Using Parallel on an Extended Hard Drive

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by fozzywacca, Mar 11, 2010.

  1. fozzywacca macrumors newbie

    Feb 25, 2009
    I recently purchased an External Hard Drive with the following intention: I want to run Parallel on my Imac, but I don't want Windows on my Imac Hard Drive, I'm afraid of getting Viruses. The only reason I want to run Windows is so I can run AutoCad, (which is unavailable for Mac). I found a great tutorial for AutoCad on the Internet, and I would like to be able to switch back and forth between accessing the Internet via OS X to watch tutorial, and then doing the assignments in AutoCad.

    Will I need my external Hard Drive to be Bootable? Will I need my External Hard Drive to be attached by fire wire? The one I purchased at Office Depot, Verbatim320GB USB portable, was taken off the shelves the next day and they won't honor their 2 week even exchange policy because it is no longer available), but first of all I'd like to be able to make it work. Is there such a thing as a USB to Firewire Converter Cable? Do I have to return my Extended Hard Drive and get one that connects via firewire?

    I thought I could just reformat the Extended Hard Drive to Mac OS X extended journaled, and then where would I install Parallel? And will I be able to install Windows on the External Hard Drive?

    I also want to Partition the External Hard Drive and keep all my music, pictures, and docs on it, and keep my AutoCad docs on it as well, (in the Windows Partition I suppose).

    Thank You
  2. lucifiel macrumors 6502a


    Nov 7, 2009
    In your basement
    First, the virus thing is not a real concern because any potential virus will be stored within a .pvm file that only parallels can access, it will be effectively quarantined. Second, any potential virus likely to infect a windows machine is unlikely to be operable in a Mac OSX environment. There have been some documented theoretical "crossing over viruses" but as far as I know, none exist in the wild. I could be wrong.

    Third, it is possible to store the .pvm file (where all your windows files exist for Parallels to read) on an external HDD, but even if you have a USB to Firewire adapter, it will only ever be as fast as the USB connection.

    Fourth, using parallels means you don't partition your HDD in any way, you could partition to store your .pvm file, but you don't have to, AND if you are putting the .pvm file on an external HDD, you can't cross back into the OS X main HDD because Parallels treats the .pvm as the hdd of your Windows virtual machine.

    In short to answer your questions if you want a summary:

    1) Viruses are not likely to cross over;
    2) In spite of 1), you can put the Parallels file on an External HDD, it will save you space;
    3) But, it will only be as fast as USB 2, even if you have an adapter;
    4) The issue of partitioning does not arise in relation to Parallels because Parallels doesn't require a partition - it creates its own container file with an extension of .pvm (I could be wrong about the .pvm), but the idea is the same.

    I hope that helps.
  3. fozzywacca thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 25, 2009
  4. bonafide macrumors regular

    Feb 26, 2007
    Excellent reply... it answered all my my questions as the op.


    If one were to put use Parallels and put the Windows OS on the external HD would the USB 2.0 speed be enough to handle simple tasks on the Windows side of things (emails, DVD, etc)?

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