Windows decision

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by Labhras, Oct 7, 2017.

  1. Labhras macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2014
    Hi all - I have a few questions.
    I'm currently using a 2014 MBA, 8GB of RAM and 1,4GHz i5 processor.
    I've thought about loading Windows on my Mac before - mainly for the occasional Excel graph that's not included in Excel for Mac or some other program.
    Now, I know I have three options: virtual machine, parallels or bootcamp.
    Considering my specs, the fact that I have a 256gb SSD what option would you suggest between the three? For virtual machines I have VirtualBox installed already.
    My usage will be mainly for Excel and some other occasional program.
    Another question is security: will I need an antivirus or other specific programs?
  2. Mikael H macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2014
    If you generally like macOS and you don’t need anything more demanding than Excel, go for a VM. Parallels is probably the hypervisor that will give you the best integration with your Mac workflows. If you make regular backups and only open spreadsheets from known sources, I’d say anti malware software is probably a waste of resources, unless you use your machine in networks where you could inadvertently spread crap to other vulnerable machines.
  3. Gjwilly macrumors 68030

    May 1, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    Parallels is a virtual machine so that's only two options.
    VM is definitely the way to go for the usage you describe.
    And try VirtualBox which is free or VMWare Fusion before committing to Parallels.
  4. Labhras thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2014
    I've been using OSX only since I switched to Apple, and having an iPhone there's not really a "Windows need". But recently I've been having problems mainly with Excel (graphs or VBA code or other things that are included in the Windows version but not in the macOS one).
    That'd be a very occasional use, maybe I could end up using a couple of apps not available on Mac, but that'd be the end of it.
    That's why I was wondering if I should limit this to a VM live VirtualBox or go all in with Bootcamp or Parallels
  5. MagicHAM macrumors 6502


    Sep 2, 2013
    I found with bootcamp can be a hit and miss,sometimes the virutalization just runs better along side Mac OS. I run Windows 8.1 in Parallels, and it runs well.
  6. Mikael H macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2014
    VirtualBox is a great way of trying out virtualization, but I find the two most common paid virtualization options (Parallels and Fusion) integrate better with macOS, and of the two latter I suspect Parallels is generally the better choice unless you're working with other VMware products too.

    That said: Yes, by all means, try it out using VirtualBox first. If that's good enough for your use case, you've just saved a few tenners.
    Since Bootcamp starts up Windows or macOS rather than Windows in macOS, it's a less fluent way of running the occasional Windows program.
  7. Labhras thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2014
    A question: having read a few user guides, I need to set some disk space aside for the virtual drive. It's suggested something like 20gb. Since I have a sd card in all the time for additional space, could I select that one for the virtual drive?
  8. Mikael H macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2014
    20 GB may even turn out to be a bit on the tight side; I personally never set up a Windows VM with less than 40 GB of disk space other than for short-term experiments. But you can always grow the disk image after the fact.

    SD cards are usually not a good choice for the kind of file system usage Windows exhibits. Again, for a short-term test, go right ahead, but in the long run, get a USB or TB-attached drive (mechanical, or preferably SSD) if you lack space on your system volume.
  9. Labhras thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2014
    So, I could use a USB drive not always connected to the laptop but only present when I want to run the machine?
    Since it will be an occasional thing I don't want to take too much space from my everyday files (I have a 256 SSD and it's already almost full).
  10. Winterfibre macrumors regular

    Nov 30, 2016
    I run Windows and Linux in virtual box, try it yourself if you don’t like it you just switch it off
  11. Mikael H macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2014
  12. Labhras thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2014
    I'm having a problem with installing Windows. I did all the steps - created the Drive, assigned the disk image, etc. Started the machine, windows started to install and then suddenly it closed - and under the machine name was "aborted".
    I tried starting it again but I have the "An operating system wasn't found, try disconnecting any drive..." warning instead of the loading page
  13. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    As stated above Parallels is a VM so that's 2 choices. There is a 3rd choice if you find you need Boot Camp and that is to use Boot Camp as well as Parallels or Fusion. If you need all resources dedicated to Windows then reboot into Boot Camp. If not, fire it up with Parallels/Fusion.
  14. Gjwilly macrumors 68030

    May 1, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    Which model Mac, which version of Windows, and which VM program are you using?

    Also — one of the benefits of a VM is that you can setup the disk to be dynamic. You don’t lose the full disk space assigned to the VM the way you do with boot camp. For instance my 60gb Windows VM only takes up about 8gb of actual disk space.
  15. Labhras thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2014
    MBA 2014 13" running Sierra. Virtual Box - version 5.1 and Windows is W10 64
    I selected the dynamic disk, and Windows was installing before suddenly closing and refusing to reboot.
    Should I delete the machine and restart everything?
  16. Mikael H macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2014
    That’s one nice thing about VMs: It’s very easy to start over. :)
    I actually had trouble getting the latest version of Win 10 to run in a Fusion VM today. It might just be a coincidence, or you might have to wait for a patch for your hypervisor. Trying an earlier version (from last summer) worked for me.
  17. Labhras, Oct 10, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017

    Labhras thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2014
    How do I do that? Try an earlier version (you're talking about the os or VirtualBox?)

    I tried again and the "Getting files ready for installation" reaches around 50% and then the machine suddenly closes, with the writing "aborted" under the machine name.
    Do you think I should try a 32-bit ISO?
  18. Mikael H macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2014
    Sorry, my post was a bit confusing. I'm speaking of an older release of the Windows OS, not of VirtualBox. Windows 10 has had a few updates since its initial release, and I had trouble installing the latest one in VMware Fusion 8, but the previous Windows 10 release worked well.
    I have no idea if non-volume license customers of Microsoft are allowed to download different releases of the OS they've bought, but I suspect that isn't a possibility.
  19. kschendel macrumors 65816

    Dec 9, 2014
    How much memory did you give the VM? video memory? acceleration options (under System)? You can see all of this in the VirtualBox manager screen even if the VM is not running. How much disk space did you end up allocating? You might also try "Show Log" in the Machine menu, although I suspect what you really need is the windows install log.

    I'd stick to the 64-bit Windows release,
  20. Labhras thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2014
    My bad - simple mistake. I had the drive still formatted as FAT, so when reaching 4gb the machine aborted. Formatted with exFAT and everything went smoothly.

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19 October 7, 2017