VMWare Fusion and Windows Virus/Malware

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by wheelhot, Mar 8, 2008.

  1. wheelhot macrumors 68020

    Nov 23, 2007
    In the near future, Im getting my self a MacBook and Im going to run VMWare Fusion with it, my question is, how about viruses and malwares that plague Windows.

    Im not going to run online stuffs from the Windows OS (mostly going to be used for programming and maybe some old games).

    Cause my PC currently has a firewall, antivirus, spyware remover. Must I install all that in my Fusion and wont this softwares slow down the PC?

    A nooby question, when I buy Fusion, I dont need to own a copy of Windows XP rite?
  2. MurphyM macrumors 6502

    Dec 29, 2007
    You don't have to prove you own windows to buy Fusion, if that is what you're asking. But you need a copy of windows to install. You need at least XP SP2 I believe.

    And your windows install will not be protected by the Mac. So it needs all the same firewall / virus / other pita stuff that any windows install needs. Basically, treat it like you'd treat Windows on any machine.
  3. wheelhot thread starter macrumors 68020

    Nov 23, 2007
    Crap, then virtualization wont work for me then cause if I install all those protection softwares it will slow down my mac experience even more, guess Boot Camp is for me
  4. nparmelee macrumors 6502

    Jan 23, 2008
    Bootcamp wanted XP sp2 or Vista, but VMWare was happy with most Windows versions for installing. And yes, you should treat it like any Windows install. Those apps would only be running when you are running your Windows virtual app though, you install them under Windows. I like VMWare more than bootcamp so I can have Windows in a window instead of a full boot for those times I have to use it for work.
  5. MurphyM macrumors 6502

    Dec 29, 2007
    I agree with nparmelee. Unless you have a specific reason to run Boot Camp instead of Fusion (or Parallels) you'll find the vm road much more pleasant.

    Being able to quickly resume a Windows session is great.

    Having to reboot to get to Windows and reboot again to get back to OS X? Not so great.

    Also, if you decide to get Fusion and use it to run your Boot Camp install you won't be able to sleep it. But I have a post on how to easily convert from Boot Camp to a regular Fusion vm.

    If you start with Boot Camp you'll be able to see how things perform under Boot Camp, and then add Fusion and you can see how things run under Fusion. IF you don't need Boot Camp, you can convert without having to install all over again.
  6. wheelhot thread starter macrumors 68020

    Nov 23, 2007
    I know the VM road is more pleasent but it concerns me about that when I run Windows OS I need to also run a spyware, antivirus, firewall software.

    And as far as I know, running VM will slow your Mac down abit, how slow will it become when it has 3 programs running at the same time?
  7. Neil321 macrumors 68040


    Nov 6, 2007
    Britain, Avatar Created By Bartelby
    I have fusion installed that is running off my bootcamp partition,Ok its slower than bootcamp on its
    own but its fine for the office type stuff i use it for

    Also if a virus did happen to migrate across from Windows,OS X whouldn't understand it so therefor
    it whouldn't harm it
  8. MurphyM macrumors 6502

    Dec 29, 2007
    Just to be clear, you don't need to run anti-virus under os x because of running Windows in Fusion or wherever. You only need to run anti-virus (in Windows) to protect the Windows installation.

    I do some pretty intense graphics stuff in Windows sometimes, and it runs fine under Fusion. Your results may vary, but it's worth having a look at. I think Fusion has a free trial.

    I run Fusion on a Macbook Pro with 2GB of RAM. More RAM will certainly help with a vm.
  9. kuwisdelu macrumors 65816

    Jan 13, 2008
    If you don't need to use any internet applications in Windows, and don't intend to use the internet in Windows, then you're completely fine. You can just deny your emulated Windows virtual machine internet access. You have the option of letting the virtual machine "share" the host (your Mac's) internet connection. Just don't allow it to share your internet. If you don't give it any--even if you did--if you don't use any internet-based apps or browse the internet in Windows should be completely fine. Repeat: you DO NOT need to install any antivirus/firewall/spyware software if you don't intend to use the internet in Windows.

    I suppose there is a very slim chance that if you downloaded a virus in OS X it could migrate over to your virtualized Windows and infect it like that, but that's fairly unlikely, I think. And since no viruses will affect OS X, the worst that you'd need to do is (a) reinstall your virtual Windows or (b) "restore" it to a saved "snapshot."

    I run Windows using VMWare Fusion for a single program I need that doesn't have a Mac version yet. I don't browse the internet in Windows, and don't use any apps in it that access the internet, and I haven't had any issues yet. It's much more convenient for me than Bootcamp would be. If you're worried, keep a "snapshot" (this is simple with both Fusion and Parallels) of your virtual machine at a point in time you know it's clean, and if anything bad happens, you can restore it to that. I messed around with some skins on the XP interface and it completely messed up my system, but I had made a snapshot before trying it out, and I restored to it and everything was back to how it had been an hour ago. No issues whatsoever.

    So don't worry. If you won't be using the internet in Windows, you should be fine. You don't need to install any protection software that may slow down your system. As long as you have 2 GB or more RAM, Windows runs just fine in emulation (well...I'm using XP; don't know about Vista). Personally, I recommend Fusion over Parallels or Bootcamp.

    ...unless you need 3D games. Then your decisions already made for you. You'll need Bootcamp.
  10. pastrychef macrumors 601


    Sep 15, 2006
    New York City, NY
    What if you sneakernet an infected file to Windows?

    Wouldn't this be true whether internet connectivity is enabled or not?

    Also, when using Parallels or Fusion, it's not emulation, it's virtualization.
  11. wheelhot thread starter macrumors 68020

    Nov 23, 2007
    Oh kay thanks, now I understand more, thanks :D

    Guess Im going to use Fusion soon :D. I'll be using Windows for programming (Visual C++), and maybe some old games. Definately no browsing, so I guess I dont need to run antivirus or watever after all :D.
  12. kuwisdelu macrumors 65816

    Jan 13, 2008
    Yes, but the point is it's relatively safe, and definitely not something I'd lose sleep over. As many people around here that get worried about a viruses crossing over from their Windows to Mac or Mac to Windows partitions or images, I haven't heard anything about it happen yet. It's probably possible, but still unlikely unless you go around downloading lots of questionable files.

    And yes, I suppose it's technically virtualization rather than emulation.


    If you want to be extra safe, you can do the following:

    1) Uncheck the option to allow your virtualized Windows the ability to "see" your home folder. Fusion and Parallels offer the option to let Windows access your home folder and share your OS X files (either read-only or both read and write), but you can turn this off. That should pretty much isolate Windows from your OS X files

    2) Download the free virus scanner ClamXav, which is for Mac. Don't worry, it doesn't run in the background, usually, only when you tell it to. Right now, there are no Mac viruses to scan for, so it looks for Windows viruses. Set it up to automatically scan new files in your Downloads folder, and that way if you get anything with a Windows virus, you know to get right of it and make sure it can't do any damage to your Windows VM or anyone you might pass it along to. I had this set up for a while, but eventually stopped, because I decided it was overkill. But if you really want peace of mind, go for it. If you set it up to watch that folder, it'll only run when you download something new.
  13. Mookerchief macrumors newbie

    Mar 30, 2009
    Could you provide more detail on how to deny Windows access to the Internet? This is exactly the information I need but can't seem to find it. Is it through WMWare prefs? I can't see it there. Or through OS X network settings? It's not obvious how that is done.

    I generally only ever use one app in Windows, which doesn't need Internet access. So rather than buying and running anti-virus and other security, I just want to deny Windows any access to my internet connection, but in a clean and simple way that is reasonably easy to reverse as and when necessary.
  14. steveza macrumors 68000


    Feb 20, 2008
    In the settings for the virtual machine open network and change the type from bridged or NAT to host only.
  15. terusqui macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2010
    Madrid, Spain
    Hi! I have another question about this. What about using USB devices (instead of the internet in Windows) that you don´t know whether they are infected or not? I mean, lots of viruses can infect PC´s that aren´t connected to the internet via USB devices. If, for example, I share files between Mac/Windows using a pendrive, I´ve never had problems using it in my Mac, but could that be a problem now I´ve just installed VMware? Should I use ClamXav to analize the device in Mac before I launch Windows with VMware? Would that be sure enough?
    And another question about VMware: I´ve installed it in Mac, and I don´t have a BootCamp partition for Windows, and I haven´t allowed Windows to access to Mac folders. In case I had a virus, where are the infected files? Maybe this is too obvious, but I don´t understand fully where is the "virtual PC" inside my Mac :confused:. Is everything in the VMware file? How could I access to files I´ve stored in the "Virtual PC" from Finder as well?
    Thank you!!
  16. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    That kind of doesn't make sense. If you use bootcamp you'll not have any mac experience since you'll be on windows ;)

    Besides I found virtualization to be fairly fast, not as fast as BootCamp but enough that I don't run bootcamp but rather Vmware. It doesn't slow my Mac Experience down too much and allows me to run both OSX and windows at the same time.

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