled) external drive to NTFS be the best way to accomplish this and then install NTFS-3G on my Mac?

    F) If reformatting my external drive to NTFS is the best approach, would it be okay to copy all the files on my currently formatted Mac OS Extended (Journaled) external hard drive over to a folder on my Macs desktop - then reformat the external drive to NTFS - and then drag the files on my Mac desktop back over to the newly formatted NTFS external hard drive? Would any of my files get messed up while doing that?

    Whew! That is a lot.

    Thanks everyone! I really appreciate your input here because I'm not a big techie kinda human. :D

  7. Rhalliwell1 macrumors 6502a

    May 22, 2008
    I would use a VM if you are only doing lightweight stuff. I would only use bootcamp if you were using things that rely on the GPU a lot. If it is the MBP in your signature i would give it 1 core and 1.5gb of ram and you will be flying along on that! (2/2.5gb RAM for vista)
  8. magentawave thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 8, 2009
    Yes, in my sig is the computer I am using. Probably a stupid question, but how much is 1 core?

    Can anyone answer the other questions I had too please?

    Thanks again.
  9. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    Yes, your virtual machine will read the install of all your programs, etc. Everything you save in the virtual machine will be available in Boot Camp and viceversa

    It depends on what you are going load and use it for. My partition is about 30 GB with Windows and Office. If you are going to game, you will want to make it bigger. Yes, you can change the partition size later, but it will require backing up (I use Winclone) and using Boot Camp to delete and recreate a partition.

    NTFS-3G is used on the Mac side to write to the Windows drive
    MacDrive is used on the Windows side to write to a Mac drive

    NTFS-3G is free and MacDrive is not, so do the math ;)

    I have not noticed any performance issues

    In my opinion, yes. NTFS is the native format for Windows now, and it is standard. FAT32 has a 4GB limitation as well. It works well for flash drives, etc. but there is no reason not to use NTFS in my opinion with NTFS-3G

    You can, that is personal preference for you. I personally use my Mac far more, so I would prefer it to be HFS+ Mac OS Extended (Journaled). But you can do it however you please. If you keep it formatted for Mac, you would just use MacDrive on your Windows machines.

    They shouldn't, if you use NTFS-3G. But again, your format strategy is your personal preference.

    No problem, we are all learning as we go
    If you need anything else, just ask

    Woof, Woof - Dawg [​IMG]
  10. jcranwellward macrumors newbie

    Aug 3, 2009
    Windows 7 bootcamp partition with VMware fusion

    Hi All,

    Im having a small problem.

    I have installed the Windows 7 RC (ultimate) into a bootcamp partition on my MBP.

    During the install I had to reformat the partition to NTFS which I think is normal.

    I want to now use that partition in fusion to get the best of both worlds.

    However vmware does not display the partition in setup menu and i cant mount the drive in osx because its NTFS.

    The simple fix I assume would be to install something like NTFS-3G, but I wanted to check if fusion does not already include an NTFS driver in its binary , this would make sense since all future versions of windows will be NTFS only.

    If this is not the case then would NTFS-3G be the way to go?

    May seem like a obvious question to some but I just need clarity and to make sure I haven't corrupted the NTFS partition in some way.


  11. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Jul 1, 2004
    Why not allow VMWare/Parallels to use your Bootcamp partition? I know that there are a couple of minor issues (mainly activiation and some sleep issues) with this setup but it saves the space of having to do a separate windows install and the hastle of having to keep 3 operating systems (Mac OS X, Windows BC and Windows VM) in sync.
  12. magentawave thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 8, 2009
    Why couldn't your reformat your hard drive to NTFS?

  13. magentawave thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 8, 2009
    I finally installed VMWare Fusion with XP SP3 on my Macbook Pro (2.5 Intel Core Duo 2 with 6 gigs of ram) and everything seems okay. Then I installed XSitePro2 (which is a Windows-only website building program) on the Windows side and when I click on the XSP icon to start the program an error message comes up saying:

    "XSitePro2.exe - Application Error
    The application failed to initialize properly (0xc00000135). Click on OK to terminate the application."

    I never had this problem installing and running XSP2 before on my Vista computer. Do you know why I can't open Xsitepro2 in my virtual machine here? I'm signed into XP as the Administrator (which is the only account I have on the Windows side anyway). Could it be a permissions or memory issue? If so, got any ideas how to proceed?

    Thank you.

  14. jcranwellward macrumors newbie

    Aug 3, 2009

    I worked out why this did not work.

    The boot camp assistant makes a small 128MB partition along side the boot camp partition. In the windows installer this appears as unallocated space so I had deleted it and merged it with the boot camp when formatting to NTFS. DO NOT DO THIS!

    It now appears this small partition contains some data that allows OSX to mount it correctly and Fusion to boot it. Removeing the boot camp partition in the assistant and the re-partitioning fixed this for me as it put the small partition back, and then all I had to do was reinstall Win 7 and fusion and osx were able to use it.

    Hope this helps out someone else, I havent seen anything about this from my google searches.

    Win 7 RC working well in Fusion.
  15. micsaund macrumors 6502


    May 31, 2004
    Colorado, USA
    If you install a Bootcamp partition, Fusion will let you boot that physical partition in a VM. Thus, you can boot natively into BC for games that need performance or DirectX, and for most things, just use Fusion to boot that same data. That's what I did for a while.

    Now, I decided to eat the disk space and keep a regular VM in addition to the BootCamp. My VM is a VM that I copy and use on multiple machines, so booting from the BC partition would not allow easy transportability of the data.
  16. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    Just to add, another option for the occasional file that you want to share between the Mac OS and Windows running on an NTFS BootCamp partition is the use of a Thumb Drive which can be read by both OS'es.

    So while in the Mac OS save files to the Thumb Drive that you need. Then when you boot into Windows via the BootCamp partition, you can read the files from the Thumb Drive. The opposite direction works as well.

    Of course you are limited by the size of your Thumb Drive and FAT32 limitations.

    Having said that, personally, I much prefer using VMware Fusion. This allows me to run a variety of Linux/Windows installs just by selecting which VM image that I want to run. With Folder Sharing, it's really easy to share files both ways.
  17. magentawave thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 8, 2009
    I really appreciate everyones input here. It has been a huge help. Thank you again!

    I will see how my programs work using the virtual machine only before trying Bootcamp. So for now, I installed a virtual machine on my Macbook Pro using VM Ware Fusion and Windows XP Professional.

    I have a couple more questions about this please...

    1) TWO XP PRO's: You can see by the screen capture I attached that it looks like its showing TWO instances of Windows XP Professional in the Virtual Machine Library. Is that supposed to be there or did I somehow accidentally install XP twice? And if dumbass me installed Win XP twice, can I delete it by opening it from the Virtual Machine Library and then drag the one I don't need into the trash can?

    2) RAM: I have 6gb of ram on this Macbook Pro 17. One of my Windows programs requires a minimum of 1gb of ram. So considering how much ram is used by the Mac side, plus Win XP, and plus the ram used for the program (1gb+), how much ram do you think I should allocate to the virtual machine?

    Thanks again!

    Attached Files:

  18. AUSTOOO! macrumors newbie

    Aug 23, 2009

    So I can 1) install windows using boot camp then 2) install fusion to run the boot camp partition and 3) boot windows using boot camp and not fusion when I want to?

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