Very confused about Bootcamp, Parallels, partitioning, etc. -- Help?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by Sounds Good, Aug 16, 2011.

  1. Sounds Good macrumors 68000

    Jul 8, 2007
    Can someone please explain how all of this works, exactly? Bootcamp, Parallels, partitioning, etc?

    For example, on the "Windows side" I would want to install MS Office with Word, Excel, PowerPoint and FrontPage 2003 (don't laugh) plus Photoshop CS, SlySoft AnyDVD and CloneDVD, along with a couple of other Windows-only programs.


    1. Do I need enough extra hard-drive disc space on the Windows side for the data files from these programs? Or can the data files be put on the Mac side?

    2. Also, can these data files that are created in Photoshop, Word or Excel be accessed from the Mac side? Or only from the Windows side?

    I'm gonna guess that most of you know what I'm referring to, but if not I can clarify. Personally I'm very confused about how this all works. :eek:

  2. Vudoo macrumors 6502a


    Sep 30, 2008
    Dallas Metroplex
    Determine how much disk space you need for your Windows partition to hold the OS, applications and files.

    Create a bootcamp partition and format it as FAT.

    Install Windows onto the FAT partition.

    Install VMWare or Parrallels and point it to the bootcamp partition.
  3. ZBoater macrumors G3


    Jul 2, 2007
    Sunny Florida
    You can install Windows on its own partition using Bootcamp or as a virtual machine (using VMWare or Parallels). The difference is that Bootcamp allows you to boot natively into Windows. Parallels/VMWare create a virtual machine inside of OS X. They work the same, although IMO I get maximum performance from booting natively into Windows, so I decided to do both.

    I installed Windows on its own partition, and then I installed Parallels and told it to use the Bootcamp partition as a source to create a virtual machine.

    What this does is it allows me to run Quicken for example (the Windows version) while I am still inside Lion (in a virtual machine). When I want to play a Windows game, I can choose to boot natively into Windows for maximum performance. Best of both worlds.

    If you choose to have a partition and boot natively, Windows can't write HFS (Mac files system) and Lion can't write NTFS (Windows files system). There are 3rd party apps that work around this, but its messy. If you run Windows inside a Virtual Machine, you have access to your Documents folder in your Lion partition.

    For example, when I run Quicken, the data file is in the Windows partition (My Documents), but the backup is stored in the Mac partition (so Time Machine can back it up). While running Quicken inside a virtual machine inside of Lion, it can see my Mac user directory and write to it. +1 for virtual machines!

    Another drawback of partitioning is that you have to declare up front how much space you want to commit to your Windows partition. Using virtual machines, the size of the VM can vary and is more efficient. If you manage your space well (and get the 256GB SSD) this won't be a problem.

    I installed Office for Mac and also have Office 2010 (for Windows). When I run Powerpoint for Windows inside the VM, I can read and write files stored in my Mac user directory. So far Powerpoint is the only app I've tested this with, but I assume Word and Excel will work the same.

    So, to answer your questions:

    1. The data files can be in the mac side.

    2. If you configure your VM correctly, the files are accessible from either OS.
  4. Sounds Good thread starter macrumors 68000

    Jul 8, 2007
    Thanks, ZBoater. I'll get the hang of it -- eventually! :)

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