Parallels AND Bootcamp??

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by French, Mar 7, 2011.

  1. French macrumors regular

    Jan 13, 2011
    I just bought a Macbook Air 13" ultimate and we are getting to know each other. This is my first ever mac and as expected I'm experiencing some growing pains.

    I have purchased Parallels and Windows 7 Home as I just don't think I can entirely give up Windows. There is some tinkering I do with my cell phones and what-not that just have far better windows documentation/compatibility.

    What I'm trying to figure out is if I can install Windows 7 via Bootcamp so that I have the option of booting fully into windows, thus giving me better hardware performance, but also installing Parallels so that for my day-to-day computing I can open it just for moving a file, or general light weight stuff.

    Also, I have the 256 ssd drive...what is an ideal allocation if I go the Bootcamp route? I think the way I it was explained to me is that you allocate the amount of space up front in Bootcamp, and it seems that's all you get...versus Parallels where the apple guy said it keeps "building as needed" which I took to mean Parallels just uses space as it needs it.

    One last thing...if I can run Bootcamp and Parallels...can I access files saved while booted in Bootcamp from Parallels?
  2. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    After installing using BootCamp you will be able to read your BootCamp partition with Parallels. You only need one install of Windows, and all your files are accessed the same.
  3. shstiger2009 macrumors 6502

    Jan 30, 2011
    Yes! This is exactly what I do. It's great.
  4. French thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 13, 2011
    Thank you SO much for the fast and helpful responses!!!!

    How much space does windows 7 take? Is there a formula to use for deciding how much hard drive to give to Windows? My hope is that I end up needing Windows rarely, yet at the same time I want to ensure that if I end up needing to rely on it heavily for something, I've allowed enough space.
  5. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    Windows uses about 20GB if you install the 64-bit version or 16GB if you install the 32-bit version. Since I installed 64-bit Pro along the following items I gave it 60GB and have about 20GB left:
    • Windows XP Mode (it works only in Pro or above, and only in Boot Camp - not Parallels)
    • Quicken 2011
    • Open Office
    • Antivirus software, utilities

    Note that Boot Camp Assistant still uses the older base 1024 gigabyte (1,073,741,824 bytes to a GB), while OS X uses the newer base 1000 gigabyte (1,000,000,000 bytes to a GB). The actual size of the "256GB SSD" in the MacBook Air is about 251GB using the base 1000 system or 234GB using the base 1024 system.
  6. luvmymacbook macrumors newbie

    Mar 4, 2011
    I was just talking to the Genius Bar about that this weekend and they said I could run VMWare Fusion using a Bootcamp partition. Not sure how to do this yet (upgrading RAM so everything works more quickly first), but I do know that the Genius Bar said allowing VMWare 1 GB RAM (or even 2 once I move up to my 8 GB upgrade) is best to make sure everything runs quickly. I would guess Parallels needs about the same.

    They also said that on VMWare, I can start using Mac OS and Windows side by side, and switch to using only Windows through the Bootcamp partition (and I think quitting VMWare) without having to shut everything down and restarting. Again, sorry I don't have more details because I haven't done it yet, but just wanted to let you know the possibilities.

    You may be able to take this in to Genius Bar and have them help you set everything up.
  7. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    That's true only if you install it within a virtual machine in Parallels. If so, then Parallels creates a large file on your hard drive that Windows "sees" as the C: drive.

    If you use Parallels to read from a Boot Camp partition, you are under the same limitations as with any other Boot Camp partition. You set the size when you set up the partition, and the only way to "resize" it is to back it up, delete the partition, and recreate it. Parallels doesn't create a separate file for your virtual machine in that case. It just creates a small "administrative" file on your Mac partition but otherwise reads the Boot Camp partition for accessing Windows.

    Yes. Think of using Parallels to access Boot Camp a little bit like two different computers accessing the same installation of Windows on a shared drive.
  8. French thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 13, 2011
    Thank you everyone. This has been very helpful. Given the responses here, and it seems windows 7 runs very well in parallels...I may skip bootcamp altogether. The only thing I can think of that I would want the better hardware performance is burning DVDs. Can anyone comment on how well they can burn DVDs using Parallels versus Bootcamp? I am talking about movies...but I'm only asking about performance and nothing more.

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