Will using Parallels Desktop 5 allow Windows viruses to infect my computer?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Ardoptres, Jan 18, 2010.

  1. Ardoptres macrumors regular

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    Dec 12, 2009
    #1
    I have Windows XP on my uMBP, and I really hate rebooting the computer to start in it.
    I've been thinking about buying Parallels, but if it allows Windows viruses (by virus i mean all the bad stuff. Malware, trojans and whatever else these things are named) to infect my computer, that is a total no-go.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. roadbloc macrumors G3

    roadbloc

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    #2
    Short answer: No. Don't worry.

    Long answer: Only your Windows virtual hard drive will get infected. Even if you have file sharing an all that on. Windows Executable files are unable to be run on OS X without emulation software or virtual machine software. They will not effect OS X at all. They can ruin your windows install on your virtual machine though. The most you will have to do is re-install Windows in your virtual machine software.
     
  3. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    #3
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    No and infact your system is evev more protected because when running windows under parallels or vmware the guest OS does not have direct access to the hardware. So malware cannot try to destroy your HD or anything. You still need antivirus software but the host OS. (osx) is safe
     
  4. Ardoptres thread starter macrumors regular

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  5. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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    #5
    The VM file that is created as the Windows HDD
    If you are using Parallels only, it creates this Virtual Machine as a file
    If you are using it with Boot Camp, it will access your Boot Camp partition

    Either way, your OSX partition will not be infected

    Woof, Woof - Dawg [​IMG]
     
  6. Ardoptres thread starter macrumors regular

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    #6
    I am using Boot Camp.

    It has always been my understanding that viruses infect the computer (hard drive), not the OS. So while using Parallels and the internet, my Windows partition can get infected, but it can't hurt the computer? Is that why I still need anti virus software? I won't and will not use the internet directly from the Windows partition.
     
  7. pdjudd macrumors 601

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    #7
    Viruses can harm the hard drive, but more often than not, they target the OS since it's more valuable to take over the system rather than killing it. Tyically virtualization products like Parallels don't partition your drive - they create a file that contains the OS and everything and the software portion just tells windows that it is a hard drive. It's the same as any other program operates - creating word documents just creates a file that the system interprets via software as something specific. Parallels does just that - but on a larger scale.

    So if Windows gets a Virus - it doesn't matter since there is no route to transmit it - once it hits the Mac system any virus is useless since viruses are OS specific. Nor can the Windows side of things get infected on the Mac side - they are sandboxed.

    The only system that partitions your hard drive is Boot camp and that actually changes the structure of your hard drive on a deeper level.
     
  8. Benito macrumors 6502

    Benito

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    Toronto, Canada
    #8
    I do have an antivirus software running on my Virtual Machine because as everyone has identified you can get a Windows virus on your Virtual Machine. It won't bother your Mac OSX though as the virus would be a Windows virus.

    It is like this, there are viral infections that infect trees, but they cannot infect humans because our cells work quite differently from trees. Likewise, a Windows virus won't infect the Mac OSX.
     
  9. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

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    Oregon
    #9
    Some years ago a (Windows) computer at work got the "I Love You" virus which searches the hard drives for jpegs and destroys them. It also destroyed jpegs on any mounted drives including the department file server.

    So if my Windows VM got this virus now, it would destroy about 15,000 images on my iMac's drive, since Parallels mounts it by default, as well as my home server.

    Luckily (?) almost all viruses are now done for economic gain (spambots) and not for malicious destruction. In any case I don't browse or read e-mail from a Windows VM, nor do I download and install any software from questionable sites. I get along just fine without anti-virus on the Windows VMs.
     
  10. Ardoptres thread starter macrumors regular

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    Dec 12, 2009
    #10
    So when using Boot Camp, it is possible for a Windows virus to hurt my hard drive?
     
  11. roadbloc macrumors G3

    roadbloc

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    #11
    Yes. If you use bootcamp often on the web, your hard drive is just as much as risk as any pc.
     
  12. Ardoptres thread starter macrumors regular

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    #12
    So while using Parallels, I shouldn't use the internet. Got it. :)
     
  13. roadbloc macrumors G3

    roadbloc

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    #13
    you can use the internet while using parallels or bootcamp. How many occurrences do you hear of virus's ruining hard drives out of the millions of PC users worldwide? The risk is very low, and even lower if you have an antivirus.

    You shouldn't worry. If you need to use the internet extensively in bootcamp or a virtual machine like parallels, AVG free or avast antivirus should keep you going fine. The risk of a virus killing your hard drive is very low indeed. Most virus's will be caught by the antivirus, and the ones that are not are cured by a system restore or a re-install of your virtual machine/bootcamp partition.
     
  14. cjmillsnun macrumors 68020

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    Aug 28, 2009
    #14
    No you'll be fine in parallels. Parallels becomes the computer hardware and controls access to everything, including the boot camp partition. As Parallels is an OS X application I really wouldn't worry. The only precaution I would take is to not mount your OS X partition in parallels by default.
     
  15. Buzz Bumble Guest

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    Oct 19, 2008
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    New Zealand
    #15
    Only if the Windows environment can access your Mac's hard drive / partition (as well as any shared external drives, flash drives, etc.). If you do not share them and keep the Mac part separate from Windows, then it can't cause any problems for the Mac at all.

    In my old copy of VirtualPC for example, there is only one Mac folder that is shared with the emulated Windows - a Windows virus can only access that single Mac folder, but not the rest of the Mac system.
     
  16. Ardoptres thread starter macrumors regular

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    Dec 12, 2009
    #16
    I don't have to be online at all. I will only be using Windows for some school programs that don't require internet access.

    Though, do you have an anti virus program that you'd recommend?
     
  17. cjmillsnun macrumors 68020

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    Aug 28, 2009
    #17
    Microsoft Security Essentials believe it or not.

    It's free and is actually quite good.
     
  18. Ardoptres thread starter macrumors regular

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    Dec 12, 2009
    #18
    I don't want to register my Windows version.

    Does anyone know something else that's safe and works well?
     
  19. Byzanti macrumors newbie

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    Jun 6, 2008
    #19
    But HFS+ can't normally be read from Windows?
     
  20. Sydde macrumors 68020

    Sydde

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    Aug 17, 2009
    #20
    Go to codeweavers.com and learn about Crossover. It is not compatible with as many Windows apps, but it might be adequate for your needs.
     
  21. CylonGlitch macrumors 68030

    CylonGlitch

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    #21
    The partition table IS read/writable from within Windows. If a virus screws with it, you can lose everything on the drive, regardless of OS.
     
  22. cjmillsnun macrumors 68020

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    #22
    Not within Parallels it isn't!
     

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