VirtualBox versus Parallels

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by james714, Oct 29, 2011.

  1. james714 macrumors newbie

    Jun 16, 2008
    Hi guys,

    I'm looking to see which virtualization software I should use. Right now, I have a 2011 Macbook Air (i5 w/ 4GB of ram). I'm looking to install Windows XP to use Microsoft Suite of applications (Access, Excel, and PowerPoint).

    I did a quick search earlier, and I was unable to find anything conclusive. A lot of people recommended looking into Virtual Box as an alternative to Parallels or Fusion, but some folks also commented on how much they like Parallels/Fusion over VirtualBox.

    Has anyone ran both Parallels and VirtualBox before? What's the experience like? Were there any limitations that VirtualBox was missing?

    It's very tempting since it's OpenSource and free. I'm sure support will be an issue, but my primary concern is VirtualBox's stability in running Windows XP.

    Insights are appreciated. Thank you.
  2. steveza macrumors 68000


    Feb 20, 2008
    I haven't used Virtualbox myself but have used both Fusion and Parallels and I would recommend them for running a full Windows install. I know people who use Virualbox in a commercial environment but only for running Linux/Unix.

    There are probably quite a few threads discussing this topic over the past years so a search might help you out here.
  3. james714 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 16, 2008

    I did some search, but they were dated back in 2009 and 2010. They didn't indicate which version of VirtualBox, and nothing specific on why they would or would not recommend it.
  4. habe macrumors member

    Sep 1, 2011
    I'm currently using VirtualBox, latest version, on a base 13" MB Pro, 21.5" iMac Quad i5 and a Mac Mini Quad i7.

    It's free and I have had ZERO problems with it. What's not to like? Did I mention, it's FREE?!?!?!

  5. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5


    Jun 6, 2003
    Solon, OH
    VirtualBox handles Linux WAY better than Parallels does. Put simply, Parallels' support for Linux is lousy, whereas VirtualBox supports new Ubuntu etc. versions shortly after they're released.

    However, the reverse has been true in my experience for Windows installations. VirtualBox was only recently updated to fix a installation issue with Windows Vista / 7 and enabling 3D acceleration without booting into Safe Mode.
  6. johnhurley macrumors 6502a


    Aug 29, 2011
    AFAIK virtual box runs win xp fine. Main limitations for some people here with virtual box are "not as good" support of graphics for people doing windows gaming if I understand correctly.

    If it is just different kind of non graphics apps under win xp virtual box should be good.

    You do have to put anti virus stuff etc on any windows install running in a virtual environment!
  7. TheZA macrumors regular

    Sep 14, 2007
    I've been using VirtualBox with XP on an iMac and Macbook; Snow Leopard and Lion. The Macbook has only 2 gig RAM. Zero problems, all Microsoft Office 2007 for Windows = zero problems. Now, I don't open a bunch of stuff when I'm on the Macbook. Personally, I can't imagine paying for something else when VirtualBox does what I need so well.
  8. echosky81 macrumors newbie

    Jun 7, 2011
    VirtualBox is free, I mean you can't really beat that.
  9. niteordayj, Nov 7, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2011

    niteordayj macrumors newbie

    Nov 7, 2011
    Been using VirtualBox

    I have recently moved to mac products and am also a longtime VirtualBox user. I currently have Windows XP and Windows 7 VMs using virtualbox, which I mainly use for Office 2007 products. I find that VirtualBox works great. In full screen mode my Mac looks just like a Windows box. Performance is good too. I don't do any heavy gaming, but my son can play all of his cartoon network flash games just fine in the virtualbox vm, and I have watched youtube videos without any lag in the VM. My Mac has a core i5 2500k processor and 8gb ram (I allocate 2gb to each of my VMs).

    I am curious about how much better Paralells or Fusion's graphic performance might be. I am running OSX Lion and using the VirtualBox 4.1.6 release.

    And like others before me mentioned..........ITS FREE !!!!!
  10. waynep macrumors 6502

    Dec 31, 2009
    I tried the trial of Fusion. While it's a great product and works great, it also has a price tag a lot higher than Virtual Box. After trying Fusion, I tried Virtual Box. I never quit trying it as it does everything I need. Using the latest VB version, I run a Win7 VM. Works fine and I have had no problems.
  11. sesnir macrumors 6502

    Sep 21, 2008
    I've used all three, and I still use VirtualBox for simple stuff. It's quick, free, and stable.

    I also use Parallels, but you can't go wrong with VirtualBox in a lot of cases.

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