Parallels 6 vs Boot Camp vs VMware - Any recommendations

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by nylonsteel, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. nylonsteel macrumors 6502a


    Nov 5, 2010
    Has anyone tried Parallels 6 and can offer good or bad reviews
    My pc of 6 years has died suddenly
    I'm thinking of finally moving over to mac with a Mac Mini
    Others have mentioned BootCamp and VMware as options but the Parallels 6 marketing material looks good
    Just looking for simplest solution to run Xp while I learn Mac and still use my old Xp programs and all
  2. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    All 3 are good solutions
    You can also check out VirtualBox, its free

    Parallels and Fusion both have their fans and it is personal preference

    I used to Bootcamp but found no need to do so
    Virtualization is enough for me since I don't game
  3. aki macrumors 6502a

    Mar 2, 2004
    I use Parallels 5 and bootcamp. You should use bootcamp for gaming or other high-performance applications. For most anything else though Parallels will work very well, and is certainly more convenient than rebooting into "real" Windows.

    To be honest what decision you make should be governed by your anticipated usage scenarios. Which is to say, if you intend to use your mac for email, internet, and photos (for example), and you just want Windows available for the "transition phase" - a mini and Parallels would do fine. If you intend to game or video edit under Windows, you may want to consider bootcamp.

    Oh one final thing to note is that a bootcamp install is free (provided you have a copy of Windows to install on it); whereas Parallels costs money.
  4. DFTU101 macrumors member

    May 16, 2008
    I am a long time user of VMware Fusion. I use it to access Quicken for PC (nothing intensive). It's very stable and fast enough. I also downloaded the new Parallels and installed that on a different Mac. It's also fast (some of the earlier reviews have noted some problems with stability in that it crashed but I'm sure they (if haven't already) issued an update. The new Parallels is suppose to be better (faster) if you want to try to game on it. It's sorta a question between which one is more stable and which one is faster (for games). I have not found much of a difference between starting up(I have my virtual machines suspend rather than shut off on quiting) or normal task. If you what to intensively game with best graphics, I would agree with the previous post in using bootcamp. It, however, as stated prev. a bit of a pain to have to reboot when you want to use it. I have tried to access a bootcamp partition from both Parallels and VMware. It's slower (you have to completely shutdown the virtual machine each time) and sometimes windows makes you reauthorize the install (key). So it really depends on what you what to use it for. Much quicker and easier to access a PC program with either Fusion or Parallels, but if I wanted to game I'd go with Bootcamp (or possibly the new Parallels but you'll take a hit on speed). For most stable, I have found Fusion the best.
  5. nylonsteel thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Nov 5, 2010
    Hey Thanks for the good answers to my inquiry
    I'm leaning towards Parallels 6 - since I'm not a gamer - and would like to live in both XP and Mac OS at the same time while I learn to go Mac 100% at some point - and dont mind paying for good software (about $100 for Parallels 6 "Switch To Mac" Edition)
    My other issue is my pc mother board died so I only have access to my xp drive by connecting it up with a hard drive docl and usb cable - my original xp disk is only SP 1 and it seems BootCamp requires win xp SP 2
    Any further advice or comments on this subject are welcome
  6. balamw, Nov 9, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2010

    balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    The extra cost of the "switch to Mac" edition is a USB transfer cable that will be useless to you since the PC is "dead". Get the regular (EDIT: desktop $80) one instead.

    You can follow this guide to create a VirtualBox VM from the drive connected to the dock and then convert the Vbox VM to a Parallels VM. (EDIT: I'm a VMWare user myself, but have not found a simple guide from going from a raw disk or disk image to Parallels only VBox/VMWare).

    You may need to re-activate, so make sure you have the product key from the old machine handy.

    If you do have a generic XP install disc (not customized by the OEM) you can always slipstream SP2 or SP3 to create a Boot Camp compatible install disc.

  7. DFTU101 macrumors member

    May 16, 2008
    If you want a really good price, get the academic discount. I don't think you need to show any proof. The only limitation I think is when an upgrade like version 7.0 comes out, you have to buy the full edition (rather than pay the upgrade price-which is the same as buying the academic version 7.0 at that time). The price is $39.99. Here is the link:
  8. Maui19 macrumors regular

    Jul 16, 2007
    I have Fusion on my Mac. It used to be okay. I wouldn't call it speedy but it was useable. I while back I updated to the most recent version and it is horrible. It takes forever to load (5-7 minutes last time I looked). It also freezes the Mac side while it is loading. It does this on two different CPUs.

    I went on the VMWare site to see if there was a solution, and the problem solving suggestions are tedious and long. I greatly regret going with Fusion.
  9. jbg232 macrumors 65816


    Oct 15, 2007
    I have had the opposite experience with VMWare fusion. I switched to mac in 2007 and needed to have flawless office applications (word, excel, ppt) as I frequently give lectures in far off places that are running windows. I can't have presentations or documents that don't load correctly and from doing a lot of research, really the only guarantee of this is to install windows and run office in windows on the mac. I chose VMWare fusion after a LOT of research and trying out both parallels and vmware (version 4 at the time I believe).

    My experience in parallels was VERY buggy and NOT reliable, which was unacceptable because the only thing I was doing in windows to begin with was work. VMWare fusion just worked. I installed it into its own XP image and have never looked back. I run it in unity mode and it is a wonderful experience being able to run office 2010. I save all my files on my macintosh part of the hdd (vmware seamlessly communicates with it) and they are backed up by time machine as well. I highly recommend vmware fusion, it just works (at least for me it did).

    If you do want games however, run bootcamp.
  10. aki macrumors 6502a

    Mar 2, 2004
    Ok well this is interesting to read. I have never installed Fusion but I have used Parallels for a while now and it has been very stable and reliable for me. (I should note, earlier versions were patchy and version 4 I think it was was a particular disaster. But 5 has been fine and 6 sounds like it works well too.)

    I guess it's a ymmv thing.
  11. TPadden macrumors 6502a

    Oct 28, 2010
    I tried both Fusion and Parallels for a couple days for Quicken, Office, and Mapsource. I found I really access the Windows programs only once or twice a day for extended periods.

    I went back to straight Bootcamp because I had minor irritations in both and the new Macbook Air reboots so darn fast :).

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