Installing Parallels

Discussion in 'iMac' started by HighTime, Jan 5, 2015.

  1. HighTime macrumors member

    Sep 20, 2014
    Hello folks,

    Still waiting for my iMac to be delivered, before it gets here was wondering whether it is possible to install Parallels/Windows 8.1 on an external hard-drive instead of the iMac itself? I almost don't want to install it on the iMac even though it has a 512GB flash storage drive. What do you guys reckon? Maybe it would be too slow if I install it on an external hard-drive. I know there's no way I will be filling up 512 GB of storage, on my PC I currently have used only 100 GB and that has everything I need.
  2. iMi macrumors 65816


    Sep 13, 2014
    First, I would recommend VMware Fusion over Parallels. I've used both extensively at some point and always found Fusion to be more user friendly. Updates cost less and each new version doesn't make you feel like you are crippled and must upgrade. Parallels plays the upgrade game way to hard.

    As for the hardware question. Yes, you can install Windows on an external drive and, as long as the drive comes with at least USB 3.0 interface, you won't experience much of a slowdown. Depending on the enclosure and the drive inside, the speeds can nearly match internal drive speed for all practical reasons.

    Also, congrats on your new Mac! I'm sure you'll love it.
  3. HighTime thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 20, 2014
    This is interesting. Bear in mind that I will basically only be using Microsoft Word for Windows on the Mac, that and one other extremely light program is all I need Windows on the Mac for. I looked at a few reviews of Parallel and liked the way that you can set it up without even knowing that you're running Windows, is that possible with VMare too? I really don't want to be reminded of Windows.

    Parallels vs VMware is a big decision for me since I don't want to change once I've installed it, any other reasons you can give for VMware over Parallels?

    Does it make sense for me to do it like this or should I just run it on the Mac? I just am so fed up of Windows I don't want it anywhere near the Mac, but if it makes more sense just to put it on the Mac, I guess I'll have to.

    Thanks! I used to have a G4 Cube back in the day, then had to go back to PCs. now finally moving back to a Mac, can't wait.
  4. antonis macrumors 68020


    Jun 10, 2011
    Yes, you may install Windows on an external drive without using bootcamp, as long as the drive is USB3 or Thunderbolt, keeping them separated from everything else. Using an SSD external drive + thunderbolt you won't even notice that windows are running from an external media. This is ideal only if you want to use windows for applications that require all the horsepower of your machine (e.g. games or other heavy applications).

    Running windows on a virtual machine (parallels, vmware fusion) also allows you to place the virtual disk on any internal or external drive and run it from there. Again, connection speed will be the main factor of how fast your virtual machine will respond. The advantage is that you will be able to move your virtual machine to another faster external device later, if you choose to.

    Since you only need lightweight applications on the Windows side, you'll be better with a virtual machine, placed on an external disk. Parallels seems more user friendly and it is faster for graphics-demanding applications, but vmware if more stable and more compatible. Having used both in the past, I'd suggest the latter.
  5. shaunp macrumors 68000

    Nov 5, 2010
    Install either Fusion or Parallels on your internal SSD and then put your VM's on any storage you like. Bear in mind however if you put your VM on slow storage, it will be slow to start, etc, like a physical machine would be if it were located on slow storage.
  6. mcalevy macrumors newbie

    Aug 31, 2010
    Virtual Box

    Perish the thought that someone might mention a free product. Works for me, been using it for years. Linux and Window$.
  7. dyt1983, Jan 5, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2015

    dyt1983 macrumors 65816

    May 6, 2014
    edit: To remove personally identifying info not relevant to the conversation.
  8. iMi macrumors 65816


    Sep 13, 2014
    Fusion has a feature called "Unity" which is basically same as "Coherence" on Parallels. Works the same and yo. Based on what you said, I would recommend you forget the external drive and just run the VM through Fusion/Parallels and let the software allocate the necessary space. You won't have to partition or pre-select any specific space on the internal disk. The virtualization software does it for you. Sounds like you'll use very little of the space anyway. In time, you may even dump Windows all together :eek:

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