Using Parallels(or alternative) to run Windows 7 from external drive - Valid options?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by vodkaPT, Jun 30, 2012.

  1. vodkaPT, Jun 30, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2012

    vodkaPT macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2012
    Lisbon, Portugal
    Which and why will be the best(or reasonable) options to run an windows virtual machine with Windows 7 ?

    1. On SD card - class 10 up, is enough? - Works fast ? the SD-card is prepare for the high amount of read/writes ?

    2. External hard Drive drive with USB2

    3. External hard drive with USB3

    4. External SSD pen with USB3

    If you want to add and talk about the 5th, thunderbolt connection or any other option, but I'm excluding them for being too expensive.

    I search all over the Internet, including in this forum, and maybe the answer is somewhere, I cannot found it.
    Due to Internal hard drive free space issues, I would like to have a virtual machine running Windows from an external drive. The information in the internet that I found, is confuse and without benchmarks.

  2. DaveSM macrumors member

    Aug 11, 2007
    I wouldn't advise for either option 1 and 4 as the flash memory will be burned quickly with the amount of read/write cycles that it would get.

    Both options 2 and 3 would be fine but I would recommend using a 3.5" external drive with USB3 which should provide faster read/write.

    When you create your VM you need to specify the location of the virtual disk. You just need to tell your virtualization software (Parallels, VMWare or VirtualBox) where you want to create it.

    Actually, the bottleneck in virtualization isn't mostly read-write from the hard drive but the amount of RAM that you have. With 8GB of RAM I often get to a point where my system start to swap on the hard drive and things starts to get really slow. Just keep the amount of RAM alocated to your VM low (nothing over 1/4 of your RAM) and you should avoid slowdowns most of the time.
  3. MJL macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2011
    VMware Fusion using a firewire caddy with either a cheap SSD (love the no noise level) or a standard HDD with large cache. Another option is a Newertech Raid in case you drop the hard disk drive so one survives (but noisy, did I mention I love the no noise of a SSD?)

    Be aware that you cannot plug the drive into another machine since the MAC addresses of your wireless network card and the wired network card will invalidate the windows license (not to mention different CPU, motherboard ID, video card) and you'll have to reactivate. Unless you've got a business license that does not need the activation check by Microsoft....
  4. NAYo2002 macrumors 6502

    Apr 16, 2011
  5. vodkaPT thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2012
    Lisbon, Portugal

    Awesome :)

    Thanks, it's runs very nice. When I get my mba is nice to knew that is runs fine on external drive.

    However I still have hope that a SD card class 10 with 64GB will be also fine, because is much more comfortable to use outside home.

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