Which is better: Parallels-only W7 or Bootcamp+Parallel W7

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by dacapo, Aug 9, 2010.

  1. dacapo macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    #1
    With my mid-2010 MBP 13, I'm trying to decide between installing Windows 7 Professional on just Parallels 5 OR installing W7 on both Bootcamp mode and Parallels into Bootcamp.

    As I understand it, here is the tradeoff:

    - W7 on Parallels-Only: Allows for 'pausing'/'stopping' the W7 VM.

    - W7 on Bootcamp+Parallels: Can boot directly in Bootcamp for max performance but cannot pause or stop the Windows 7 instance from within Parallels.


    As far as applications, I don't think any of my apps are memory-intensive, and I don't play any games.

    Before I spend the entire evening in installation mode, I'm just curious if anyone has had experience with both of these scenarios, and which they prefer. (I think I'm leaning toward W7 on Parallels-only for now.. which should be more convenient, but I wonder if I'm short-changing myself somehow...)
     
  2. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #2
    NOTE: If you don't enter a product key during the Windows install you enter a 30 day trial mode which can be extended for up to 120 days. Use this until you're happy to avoid angering the activation gods when you choose to activate.

    Experiment a bit with how much RAM you allocate to the VM until you get into a performance range you like.

    Another difference:

    The VM only approach should be more efficient in terms of HDD usage since it does not require a fixed size partition. You should thus be able to be more flexible with how much space is used by growing or shrinking the size of the VHD you allocate to Windows.

    B
     
  3. jhmirage macrumors newbie

    jhmirage

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2010
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    #3
    Can this also be used as a mechanism to get both Bootcamp and Parallels 5 up and running before activating, thus avoiding the activate-twice issue? Or will I still have to activate twice... once for Bootcamp, then again the first time I boot into Parallels after that?
     
  4. rgarjr macrumors 603

    rgarjr

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2009
    Location:
    Southern Cal
    #4
    it really depends what you want to do with Windows. Games and 3D design requires a lot of resources, so using only BootCamp is the best choice.
     
  5. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #5
    You still have to activate twice, but this give you a chance to shake things out before you activate.

    The OP already said they don't game, but it might help for them to come back and tell us what apps they really want/need.

    B
     
  6. dacapo thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    #6
    Thanks, I just finished installing Windows 7 on Parallels and am in love! I especially like the fact that I can suspend and restart with minimal wait time. Plus, as I said earlier, I don't really game at all. And any resource-intensive/media-rich programs, I'll probably buy for native Mac anyways, so cutting edge performance is not an issue at all for me.

    Just to make double sure though: If I were to do a bootcamp install of W7 and parallel vm to the bootcamp, then I won't be able to suspend, correct? If so, I think I'll just stick with this.


    EDIT: Or am I mistaken? Can a Bootcamp VM via Parallels also "suspend"? I'm sort of confused. The options include: "pause" "stop" "suspend" "reset" and "shutdown"
     
  7. jhmirage macrumors newbie

    jhmirage

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2010
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    #7
    That's exactly right. One of the tradeoffs of using a combined Bootcamp/Parallels 5 install is that you can no longer pause/resume Windows, because it's no longer purely a Virtual Machine... it has many characteristics of a physical instance. (Another is that you can no longer shrink/grow the disk size easily.)
     
  8. dacapo thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    #8

    Cool, that's good to know. One other potential benefit of just having a VM only Windows is that when it comes time to upgrade the HDD, that it will be a slight tad easier not having to clone using two tools (carbon & winclone)? (Of course, my situation is not universal. If one wants to run games or high-resource apps, then bootcamp is the way to go.)

    Which brings to my final question, and let me phrase it like this: Other than "performance," is there any other benefit that bootcamp has over VM-only?
     
  9. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #9
    For 7 Pro or higher you can use XP Mode ( a preinstalled, prelicensed XP virtual machine of its own). http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/products/features/windows-xp-mode

    Yes it's loosely related to performance.

    Firewire devices are also sometimes problematic in a VM.

    B
     
  10. dacapo thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    #10
    That's good to know in case I run into something down the road.
    My W7 is Pro, so I guess I could explore the XP mode if I run into problems with any of my older apps..

    I assume that even after I activate, if I end up wanting to reinstall as bootcamp later on, that'll be an option down the line, even if it means I have to utilize the phone-in activation.

    Thanks!
     
  11. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #11
    Yes. If you buy a retail license. Likely, but not definite, if you buy an OEM/System Builder's license.

    B
     
  12. MBP2010 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2010
    #12
    I apologize in advance if any of these questions are relatively stupid or simple, I just recently got an i7 MBP and installed Windows 7 using Parallels Desktop 5. I just came to realize that that probably wasn't the best choice since I really only wanted to use Windows to play games not available for OSX. Now my question is, what would be the consequences if I installed the same Windows 7 using bootcamp now? also what if I decided to run that bootcamp version of W7 with Parallel? Will I need another W7 product key? and lastly, would it be a better option if I ran bootcamp with XP instead so I'm not using the same product key? Hope someone can help me out!

    thanks!
     
  13. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #13
    How did you obtain Windows 7? Retail? OEM/System Builder? ...

    If it's retail you will be able to reactivate with little if any fuss, you might have to just call Microsoft, but probably not even that. With OEM, you will definitely have to call Microsoft and just tell them what is going on, same hardware moving a VM to physical hardware and they will probably let it activate.

    Suggestion: Install it without a product key and make sure everything is working fine. You can use this for up to 30 days (extendable to 120) before you need to activate.

    B
     
  14. js81 macrumors 65816

    js81

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2008
    Location:
    KY
    #14
    A little off topic, but just wanted to post about some issues I've had using Fusion (I know, this is about Parallels) and a bootcamp/virtual machine combo. I only use Windows for a very few games I play, so I have to have a bootcamp install; when I try to install the fusion tools to allow me to access that install within Snow Leopard, it always screws up my install - activation issues, takes forever to boot up, etc. It was so much frustration that I finally just said "screw it" and use my bootcamp install ONLY for bootcamp; I keep a second, small virtual machine (XP, BTW) to run so very basic Windows-only apps I have.

    Like I said, doesn't completely apply, but just wanted to let the OP know - similar issues may present with Parallels.(?) Has anyone had this happen to them with Parallels or is because I use Fusion? Or is it a Windows thing?
     
  15. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #15
    This is atypical. Start your own thread with details which Mac, which OSes, which version of Fusion, the exact order in which you installed and activated, etc... and maybe someone can see what you are running into.

    B
     
  16. js81 macrumors 65816

    js81

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2008
    Location:
    KY
    #16
    I know - it shouldn't be that way. But for what little use I used it for, it wasn't worth the hassle.

    Sorry to run the thread into the weeds... I'll be better behaved next time! lol :D
     
  17. MBP2010 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2010
    #17
    Thanks so much for the help. I am running the OEM system builder so I guess I'd have to call. But what if I just want to run bootcamp and not bootcamp + parallels? Since I already have W7 installed as a VM on parallels, is there a way to uninstall that so that the product key is no longer in use for parallels and just for bootcamp? Also, I've heard that normally you're suppose to install windows 7 on bootcamp first before running a partition (not really sure what this means lol) for Parallels. Is it bad that I've already installed W7 on parallels before I installed it on bootcamp?
     
  18. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #18
    No, and that is exactly why I do not recommend OEM/System Builder anymore unless you want a "throwaway" license of Windows.

    The license is clear, not for end users, no transfer rights. So when you call Microsoft they have every right to deny your activation request. They probably won't, but there is a risk.

    You should definitely follow the recommended way Parallels suggests for installing and activating.

    REMEMBER: You can install without the product key first, before you activate at all to make sure it is really what you want/expect.

    B
     

Share This Page